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“All the Way Down” from Dead When I Found Her is sample-heavy industrial music that plays like a blast from the past — in all the best ways.

Music.

Ask a thousand different people what it means to them, and you’ll get a thousand different answers in response. But regardless of its personal importance, music is, for lack of a better descriptor, one of mankind’s great equalizers – after all, aside from language itself, is there anything more universal across humanity’s various cultures, geographies, and time periods than a shared fascination with cadence and rhyme?

For me, music is my livelihood — a gig that puts bread on the table and rye in the tumbler. I take the tough cases, the assignments nobody else wants. Obscurity is my specialty, strangeness my stock in trade.

While the rest of the city slumbers, I heed the call of my mysterious benefactors, investigating the interstitial information superhighways and plumbing the depths of darkened data vaults for your audiophilic pleasure.

Here are my case files, dear listener, declassified at long last, spotlighting lesser-known artists from around the globe and across the years. May they serve you well.

All the Way Down

CASE #:

0004

View the Case File Archives

TYPE OF INVESTIGATION:

Industrial, noise, drone, EBM, electro

NAME:

Dead When I Found Her

SURNAME:

All The Way Down

DOB:

November 13, 2015

CITIZENSHIP:

United States

ALIASES:

N/A

KNOWN ASSOCIATES:

Front Line Assembly, Skinny Puppy, X Marks the Pedwalk, Acretongue, Necro Facility, :wumpscut:, Haujobb, Suicide Commando, Funker Vogt, Velvet Acid Christ

Dead When I Found Her

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS:                     

Quick quiz…when you see the words “sample-heavy industrial music”, what band comes to mind?

It’s Skinny Puppy, isn’t it? I mean, of course, it is. It really should be Skinny Puppy, and if it ISN’T Skinny Puppy, well then… Lucy, you got some explaining to do!

Love it or hate it, the use of movie samples is very much a staple of the industrial/EBM genre. Yes, you’ve got your requisite quotes and sound effects from popular horror movies, as well as recognizable passages from thousands of thrillers, but other genres get representation as well. From Twin Peaks to Timecop and from Falling Down to Full Metal Jacket, sayings both iconic and obscure have been threaded into industrial songs, bringing additional ambiance on top of the dark music.

For film buffs, it’s actually kind of a fun exercise to try and identify the less obvious samples — a little trivia to go along with the tunes.

Obviously, search engines like Google have made the hunt much easier, but back in the 80s and 90s, you had to actually know the film in question, or hope that one of your buddies had seen it.

Dead When I Found Her (which is one amazing band name, might I add), a solo project based out of Portland, Oregon, seeks to recreate the harsh industrial music from that period, samples and all.

They proudly announce that they are interested in recreating the old-school sound of Skinny Puppy and Front Line Assembly.

As a fan of both of those bands, especially their earlier output, I am always down for an aural shot of nostalgia. But it has to be done right. Sure, a band can add some analog synthesizers and basic drum pads to give their songs an 80s tinge… but it still comes across like a modern band trying to sound retro.

Keep in mind that this isn’t a complaint so much as an observation.

I’ll gladly take retro sounds any day of the week, however they are delivered. I’m just a little more partial to, and a lot more impressed, when a band can actually create a sort of sonic time travel and perfectly mimic a bygone era. With the ever-changing landscape of musical instruments and recording equipment, it’s surely no easy feat.

Fortunately, the Dead When I Found Here (DWIFH) album, All The Way Down, absolutely nails the aesthetic, sounding like it was lifted straight from the mid-90s industrial heyday.

And though there were several full albums before and after All The Way Down, this is the one that stands out the most.

It’s almost like an audio horror film that borrows from other established dark material to create a new, albeit fractured, storyline.

A lot of that 80s/90s industrial harshness is present and accounted for, but there are moments of radiance underneath.

Much like how Skinny Puppy had snatches of melody hidden behind their mutated noise, so does DWIFH. But that’s not to say that this is industrial-lite – it most assuredly is not. When lyrics are present, they touch on unsettling topics. The music itself is appropriately foreboding, providing an evil atmosphere to the already dark content.

There’s not much happiness to be found on All The Way Down; only a simmering misery occasionally contrasts against smatterings of hope and beauty.

Club-friendly industrial bangers these are not – while none of the songs venture into the anemic BPM territory of a digital ballad, neither are they super aggressive. I would say they are more even-paced and relentless in the way that slasher villains never seem to tire.

A few of the songs do descend into a miasma of familiarity on occasion, with a reused vocal echo treatment cropping up more often than it should.

Like most albums, not every song is a winner, but the good far outweighs the meh. Ultimately, while many of these songs can be listened to on their own (something I do frequently), the entire album works best when played from start to finish. It truly is like a movie in audio.

So, if you’re a fan of older industrial music, especially the tracks that feature movie samples galore, then slap on some headphones and descend into the auditory hell that is All The Way Down by Dead When I Found Her.

Just don’t be surprised if you seem to be transported back 25+ years in the process. And, while you’re at it, see which movie/show samples you can identify.

All the Way Down

BOLO:                     

The opening track, Expiring Time, is a great intro to what DWIFH is all about. A slower-paced meditation on death and regret, there’s some melodic piano interspersed throughout the track, peeling back the harshness just a little.

The third track, Threadbare, is my favorite song on the album, just a damn fine mix of samples, synthesizers, sequencers, and vocoded vocals. The samples are threaded behind the music perfectly, resulting in a compelling mashup. With its expert programming and crystal-clear production, this one sounds absolutely amazing on headphones.

Downpour, the album’s fifth track, is one of the more propulsive songs on the album and gets bonus points for opening and closing with a line from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. I’m a sucker for that most David Lynchian of offerings, so anything that pays homage to such a maestro is Aces in my book. The interplay between clean and digitized vocals is a highlight.

The sixth track, Misericordia (the first song I ever heard by DWIFH), is a goddamn dark delight, amazingly atmospheric and compelling. It starts slow with basic samples and reverberating synths before kicking into a higher gear, a pounding drum line giving the track some serious backbone.

Honorable mention goes to The Unclean, which is less a traditional song than a collection of noise, beats, and samples. But, as such, it sounds VERY much like a Skinny Puppy B-side, and (to this reviewer, at least) that can’t ever be a bad thing. It’s short, unhinged, and devilishly delightful.

CONCLUSION OF CASE:                     

Being released in 2015, All The Way Down is like a time capsule from decades ago, back when industrial music was a dominating force in the public consciousness. Those halcyon days are probably lost forever, but Dead When I Found Her makes a compelling case for the dark order to rise once more.

While unlikely to convert anyone new to the cause, old-school industrial lovers will find much to appreciate about this album.

Highly recommended.

Great road trip music for a dark and stormy night, All The Way Down is a masterclass in how to do an homage correctly.

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