Armour Group - Purge
Armour Group is a Melbourne-based power electronics duo helmed by Luke Holland, head honcho of Trapdoor Tapes, and Harriet Kate Morgan of Military Position. As may be expected from a band named after a Genocide Organ song, Armour Group is rooted in the minimal, bass-heavy power electronics most notably curated by Tesco Organisation-related industrial projects. On Purge, the outfit’s debut full-length record and first release available on vinyl, Holland and Morgan wax deeply misanthropic—their textures are brooding, abrasive, and pulsating. Like the best power electronics releases, Purge traipses the border between world-weariness and complete hopelessness, never giving in to the truest darkness, but meditating on the things that can, and often do, go so wrong on this planet.
Purge, the project’s first full-length record, is littered with film references, unsurprising considering Holland and Morgan’s encyclopedic knowledge of Australian cult film. Between the members of Armour Group, their VHS collection spans over one thousand titles. Within minutes of virtually meeting Holland, we exchange film recommendations—his include Turkey Shoot (referenced in standout track “Shoot to Kill”), Stone, Fortress, and Dead End Drive-In. He assures me that they are easy to stream or find online. A long-loved tradition in the industrial subgenre, this film sampling is a tribal call. A cursory look through well-respected texts like—ahem—RE/Search’s Industrial Culture Handbook is enough to teach even the most brick-headed acolyte that industrial culture draws from more than mechanical sounds and unrest. There’s an unspoken curriculum to industrial culture that is obviously accentuated and nuanced by geography, and on Purge, Holland and Morgan lay out some of the flavor and influences of industrial culture in Australia specifically.
Yet, while Purge functions exceptionally as an exemplar of Australian industrial music, its subject matter—murder, love, serial killings, betrayal—is universal. Though far from a pleasant listen, Purge fails to isolate. Though titles of films may be lost on the listening audience, the emotions and atmosphere they bring to light are far from confining. This is power electronics. It is bleak. It is unafraid of an indifferent universe. It acknowledges impermanence. But, hey—until the final mushroom cloud blows over, Turkey Shoot is streaming in full on YouTube.
- Jordan Reyes