The Fair Sex: Machine Bites Reviews

...The Fair Sex, however melds the past with the present on their 18 song "greatest hits" compilation called Machine Bites. For a band fairly unknown in the states, TFS has been a staple in the German club scene for a number of years. Musically, they blend contemporary guitar work with dark sinister dance-oriented electronics and melodic choruses (both of which occasionally hint at an early '80's feel). Fortunately, they maintain a harsh vocal edge throughout, in addition to an occassional brash sample. - Chase, 360/Rockpress

Compiled from the albums Spell of Joy and Bite Release Bite plus songs from their three singles, "Not Now, Not Here" for example is pure dark dance, but commercial enough for Dave Gahan to sell his soul for. "Frantic" in contrast is purer industrial but still maintains a driving beat further in "Whats to be Done" has an atmospheric key board cloaked in goth's dark colors, while "Prisca" mixes in synthpop and "Soulspirit" could appear in KMFDM's songbook. Vocals range from compressed to untreated and even include some harmonies. Between the main songs, short sampled pieces ranging from ambient to industrial somehow tie it all together. If Machine Bites sounds like a garbled mess, you've missed the point. The Fair Sex manage to stretch across the electro field but never loose touch with their vision of dance rhythms and melodies. If you're unfamiliar with their name, join the club but something this good should not go unnoticed much longer. Innovative and intriguing, catchy, yet atmospheric, this album is a must.- Jo Anne Greene, Alternative Press
Like many german artists, The Fair Sex has a strong following in Europe, while virtually unknown in the U.S. They have three releases on Roof Music and five on Rough Trade. They've been around, "working on both sides", since 1985, yet Machine Bites is the first side glance America has taken at The Fair Sex. Machine Bites is the American debut. It is an anthology of the best of The Fair Sex and it smokes! Their music is a guitar/electro Industrial crossover, with a vocal gothic undertone and a steady rhythm that could entice Grandma Moses up out of her rocker. There is vitality in every beat, life in every track. Machine Bites has certainly served to wet my appetite for more of The Fair Sex. - Linda Tish, Valley Scene
The Fair Sex are the lighter,more dancable alter ego of Testify, Germany's ministers of electrometal noise,and Machine Bites, a compilation of their European singles, provides a good introduction to this promising new entrant. - Jeffrey S. Bucholtz, Harvard Law Record
Yet more sonic madness from the Van Richter label, home to industrial terrorists Testify, Sielwolf and Plastic Noise Experience. German based act The Fair Sex (with eight previuos releases on Roof Music and Rough Trade) make their US debut here. Machine Bites features over 60 minutes of The Fair Sex's heavy edged industrial, electronic body music, culled from their previous European releases. Check out "Frantic (Dare to Run)" and "What's To BE Done Now." then make like Sprockets and dance. - DJ, Foundations Magazine
Van Richter's latest release is strongly accesible industrial dance. Lotsa head-noddin' hooks make this one of the best choices for dance floor aggression I've seen in many moons. Impressive. - Ed Finkler, ARC Magazine
This German-based electronic group has been together almost a decade. Rascal, Myk, Lo and Blonder have provided European clubs with the best hard driven electronic dance music this genre has to offer. Their years together have seen eight CDs released and they've become known as a predominant influence on the electronic music club scene. Formerly on Rough Trade Records, Van Richter releases their U.S. debut which consists of 18 tracks and is in actuality an anthology of their entire body of work. TFS is best known for their well placed guitar staccatos. If you are familar with their music through the import circuit, you'll recognize such tracks as "Frantic (Dare to Run)", "What's To Be Done Now", "Vengeance Z. Cut" and "Shatter that Gate". A great introduction to a band that deserves to be heard in the U.S. - Andy Sullivan, GEAR Magazine
More Eurpean crash and burn mayhem with THE FAIR SEX. If you've ever sat down with a Skinny Puppy album or Front 242 album and thought you were in heaven, well here's your next wet dream because this group combines and blends characteristics from both to create a real hybred. Imagine the guttural machine man vocal stylings laid over the more manic Puppy sound and you're getting there. It's a hybrid that works throughout the album Machine Bites in a pretty consistent manner. And weirder yet are the few places where they swerve close to being noise that's a trip to imagine. - Nick C., B-SIDE Magazine
Germany's club-notorious Rascal splits his talents two ways. Together with L'O (guitars/"mental strength"), there is with Kineley and Grey, Testify. In support of these brother bands, both with first-time US distribution, a certain ad had run: What Ministry Would Sound Like If They Had Balls. That sure took some balls to print, though it ain't far from true. In short, Testify is the unequivocal Germany Ministry. Egad! TFS is easier in the ear and easily comparable to FLA on a good hair day... Similar wanna-dance tempo and expansive good use of percussion and programming; similar dark and commanding lyrical tone. Machine Bites is a 10-year/tenure anthology, and one hell of a smorgasbord! - Rene Wakazk, Mean Street
