Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Album Review: Skinny Puppy - "Too Dark Park" (1990)

Skinny Puppy
Too Dark Park

Now this is something. A list on an electronica website talking about this album called it "scarier than any black metal album", and I have to agree. Kind of disregarding Rabies, this album seems more to continue from the sound of VIVIsectVI, which was probably the best thing to do, because while lots of industrial bands would come to sound a lot like Rabies, nobody would be able to pin this sound down. This shit is hard.

Once again featuring the returning lineup of Ogre, Key, Goettel, and Ogilvie, the album's sound is dark and very intense. The beats are heavy, Ogre's voice is perhaps more distorted and robotic than usual, everything is hazy and decayed-sounding and it's perfect. Machines whir and buzz beneath heavily processed synth-pad sweeps and it creates a wonderful atmosphere, with waves of dissonant noise crashing against each other in such a way that everything sounds 'right' and yet it's not so harsh that it could be classified as a noise album (despite what some people with weak stomachs and no testicular fortitude will tell you). This was when basically (or even literally) the entire band was swimming in drugs and getting into the really negative effects of heroin addiction (in fact, the album was named after the local euphemism for a place in Chicago that Al Jourgensen would take Ogre to buy heroin), and I like to think of this as sort of an auditory equivalent of how they were feeling at the time.

The lyrics follow the band's left-leaning politics to a logical conclusion, presenting tracks with lyrics about environmentalism and so on in a very apocalyptic manner. This is pretty much the last time they'd be singing about that sort of thing until The Greater Wrong of the Right 14 years later, but either way it's always been a lot less obnoxious than say Ministry because Ogre's lyrics are so cryptic and abstract anyway.

An apparently rare pic of Skinny Puppy from 1990. At first it’s not what I’d have thought of as a visual representation of the band for Too Dark Park era but the more I look at it the more I like it. Too bad it’s so small.

I suppose there could be a comparison made to the previous album, in that, following the band's tradition of evolving their sound constantly, they go from Rabies' cyberpunk sound to beyond cyberpunk - into some new, otherworldly place where the electronic synth sounds and characteristic samples are emitting from beneath layers of organic material and through the fog of a panicked, alienated, drug-addled consciousness. It's a Shadowrun campaign with David Cronenberg as the DM. It's a live-action version of Akira directed by Takashi Miike. It's a trip.

This album is among my favorite of 1990 and altogether one of my favorite industrial and electronica albums. It's not hard to see why. You may not be too fond of this at first, especially if it's your first outing with Skinny Puppy or industrial in the first place, but perhaps it will grow on you, like it did with me - I never disliked it or anything, but I seem to like it more the more time passes. In fact, I think I'm gonna go listen now.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Album Review: Ministry - "Twitch" (1986)


Only three years have passed since the release of With Sympathy, but much has changed within the Ministry camp. Tracks from the album become minor hits; Ministry leaves Arista after getting some ridiculous creative suggestions, signs back with original label Wax Trax, and begins releasing standalone singles of a more dark and heavy nature than the first LP. It is during this process that Al Jourgensen finds himself nearly bandless, as the whole With Sympathy-era lineup, including Ministry co-founder Stephen George, are unable to tolerate him anymore and walk out on him (something Jourgensen will not be unfamiliar with as his career continues), aside from wife and keyboardist/backing vocalist Patty Jourgensen. Also, around the time of With Sympathy coming out, Al starts a side project on Wax Trax called Revolting Cocks, which has a more harsh industrial sound than Ministry. For the next few singles, Ministry operates as Al and Patty (mostly Al) until getting a record deal with Sire and getting started on what is basically an Al-solo-with-guests album, Twitch.

Twitch feels like a natural progression from With Sympathy and the earlier Wax Trax singles, having lots of the harsher and darker elements of Revolting Cocks' music with the groove and melody of Ministry; indeed, Twitch sounds essentially like a cross between Ministry's With Sympathy LP and the Revolting Cocks' debut, Big Sexy Land. Produced by Adrian Sherwood and featuring guest appearances by ex-members Patty Jourgensen, Stephen George, and Brad Hallen, renowned producer Keith LeBlanc, and Revolting Cocks member Luc Van Acker.

The album has a lush sound, dated though it may be, that bounces back and forth between industrial madness and pop sensibility; Jourgensen alternatively makes peace with the final vestiges of his new-romantic croon on some tracks and finds the beginnings of his better-known mechanical growl on others. The reason I love this album so much is that, for an industrial album, it's not at all scared to flirt with pop music. This turns a lot of people off the album, particularly people from the Psalm 69 bandwagon, but fuck 'em. The combination of banging-on-trash-can metallic percussion and cyberpunk synths with almost disco-esque grooves and satisfying melodies makes for a great listening experience. It's kind of like Pretty Hate Machine minus guitars (and in fact this album would be a big influence on the sound of that record).

This album, musically and lyrically, essentially strikes a balance between light and dark. The lyrics are a lot more bitter than on the previous album, and there's an overall angry tone even on the more pop-sounding tracks. Jourgensen's leftist politics first come into play on this record in songs such as "Just Like You" and "Over the Shoulder" but it's still vague and well-written enough that it's not nearly as irritating as later political stuff like the Bush Trilogy (and I say this as someone of the left-leaning persuasion). Many tracks on the album recall the greatness of Wax Trax with an aggressive, noisy, gothy dance tone. The highlights of the album for me are "The Angel" with its slow, sinister intensity and the harsh, climactic medley of "Where You At Now?/Crash and Burn/Twitch" which features Luc Van Acker of the Revolting Cocks on vocals and goes in an almost rave direction - electronica you can mosh to. It also hints at the direction the band would take on its next album, The Land of Rape and Honey.

It's too bad this album doesn't get much attention anymore. At the time, "Over the Shoulder" was a hit and the album proved fairly influential in the industrial scene, but it's been overshadowed by the later, metal-oriented material by the band. Still, give this a listen. It's great.

