Record Review: Métal Urbain – Anarchy In Paris US CD

Acute Records ‎| US | CD | 2003 | ACT003

Métal Urbain/Métal Boys: Anarchy In Paris! US CD [2003]

  1. Panik
  2. Paris Maquis
  3. Hystérie Connective
  4. Lady Coca Cola
  5. Clé De Contact
  6. Pop Poubelle
  7. Fugue For A Darkening Island
  8. Ghetto
  9. Ultra Violence
  10. Futurama
  11. Snuff Movie
  12. Numéro Zero
  13. 50/50
  14. Atlantis
  15. Anarchie Au Palace
  16. E 202
  17. Crève Salope
  18. Hystérie Connective (Early Version)
  19. Colt 45 [Métal Boys]
  20. Train Vrs 2 [Métal Boys]
  21. Sweet Marilyn [Métal Boys]
  22. Little Girl Of Love [Métal Boys]
  23. Tango Sudiste
  24. Panik (Instrumental)

It was in 2008, when attending the first Ron-Kon in Portland, Oregon that I first heard of Métal Urbain. Ron Kane was browsing the huge swath of used CD bins in Everyday Music Downtown with his friends and I in tow when he plucked this CD out of the “skuf” cheapie bin [meaning: it was visibly scratched] and told me that I needed to buy this. Short form: he was right!

I had managed not to even hear about Métal Urbain in the 31 years since their debut single, “Panik,” but Ron was right on the money. This was amazing, radical Gallic synth-punk made before the UK bands even knew what was going on. I would say that the biggest influence here was Suicide, but their debut album was released in the last week of 1977. It was unlikely that the  members of Métal Urbain could have heard it before recording their own 1977 debut single. “Panik” was amazing. The sound was thin, cheap, and unbelievably nasty with distorted metallic guitars over which modular synths dominated with their metallic buzz. Time was kept by a hacked rhythm box chugging away at top speed. No, what it really sounded like was Cabaret Voltaire’s seminal “Nag Nag Nag” single. But that record was not released until two years later! You’ll see what I mean if you play it.

The band’s next single, “Paris Maquis,” earned the number one berth in Rough Trade’s release schedule and also appeared in 1977 as RT-001. So It’s likely that Cab Volt were probably the ones who were keenly aware of Métal Urbain. Not vice versa. Vocalist Clode Panik shouted the inflammatory rhetoric of the lyrics over the amphetamine din. Setting the stage for Gabi Delgado of D.A.F. to plow similar fields vocally.

All of these songs were brief and pointed. Never has the French language sounded so aggressive as it did here. With Panik’s voice being run through a distortion pedal, on some of these tracks he sounded like Nivek Ogre would years later. Are you sensing a pattern?

This CD contained at the time, all of Métal Urbain’s known recordings, but at 71 minutes, it’s a little bit too much of a good thing. 40 minutes would have been more succinct, and given that soome of these tunes were as brief as 90 seconds, more appropriate. The disc was padded out with demos and a quartet of recordings by Métal Boys, Eric Débris and Charlie H’s subsequent band of ’79-’80 wherein the aesthetics of Métal Urbain were cross-bred with rockabilly. In that case, the band were probably exposed to Suicide by that time and the influence may have fed back. But the Métal Urbain sound was thoroughly amazing for its time and probably held more influence over the next two or three years of Post-Punk than they were generally given credit for.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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2 Responses to Record Review: Métal Urbain – Anarchy In Paris US CD

  1. Mark Moerman says:

    RK was so good at that, pulling something out the bin that he knew someone he was with urgently required. He did that with me on multiple occasions, including fare from the Everyday Music skuf sections. I was able to return the favor a time or two!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. He definitely had a talent for it, and was a keen observer of character (which informed his recommendations). I was unaware of this band until just now but yeah, your description “thin, cheap, and unbelievably nasty” hits the nail on the head!


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