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Optimum Wound Profile: Silver or lead

17/10/12  ||  Habakuk

Looking at the development in noise/ alternative / industrial metal, it seems like every other dude in England around the early nineties was an emotional wreck at the fringe of killing himself. Well, don’t be surprised if you ever see an indentation in the male, 20-something part of a British demographic development chart around that time. Or does anybody have another explanation for Fudge Tunnel, Godflesh, Therapy?, Meathook Seed and the likes? Please insert here: ________________, as Optimum Wound Profile, our band in focus today, is one of these likes.

Featuring Phil Vane (RIP) from Hardcore Punk / Crust band Extreme Noise Terror and later during their career also a dude from Deviated Instinct, this band was one of those that suffered a sudden lack of interest on behalf of Roadrunner Records in the mid-nineties, and thus got pretty much forgotten altogether. It is now on us to dig them up again, one by one, to rid the masses of happiness, joy and solace once more, for these are the things you will definitely not find with any of these bands.

I have seen Optimum Wound Profile dubbed “industrial thrash” with their positive, life-affirming moniker and corresponding cover artwork. And well, if you take into account the groove thrash idea that was floating around in the 90s, it actually isn’t that far off. The tempo often follows a mid- to high-paced machine drum (yes, the word order is intended), with samples, riffs and riff fragments aligned around it in pretty engaging and actually un-monotonous fashion. The album might not be on par with Nailbomb’s stellar full-length release, but the general approach of accentuating mechanistic riff arrangements with what sounds like hellish factory sounds does bear quite a lot of similarity. Add a singer, Simon Finbow, that sounds best when hollowly yelling slogans into the mic, and we have a pretty awesome concept. Well, for the most part.

Unfortunately, there are quite a few songs that stray from that formula, which is good for variation, but to me who’s wanting to listen to an assembly line of destruction, a track like the mellow “Modus Operandi” with its clean, bleak vocals over a simplistic acoustic lick just doesn’t cut it. Atmospherically it isn’t even completely out of place, though. That award goes to “Crotch Metal Orgasm” whose irony bears the subtlety of a sledge hammer and which is about as funny. Okay guys, so you don’t like Metal soloing. Get over it. There is no need for “satirically” overdone wankery, regardless of my opinion on the matter, and stretching it to 1:44 minutes to ensure that even the biggest nutjob in your fanbase gets it. Big minus there. Strike another couple of pure Noise tracks, and we are left with about 30 minutes of pretty great material, which I would still highly recommend to anyone who can relate to the concept of heaviness without real drums.

Just don’t expect the entire album to be consistently awesome, but at its groovy best, it’s about as good as this.

7.5

  • Information
  • Released: 1993
  • Label: Roadrunner Records
  • Website: Optimum Wound Profile MySpace
  • Band
  • Simon Finbow: vocals
  • Phil Vane: vocals
  • Roki: guitars
  • Jason Whitaker: arrangements, samples
  • Ian Barnard: bass
  • Tracklist
  • 01. One head two eyes
  • 02. Nazilover
  • 03. Twisted
  • 04. Crotch metal orgasm
  • 05. Plata o plomo
  • 06. Slavetrade
  • 07. Verfall
  • 08. Sidewinder
  • 09. Doghead
  • 10. Exorcise
  • 11. Lubricator
  • 12. Modus operandi