Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Test Dept - "A Program For Progress" DVD

Subtitled "Video Work [82-84]", this classic 1984 film isn't a live document, but more a visual accompaniment for Test Dept's influential, legendary, and percussive industrial music. Initially in "Cold Witness", we see a man rooting around an abandoned post-apocalyptic factory. It's an almost fetishistic video of rusted-out metal machinery and factory pollution set to an assault of grinding noise that crescendos into a paranoid overload. The following video ("Shockwork") depicts Test Dept members in a proto-militaristic style, again with plenty of shots of industrial buildings, steel & iron, junkyards, and crushed cars. The following 6 tracks (including the frenetic "Compulsion" and "Total State Machine") fall in line with this type of scenario.

Test Dept never quite achieved the same level of notoriety as their German counterparts Einsturzende Neubauten. However, their early metal-percussion extremity did inspire a generation of post-industrial dance bands, particularly acts like Ministry, Skinny Puppy, and Front Line Assembly. And though this whole scene may seem quaint and well played-out now, Test Dept were true innovators, and this  DVD is a must-see for true industrial music historians. (Cherry Red)

Test Dept site

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