This is a great CD. From what I hear this is a Testify side-project and I think I like The Fair Sex alot more than Testify. The vocals are potent and subtle ,the guitar is minimal and what is there has a great impact. This is post-industrial with guitars before metal bands found samplers and tainted everyone's view of heavy industrial. This is aggressive without being obnoxious; keeping a good mid-tempo, almost dance beat. This would preferably be classified as dance-industrial bordering on soundscape electronic music. - Anon Devi, Interface Magazine
If your grandmother's saying "Never judge a book by its cover" ever applied, it is now. Machine Bites by The Fair Sex is anything but fair. This, their first domestic release, is a treasury of earlier European released EP's and singles. The Fair Sex has its roots in traditional instruments, but samples, keyboards,and distortion of the vocals are now second nature. As being considered the inventors of the "crossover" of electronic and guitar (according to their press kit), this is debatable, though they have undoubtedly mastered the sound. Whether it is Blonder and Rascal's programming or the guitar of L'O or Blonder, no singe element is focused upon or overpowering. The sound is a balance of all components. A dance atmosphere is produced with the drum machine and keyboards, similar to early Front 242. Instrumental tracks like "No Rescue" demonstrate the band's ability to successfully use samples and loops without creating monotony, even on "Soulspirit the Real Spirit" which clocks in at seven minutes plus. On tracks like "Not Now, Not Here" and "Casket Tower" the vocals are natural and impressive. For highly electronically distorted vocals there is "Vengeance Z. Cut", and in tracks like "Haematic" and "Shatter the Gate" the vocals are given a gruff sound. Machine Bites is a remarkable CD; however the tracks are from 91-92. With any luck, The Fair Sex will be blessing us with some new material soon. Until such time ,add this one to your collection , and check out their side project Testify. - Robert Evans, New Industrial Sounds
Front Line Assembly on a good hair day...FLA less the extreme rage, less the completely bestial vocal distortion ...similar tempo, similar use of percussion and sampling; similar dark and commanding lyrics. Actually, Machine Bites is an anthology and the first domestic release for this German quartet, including one L'O accredited with guitars and "mental strength". It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. But it's here that TFS and FLA part on the dance floor. (That is,for a few months, until we see what the inclusion of guitars on FLA's upcoming release does to the sweaty little techno unit). It'd also be interesting to hear Leeb's opinion as to The Fair Sex being attributed with inventing the once considered to be incompatible mix of guitars and electronix. Impressively, The Fair Sex has at its advantage an unchanging lineup over a span of ten years with the exception of the 1988 death of their drummer during performance, who has never been replaced but for machines. What is alluring about their sound, aside from the obvious undulating drum patterns which cry for an all-night rave, is the palpitating guitar, not only strengthening the overall techno-texture, but adding as well a more vulnerable, human element. There too, is the use of some very clever and deceiving intros, particularly the commencing "They Exist" and the sweet melancholia of "Anne Lyz". But remember, I said deceiving. It's only intent is to allow one time enough for a sip of refreshment before hitting the pit. Still and all, I stay with my initial comparison. So much so I'd be willing to guess that if you're a hardcore NIN or FLA fan, you already know about these guys. - Rene, Permission Magazine
Another viable force in the digital sphere takes shape under the name The Fair Sex. Their first cd release in the U.S. entitled "Machine Bites" displays well-orchestrated soundscapes and hypnotic rhythm patterns. Accompanying the ominous musical structures are expertly delivered melodies that add to the total dimensionality of the album. There are interesting short intervals of musical pieces layered between certain tracks which give the album a uniquely appealing quality. Soulspirit, the album's most extreme song, contains the kind of hard hitting dance grooves most commonly found in thr midst of underground clubs. This collection of songs are essential among synthesizer music connoisseurs. Along with The Fair Sex, other artists in the forefront of technology are ascending from the underground. - Jorge C. Galban, Jam Magazine
The one thing I have noticed about this CD is that these guys take their time. They aren't following the recent trend of cyber - thrash that industrial music seems to be following these days. The sound is similar to mid - 80's progressive dance music without that "happy" attitude. - Terra Industria Magazine
"Not Here, Not Now": this song had a lot of techno/pop overtones. The lyrics and vocals reminded me of early 80's new wave. This is a song that has a lot of other styles of music mixed with it, which makes it a very interesting song and worth checking out. - Gunther G.,

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