October File – Our Souls To You (Candlelight/Earsplit)

Forget the lunchbox goth of Marilyn Manson and the Boyd Rice lite that is Trent Reznor, October File have served up an album that is the real deal: an industrial/metal/punk hybrid that needs no gimmicks, no smoke and mirrors, and that is so good they’ve given it to us twice!

UK industrial/metal quartet October File have given fans a special treat with this their third album. Two discs for the price of one! Yes, that’s right you get two mixes of their new album – one by John Mitchell the other (part 2) by Justin Broadrick (Godflesh)  Why? Hell, why not?

Surprisingly though, it’s the Mitchell mix that brings back instant memories of that 90s era of the Earache label when bands like Godflesh, Misery Loves Co. and Pitch Shifter were hammering us senseless. Broadrick’s mix goes another way, opening up the songs, leaving them raw and bleeding, much more punk in attitude and sound.  The technogimps amongst you are going to love comparing the mixes and the production styles, but for me it doesn’t really matter.  The songs are what matter the most and this is an album that is solid and powerful, and can stand on its own two feet regardless of whether people view this two-headed monster as a gimmick or not. 

As a band, October File are hard to really pin down.  Sure, the industrial tag is what holds their sound together, but of the music you hear, the glimpses of other sounds don’t come from that arena, that particular genre.  Instead, I heard the sounds of Big Black, The Mark Of Cain, Rapeman, The Stranglers, (Our Souls To You part 1 – Broadrick mix sounds like JJ Burnell and U2 circa War jamming in a backroom) Trouble Gum era Therapy?, even the tortured, broken voice box, punk scream of Adelaide’s own Pete The Stud circa the better days of The Blood Sucking Freaks pops up during September.  And that’s the strength of this band. The older two members and originators bassist Steve Beatty and guitarist Matt Lerwill bring along a history, some baggage and past knowledge, while the younger two, drummer John Watt and Vocalist Ben Hollyer keep the sound modern, fresh and current.

This double album perfectly shows, in fact, the two sides of the band. Broadrick’s mix giving us the raw meat, the 80s ugliness of hardcore and industrial mixing together, while Mitchell’s mix, despite that mid/late 90s Earache sound, is still the sound of the modern era. There is much more going on; it's heavier, deeper, and has a power born of volume and control rather than the 80s power of passion and angst. 

As an old fart I’m finding myself drawn more and more into Broadrick’s version; but then again, the John Mitchell mix ain’t nothing to sneeze at either.  Hell, whatever you prefer, you are not going to be disappointed. 

I can’t pick one track as outstanding, one song that stands above because they all stand up, they all have bigger balls than anything you’ve heard in a while from the lunchbox crowd. But if opener Crawl, A public Display of Anger, September or Love is (a warm AK47) don’t make you feel something, then you’re past it, simple as that.

October File's Our Souls to You is out on 4 April on Candlelight/Earsplit.