Industrial Accident: The Story Of Wax Trax! Records


Wax Trax! Records, 2019

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


The story of Wax Trax! Records is a long, fascinating, and often devastating one. What started as a record store in Denver turned into a thriving record label in Chicago, which would bring the world iconoclastic artists like Ministry and KMFDM.

Sadly, both label founders, Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher, died young and the label went bankrupt in 1992, though a purchase by TVT Records kept Wax Trax! in business for many years. A documentary of the same name of this album surfaced in 2018, directed by Nash's daughter, and this soundtrack certainly does the label justice with an all-star line up. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult's “A Daisy Chain 4 Satan (Acid And Flower Mix)” starts the listen with throbbing bass and an ominous mood as the tune unfolds with psyche moments and plenty of visceral rage. The previously unreleased “Animal Nation,” from the Revolting Cocks, follows with its seedy dance-rock flavor, as a post-punk setting permeates amid the beat driven, club feeling.

Of the more well-known names, Ministry—who were one of the bands responsible for making the label a household name—contribute the original version of “Tonight We Murder,” which illustrates their industrial punk ways well as Al Jourgensen screeches his way through the chaos, while Front 242, another outfit who put the label in the spotlight, offer “Headhunter” live from 2017 in New York City.

A couple of the lesser known bands included are The Young Gods, whose Swiss version of industrial rock is a biting, energetic album highlight, and the New Wave inspired “Your God Is Dead” from Mussolini Headkick is packed with groove and dance floor vibes.

The big surprise here is Chris Connelly's bluesy, key friendly, acoustic closer “Shipwreck,” which is easily the least loud and abrasive tune here, and offers welcome variety against the intensity of the rest of the listen.

A truly fantastic glimpse into one of the most influential record labels to ever exist, this release comes with a 40-page book as well, and its production run is quite limited. Expect it to be a sought after collector's item in years to come, as the legacy of Wax Trax! seems to be growing more prominent as time goes on.

Rating: A-

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© 2019 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Wax Trax! Records, and is used for informational purposes only.