passafist - passafist

PASSAFIST
Passafist
R. E. X.
1996

The easier way to describe the brief appearance of the band Passafist is to refer to them as “Chagall Guevera without Steve Taylor and pretending to be Nine Inch Nails.” The first part is literal: Passafist was essentially the remaining members of the brief-lived Chagall Guevera after Steve Taylor jumped ship. Rather than fade off in the distance, they recorded an EP and released it on the still-thriving R. E. X. label under the amusing moniker of Passafist. Mmmm, that’s good wordplay, there.

Now, the “pretending to be Nine Inch Nails” part is due to the fact that the music on this 6-song EP is what I would call industrial rock. Although I do admit that this is really sounding more like label mates Leaderdogs For The Blind rather than straight-on Nine Inch Nails; let’s face it, though – most of you reading this would recognize the name Nine Inch Nails over Leaderdogs For The Blind.

But, even that isn’t an accurate description. You see, listening to this album, it seems strongly that the songs may have been unrecorded Chagall Guevera songs that were repurposed for this release under the Passafist moniker. Speculation, this is, but it has weight. You can tell what an actual industrial composition sounds like; the songs on this EP sound like 90s-era alternative rock songs that were ran through some kind of, I don’t know, Industrialization Processor? Was that a thing back then?

The album starts off with opener “Emanuel Chant”, which has an interesting Middle Eastern melody and rhythm, but seems to be stuck in a loop as it doesn’t change; the song could have been a nice brief intro cut, but man was I tempted to hit the “skip” button. This is followed by “Glock”, which is the heaviest song on here; it’s the closest cut to actually sound like an industrial song. The following cuts, though–“Christ Of The Nuclear Age”, “Lov-e900” and “Appliance Alliance”–are what lends credence to the whole “might have been written as CG songs in a previous life”, as there’s not much to hide the alternative rock sound to them. Then there’s the cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Street Fighting Man” which is…oddly straightforward. Finally, the album ends with “The Dr. Is In”, which is a decent 1980s-era David Bowie style song with clips from the movie Dr. Strangelove thrown in for amusement, and possibly to justify the title.

Overall, the Passafist release seems more of a one-off than a genuine attempt at getting a full band going. It was interesting, but not enough to get me to listen to it more than once ever few years. Really, it’s only my crippling OCD-like sense of completion that makes me keep it in the Music Dungeon, despite my lack of enthusiasm for this. Underwhelmed. Pass. Afist. Drat, now they have me doing that.

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