The Damage Manual, >1 (Invisible CDEP, 2000)
[originally posted 13Jul2000]
I’m about willing to go on record at this point as saying that Chris Connelly can simply do no wrong. In a fifteen-year career spanning any number of bands, he has yet to put a piece of music in front of me that I don’t like. And arguably his greatest contribution to modern music was a one-off in 1991 called Murder Inc., a five-piece spinoff (one of many) from the massive and ever-changing Pigface/Ministry 1989-1991 touring band. Murder Inc. is long behind us, and very much lamented, but its two major brains, Connelly and Martin Atkins, have gotten back together and put together yet another act, The Damage Manual. They put “Sunset Gun” up on their website, and I rejoiced. The names have changed, but it sounded to me as if Murder Inc. had risen from the dead, substituting ex-PIL bassist Jah Wobble for the now-departed Murder Inc. bassman Paul Raven.
It’s not the full-length I was hoping for, but >1 is enough to tide me over till the album comes out. The same mix of styles that informed Murder Inc. surfaces here, albeit with a more industrial-dance slant to it (not surprising, given that it’s an EP meant for clubs and the like more than anything), but the same aggressive, fun-loving, and always-drunken spirit pervades this recording. If you liked Murder Inc., you will find The Damage Manual to be a perfect way to soothe your heartache that MI never reformed. If you never heard Murder Inc., imagine some of the Ministry tracks that Connelly did vocals for back in ’89 revamped, reprocessed, industrialized, and rapped while thoroughly sloshed. It’s a beautiful thing. *** ½