Review Summary: As the album ends, a sample loops 'You want a ticket to Hell?'. If this is what eternal damnation sounds like, its worth taking the ride. Truly harrowing.
It was said in a news article that Rammstein apparently contributed to the Columbine Massacre. Rubbish without a doubt, but speaking hypothetically, if that were true then maybe I should just keep this album buried in obscurity so everyone’s safe. Obviously I'm not going to and for good reason. If ever an album was to so ruthlessly encapsulate the negative side of human emotion, pain, fear, anger, hatred, frustration without simply recording torture, than this is the closest we've come thus far. Many bands endeavour embarrassingly to obtain a threatening persona, whether it be through songs about killing people or brandishing guns in music videos, perhaps even holding the gun sideways to look particularly 'street' and sinister. Buzzov-en however didn't try; they only try for one thing. Rebels with a chemical cause, they thieved and fought viciously in the glorious name of hardcore drug abuse. They were lowlifes simply put and would be the first to admit it, living the life their music so painfully depicts.
Essentially, this album can be seen as a sort of concept album, the soundtrack to the pitiful existence of a desperate junkie which was once their own. Approaching their guitar like a dealer trying to play them for fools, they positively (or rather negatively) strangle crunching chords from its neck, letting it survive long enough to hear it gasp for air via thought drowning feedback, before slicing the stringy sinew slowly with a rusty shiv in the form of a menacing pick slide. There’s not much variation in the sound, but then there’s only so many ways you can kill someone by the jugular. Given the concept album idea, each song represents in conjunction with the title differing aspects of the junkie's life which can be interpreted by the listener. The tempo increases and slows to match both the manic intensity of the rush of the fix and the sluggish, aching drain of the withdrawal. Kirk (who can also be referred to by his cute alternate moniker 'Reverend Dirtkicker') reprises his real life role of the addict as he screams his suffering through ramblings that fall on the deaf ears of a world that chastises him for being dependent on drugs, and yet frustratingly refrains from offering a Samaritan's hand. The lyrics are more often than not buried in the bile of the screeching vocals, but pity inducing lines like 'they can't erase my mind' occasionally surface to remind you of the mental turmoil, just in case you couldn't tell from the pleasant music or soft vocal style.
The title track, unorthodox as it seems for the album's opener at nine minutes is actually a perfect choice. Heralding things to come, the jolting cracks of the snare serve as a reminder the uneasy still won't last for long. At the moment it just seems like an uncomfortable trip, no doubt he feels he’s had worse. Warped voices float ominously from the television, maybe the radio as the relative silence signals the onset of the drug snaking through his veins. Nothing too troubling, that is, until the feedback rises, eyes widening in horror. And that’s when it begins. Following the tumbling descent into the event horizon with malignant, cancerous riffs that truly grow on you, Sore acts just like an addict’s poison of choice. The needle jabs sharply and the drug takes a while to kick in your first time, but slowly and surely, it begins to take hold and keeps you wanting more the more you use it. Sure, you can go back for the odd song and get a bit of a hit, but wait till you’ve gone cold turkey and go back to it. I assure you you’ll yearn for it again.
A chilling album, the effects of which have been affected little by time, that is carried by the pure nastiness of its atmosphere. A classic in terms of experience.
(Note: For optimum results, to be enjoyed at highest possible volume with good bass in solitude and darkness. Brooding, irritable or infuriated mood enhances but is optional.)
Highlights: Sore, Hollow, Broken