reviews Archive

Virus Magazine (2005)

Posted October 28, 2009 By Chvad SB

Review Source: Virus Magazine
Artist: THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN
Title: You Knew It All Along
Label: Facility Records
Rating: 7 out of 10

Um…there are two versions of the Spice Girls’ “Spice Up Your Life.”

Self-described as an “aggro-tech industrial band from Brooklyn, NY”, Things Outside The Skin is one of those bands that is impossible to describe accurately, because the band does not sound like anyone else.

Personally, I have always appreciated bands that take chances and experiment with sound. And that’s what this CD sounds like: an experiment, which is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on what you want to listen to.

Basically, what you have here is a brew of politico-rants chopped in a distorto-matic blender, humorous samples, and pants-around-your-ankles fratboy music devoid of melody and sanity, cruising back and forth between Tribeca partygirls dancing to the Beastie Boys, to smashing beer bottles with slingshots in a subway tunnel with the Residents.

There are 23 tracks of mayhem and skidoo, but with little variation to be found, with the exception of some decent remixes (tracks 15 and 17), and an, albeit brief, untitled sample-gem (track 23).

This CD certainly provides a strong case for less is better. Interesting, but not captivating. 7 out of 10 skulls rating.

-review by Michael Casano

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Terrorizer Magazine (2006)

Posted October 28, 2009 By Chvad SB

Review Source: Terrorizer Magazine (issue #136)
Artist: THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN
Release: You Knew It All Along
Label: Facility Records
Rating: 4 out of 10

Influences from all over the industrial spectrum make up THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN’s sound, incorporating everything from PWEI, Consolidated and 16 Volt to the Beastie Boys to Ministry and GGFH. Get the Picture? What t.o.t.s. do, self-replicating the bands they love, isn’t bad but it’s just not that original.

-review by Alex Boniwell

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Super Cool Nothing (2006)

Posted October 28, 2009 By Chvad SB

Review Source: Super Cool Nothing
Artist: THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN
Release: You Knew It All Along
Label: Facility Records

Welcome to the new Supercoolnothing feature “underGROUND.” Since SCN’s inception, we have encouraged independent artists to send us a sample of their work for a little free publicity and hopefully greater exposure to the world at large. Now granted SCN is a little fish in a big pond–but what we lack in readership we make up for in enthusiasm for the genre and a sincere intention to spread the word about deserving artists.

The first band to respond to our challenge was an industrial outfit out of New York called Things Outside The Skin. From them, we received their latest disc dubbed “You Knew It All Along.”

Now first of all, I have to say that this CD is absolutely CRAMMED with music, spanning a boggling twenty-two songs. I sincerely doubt another note of music could be squeezed onto this thing. Ten of the songs are remixes, so it is almost like getting a free remix album with your purchase–which is a bit of a nice bonus. (Everyone knows that rivetheads are whores for remix collections anyway, so this will save you some green.)

How does TOTS sound? Well, it turns out that this is kind of a hard question to answer. Musically, it is all over the place–but what else would you expect from a band that names such diverse groups as DEVO, Run DMC and Ministry as influences? It also seems that Skinny Puppy might pop up as a common comparison, primarily due to the extensive experimentalism that goes on from track-to-track. They are plenty of dark electronics, samples and filtered vocals to keep most diehard industrialists happy, but you also have some relatively straightforward guitar/bass/drums elements making themselves known. Heck, even a bit of rapping pops up from time to time! TOTS also eschews Puppy’s lyrical ambiguities and presents a fairly direct message with each of their songs. For example, you have American Way’s political diatribes, Cow Tippin’s pro-vegetarian rant and Another Dead Comedian’s commentary on celebrity and insanity. TOTS is not completely serious though–we do have a DEVO and Spice Girls (!!!) cover to round things out. With a name like Things Outside The Skin, you have to expect social commentary is going to be a key ingredient to their songs.

Presentation-wise, the band scores points too. Professionally-done jewel case and minimalistic black n’ white artwork suit the vibe of the band. I also appreciate the fact the liner notes contains the lyrics to their songs, because unlike a lot of bands these songs strive to communicate important ideas to the listener–even if they be for the purposes of humor or irony. Personally I’m more drawn to bands like this than ones out to simply glorify rebellious behavior to be cool with the kidz.

As far as production goes, the levels seem to be appropriate for this style of music. The synth work is clear and crisp, and the vocals are prominent enough to be discernible. The only sort of snag one may run into while listening to this CD is perhaps a lack of flow between the songs. I got the sense I was listening to a collection of individual and unconnected singles rather than a cohesive album. For many this won’t be a problem, but my personal preference is for an album to have an identity or vibe that continues through every song until the end of the disc. The extensive number of remixes added to the end don’t really help with this feeling of discontinuity.

Final judgment: I’m grateful for Chvad SB and his crew for sending us their latest offering to absorb and report back on. Things Outside the Skin are a band that challenges your perceptions and expectations (which is something this webzine strives to do as well!) TOTS may truly be one of the more innovative bands in the genre of industrial, which is plagued with unimaginative sound-alike and copycat bands. If there is one thing you can count on, it is this band never repeating themselves. Some may see this as a weakness, but in the long run I feel it is more aesthetically satisfying to explore the sonic landscape to see what uniqueness can be cultivated. The journey will always be interesting.

If you are interested in checking out Things Outside The Skin, you can listen to a few of their tracks here: http://www.myspace.com/tots

TOTS also has a content-heavy website: http://www.outside-the-skin.com

Finally, if you like what you here, please support the artist and purchase their CD from CDBaby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/tots

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Space Junkies Magazine (2005)

Posted October 28, 2009 By Chvad SB

Review Source: Space Junkies Magazine
Artist: THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN
Release: You Knew It All Along
Label: Facility Records

It’s amazing how packaging, image and presentation play a huge role on the reaction you have to an album. THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN comes off sounding like your typical electro-industrial metal band – scratchy digi-vocals, lots of electronics, bizarre sound effects and more – BUT the way the music was presented in such a visual manner is what initially attracted my attention. In some cases “image IS everything” and THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN definitely have an image that suits them and their music very well. “You Knew It All Along” was a good album, it took me awhile to get into it because I spent most of the time trying to pick up on the lyrical content; that to my ears was buried beneath the electronics and synths. However, if you’re the type that only listens to the music and not the words and enjoy industrial styles of music, you’ll love this 22-track album. There are lots of good remixes on this as well from artists like hEADaCHE, Flood Damage, The Gothsicles and others.

-review by Wednesday Elektra

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Smother (2005)

Posted October 28, 2009 By Chvad SB

Review Source: Smother
Artist: THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN
Release: You Knew It All Along
Label: Facility Records

Aggressive techno industrial hybrid THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN unleash their 3rd disc on Facility Records. They write gripping electronica that shines its dark side on the ethos of mankind. Lyrically it’s much more impressive than the typical gothic fare. Just take a glance at “Cow Tippin’” with its vegetarian/vegan positive lyrics. For fans of Pop Will Eat Itself’s material that they released in the middle of their career.

– Review by J-Sin.

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