In the early 1990s, Roadrunner (like much of the metal scene) flirted with industrial and other electronics-tinged sounds. Fear Factory blended the synths and mechanistic rhythms of Ministry with death metal guitars, even as non-Roadrunner acts like Godflesh and Pitch Shifter headed down similar paths. One of the most fascinating Roadrunner acts of the time was the ultra-heavy duo Skin Chamber, whose debut album, Wound, was released in 1991, and who followed that up with Trial, originally released in May 1993.


Skin Chamber was a side project of Paul Lemos and Chris Moriarty of the legendary - and still active - industrial/noise act Controlled Bleeding (who also released an album, Penetration, on Roadrunner). In the video above, Lemos discusses how the project came to be and how they got signed to Roadrunner.


On the band's debut, they created a huge, primitive roar, mixing metallic guitars with clanging metal percussion, bursts of raw noise (especially on the album's closing track, "Swallowing Scrap Metal Pt. 2") and lyrics delivered mostly in an anguished shriek. It wasn't fun music by any means; even listeners who enjoyed albums like Godflesh's Streetcleaner or Fear Factory's Soul of a New Machine might find this music hard to take. Skin Chamber was closest in spirit to the early work of Swans, matching the pounding brutality of albums like Cop and Greed.


Trial was a very slightly less assaultive release, operating in a more overtly Godflesh-esque vein. Songs like "On a Drunk" and the title track were agonizingly slow, bludgeoning efforts, but "Bleached Bones" was faster, more reminiscent of noise-rock acts like Cows or Tar. Savage as it was, the music was more carefully produced than Wound, though, with the duo spending more time and money in the studio and experimenting with percussion and unorthodox recording techniques. Lemos and Moriarty (who died in 2008) weren't at all interested in making music people could dance to; this was loud, abrasive, ugly stuff, and even today it stands up as almost anti-listener art, more about punishment than pleasure.


Both Wound and Trial are out of print now, but you can hear sample tracks from each on their album pages.