Action men - and woman; Gig of the Week: Action Directe.
In association with Chris Hole reports: THIRTEEN is often said to be unlucky for some - but ACTION DIRECTE might say that they are equally cursed and blessed.
Since forming 13 years ago in 1997, the group (pictured right) have had a revolving door for members but have pretty much always remained a going concern.
Action Directe were formed by flatmates Joel Heyes and Phil Hanlon, alongside guitarist Paul Kirov.
Formative influences were punk rock, rap, drum and bass and post-rock, with The Clash, the Manic Street Preachers, Primal Scream and Public Enemy prevalent among them. After a disastrous recording and performing trip to Germany, however, the original line-up split.
Joel and Phil regrouped in 2000 and set about making more aggressive and political industrial music for the 21st century.
This formation got off to a great start with their combination of hard techno beats, serrated punk guitars and cold humanism among the hardline punk rhetoric.
First album Cognitive Dissidents in 2001 was voted runner-up for best demo in the Meltdown Magazine readers poll of 2001.
Guitarist Paul Kirov was then re-recruited and 2003 saw the release of the Oktober/Compatriot Games double A-side single but little else of note, and Kirov departed the band again in June 2003 and was replaced by Scott Preston.
This line-up regained momentum and released the acclaimed second album Counterculture in 2004.
Restless at the contradictions in the band's approach and sound between the gothic and punk elements, Action Directe made a back-to-basics industrial punk record, the Action Directe EP, in February 2005 which was preceded by regional gigs around the UK.
This release, including Better Dead Than Red and Spirit Of '89, was extremely well received and opened up a new audience to them.
At this point Scott left, but momentum was maintained as the band recruited John Kind on guitar for the England/State Violence State Control single which kept up the consistency of previous releases.
The aggression, urban realism and tension of the new sound were consolidating the band's reputation in both the punk and industrial scenes internationally.
This was sealed when, after the band recruited second guitarist Spider in 2006, they released their 60 Million Guns single to critical acclaim.
The new quartet played several top gigs and released their third album Intervention, which was accompanied by a UK tour. This proved to be the culmination of the industrial-punk project as personal differences saw the band implode once more at the end of 2006.
More members came and went but a lack of forward momentum meant that the group announced they were splitting up in 2008 and made their final appearance at the 1 in 12 Club, Bradford, in July.
Joel and John were tempted out of retirement, though, to work on new material and gigs, with the Slavs To The Rhythm EP in April 2009 being their first new material for three years.
The fourth full-length Action Directe album Vanguard was released in October last year with yet more changes in the line-up.
For the record, the group now consists of original member Joel Heyes, guitarist Charlotte Winchcombe and synth player Danny Carnage.
Persecution feat ACTION DIRECTE: Midian, Stockton Tonight. Entry: pounds 2
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|Publication:||Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)|
|Date:||Sep 10, 2010|
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