Rating: 5/5

Friday, July 8, 2011

Album Review: Skinny Puppy - "VIVIsectVI" (1988)

Skinny Puppy

Well, this album is an interesting case. This was one of the first industrial albums I ever heard, and, strangely enough, it didn't quite click with me at first. I heard some more radio-friendly NIN stuff, freaked out about the awesome use of electronics, looked up industrial music, and dove straight into this album, seeing that SP were a big influence on NIN and picking their highest-rated album on the music site I was on. I wasn't sure what I was listening to, and though I liked little bits of it, I couldn't wrap my head around it, and thought it was horrible and scary and headache-inducing, with weird Cobra Commander vocals. I stopped listening to SP and went a while ignoring most industrial music. Then a few years later when I got into Marilyn Manson and more into NIN, and started slowly working into less-mainstream industrial stuff, worming through stuff like Throbbing Gristle and Clock DVA and developing a taste for the stranger stuff, I gave SP another chance and was blown the fuck away. I still hold them to a very high level of respect as real musical innovators.

It's kind of weird... I kind of relate several different SP albums to different film genres, for some reason. I relate Bites to old-school sci-fi, Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse to ghost movies, Cleanse, Fold & Manipulate to grungy crime thrillers like Henry or Driller Killer, Too Dark Park to end-of-the-world and post-apocalypse scenarios, and VIVIsectVI to dark cyberpunk and/or biopunk stuff, like Videodrome or Akira. This album follows in the structure of most of the previous stuff, but as with most of their albums before and since, the album evolves from the previous album's sound, edging ever in a different direction. This album features a thick, heavy wall of sound, even more harsh and nightmarish than the last (but still nowhere near as insane as Too Dark Park or Last Rights). With the reliable, sturdy line-up of Nivek Ogre, cEvin Key, Dwayne Goettel, and producer/secret fourth member David Ogilvie, which is a line-up we'll be seeing an awful lot of.

This album has a very gloomy, smoky, grimy sound compared to Cleanse, Fold & Manipulate (not to say that album didn't have one as well). The very cyberpunk-sounding synths, often sounding broken or warped in some way, fighting through harsh percussion, lo-fi samples, and Ogre's tortured rambling, strongly evokes visions well-suited to the realities of things like Akira or Blade Runner or Aeon Flux or Transmetropolitan. Crumbling buildings, others with a postmodern design sensibility, red skies, dark clouds, neon lights and hedonism everywhere, futuristic advances in technology that all suck, polluted forests, heavy atmosphere, political unrest, gangs everywhere with 80's-style fashion, futuristic grotesque cybernetic organisms and mutations... It's a very violent sound, and it rarely lets up. As with the best of Puppy, production plays a heavy role in giving the album its attitude; Ogre's voice is stretched like an accordion and put through an auditory woodchipper to give it a perfect evil rasp, the bass is compressed into brief, urgent, sinister-sounding plunks, the dated synths often reminiscent of video games are put through filters and pushed to the limits of impact, and everything sounds like an amazing drug haze. Tracks like "Dogshit" swagger through it confidently, then we're met with increasingly slow and sinister ones like "VX Gas Attack" and "Harsh Stone White", then a song that sounds like it belongs on the previous album with "Testure", and some amazingly creepy soundscapes like "Fritter (Stella's Home)" that give early hints at the Last Rights sound.

I personally cannot sress how amazing I think this album is. It hits every note right, it's dark and spooky and somehow the sound has rarely been replicated that closely (compared to other SP albums) and even more rarely done well. It's very multi-layered and easy to go back to because you're always finding new stuff in the mix. I think it's a classic industrial album, as well as a classic electronic album in general. I greatly, greatly recommend it, but my only warning is that it's not the most accessible thing, so you may want to get some other exposure to the genre before you give this a whirl if you're new to industrial or experimental music. Otherwise, it's great. Perfect for a Shadowrun session at least!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Album Review: Ministry - "With Sympathy" (1983)

With Sympathy

Now here's an oddity... Many people recognize Ministry as MINISTRY: THUNDERING INDUSTRIAL METAL GIANTS. The unrelentingly heavy band who cuts thrash and punk influences with electronic intensity, the gang of misfits who let loose on drug-fueled chaos and recorded songs like "Just One Fix" and "Jesus Built My Hot Rod" and "LiesLiesLies", leaving destroyed clubs and hotel rooms in their wake and influencing metal and alternative bands for decades to come. And while it's not exactly arcane obscurity like some bands' disparate beginnings are, many people are not aware of Ministry's first several years as a synthpop band, and the sheer, vast difference between Ministry on this first album and Ministry give or take six years from that point is probably the biggest change of any band in history. Seriously, I defy you to show me another band who, in the same decade (or even in their entire career) goes from generally writing stuff like "Work for Love" and "Every Day is Halloween" to generally writing stuff like "The Missing" and "Burning Inside". They even kept the same frontman/principle songwriter.

Young, babyfaced, big-haired Al Jourgensen, far away from his future career as a screaming, hard-drinking, dope-shooting professional Jack Sparrow impersonator, fronts this early incarnation of the band, primarily constructed of little Al and original co-founder/drummer, Stephen George (who stuck with the band long enough afterwards for a guest appearance on Twitch before evacuating and almost fittingly becoming a producer and session musician for R. Kelly and 90's boy bands and the like). Also featuring on a few tracks are the various live members from the earliest incarnation of the group. The few known promo pics from this album always amuse me because the artist-soon-to-be-known-as-Hypo Luxa looks so fucking cute, like a member of a boy band (not that this is too far from that).

The music here is very tart, upbeat synthpop with some vaguely dark undertones, in the vein of Depeche Mode and Soft Cell. It's dancefloor-ready, bouncy stuff with lyrics almost exclusively fixated on love and relationships. Jourgensen actually proves to have a pretty nice pop-singer voice, with a slight gruff edge to set it apart. A lot of the music here is pretty standard-sounding for the time period, but that doesn't mean it's not good. The electronics are great, Al's guitar playing sounds pretty good, and everything is nice and catchy for the most part. Funky, danceable, pre-Wax Trax synth music. "Revenge" still goes down as a Ministry favorite for me, and should totally have been on their best-of (and it has a great video to boot, with Al rocking the Robert Smith look). "I Wanted to Tell Her" is also a cool song, with Al dueting with some pop-backup-singer type lady (hey, she's better than Ty Coon). However... that doesn't mean it's also not cheesy as hell. "Work for Love" is a prime example of being almost unbearably cheesy, but it's almost endearing in a way. The lyrics in general on the record are not that great, but then, Al's lyrics have never been too impressive, so it's no big deal.

