Review Summary: The material here is good, but the problem lies with the quality; Suicide Commando has made much better. But don't let that deter you. Implements of Hell will definitely satisfy any and all EBM cravings you may have.
EBM king Suicide Commando has been a driving force in the industrial scene since day 1, practically launching terror EBM into the spotlight for industrial music. Naturally, one holds high expectations for such an influential and talented artist. And, naturally, one is rather disappointed when one finds such a great artist descending to the levels of, well…not mediocrity…but…sameness? I’d never thought I’d hear a Suicide Commando album that sounded like a carbon copy of…Suicide Commando.
Strange but true, Implements of Hell sounds as if Johan Van Roy is running out of creative fuel. The whole album feels like it’s trying so hard to be the next giant thing in EBM, but it falls so short. Which is a shame, considering that IoH is actually good. Just not good enough.
Let me be honest: every song on this album is good. Listening to it all the way through is a joy if you like EBM (if not then you will be bored). The level of anger is truly EBM: terrorizing and totally besting most other forms of music (for the most part, EBM makes death metal artist look like pansies). The driving beats are all hear, and they are all good. The synth work on IoH is surprisingly sophisticated and diverse. The amount of craftsmanship that went into this album is truly impressive. Die Motherf*cker Die and Come Down With Me exhibit Suicide Commando’s ability to weave sophisticated and evolving synth lines together to create engaging songs. When it comes to variation, you won’t find much, however. Songs like The Dying Breed try to mix up the dance beats by breaking away from the traditional four-to-the-floor beats (which typically go BASE-SYMBOL-SNARE-SYMBOL---repeat) and Until We Die try to spice things up a bit with swapping heavy synths for mournful stringed instruments.
Sadly, not every song impresses. Some songs like Severed Head feels like a rehash of material from Bind, Torture, and Kill, and songs like Hate Me and Death Cures All Pain boast some of the most embarrassing lyrics ever heard on a Suicide Commando album. Whether or not the lyrics where meant to be taken seriously or not is debatable, but it is recommended that you have fun with them, because trying to apply emotional weight to lines like “You judge people by the music they make / Don’t know me / you think it’s all fake” might require more effort than it’s worth. The whole album actually suffers from a lyrical issues; only do songs The Pleasures of Sin and God is in The Rain ever really impress lyrically. Personal interpretation does have a lot to do with music, and given the incredible emotional heights reached with songs like “Bleed For Us All” and “Cause of Death: Suicide”, IoH feels a bit behind.
One displeasing aspect of IoH is it’s odd little inconsistencies. The album was recorded over the course of two years, and within that time frame several songs and singles trickled out (Hate Me was released at an earlier time, and later Die Motherf*cker Die) well before IoH was released, and if you listen closely you can actually tell which songs where recorded at what times. Some songs where made together when SC released singles for the album, and there is this odd sense of evolution/de-evolution through the whole album. If the songs had been placed together chronologically, the album would have sounded better.
Those who seek to learn about the Limited Edition version of IoH will be pleased to know that purchasing it is definitely recommended. While none of the remixes are on the same level as X20’s remix album, they all are very serviceable and club-friendly. They do definitely take multiple listens to fully enjoy, but there is still fun to be had with the mixes. The Severed Head Heads Of State Mix is definitely worth hearing.
With all the criticism I’ve unleashed, I still find it hypocritical of myself to recommend this to any SC lover, or anyone with a liking of EBM. Even if the album has its faults, IoH is still good enough to buy. Hopefully things get better from here on out. Regardless, the clubs will still be playing Suicide Commando, and people will still be dancing.