When I finished high school, I decided to get a job and take a brief break between high school and college. I needed a break from all the homework and the hectic deadlines. My first job I got was a retail job, I worked at Peaches Music and Video. I worked at Peaches from December 1995 until July 1998. For me, it was a dream job and it placed me in close proximity to one of my favorite things – music. It also was probably the worst place for me to be monetarily. I spent way too much buying music since I got a pretty decent discount. My first paycheck that I got, I took the money and bought this amazing box set by the now defunct record label Wax Trax! called Black Box – Wax Trax! Records: The First 13 Years. The collection of musical material came from the back-catalog of Wax Trax! Records, which became part of TVT Records in 1993. It is mostly Industrial, but also other genres of music influenced by the music scene in Chicago and Europe.
This release is the non-limited edition version, which is packaged in a thick, card stock box with a 76-page booklet that features a brief history of the Wax Trax! label, not to mention featuring several pictures, some previously never seen. Discs were housed in individual standard size solid-black CD cases.
Wax Trax! at one time was known as THE American Industrial music label, featuring acts such as Ministry (and its numerous side projects), KMFDM, Meat Beat Manifesto, Coil, Laibach, and many others. I learned that Wax Trax! actually was a record store before the label was created. The store was eventually bought and re-located to Chicago. This store would become the center of the New Wave, Punk Rock and Industrial music scenes in Chicago. Wax Trax! sadly shuttered under TVT Records in 2001.
The Black Box set is notable for containing the Trent Reznor Vocal Version of 1000 Homo DJs‘ “Supernaut.” Reznor’s vocal recording was not used on the original Wax Trax! release because of pressure from his then-current record label—conspicuously, TVT Records. Absent from Black Box is the work of Front 242, whose releases on Wax Trax! (originally licensed from Play It Again Sam) are not represented because of disputes with Epic Records, which had recently obtained the rights to Front 242’s catalog (Wikipedia).
Around the time this box set came out, I had been dating my husband-to-be and he introduced me to industrial music. The first two industrial groups I learned about were NIN and Front Line Assembly. While NIN was certainly catchy and more commercial, I have always favored Front Line Assembly. Working at the record store allowed me to learn more about the variety of music available, and I found out that the group Cyberatif was actually a side project of Front Line Assembly’s Bill Leeb. I then learned that Front Line Assembly had many side projects. Eventually, some members would change in Front Line Assembly but Bill always remained.
05 Excessive Force — Violent Peace (LP Version) 4:44
08 Lead Into Gold — Faster Than Light (LP Version) 5:41
09 Front Line Assembly — Digital Tension (LP Version) 4:49
10 Mussolini Headkick — Your God Is Dead (LP Version) 3:52
11 Greater Than One — Now Is The Time (LP Version) 5:22
05 Clock DVA — The Hacker (LP Version) 7:24
06 KMFDM — Virus (12″ Version) 5:38
07 KMFDM — Godlike (12″ Version) 6:37
08 Ministry — Every Day (Is Halloween) (Original 12″ Version) 6:24
09 A Split — Second — Rigor Mortis (LP Version) 4:54
11 Doubting Thomas — Father Don’t Cry (LP Version) 5:18
12 Cyberaktif — Nothing Stays (LP Version) 5:26
13 Controlled Bleeding — Words (Of The Dying) (LP Version) 6:27
Sadly, there just wasn’t a track that I really cared for on the 3rd CD.