Review Summary: Its kind of like if Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails had a wannabe gothic/new-wave baby...with Down Syndrome..."...Drinking lighter fluid to start a fire inside my guts, I am on a slow painful ride through the underbelly of hell and I wont mind if this is where we say goodbye and go our separate ways.
I am inside of you.
Living and breathing.
I am William Control"
Yeah, and you thought Aiden
was lame. Over the past few years, Aiden has managed to turn themselves into, quite possibly, the biggest
joke within the legions of modern post-hardcore bands to be ignorantly labeled as "emo." Whether its because of their makeup, their angle haircuts, their clothes, their lyrics, or their music (believe it or not), you would be hard pressed to find a publication or website that hasn't poked fun at the Seattle, Washington based group. So why all this talk about Aiden? Well, if you haven't figured out from the album cover, William Control is the side project of lead vocalist "wiL" Frances, and to be perfectly honest, the image portrayed here is even more ridiculous than that of Aiden, which wouldn't be a problem at all except for the fact that the musical and lyrical ideas are about as new and refreshing as 4 month old milk.
The musical aspects of Hate Culture range from poor attempts at industrial, to poor attempts at dark electro-pop, to poor attempts at "dark-wave", and so on. Even though all of the individual aspects of the music sound different from song to song (like the industrial noises, the synth lines, and atmospheric elements) the album still manages to get extremely boring and repetitive almost immediately. A problem like that is easily avoidable with average songwriting, but most of the songs on the album flow in a very awkward manner, and some of them have no real flow or sense of cohesion at all. For example, in the first single, Beautiful Loser, the intro is needlessly re-inserted after the first chorus, and continues to play for a good 45 monotonous seconds before the second verse comes in, and the chorus is repeated at least 10 times at the end of the song for no real reason. Things like this happen in nearly every song, and the only thing it serves to do is the album seem even more drawn out and tedious than it really is.
Perhaps the most off putting aspect of the music is wiL's voice itself, but not for the same reasons it put most people off in Aiden. With Aiden, people often complained of wiL's often nasal, rather high pitched delivery, lack of vocal control, and rather poor screaming ability, but with William Control, wiL has found a way to "fix" all of those problems. First off, the record doesn't feature any screamed vocals (with the exception of a few in the background that are a bit hard to pick up on) which will more than likely be a positive to most listeners. However, the nasal/high pitched delivery has been fixed by...well...running wiL's voice through an effects processor, and lowering it at least two octaves. Sure, it might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but the end result makes his voice even more grating and annoying than it previously was, by being abnormally low pitched and extremely monotonous instead of high pitched and whiny.
For those of you that were hoping the lyrical aspects would somewhat redeem the rest of the music (which is a bit ridiculous thing to hope for if you are familiar with wiL's lyrical contributions to Aiden), I have some bad news. The only way I can describe the lyrical content of Hate Culture is...well...horrific. This album contains some of the most hackneyed and stilted writing I have ever come across, and some of the lyrics presented here are honestly just down right laughably bad, like the chorus and second verse of Beautiful Loser.
"You're beautiful, beautiful
I'm a loser alive,
On a suicide mission to die.
You're beautiful, beautiful
I'm a loser inside,
You're beautiful yeah,
I'm a suicide
F*ck, f*ck, f*ck I wanna f*ck till we bleed and there's a time crunch baby I don't want to believe.
This is my last night on earth.
My f*cking hell."
I'm sure there will be legions of so called "scene kids" that will endlessly praise Hate Culture as a brilliant "industrial" album, up there with the likes of NIN's The Downward Spiral, but don't believe the hype. Even if you find yourself thinking, "you know, maybe the guy really does have some good musical ideas, and maybe Aiden was just holding him back and this is his way of expressing his true musical genius" and you happen to find this album for an incredibly low price, I would still suggest you avoid listening to it.
It really is a shame that somebody as congenial as wiL could have such horrible ideas...