Metal Urbain

Anarchy in Paris! (Acute)

SXSW Records

Metal Urbain

Anarchy in Paris! (Acute) Paris-born in 1976 by guitarist Rikky Darling and drummer Eric Débris (who took over vocal duties from Clode Panik), Metal Urbain, which initially took Lou Reed's cacophonous Metal Machine Music and Hawkwind as influences, relied on Débris' mastery of a drum machine and synthesizers to remix/shred the music into metallic tatters. And it was very, very good. Listening to the walloping, 24-track Anarchy in Paris! for the first time is roughly akin to viewing that first birth video in health class in junior high; it's frightening on a primal level, but unforgettable, mysterious, and somehow important. The flimsy guitar screed and beepy electronics of "Futurama" recall not just the inside of Matt Groening's head, but more importantly the early work of Steve Albini's Big Black and all that followed. Much of Anarchy, in fact, sounds as though it were a template for Albini, not to mention industri-pranksters SPK, Throbbing Gristle, and Cabaret Voltaire. Despite the vocals being in French (or maybe because of it), Metal Urbain's giddy sonic thrust remains undimmed by the intervening years, and tracks like the brilliant "50/50" are more punk rock than 90% of what passes for punk these days. No wonder the young Albini grabbed ahold and clung on to this for dear life. It's pure chaos, and chaotically pure. (Friday, March 19, midnight @ Elysium)

****

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