Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Monte Cazazza - the Cynic : Industrial

Reviewed by Gird_09

Monte Cazazza. The man who coined the term industrial music. If you don't know his name, you have a world awaiting discovery ahead. The repertoir of blatant insanity and transgressions this person is responsible for is worth looking into. When I heard he had a new album coming out I though I was hallucinating, dreaming or having a psychotic episode. Thankfully I was in fact lucid.

And lucidity is what the album is about, as the title "the cynic" implies. The cover contains the following quote from Ambrose Pierce's "the Devil's dictionary".
"CYNIC: A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among scythians of plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision."
And Cazazza's work has always been about just that. Seeing the world as it is, like a dog might see it – which is what cynic (kynikos) actually means.

The first track, "Interrogator", sets the stage with deep droning analogue strings. It is dark and moody, and certainly a fitting soundtrack to images of dead afghani children butchered by joystick wielding drone operators. But Cazazza has not lost his humor, despite being a cynic. "A gringo like me" is a cover of an old track by Ennio Morricone, from the film Gunfight at Red Sands, and concerns how only dead people are trustworthy and that you need to keep your weapon ready at all times. The lyrics are delivered in that unmistakable Cazazza style, with soft voice and no distortion. Killing, and dying, with a smile.

The Cynic is an update of the style Monte Cazazza had on his earlier music, while retaining the general musical philosophy of the industrial movement. The instruments might sound newer and some of the tracks are very different from the primitive, nearly infantile, obsceneties we all remember so well, but it is what it is, and I'm glad for it. I wouldn't want an album where a legend tries to recapture the days of his youth. Monte Cazazza is certainly not about nostalgia. The album ranges from guitar and singing, to techno, dark ambient and other less easily defined styles. Highly eclectic, and not catering to anyone's tastes – unlike what some other "legends" do. Personally I don't care much for the techno tracks, as they seem a bit like filler and somewhat uninspired, but the presence of tracks like "Interrogator", "A gringo like me", "Terminal" and "Birds of Prey" well makes up for them. I do miss the poorly veiled sociopathic threats from tracks like "To mom on mother's day", or the fascination with mondo aesthetics, but like I said: this is not about nostalgia or catering to anyone's tastes. I also have a distinct feeling that this is one of those albums I will like better and better for each listening.

Also worth mentioning are some of the other people who contributed to the album. Production, mixing and additional programming was done by Lustmord, while Fred Giannelli supplied guitars and sitar, and Lydia Lunch co-wrote the lyrics for "What's so kind about mankind?".

The album cover is fittingly low tech. It's a digipack with extreme closeups of a dead rat being eaten by flies on the front and back, and a single page of credits inside. Not over designed in any way. The focus is on content.

As far as I have been able to figure out The Cynic doesn't have any sort of distribution, which is very sad. This album deserves to be in your collection if you're at all interested in the original industrial movement. It's easily available from blastfirstpetite.com however, both for ordering or download.

So now I guess we'll just have to wait another 28 years for his next album...

1 Interrogator
2 A gringo like me
3 Break number one
4 Terminal
5 Venom
6 What's so kind about mankind
7 Birds of prey

United States of America, Blast first (petite), 2010,


  1. Good to know that someone is reading. ;)

    It's certainly worth the money, and I think you will enjoy it. (A little bird also tweeted me that it will be getting distribution very soon btw. But for now ordering from the website is the way to go.)

  2. That's really great to hear! I kinda fell out of touch with Monte and his music after the re-release on the Grey Area, but no time like the present to catch up =)

  3. thanks so much for the very fair and insight full review best one i will get i'm sure and especially for mentioning all the other contributors involved as they really made \the whole project so much more than i could have done myself...mc

  4. You are most welcome :) /Kaliteam