The album has a pretty widely mixed reputation... Al Jourgensen himself has a burning hatred for With Sympathy, which he refers to as "an abortion" (leading to an amusing moment in a recent Opie & Anthony appearance where they played him in with "Work for Love") and many fans of his later, metal-oriented output feel the same way. At the same time, this album actually did make a bit of an impact on the American club and dance scene, and there are people who were fans during this period who, if not by Twitch, then by The Land of Rape and Honey had given up on the band. Personally, I enjoy both 'styles'. I like this album a fair bit... It's not my favorite Ministry album, but it's fun stuff, and soundwise a good lead-in to Twitch, which *is* one of my favorites. If there's one thing that can be said for the large stylistic discrepancy, it's that the transition between them was actually very smooth and, listening to each album with context, makes sense. If synthpop is your thing, I say go for this. If you're a Ministry fan just for the metal, you may hate this, or you may find it amusing, but it's still worth a listen for the historical value. It's solid for what it is, and a good bit of foreshadowing to the golden age of Wax Trax Records.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Album Review: Foetus - "Thaw" (1988)


If you're uninitiated to Foetus, then I'll go ahead and get this out of the way, this abbreviated history... J.G. Thirlwell is a psychotic Aussie who came to New York in the early 80's, showed his cock in some movies, and joined the 'no-wave' scene, alongside other artists such as Sonic Youth, Swans, and Teenage Jesus & the Jerks, but rather than forming a band or sounding like anything they were doing, shacked up by himself and recorded some of the most varied, insane, and soulfully frenzied music to ever grace the industrial genre, or music period. He named this one-man project about a million different things, changing every other LP or single, but always containing the word 'Foetus' (ex. You've Got Foetus on Your Breath; Scraping Foetus Off the Wheel; etc.). Since the 90's, all of it has been accepted as simply 'Foetus'. Foetus has been a big influence on many other artists, such as Nine Inch Nails, Mike Patton, and the Melvins. His music is... very weird. So just take things as they come.

Thaw, Thirlwell's fifth LP under his 'Foetus' project, kind of continues where its predecessor, Nail, left off... A slightly more rock-oriented sound than the previous stuff. Now, there's a reason that this clashes with Deaf and Nail for spot as my favorite Foetus album. It's extremely cohesive and keeps a common mood and theme, and it's extremely well-produced... I think of this as the heaviest Foetus album because the production has such a punch to it.

The first track, "Don't Hide It Provide It" springs an aggressive and heavy track on us right out the gate (and I still consider it one of my favorite Foetus songs). Jim's strange wailing had become a very harsh, extremely gravelly Nivek Ogre-style rasp. It's impressive how much it sounds like it must hurt his throat.
Another highlight is "Asbestos", a retro-sounding horror score type deal with strings and creepy synths that sounds like a thoroughly disturbing collaboration between Wendy Carlos and Goblin. Another Foetus favorite.
"Fin" is like an industrial grindcore track, perhaps an early appearance of powerviolence?
"English Faggot/Nothin' Man" is another great, and one of several tracks on the album that showcase Jim at his most Waits, or at his Beefheartiest.... Groaning film noir prose spoken-word over weird experimental jazzy music.


You know what this album makes me think of? Along with its supremely badass cover art (seriously, check that fly shit out), the aggressively 'masculine' feel of the music and lyrics (it sounds like a twisted parody of an action movie half the time) and the tendency to borrow musical and lyrical themes from noir, horror, and action-adventure films makes me vividly imagine some kind of twisted pulp magazine, like a Johnny Quest comic written by Mike Diana. Closest thing I can think of to it would be the Venture Bros., so it's probably no coincidence that Thirlwell is composing the music on that show.

I love this album so much. It has the most 'favorites' of any Foetus album for me, and I feel fully realizes the 'sound' of the project for me more than the others... It has the best combination of the strange Beefheart-style experimentation, film score-style compositions, industrial aggression, and manic structure-bending that all make Foetus great. This one, as I mentioned earlier, also has one of my most favorite 'sounds' of all of his albums. The horns, the percussion (ranging from heavy metallic banging to world rhythms and big-band drumming), the sinister bass, the nervously pinging synths, and Thirlwell's wacky, flexible voice all mesh perfectly here. And the lyrics... They're memorable, I'll say that. All that adds up to this being, in my mind, an absolutely essential industrial album. I'd also say this one is probably a great entrance point if you want to get into Foetus. Do yourself a favor!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Stream of Consciousness on Nostalgia

Nostalgia is one thing anyone can find solace in. No matter who you are, no matter what your disposition or philosophy is, you will most likely be able to idealize a time in the past (not even necessarily your own) when you find yourself backed into an emotional corner. Those more depressive of us may find ourselves doing this with higher frequency than regular people. I am no exception.

I can often find myself remembering and visualizing, in ludicrously romanticized terms, things in my past... Even times that I hated when they were going on. It's like watching a film version of your life prior - tight editing, only the correct takes used. Artistic cinematography, evocative lighting. The idea that only your imagination controls what exists outside the frame. No problems, no worries, nothing in the focus other than what we're meant to be seeing and feeling. Well-staged and memorable shots that will remain archived like a video collection only I hold the key to. I apply specific combinations of sight, sound, smell, and atmosphere to certain time periods, including ones before I was alive. I will have 'memories' of these periods that are like admiring paintings from afar. Oftentimes when listening to music or playing a videogame or watching a movie from that period I will apply this extra layer of 'atmosphere', as if I were playing or watching or listening to it from that context - that time period and cultural zeitgeist.

The thing about it though is that it can pull us down into a continuing cycle of depression. We can make ourselves feel even more hopeless wishing to go back to the past, and it can hasten the eventual transition to bitter and resentful that most people don't reach until they're old and cranky. Unfortunately, a lot of daydreaming ties in with the same feelings as nostalgia, so it can be hard to avoid...

Album Review: Ministry - "Filth Pig" (1996)

Filth Pig

Psalm 69 comes out. Suddenly, for what seems like five minutes, Ministry becomes one of the biggest bands on the face of the earth for every metalhead and angry alterna-rocker kid who ever watched MTV. Lots of festival-headlining and sold-out arena touring. Soon it became time to give the people a follow-up. What was delivered obviously did not fit the needs of the public, who responded to it with scorn. Personally, I'm not sure what their expectations were, because for a band with as much evolution between albums as Ministry, Filth Pig doesn't seem like much of a leap from Psalm 69. People just don't like change, it seems.

