Optimum Wound Profile “Lowest Common Dominator” CD

Optimum Wound Profile - Lowest Common DominatorOptimum Wound Profile was a unique UK industrial band formed in 1991 (by members including Extreme Noise Terror vocalist Phil Vane, who sadly passed away earlier this year), and they had already released their debut full-length, "Lowest Common Dominator", on Roadrunner Records in 1992. I don't really remember how I discovered this band, as I've never been big on much industrial stuff, so it's very possible that I bought it simply because it had an eye-grabbing album cover and was on Roadrunner! Right off the bat, though, I knew there was something different about this band. The way they fluidly integrated samples and industrial noise textures into a somewhat more traditional songwriting framework was really cool, and their dual vocal approach was a great match for the raw, hardcore/punk energy of the material. Hell, there are actually some pulsing bass grooves and hooky rhythms here and there that even have a grungy kind of vibe happening; not to mention the full-on dark ambient/experimental noise segments. Listening to the album now I'm actually picking up on a number of outside influences and associations that I've never spotted in the past, which is always fun. I'd really like to post a few of my other favorites from the album ("Downmouth", "You're Weak", etc.) to provide further examples of its diversity, but I'm weird about posting shit without permission, and unfortunately these are the only two tracks already available online. At least they're among the album's best, though!

Optimum Wound Profile "Drain"
Optimum Wound Profile "Tranqhead"

The band released two more albums before calling it quits in 1996, and while all of their work is solid, the first two records are definitely the most mandatory. "Lowest Common Dominator" remains my favorite, however. Its overall aesthetic and unexpected blend of influences really stands apart from everything else I've heard from comparable artists.

Metal Mind Productions actually reissued the band's first two albums a few years ago, which was a pretty damn cool and highly unexpected move seeing as Optimum Wound Profile doesn't exactly strike me as being thought of as a sought after piece of the Roadrunner back catalog, you know? But that being said, this album still seems relatively scarce, so perhaps the band has been more appreciated over the years than I thought? There are some super cheap used copies out there, though, so if this seems like something that interests you there's no excuse not to give it a shot!

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  1. Wow, I hadn’t thought about this band in ages, they were good, never got the attention they deserved though.

    9.30.2011 | By Jamie

  2. I’m not anywhere that I can listen to these right now, but you have never steered me wrong on anything in the noise/industrial realm.  I’ll have to track down those Metal Mind reissues - loves me some Metal Mind.

    9.30.2011 | By Karl J

  3. I remember this one from back in the day!  Had the tape.

    10.3.2011 | By Keeve