Review Summary: Bite, Spit, rip apart, fuck you up!
... drowning in the hell that rages in your fucked up skull!
On paper Angelspit are the kind of band that I should be totally into. They’re an abrasive electro-industrial band with a punk/riot grrrl aesthetic that features confrontational male/female vocals predominantly made up of shouted slogans. What’s not to like; right? The problem has been that the songs have always felt as though there wasn’t enough going on – basically the intensity of the music never matched the intensity of the vocals. That is why this remix album caught my attention. The band told the contributing artists to make the most ‘savage and pounding remixes possible’ and while that description might be a bit of an exaggeration, it still provided an excellent direction for the guest artists. With that mission statement in mind, they were able to push the intensity of the original songs to levels that are much more complimentary to the confrontational lyrics and primal vocals. More importantly, this direction has given Carbon Beauty
a solid objective and a homogeneous motif that keeps it from falling victim to the repetitive and aimless nature of most other remix albums.
Angelspit open the album with their remix of “Making Money” and set the standard that each subsequent song has to achieve. The synth tempo is fierce, the beat is intense and the lyrics primarily use a spoken vocal layered over a hardcore shout that adds to the urgent nature of the song. This is all augmented by an abundance of dissonant effects, start/stop guitars and a few surprising transitions. With the blueprint laid, it was left to the other guest artists to follow suit, and every one of them do. Dope Stars Inc.
, in particular, manage to push the intensity levels even further through the use of a chaotic beat, multiple tempo changes/vocal styles, and swirling synth effects. That doesn't mean that the entire album simply bludgeons the listener from start to finish. Some of the guest artists chose to focus more on the 'pounding' part of the deal and have delivered some excellently rhythmic efforts. Deathproof
's remix of "Channel Hell" is one of the more notable examples of that due to its Drum&Bass-ish beat, funky guitar riff and sarcastic vocal delivery – I needed motivation, you sent a postcard that said 'PUNK ROCK'. Well *** you too
. In fact, the wide array of beats and rhythms has made this album pretty diverse, despite having a few songs remixed more than once.
This intensity and creativity isn't just limited to the remixes, though. It seems like the quality that the guest artists brought convinced the band to push their own boundaries on the three original tracks as well. Whether it is the chaotic beats of "GlicthBomb" or the angst and dissonance of "Toxic Girl," the band kept the new songs as consistent and powerful as any of the remixes. They weren't alone in this endeavor, however. The band brought in Valerie Gentile (Black Tape for a Blue Girl
) and Chris Kling (Hanzel und Gretyl
) to guest on the three new songs, and their inclusion is welcome. I can't say exactly what it is they did on any individual track, but the end result is that they sound much fuller and direct than most of what I've heard from the band in the past. This 'in-your-face' sound is the perfect complimentary vessel for the band to deliver their blunt, confrontational lyrics with the appropriate amount of conviction and confidence. Let's face it, lyrics such as, ""My rotten core is packed with knives. Jagged deceit, to spurt you dry. Skull ***ery, and mother's hate. The Blood fury predator, scorpion raped
," need the music to be equally as coarse in order to really push the point home.
Thanks to the band's decision to tell the guest artists to make the songs on Carbon Beauty
as ‘savage and pounding' as possible, the musical intensity is now at the same level as the lyrics and vocals. This has also had the result of making the album much more focused than your average remix release. It has also prompted the guest artists to put in a great deal of effort to make the songs something more than they initially were, and that focus transferred to the three new songs as well. Carbon Beauty
is the album that I've always thought Angelspit should be able to make – the vocals are sarcastic and crass and the music finally compliments them perfectly.