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Grave Concerns Reviews "Ecstasy"

Battery Cage's new single, "Ecstasy," is a fine example of American EBM. With three remixes in addition to the album track, it shows a nice diversity of style, going from hard trance-oriented beats to more old-school EBM aggression. Front man Tyler Newman has a good singing voice for this kind of stuff, deep and a bit mechanical even without being run through a processor. It's a bit like his other project Informatik, but less pop-oriented and more angry. That's really not why you should be paying attention to these guys, though. The thing is, there are lots of bands that make good EBM stuff. What really sets Battery Cage apart is that they're also unbelievable live. I first heard of Newman through Informatik, and I was lucky enough to see them perform last year at the Derby in Hollywood. While they had the typical two-piece electro set-up with one guy handling the vocals and the other running the gear, it was gear guy Newman who stole the show, pounding the keyboards, whaling on an electronic drum kit, jumping up and down, and screaming stuff like, "Oh YEAH! Come ON!" at the crowd to keep things lively during the instrumental portions. I've rarely seen an all-electronic act with this much live energy, and I believe this is the only time I've ever seen one where the guy manning the equipment contributed this much to the on-stage persona. While I've yet to catch Battery Cage in concert, I did get the opportunity to see some live footage from their promo kit, and Newman's just as enthusiastic a performer in front of the equipment as he is behind it. In addition to Newman's vocals and Paul Savio's keyboard work, Battery Cage's live incarnation also includes drummer Roland Adams and guitarist Josh Greco, which gives the band more of a rock 'n' roll feel than the pure electronics of their studio work. They also design their own backing videos and light shows, which helps to add to the atmosphere. Ultimately, though, it's still Newman's showmanship that gives Battery Cage their lasting impact. With a rail-thin physique and spiky gravity-defying flattop, he's all lines and angles as he swaggers and snarls at the crowd like a post-apocalyptic Mick Jagger. It's about as far from button-pushing computer programmers as you can possibly get and still be considered electro. Visit Battery Cage's website (www.batterycage.com) and buy their new album, World Wide Wasteland, yeah, but more importantly, make sure you go and see this band in person when they play your town. They just might renew your faith in live industrial music. Oh YEAH! Come ON!