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Battery Cage – Product

Battery Cage - Product

CD, Solidgreysky, 2005

If you were to blend the percussive complexities of Skinny Puppy, the atmospheric synth work of Frontline Assembly and the pre-millennial angst of Leaether Strip, then roped Da5id Din (Metropolis Records’ superstar producer, the man behind the music of EBM powerhouses like Din_Fiv and Informatik) to oversee production, what would you end up with? According to ex-band member Jeremy Page, a “boring, total bullshit cliché” of a record. Perhaps in 1998, when “Product”, Battery Cage’s collection of early recordings was originally released, this may have seemed the case. Now, nearly a decade later, it seems more like a trip down memory lane, to the days when EBM was misanthropic, exciting and, believe it or not, mostly created with live analog instruments.
As a whole, the album is primitive and raw, but that very rawness carries with it a sincerity lacking in many modern acts. The production quality is, for its time, crisp – no doubt due to the aforementioned assistance of Da5id Din. No individual song stands out as “single” material, but the improvisational “Killfile”, a twelve-minute electronic jam, does take home the “what were you thinking?” (or possibly the “what chemicals were you on at the time?”) award.
For the dance junkies among us, Informatik’s reconfiguration of “Blunt Force Trauma” delivers enough crushing bass and distorted vocals to suit anyone’s tastes, while “Gone Postal” fails entirely to do as its name suggests, delivering instead an electronic dirge that would not seem out of place on an early Velvet Acid Christ release.
Overall, the late-nineties influences are unmistakable, the tape hiss imperfections are endearing and the overriding feeling is one of nostalgia. Any one of the original tracks on this album could do with a more upbeat, contemporary take to transform it into a new dancefloor hit.


— David vander Merwe

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