Being one of the most maligned albums in Ministry's catalog, I suppose it's not exactly difficult to see why the fanbase responded so poorly to it. Its sound has become a sort of plodding industrial doom metal, with sinister Black Sabbath riffs and thick, sludgy songwriting and production. No speed solos here. The band had experimented with this to an extent on the previous album with "Scarecrow", now most of the tracks follow a similar format, but with lower tuning. Many fan reviews I have seen criticize the album for a perceived lack of electronics or samples, but they're used just as much as the previous album. They're simply more subtle, spaced-apart, or buried in the deceptively multilayered mix, and they attain a very eerie feel for the careful listener. Basically, where a few of the previous albums said more of something like "sci-fi action sequence", this one groans more to the tune of "depressed crackhouse visit and subsequent overdose scene". Kind of like a more radio-friendly, more-polished and more complexly-mixed industrial Eyehategod, if you will.

Our lineup for tonight includes (of course) Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker as primary songwriters and men-about-town, with Louis Svitek and the ever-trusty Mike Scaccia on guitar and Duane Buford, previously of side project Revolting Cocks, on electronics duties. Longtime drummer Bill Rieflin recorded about half of the album but quit to head for greener pastures (particularly, to play on some incredible Swans albums) and was replaced for the other half with drummer familiar to the Touch & Go scene in the 80's, Rey Washam (previously of noise rock bands Scratch Acid and Rapeman, among others). Considering, like with most Ministry records, you don't really get much of a sense of who did what and where, it's hard to rate the band on individual performances, but Rieflin is excellent as usual in the tracks he plays on, and it's kind of funny and odd that the album pretty much plays directly against Scaccia's strengths as a guitarist, being slow and trudging as opposed to the speedy technical thrash-wank he's known for, but the guitar all sounds good so I suppose it worked out.

There are some very good tracks on here... The first track, "Reload", opens the album with a track whose tempo almost creates the feeling of whiplash compared to the rest of the record. It's a manic, frenzied song that sounds like the score to a Peckinpah gunfight scene on acid. The title track, immediately following, is a crushingly powerful track that should be a doom metal classic. It has an amazing evil riff and a wonderful use of harmonica in one part. "The Fall" is another great slab of doom metal that almost sounds like a Type O Negative song, with a sweet abrasive riff and beautiful piano work. And of course there's the big favorite of the album, the heavy reworking of Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay".

The songs evoke this odd feeling, like visiting a dive bar in a small desert town like a rejected child of Vegas, getting extremely intoxicated, and witnessing (or participating in) an orgy of violent criminal behavior. Like A Clockwork Orange high on heroin in addition to what was in that milk the droogs were drinking. Al Jourgensen's lyrics are at perhaps their most abstract and hopeless, most seeming to be about struggles with addiction or other things of that nature. There's certainly political commentary on here but it's way more subtle than usual with this bunch. One of my favorite things about the album is how, as I said earlier, it's more deeply-layered than people give it credit for being. This is really an album that rewards paying attention. The deep rolling bass and the grinding guitar and the small echoing guitars wailing off to the side and the dim, tinny samples being rhythmically repeated in the background and Al Jourgensen's static-riddled voice scratching the air give the album a very amazing, distinctive atmosphere that's easy to get absolutely sucked into.

Really, I find the story with this album to be tragic... It was so horribly panned, alongside the band's other few successive albums' attempts to try new things, that when Barker jumped ship, Jourgensen felt the need to try and revisit the successful format of Psalm 69, only make it more mainstream sounding... And what's more, that he found success doing that, and so did it again... And again after that... And allowed Ministry's usually-evolving sound to stagnate in mainstream mediocrity. I still love this album... You've got to be more in a certain mood (or state of mind) to get the absolute most out of this album than you would with some of the previous stuff, but it's a great record all the time. And it's better than the whole Bush trilogy.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Album Review: Swans - "Swans" (1982)


So... Well... Here's the first Swans EP. The band who is now known as an innovator in industrial, goth and post-rock music, began life here sounding very similar to its brethren in the New York no-wave scene, such as Sonic Youth and Mars (Thurston Moore was even a guitarist for our Swans at one point early in their lifespan). The main difference here is that there's a more industrial edge to it than most of them... If you want a basic description of how the whole thing sounds, imagine Sonic Youth mixed with Throbbing Gristle, and the bass turned up. Quite amusing here how Michael Gira's voice is fairly high and similar to Thurston Moore's, very much opposite to his gravelly bellows on later material.

For sure, this gives me a great picture of a desperate, strung-out, disenfranchised subculture in pre-Giuliani New York, wandering dark and dangerous streets, navigating filthy alleys, walking through dank apartment buildings looking for their next hit or client or fuck. Voices from all directions, downright evil electronics, disturbed chanted lyrics, sinister thumping basslines, sampled saxophones that make a sound like you just came up snake-eyes, and scraping metallic sheets of guitar noise. Total tension... Absolute heavy atmosphere.

Of the four tracks here, they're all quite good but I think my favorite would probably be "Sensitive Skin". It sounds like a horror film, there's no other way to describe it... Other than maybe like Slint gone evil. But beyond that, it actually anticipates the post-rock stuff the band would be doing years from this point. The rest of the EP has an almost traditional punk rock sound in places, just with some weird post-punk flourishes.

It's a shame that Michael Gira appears to have no love for this EP; outside of being appended to a 1990 reissue of their album Filth, there's no CD release of it - including on the more recent reissues of Filth, which puts some demos instead and has long replaced the 'old' reissue, making that one difficult to find. Unless it was just gossip, I also heard that Gira sold the master tapes to this album on eBay recently, presumably to fund My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky. That's a lucky fan... It's weird, this EP doesn't get discussed much among fans but it's one of my favorite Swans releases. It just has a really interesting sound, and just because it's more traditional doesn't mean it's not as intense and atmospheric as any of their later stuff.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Album Review: Flowering Blight - "The Perfect Pair" (2008)

Flowering Blight
The Perfect Pair

Why the fuck haven't more people written about or listened to this? Damned crime, it is...

