The break-the-state industrialists launched their latest studio album, ‘Disturbance’, at a special show in a newly opened arts venue in east London. The group performed solely from the new record – their first in 20 years – doing all eight tracks.
Amongst a distorted landscape, a demented trumpet sounded (played by co-founding member Paul Jamrozy) and beats echoed in opening song ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’, which slowly built to a crescendo via ominous and deafening tribal drums, while in the background black and white images of war played out. They then moved onto ‘Information Scare’ with its treadmill of electronic beats broken up by thunderous drumming and images of tabloid newspaper headlines pouring across the screen.
In the post-Grenfell days the group’s new single ‘Landlord’ is ever-relevant, featuring scuttling beats hit out on their climbing frame of metal objects, ending with co-founder Graham Cunnington repeatedly shouting, “Resistance respect: resistance denied!”. Throughout the set Test Dept made use of the small stage in their typical ‘making-less-of-more’ fashion, playing on hanging metal sheets, tyres and springs.
They finished the night on ‘Speak Truth To Power’, by which point all members were angrily beating out their rhythms. Although they never returned for an encore of older material and only performed for around an hour, this rare show by the veterans of industrial anti-establishment, both audially and visually, left its impactful mark.
26/04/19: Test Dept @ Studio 9294, London.
Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.
© Ayisha Khan.