Review Summary: Legends meet, but these things don't always work out. Can the team of Jello and Jourgensen prove this wrong?
After departing from legendary punk band, Dead Kennedys
, Jello Biafra collaborated with several artists in the years to come, one of which being Ministry
guitarist, Al Jourgensen. What exactly happens when two innovators of two completely different genres join forces? The Last Tempation of Reid happens; a politically fueled, fast paced, and creative album and one of the best, and most overlooked albums of the 90's.
A funky bass riff opens "Forkboy" and hooks you in quickly with a fast and furious heavy metal opening track. Industrial metal and hardcore punk blend seamlessly in this fantastic start and what is probably the best song on the album. Jello's vocals do nothing but increase the creative and extremely unique sound that this track brings.
"Pineapple Face" is a mindf*ck of a song that goes from a formula similar to "Forkboy" albeit slower, to a psychedelic, non-sensical, and contact-high inducing chorus...and it's pure genius. This is more of what you'd expect from Jello with it's crazy and politically driven lyrics that make little sense but you just know has a very deep meaning somewhere in there. In conclusion, listen to this song high, and you won't want it to end.
"Mate Spawn and Die" is extremely reminiscent of Dead Kennedys songs such a "Holiday in Cambodia" with it's simple descending riffs that screams hardcore. The lyrics are mostly rhythmic spoken word. It's one of the less memorable of the songs on this album since it just doesn't quite have the energy that the rest of the album has, though it certainly has its charm with its catchy, nostalgic riffs and lyrics.
"Drug Raid at 4am" and "Can God Fill Teeth?" are less like songs, and more like audio plays. In the former, Jello stars as a police officer sent to a house that is said to be housing a load of drugs. The song is basically him acting like an overly aggressive and insensitive copper screaming at a "suspect" pleading for mercy with fast, energetic instrumentals playing throughout. It seems to be pointing out police brutality and the pointless war on drugs. It ends rather humorously, for after the pure chaos that this song has you endure, the character simply says "Oh. Sorry. Wrong house."
The latter is a full blown spoken word audio with a soundtrack accompaniment. It starts with a faux commercial and a man accusing it of being a Big-Brother like conspiracy theory while slow, ominous guitar plays. It gets oddly disturbing as the guitar and drums speed up and chaos erupts as the sounds of painful, slapstick-esque screams and drilling is heard. He drills out his teeth to find wires leading up into his brain that was recording everything he's been saying. The track is oddly mesmerizing and addictive and is perhaps one of the most creative songs I've heard since...well "Forkboy."
A smooth bass riff opens "Bozo Skeleton", another neutral paced with well-flowing and catchy vocals and rather heavy instrumental work, especially from the drummer. It continues to remind us that this is certainly a legendary combination of hardcore and indutrial kings, for this song shows a very evenly divided ammount of elements from both, which is rather impressively done.
Perhaps the most metal song on the album, "Sylvestre Matuschka" doesn't take it's time getting awesome. With sinister vocals and great chord progression, this song stands out in the album. It's fun and great headbanging material.
What follows is a cover of "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa" by Napoleon XIV. If there is a God, he made Jello Biafra so he could cover this song. The snare drum accompanies his joyfully twisted and insane vocals as occasional screams are heard. Jello steals the show in this. He sounds like a true classic Mad-Hatter kind of insanity and is truly a joy to listen to.
"I Am Your Clock" is an interesting song. It is a speech by Jello as disorganized guitar plays. Now, this song is over 15 minutes long. As I said in my Passover review, I can't really stomach songs this long. It's a personal thing, but it frustrates me a bit that it takes five minutes for the song to change its sound at all and then goes right back to the same formula as the previous five minutes. Rinse and repeat. This is tolerable for shorter songs, but having to sit through the same riff for 15 minutes just isn't my thing.
This album is a must listen if you like Dead Kennedys, Ministry, industrial music, punk rock, heavy metal, or are just looking for something different. There are combinations and collaborations that don't work, and then there's Lard, who continued to make creative new music up until their indefinite hiatus in 2000. I recommend everything they've done, but this more than the others.