If you listened to anything Ministry released between 1988 and 2003 (which is considered their best period by most people who like heavy/dark music and aren't meatheads who think an overabundance of same-sounding wanky, repetitive speed-solos and redundant, childishly-written lyrics about the president are the only way for music to be good*) then you are probably familiar, at least in passing, with the name Paul Barker. He was credited as the only other 'official' member of Ministry-the-studio-band during that period, alongside frontman Al Jourgensen. He played bass, had a hand in writing most or all of the music, did a bunch of the electronics-work, and did lead vocals on a couple songs. He was also involved to an equally heavy extent in most of the side projects during that period doing the same type of stuff... Pailhead, Revolting Cocks, PTP, 1000 Homo DJs, and Lard. Also lent himself to stuff you'd expect of that era like Pigface, and had a pretty cool side project on WaxTrax with some dude from Stabbing Westward, called Lead into Gold.

A lot of people don't like Ministry from before Barker joined (I do though) and people are also pretty divided on post-Barker stuff, and even some of the later stuff from when Barker was onboard gets a lot of hate (which I don't think it deserves) but most Ministry fans will agree that the best Ministry albums by far were ones Barker had heavy involvement in. Listening to this, it's easy to see why.

Flowering Blight is Barker's tragically little-known solo project. He gives us a nice, heavy sound without really even trying to be 'metal'. It sounds like a combination of the sounds of 'The Land of Rape and Honey', and bits of 'The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste', 'Dark Side of the Spoon' and 'Animositisomina' with an added healthy dose of post-punk gone horribly wrong (and I mean that in the most flattering of contexts) and a lessened focus on heavy metal elements in exchange for more heavily atmospheric stuff. Very apocalyptic sound. The composition is very refreshing as well, because it's more sweeping and large in scope compared with Ministry's much smaller-scale arrangements (not that it didn't work for them most of the time). The production is very thick and noisy and adds an extra layer of nastiness and darkness to everything. The bass sounds badass and everything has this great sinister, almost gothic feel. Wonderful crunchy guitar tones and all... Kind of reminds me of 'The Land of Rape and Honey''s production at times. There's this dusty, 'western' feel to the songwriting/production at times that I really enjoy as well. Paul's vocals are impressive as well - a lot of people seem to hate his voice but I just can't not like it. He sounds like a more refined, restrained Alice Cooper at times here.

As stated earlier, Barker is mostly solo here, but there are a nice group of guests appearing, including Josh Freese (Nine Inch Nails, Devo), Max Brody (Ministry), Paul Leary (Butthole Surfers), and others. Overall there is not a bad track on this album and I find myself listening to it constantly... Makes a very good soundtrack for Fallout. I find it really tragic that very few people have heard it, which I guess stems from the fact that the only place to get it is Barker's website, and it never gets advertised anywhere - music sites would rather pimp the latest cheaply-made covers album Al Jourgensen put out to get a few bucks, I guess. But I would say this is as good as just about anything Ministry ever put out. Do yourself a favor... Go get this album if you have any appreciation whatsoever for Barker-era Ministry and/or any of the side projects. I cannot stress enough how much this deserves to be heard by more people. So go. Give it a listen. Give Barker reason to make more music! We need it!

RATING: 4.5/5

Tales of the Dead Dreamer!!

That's right, more strange dreams! Haven't posted one of these in a while, mostly because I haven't felt like it, but I thought these were vaguely interesting and not-too-personal to post! These were all last night/today...

Had a dream where for some reason I had large, wonderful breasts that I sat and played with in the mirror.

I wrote an awesome graphic novel series drawn by an acquaintance of mine that was an apocalyptic/cyberpunk/horror type thing drawing heavily from music (which is not unlike something we're discussing doing IRL), and got in an argument with the publisher because I was insisting that the first volume (which used Alice in Chains' Dirt as its 'background') be printed on some kind of hard cardboard-like stock and have the pages of one of the stories be intentionally made to look filthy and smudged like they were badly printed. And I won!

Also I started my lifelong dream of directing movies, which included some vaguely fetishistic (but not to the extent I'd have expected from my mind) CGI movie that had to do with someone being shrunk in a Victorian setting, followed by a live-action remake of A Goofy Movie with Jim Carrey as Goofy and John Goodman(?) as Pete and the two of them just wearing crappy little mask things with fake ears not unlike what the Beagle Boy in this video wears:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Album Review: Gary Numan - "Tubeway Army" (1978)

Gary Numan
Tubeway Army

Gary's first LP... Damned good for a debut. Here we see Gazza and the Tube-Tones take a step from their more straightforward punk rock origins for a more melodic and synth-heavy sound. They still bring the heaviness though, and create an excellent cyberpunkish sound (inspired in part by Bowie+Eno and the Krautrock classics) with the electronics and jagged guitars. Basically, this is (logically, but very tangibly) a stepping stone between the sound on The Plan and what Gary would embrace on Replicas.

Lyrical content is... All over the place. There's a song about emotional loneliness, some usual Numan cyber-noir fodder, a song about the right to die, a song about a gigolo, a song about jerking off... Like I said, all over the place.

The sound is fairly diverse. There's some excellent pre-industrial-rock stuff in songs like "Steel & You" and "My Shadow in Vain", and there's plenty of good old post-punk weirdness all around. The boys create a good mood and it's a testament to their playing and production skills that they were able to make an album with three guys on it sound so rich and thick, like there should be a lot more bodies in the studio playing instruments or adding synth textures. Paul Gardiner's excellent bass skills are of course a highlight, and some of the electronic textures hit a more cinematic and creative high than in many of Numan's later albums (possibly just because they're being complimented and reinforced more than usual by the guitar as well).

While I can't think of too much outright bad to say about the album, some of the songs do kind of run together - and they're not even bad songs. It's just too much of a good thing. This album was immediately and mercilessly topped by the similar-in-style Replicas a year later, but it's not necessarily obsolete. While I don't think I would recommend this as a starting point for anything, if you're interested in new wave, post-punk, industrial, or anything related to those, then I recommend you check this out at least once, if only for historical context.

RATING: 3.5/5

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Who makes the rockin' world go 'round?

Want to know what grinds my gears?

People who are assholes about big girls. Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about. It's as if a woman has no value as a human being to all these shallow shitty men if they can't successfully masturbate to a picture of her. And then because so many women are catty bitches who, despite claiming independence, seem to allow their lives to revolve around shallow glamour-and-beauty standards set by shallow shitty men - and if another woman decides to be content on the outside of that line, then, well, you know how some women are when they're hellbent on making another suffer.

Let me set something straight: I like large women. I have since I was first interested in women, and I can't imagine myself not having that attraction.

