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Vaiping - 2011 - "Industrial Workers of the World"

(38:00, Karisma Records)


*****
                 
TRACK LIST:

1.  Land for Sale 1:18
2.  Street Talk 0:20
3.  IWW 4:11
4.  Transatlantik 4:43
5.  Wind Will Blow 4:19
6.  Listen Up 3:48
7.  Victory 5:54
8.  The Blue Ribbon 3:33
9.  Salvation Army 0:57
10. High Hopes 4:34
11. Pie in the Sky 4:22


LINEUP:
Eirik Steffensen Ц vocals, keyboards
Haakon Landmark Ц guitars 
Per Magnus Johnsen Ц bass 
Rune Horvei Ц drums; sequencing

Prolusion. The Norwegian band VAIPING was formed a few years ago, and released two albums before either disbanding or taking a break. As I can't see any official information about the latter, the (lack of) activity on their homepages is the main point of reference to this. "Industrial Workers of the World" is the most recent of their productions, initially issued in 2009 and re-launched towards the tail end of 2011.

Analysis. It's interesting to witness how a label re-launches a two year old album by a band now, at least most likely defunct. One might speculate as to why and where basically two good reasons for such a re-launch as I can see: that the CD wasn't marketed internationally first time around, or that the label has a number of copies of this disc in storage that they would like to sell out. Be that as it may be, this production has been reissued due to some line of reasoning, despite the lack of a band backing it up for this second promotional run. "Industrial Workers of the World" is presented as a conceptual creation. Personally I don't see it as such however, as apart from a core set of compositions I don't get a feeling of any theme as such explored throughout. The ship horn utilized on the opening cinematic piece and the creaking ship noise sample utilized on the later instrumental Blue Ribbon rather indicating that these may be leftover pieces from the band's initial production "The Great Polar Expedition", while some other tracks at best are loosely tied into an industrial-workers thematic coating. But a core set of songs does follow the industrial and worker theme quite nicely, and as I regard this album we're dealing with an EPТs worth or so of this kind of material, fleshed out with odds and ends reworked into more or less good fit for the theme explored. In style we're dealing with industrial electronic rock, deceptively advanced at that, or rather not as sophisticated in nature as what it might appear to be. Loud rhythms, massive keyboard textures and compact, twisted guitar layers are key elements throughout, resulting in themes of a grandiose nature, where descriptive words like pompous comes rather easy to mind. Treated vocals, mostly spoken or shouted, cater for the lyrical department, and the overall mood is sterile, cold or twisted, or industrial, if you like. No organic warmth to speak of as such, the closest you'll get is the twisted paranoia humor of Street Talk in the opening phase of this disc. As far as references go, late 70's Kraftwerk and Nine Inch Nails would appear to have a lot to answer for, as would traditional heavy metal. The various compositions utilize elements from all of those and wrap them up in rich, cold keyboard and synth coatings. The Kraftwerk associations appear to be the most concrete of those, and are given a thorough homage on Transatlantik, referencing a rather well known Kraftwerk song in title, sound and general expression. By and large this has been a charming production too. Far from magical and lacking quite a bit to stand out as remarkable, but also a disc that's easy to revisit and enjoy. There are quite a few productions I find to be better and more interesting than this one, despite the fact that this is one of the CDs in my possession that has been given most spins. There's an enthralling quality to this effort, and when in the mood it is an album easy to pull out to listen to just one more time, easy to like and easy to enjoy, and with enough quality to it to maintain a high level of interest also when you know it by heart.

Conclusion. Vaiping takes on industrial rock and metal on their second and possibly last production, liberally flavored with electronic textures and motifs of a kind and character that will be easily recognized by fans of Kraftwerk, more simplistic in construction than they appear on initial inspection, with plenty of anthemic, charm and enthralling, qualities to them. Not a natural musical fit for a progressive rock fan, I believe, but if you enjoy the likes of Kraftwerk and Nine Inch Nails this is a band and a CD I suspect will have a great deal of appeal.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 6, 2012
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Karisma Records
Vaiping


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