I’m going to assume that you, fair reader, are at least familiar with the existence of “The Wall” by Pink Floyd. If you are not, I suggest that you start by brushing up on your Rock history, put it on via whatever streaming service you prefer (better yet, buy the CD or vinyl) and get it into your aural cavities. It wouldn’t hurt to find the Alan Parker film of the same name and watch that a few times as well.
Riveting Music, a group of music fans from Colorado who wanted to share their love of music with others and help to promote the bands that they loved, have put together this stellar compilation of Industrial Rock bands. Those artists have delivered not only the complete album of “The Wall” in sequence, but also 11 bonus tracks of additional cover versions of songs from this seminal album (and film) about paranoia, the Cold War, isolation, and breaking down the walls between us.
“Tear Down the Walls” is nothing short of a brilliant rethinking of that already exceptional album. From start to finish, my first listen of the album tracks (1-26 of the total 37) had the hair standing up on my neck and my arms tingling with goose bumps. Playing this compilation was like hearing “The Wall” for the first time again with fresh ears.
The bands that came on board for this project are not all well-known, but there are at least a few names in here that fans of Industrial and Goth music should quickly recognize (and probably some strict Metalheads too). Not surprisingly, the tracks by the “name” artists are some of the standouts. Hate Dept. deliver a chilling rendition of “The Thin Ice.” The Joy Thieves (a going on 40-member musical collective) added three tracks to the album, each with a different featured vocalist: Raymond Watts (PIG, KMFDM) contributes “Empty Spaces,” Chris Connelly (Ministry, RevCo, Pigface, Damage Manual) gives us gender-bending version of “One of My Turns,” and the stunning I Ya Toyah gives us “Don’t Leave Me Now.”
One name that is not directly noted in the credited artists is Jared Louche (Chemlab). His contribution is as a member of Dogtablet, which is the primary focus of Martin King (Test Dept.) and Roberto Soave (Associates/Presence). Their song? An absolutely bone-chilling version of “Mother” that had me stunned into complete silence as it played for its full 6:41. This is the absolute standout track on an album that is truly excellent. For the Metal fans, the highlight will likely be FIRES doing a heavy as fuck “In the Flesh” leading into the synthified “Run Like Hell” by Fractured Machines. (Don’t worry, the Gilmour-esque guitar is faithfully reproduced among the screaming synths.)
All in all, 27 artists contributed to the albums 37 tracks. With that many artists, you might think at first that the album would lose its consistency. Nothing could be further from reality. As already noted, it really does feel like hearing “The Wall” all over again and with many genius takes on these tracks that are now 41 years old. I must give credit first to Riveting Music for having the vision to pull this together and then to Mark Alan Miller (Out Out) for his perfection in the final mastering that made this an ALBUM that flows beautifully from start to finish.
Final note on this collection: it is a benefit for Doctors Without Borders. All proceeds go to support their work helping those in need get medical care. You can pre-order this in digital format or 3xCD from Riveting Music’s Bandcamp page. There is also a special deal to add their prior benefit CD, “A Riveting Protest,” for a small amount more. That album has 15 more Industrial Rock covers of protest songs from the 80’s and features some of the same bands as “Tear Down the Walls.” Every track on this release is a gem. Every artist gave of themselves to pay proper tribute to “The Wall” and to bring it into the 21st Century. Gift it to yourself for the holidays, you deserve it.
Rating – 5/5