Now, if this were simply a difference in opinion, then no harm, no foul. Unless it involves causing harm to an unwilling partner or a child or something, I don't care what you're attracted to. It's not something that can be helped. People who base every aspect of their existence around their fetish, like some furries, can be annoying and discomforting, but I have to respect people who simply have their attraction "out there" if it goes against what's mainstream. I can relate to that; people like to make other people feel bad about what they're attracted to if it's anything other than what you see being pushed on TV or those wretched magazines you see in the supermarket check-out. I did for a while, but why? Why should I feel bad for what I'm attracted to, especially if it's not even all that "out there" (regardless of what comedy writers who think it's hi-larious for guys to want to fuck fat chicks will tell you)?
But no... It goes beyond opinions. I cannot tell you how many conversations I've had where an outsider intruded to say something shitty, uninvited and unwanted about a larger woman/her clothing/her self-image (oh no, she doesn't hate herself for not being able to attract douchebags!) and if I say anything about, I dunno, not being an asshole and not telling other people what to be attracted to, I get yelled at for "forcing my opinion down their throat" or "infringing on their right to be attracted to thin girls." When I start coming uninvited and attacking people for discussing thin women in a positive manner, then maybe you'll have a case, but as is? No. Stop being a shithead.

But, I'm getting somewhat off track... What is it about the stigma that's been violently forced into our anuses by popular culture that it's impossible for a woman with extra on her to be attractive? Some scant progress is being made regarding the whole "badonkadonk" thing, but society's ass is still bleeding and infected; the damage has already been done and will take a lot of work to undo.

Well... Fuck. I had more I was going to say but I'm all flustered about something unrelated and I forgot what it was. I'll be adding to this topic in the future... Until then, have some Beth Ditto.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Album Review: Big Black - "The Rich Man's Eight Track Tape" (1986)

Big Black
The Rich Man's Eight Track Tape

Oh Steve Albini. You're an arrogant twat of epic proportions, your production resume is spotty, and your legions of sycophantic fans are among the worst of any band fandom I've ever dealt with, but somehow I still consider one of your records to be one of the most essential of the 80's. I am talking of course about Atomizer, though the other stuff on here isn't bad either.

What we have here is a collection of songs from Big Black, one of the best and most influential American 80's punk bands and one of the more important figureheads in the noise rock movement. This disc contains most of the first LP, Atomizer, and some EPs and miscellaneous B-sides and comp tracks. Fitting with Albini's M.O. of complaining about digital music recording and storage wherever possible, the sound quality is shit (though I can't really imagine this music having the same impact if it were polished and crisp), there's a track missing from Atomizer, and there are some smug little messages Albini added around the packaging regarding his somewhat off-base prediction about the CD format - I guess as his way of reconciling the fact that the label forced him to put this on CD in the first place.

Atomizer makes up some of the best... whatever the hell you'd most accurately call Big Black, it seems the jury is still out on that for some people... ever recorded. It's intense, angry, misanthropic, and puts you right there. Listening to "Jordan, Minnesota" or "Kerosene" or "Bad Houses" lets me vividly imagine a bored, resentful existence as a miserable slacker with a grudge against everyone, pretending for a moment I'm not already kinda close to that. They offer the very best example of Albini's violently bitter lyricism and expulsion of those thoughts, the very best example of the band's thick, hanging atmosphere of tension and demented screeching, roaring, exploding guitar tones that oftentimes make you question whether that's even a guitar you're hearing. One of my favorite things about Big Black is exemplified here - the crossover appeal. Whether your poison is industrial, grunge, indie-rock, hardcore, or whatever, you will probably find something you enjoy.

Some of the songs (especially on the Headache section) kind of droop in quality compared to the first half of the album, enough even to make me lower the score of the compilation as a whole, but they're still decent. My only complaint is that the sound quality, even on CD, is really fucking low, because Steve Albini is a huge gonad about things like that.
That said, buy this album ASAP. It deserves a place on the shelf of everyone who appreciates any of the varying routes of darker alternative music.


Album Review: Pigface - "Fook" (1992)


Okay... Here's where it starts getting difficult.

Unlike what seems like the whole rest of industrial fandom, I never swooned over this album. Sure, I liked it. Didn't regret buying it or anything, especially for how cheap I got it. But for all the fuss over it (and the great number of talented musicians), it left me... underwhelmed. I'm giving it another go as I type this, so perhaps my mind will be changed.

Unlike Gub, which was very lo-fi and experimental and sparse and drum-oriented and basically sounded like what you'd get if some famous industrial and punk musicians decided to record pieces of songs in each other's basements between tours, this one sounds like Grand Central by comparison. Much more shit going on... And not necessarily in a good way, like the best Skinny Puppy or NIN albums.

One thing about this album is that it has more of a stable lineup and more personnel on each song... The sound is more standard and song-based and full of guitars... Bill Rieflin is gone, but in his absence, we get a fairly consistent group of instrumentalists that includes old pal William Tucker as well as Paul Raven of Killing Joke and Andrew Weiss of Rollins Band, so it's not a bad trade. En Esch plays guitar on literally half the album too, so cool beans.

The album kicks off with "Alles Ist Mine", the second installment of Pigface's series of "En Esch rasps over frenzied drumming" songs... But this one has some funky bass, kickass guitars and is just better-produced. It gets a thumbs-up from me.

"Ten Ground and Down" is an interesting moody cello-based track that features new frequent Pigface vocalist Lesley Rankine sharing vocal duties once again with the inimitable Chris Connelly. I never paid this track much heed before, but it's quite good.

"Seven Words" is a noisy track sung by Mary Byker from some noise rock band called Gaye Bykers on Acid. Reminds me of a cross between Big Black and Chemlab (the latter of which at least makes sense, what with William Tucker tearing it up on guitar). Decent but not essential in the least.

"Insemination" is a drum-heavy track with the return of Nivek Ogre. That Matt Schulz guy providing some cool militaristic samples. It actually sounds like a more polished version of something we would have gotten on Gub, with maybe a dash of what we'd get from Rx later on. Nice track.

"Hips, Tits, Lips, Power!" is a strange little track with Lesley Rankine and Mary Byker singing about, well, guess what? It's not a bad track but it kind of drags. I love the guitars though.

"Satellite" is a kind of generic-sounding Mary Byker-fronted song. It's not bad at all, it's just... nice. At this point several tracks on the album are starting to bleed together from sounding similar, and this is one of them.

