Review Summary: A mental earthquake
It was kind of hard for me to describe this album without just spewing out every synonym for “chaotic” and “coarse” I could think of, but here it is: wow, does it pay off to go into things with an open mind. Let me just first admit this being my first power-electronics album (“congratulations Kevin”–sputnik userbase), and that I never thought I would understand, let alone like, something quite like this. Probably the closest thing to noise rock I have ever truly loved was “Fainting Spells” by Crystal Castles, and even that had an underlying melody and rhythm buried underneath the cacophony. This time, I didn’t have anything to associate to another feeling, nothing to listen and say “hey, that sounds like “Song” by Band
”, and quite frankly, nothing to really like
, or at least I expected as much. It’s a far cry from something I would normally listen to, but going in with zero expectations and taking a sheer leap of faith (I was given duties to review this album, after all), I can safely say Multicultural Degeneration
is a worthy, if a little disturbing, ensemble of controlled chaos.
At first, the album cover intimidated me a bit. Looking at the [insert politically correct word for “retard” here] and the pornography, reading song titles like “Racism As A Weapon Against Degeneration” and of course the band’s name, I feared I would have to dig for some underlying socio-political message to sell this album. After all, what aural sensations could one perceive from a sound that admits itself to be just noise? I smelled a concept album at one point too, but frankly I gave up caring about the fact, exactly when track 4, “Trash”, first played for me. At this point the album reveals its heritage to industrial music, with minimalist rattling and steel-banging playing out a tense vibration of paranoia. Hearing this song in the dark all alone comes highly recommended from this reviewer, and despite the clichéd setting, you won’t feel anything like you would being told to listen to an album like Grace
in the same manner. No “oh my God it clicked” moments, just intensity so scattered and sparing that it leaves you in a cold sweat. Which brings us to the fact that yes, moments of respite exist on Multicultural Degeneration
, just not in a Resident Evil
-save room kind of way. After the blistering opener “White Barbarian”, track 2, “Hung”, can be best described as the true calm before the storm. It’s anything but peaceful however. There’s a sense of dread throughout the entire piece, a sense of being followed or hunted that can’t even be confirmed except by your own masochistic imagination. From here on out is a cold, relentless visage staring you down only behind the smog that fills your head; it never reveals itself to be real, but the threat haunts you persistently.
Chaos burns onward. One-hundred percent of the time I did not understand a single word being screamed agonizingly where there were vocals, but who cares. The thing that surprised me the most was the ambiance; it’s remote and vapid, terrifying at points, but the fact that I could even perceive that from such overtly, uh, noisy album left me pleasantly surprised. Then again, how could something this raw and abrasive have been executed by any other sound? It’s remarkably powerful with its subtlety, and by that I mean it knows exactly when to strike and when to relent as not to actually come across as sheer cacophony
. With that said, I found it an accessible entryway for a very inaccessible sound, which alone just sounds
impressive, but it certainly doesn’t stop there.