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Anthology 1992-1994

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Album Review

You have to admire Athan Maroulis' diversity. Those who are familiar with his Blue Dahlia project of 2000 know that he can be a suave, romantic, 1940s-like jazz/pre-rock pop crooner along the lines of early Frank Sinatra and Billy Eckstine. But it wasn't Blue Dahlia that put Maroulis on the map in the music world, he is better known as the lead vocalist of the industrial/darkwave group Spahn Ranch, which doesn't sound anything at all like Dahlia. Noisy, abrasive and forceful, Ranch provided some of the most memorable industrial grooves of the 1990s. This excellent two-CD set, which Cleopatra released in 2000, focuses on Ranch's early recordings. Technically, the title Anthology: 1992-1994 is inaccurate because "Communication" was recorded in 1991; pointing that out might seem like nit-picking, but collectors take their recording dates seriously. Nonetheless, industrial enthusiasts will find a lot to admire about this collection, which paints an impressive picture of Ranch's 1991-1994 period. These recordings are everything industrial artists pride themselves on being — dark, disturbing, and pessimistic lyrically, aggressive and in your face musically. Maroulis wrote all of the lyrics, and you have to applaud the fact that the same guy who is capable of singing Hoagie Carmichael's "Stardust" and Cole Porter's "Night and Day" convincingly with Blue Dahlia is just as effective belting out the nihilistic lyrics of "Cesium 137," "Breath and Taxes," "Peel," and other Ranch gems that Cleopatra offers on this collection. For those who are seeking an introduction to Ranch's early output, Anthology is the logical choice.

Biography

Formed: Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The industrial dance outfit Spahn Ranch was formed in 1992 by Matt Green and Rob Morton. The two had been writing songs together for nearly five years prior and had signed to Cleopatra to release a self-titled four-song EP that same year. In 1993, Athan Maroulis joined Spahn Ranch as vocalist and completed the group to issue their debut album Collateral Damage. Their sophomore effort, The Coiled One, appeared two years later in the midst of Morton leaving the band due to creative and logistical differences....
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Anthology 1992-1994, Spahn Ranch
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