"I'm Still Alive" is an odd, bouncy number with Esch and Ogre... I like it, it doesn't differ too much from some of these other songs but it's fun and has some interesting sounds and samples.

"Auto Hag" is yet another Mary Byker track and basically has the band doing a staticy noise-rock/metal thing. It's unfortunately kind of meh.

"Go!" is another Esch/Ogre track and it's decent... Sounds like a lesser outtake from Gub. Cool but inessential.

"I Can Do No Wrong" has David Wm. Sims of The Jesus Lizard playing us out while Chris Connelly gives us that heavenly voice one more time. It's pretty stripped-down and basic but atmospheric at the same time. Sounds kind of like what The Jesus Lizard would be if it had a crooning Scottish vocalist, more polished production and some jazzy drumming. One of the better ones from this album.

So, that's the album. One of the biggest changes I've noticed is that, I guess thanks to having two bassists, the bass is extremely prominent. My main gripe is that the album kind of runs short on ideas. Many of the songs sound very similar and get kind of dull... A problem that would eventually be inverted in later albums then there's very little stylistic consistency within an album.

Overall... Decent, but one of Pigface's lesser albums, I think. I still don't see what all the fuss is about.

RATING: 2.5/5

Album Review: Pigface - "Gub" (1990)


So, here's the first Pigface album. It took me a while, but I finally got around to getting and listening to their albums, which was not the easiest thing in the world - a sad commentary in and of itself. I don't generally do this, but because of the nature of this band, I'm going to be doing this track-by-track. Shit's gonna get long-winded in here.

First, some backstory: Pigface was the brainchild of tragically hip egomaniac poser and rivethead folk hero Martin Atkins (known at this point for being in Public Image Ltd. for a chunk of the 80's, and being in Ministry and Killing Joke for about five minutes apiece) and Bill Rieflin of Ministry and Revolting Cocks (though it seems apparent that Rieflin was mostly being dragged along for the ride). Atkins had this grandiose scheme, see, to create this act with no sturdy lineup, who went back to the punk and industrial agendas of total disregard for song structure or audience expectations or doing shit that other bands did. This approach was not nearly as successful as Atkins expected it to be, but they cranked out some decent tunes at least. And here we are with their first record, made by the two boys (plus indie asshole hero Steve Albini) with a bunch of their buddies adding some vocals and extra instrumentation.

The first track, "Tapeworm", is a great success right out the gate. Nivek Ogre (of Skinny Puppy fame) delivers an impressive screeching vocal while Steve Albini drops a dirty, sauntering bassline and the Atkins/Rieflin duo gives us the expected awesome drumwork (which is one of the few consistently good things on this album).
The second track, "The Bushmaster", is pretty good as well. The boys do a good job with making a minimalistic setup sound strong - it's just Jesus Lizard frontman David Yow's usual demented rambling backed by some frenzied drums (plus some odd sound effect tape loops supplied in a cameo by Trent Reznor, apparently).
"Cylinder Head World" is where shit starts getting weird and reservations about the quality of the album begin creeping in. It's nearly four sparse minutes of random sound effect punctuated by silence. Stuff like someone sawing at some guitar strings, someone playing a bassline in the distance, some feedback noises, I dunno. If it had some kind of even minimalistic music behind it, I would be more forgiving, but as-is, it sounds like someone shuffling about in the studio and tuning the instruments unknowingly with the mic still on. According to Chris Connelly, this was an attempt by Martin Atkins to be all rebellious and uber-industrial by doing true anti-music. We're not impressed, Martin.
However, disappointment from this track is mopped away once we hear "Point Blank", one of my favorite things Pigface ever released. It's a very alternative-rock-ish track with a wonderful Bowie-esque croon from diverse singer-songwriter & Ministry/Revolting Cocks collaborator Chris Connelly, and some really nice guitar work from Albini. It's a wonderful song, and it's not even very 'industrial'-sounding. It's kind of like a more stripped-down and overall better-sounding version of something we'd have gotten from Murder Inc. It'll be hard to top this'un.
Now comes what is probably Pigface's most famous song... "Suck", starring Trent Reznor on vox and giving the ever-awesome Paul Barker a great supporting role on bass. Now, don't get me wrong, I like this song - I like the dusty bass, I like the marching-drums percussion, but the production sucks and something doesn't sound right about it. It sounds kinda naked and, well, like an unfinished demo or something (reportedly at Steve Albini's insistence, as Trent had some electronics and other things planned that Albini put the kibosh on). Because of this, I tend to prefer NIN's cover of the song, as it sounds more fully realized to me.
"Symphony for Taps" is another 'hey guys, look at me destroying the system!' track, but slightly more tolerable than the first. Samples of running water with a headache-inducing repeated synth string(?)
"The Greenhouse" is actually kind of good, and the first track on here made solely by the Atkins/Rieflin/Albini trio that I can say that about. It's an instrumental featuring jazz drums and weird screaming electronic noises. I like it.
"Little Sisters" brings Connelly back for another go. The song itself is mostly boring but it has a nice dual-guitar attack from Bill Rieflin and ill-fated WaxTrax-era guitarist William Tucker.
"Tailor Made" is another fairly decent track, starring Paul Barker on bass and lead vocals. It's got an awesome funky bassline and it makes me sad that he didn't sing on more Ministry stuff.
"War Ich Nicht Immer Ein Guter Junge? War Ich Nicht Immer Schoen und Nett? Ich Zerpfluckte Niemals Eine Spinne - War Niemals Frech und Stahl" (you think the title's long enough?) brings En Esch of KMFDM into the fold... Unfortunately the track doesn't do much for me. It's the formula of "Esch rasps over some frenetic drums" (also featuring an annoying electronic drone in this incarnation) that the band would revisit a few times on later albums and do better.
"Blood and Sand" is a very cool and interesting track with an ominous buildup and some creepy, heavily-processed vocals by Chris Connelly again. Oh, and Matt Schulz from that band Lab Report contributes some electronics work or something. I'd love to hear more like this.
The album proper closes with "Weightless", another decent track in the vein of "Point Blank", but more metal and featuring Barker on bass. Not too shabby.
Following that, we get some remixes that mostly add extra punch to aspects of the album, plus an inexplicable shortened version of "Suck" as a hidden track. Huh?

