Whenever people ask me what my favorite kind of music is, I always answer with an eager “industrial music!” When those words come stumbling out of my mouth, on of two thing usually happen. Sometimes, people respond with a comment along the lines of “Oh! I like Skrillix too!” But honestly, most of the time, people haven’t got the faintest idea what I’m talking about with industrial. And really…who can blame ’em? It’s not like industrial music has done much to keep itself off life support for the better part of the last decade. So when it was announced that two of the most prominent names in Chicago’s (still kicking) industrial scene were coming together to make an album, I was thrilled!
Chris Connelly (Ministry/Revolting Cocks/every style of solo album under the goddamn sun) and Jason Novak (Acumen Nation/Czar/Acucrack/Probably 16 other bands we just don’t know about yet) come together to make up Cocksure, a project that promises to “bridge the gap between waxtrax! era industrial and the future sounds of mass corruption.” Lead single and EP opener “Klusterfuck Kulture” immediately makes good on that promise, with Connelly firing off a vocal performance reminiscent of his time with the original Revolting Cocks. It’s sleazy and dirty, yet it’s relevant, containing more truth about modern society than most of us would openly like to admit. Sanford Parker’s remix of “Guilt, Speed & Carbon” is up next. While it’s always hard to predict how an album cut will sound when hearing the remix first, if this version is any indication, the album version of this track will be devastating to say the least. A bass heavy synth loop serves as the backbone, with electronic flourishes swirling around Connelly’s (again transfixing) vocal. Next up is “Assault on Cocksure 13” which is a b-side exclusive to this EP. The song sees Novak take the reins on lead vocals which is an unexpected yet welcome change. His menacing sneer over the four on the floor club beat has shades of early Acumen (a la the Artifacts series) while still staying true to the Cocksure moniker. The final track on KKEP is a remix of “Klusterfuck Kulture” done by (one of) Novak’s other groups, Acucrack. The reworked version is certainly enjoyable, especially the funky-ass bass line brought to the forefront of the mix, but when compared side to side with the original, the remix does feel a bit too extended.
At first glance, it would be easy to dismiss Cocksure as either a vanity project for both musicians or as a nostalgia act, yet it is neither. Cocksure is the sound of two musicians paying homage to their roots, all while staying modern. It’s a delicate balance to be sure, but Novak and Connelly pull it off with such ease that it’s hard to imagine these two producing anything less. Cocksure isn’t going to resuscitate industrial music back from the brink on their own, but if the songs from KKEP are any indication of what awaits with their upcoming debut full-length, then there is a lot to look forward to this year.