File:Pigface 1991.jpg

Altogether, it's not too shabby an album. Fairly inconsistent, but nothing compared to how much so the band would be getting in subsequent outings. I know I give Atkins and the gang a lot of shit but it's all in good fun... I think I'm one of the few people who would actually say they prefer this to pretty much any Pigface album, including Fook. Something about the lo-fi experimental feel to it appeals to me, as does its crossovers into Big Black/Jesus Lizardy noise rock territory.

So... this is probably a good starting point with Pigface, because if you fall in love with their later stuff, you may end up underwhelmed - this lacks the busy production and buttloads of guest appearances that the others feature. It kind of stands alone in their discography really... I mean, I don't necessarily dislike what the band has become, but imagine what would have happened if Atkins wasn't such a repulsive dick and he was able to keep most of these guys around long enough to want to make more music in this vein with him...

RATING: 3.5/5

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Album Review: Godflesh - "Godflesh" (1988)


Miserable, misanthropic, painful. These are words I would use to describe Godflesh's debut. A lot like the Swans, actually.
The music is an excruciatingly slow doom-trudge through a disturbing industrial nightmare. Imagine Eraserhead in album form. Also kinda like the Swans, now that I think of it. Seriously, listen to Cop or Greed, and this is pretty similar. Not that that is a bad thing.

The music is pretty simple, but simplicity is all this needs. At the front you've got Justin Broadrick's tortured wailing and some wonderful guitar work that makes some of the best use of feedback I've ever heard. Then you have G.C. Green's booming, roaring basslines, and some subtle (and occasionally less so) electronics duties split between the two of them. Half the time one or both of the instruments sound more like some kind of large machine than a musical instrument, which is great.

So, we make our way through the tracks... They're kind of same-ish in places, which is kind of a problem Godflesh has sometimes, but they're still just fantastic so it's quite easily forgiven. Some stand out for me though for whatever reason. My favorite is "Godhead." One of G.C.'n'Justin's best.
As bonus tracks, we've got two long remixes. "Wounds", the first of them, I especially like, even if most people don't seem to like it. It's an awesome industrial dance sort of thing not too much unlike something you migh hear from Wax Trax.


Overall, I just have to give this album a good score. At first I didn't like it because it was a little *too* noisy for me (I had gotten used to the cleaner sound of stuff like Pure) but it grew on me fast, and now it's one of my favorite albums. I just can't resist going back to this frequently. The grinding bass and guitar, the oppressive production atmosphere and Broadrick's pained vocals just make it perfect. In fact, as someone who *generally* doesn't find Broadrick that great a vocalist (as much as I like his music) I've got to say I think his vocals work best on here by far - doing a Michael Gira-esque moan that sounds like some death-orgasm.

It sucks that this is OOP. I had to fork over some fairly good coin for a copy of it myself (about the most I'd pay for one CD, in fact) but it was well worth it.
Broadrick and Green go on to do some truly fantastic stuff, and break away from the Swans worship to do more original things, but this is the one I always go back to.


Friday, April 1, 2011

"By the way, if you see your mom this weekend, would ya be sure and tell her... SATAN!"

What is it with people's tendency to assume you're a Satanist or anti-Christian because you listen to music other than country, or find odd things that are totally unrelated to religion fascinating, or because you don't take Rush Limbaugh's words as law, or because you like to use critical thinking about things?

You read Stephen King? Oooh, Satanist.

You find the beliefs and practices of different theologies interesting to study? *cough* Satanist, dude.

You listen to Marilyn Manson (who, contrary to what people like to say, identifies as agnostic, has never promoted any subversive theistic beliefs, and is not anti-religion, but anti-bastards-using-religion-as-a-tool-to-frighten-and-oppress)? BURN SATANIST BURN!

Fuck you, people. I may not be a traditional Christian but I am spiritual and quite comfortable with it. I may not go to church on a regular basis, but I like to dream of tolerance and brotherhood, which is likely more than can be said for a lot of religious leaders. I may not pray every night, but I will gladly look upon the cross as a symbol of unity and love, whether a certain hippie Jew was actually nailed to it or not, and whether people nowadays who do pray actually care about those things or not. As a character from one of my favorite films once explained...

The brilliant idea made to defy the institution has become noticed by the institution, and now the idea is the institution and its meaning seems to be lost on too many people who follow it. It's a shame...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Album Review: Danzig - "5: Blackacidevil" (1996)

Danzig 5: Blackacidevil

What a fucking mess.

After give or take about 8 years of recording and touring for awesome albums with a strong, sturdy line-up, Danzig decided for whatever reason to fire all of them (except Joey Castillo, the drummer he'd had for a year or two at that point, and the only guy who hadn't been there since the beginning) and 'allow himself to evolve' (read: do what everyone else was doing at this time and pretend they're NIN/Ministry/Manson.) Now it's just Glenn, Joey, and a guy named Joseph Bishara (whose name I only recognize elsewhere from being credited for some NIN and Manson remixes) with some occasional reinforcement by others... But we'll get to that.

The new direction kind of abruptly comes out of nowhere. Where there was once stripped-down bluesy metal (though there had been more liberal use of production effects on How the Gods Kill and 4) there is now extremely derivative noisy, gothy electro-industrial/industrial metal. Now, don't get me wrong, I love industrial music. And musically, there are some good moments here. But frankly, it just doesn't sound very good or interesting for the most part. Combine that with the painfully bad lyrics, by far the worst Glenn has ever written, and it becomes a chore to listen to. There are lots of sounds that I like; clanging metallic percussion, grinding filtered guitar noises, spooky synthetic atmospheres, but more often than not with this album, the whole is less than the sum of its parts.

It almost seems like Glenn was bent on sabotaging himself at this point. He had a lot of fans, and a lot of fans were let down by this album, which I can understand. I'm sure then he thought that playing this newfangled industrial music that all the MTV-watching goth kids were running to would be a good career move, but he fails at doing anything interesting or original with it, and even when he makes a song in this style that's not bad, he has to ruin it with terrible lyrics, as is the case of "7th House" or his cover of "Hand of Doom" (which, in his infinitely large ego, Glenn foolishly thought he could successfully rewrite.) Not even Alice in Chains strummer Jerry Cantrell's magical guitar chops on a few songs are able to overcome Glenn's overwrought GOTH EXPERIMENTAL INDOOSTRIAL crap.

That's really all there is to say about this album. I mean, I am pretty hard on it, but it's not the worst thing I've ever heard or anything. I will say this though, it's by far Danzig's worst album. But hey, at least the reissue has cool artwork.