Meat Beat Manifesto
99%


4.5
superb

Review

by Trifolium USER (22 Reviews)
November 14th, 2021 | 47 replies


Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Wowie Zowie!!!

What a fantastic decade the 90s was. Advancements were made in genres as diverse as techno (Underworld), black metal (Bathory), hip hop (NAS), trip hop (Massive Attack and Portishead), alternative rock (Radiohead), and electronic infused pop (Björk). And there still are hidden gems to be found! Let’s dive straight into the one under scrutiny here: Meat Beat Manifesto’s third studio effort, 99%.

This one, despite being a clear product of its time, still sounds absolutely fresh in its approach. It is aggressive, danceable, often funky, and always poignant. We are slap bang in the middle of the Break Beat era here, something that becomes apparent immediately when you hit play and the muffled bass and sharp hitting drums of album opener 'Now' blast from your speakers. Despite this being one of the more old school tracks of the lot, it still is worth your time. About halfway through it picks up steam, and for our ears from the future, it becomes clearly reminiscent of The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers. However, this album was released years before The Prodigy started their famous, ostrich infested space journey, long before even Experience was released, and no-one had yet heard about Exit Planet Dust.

Another very apparent feature of Meat Beat Manifesto are the speak-rap vocals of Jack Dangers. Dangers is the main driving force behind Meat Beat Manifesto, and he is absolutely killing it vocally here. His delivery is aggressive yet humorous, very versatile and never backing down. Perhaps the most revealing comparison would be that his vocals remind me strongly of Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka freak-out during the legendary boat scene (“Yes, the danger must be growing, for the rowers keep on rowing, and they’re certainly not showing any signs that they are slowing!”, which was so famously (ab?)used by Pendulum). Dangers’ vocals add a clear punk identity to the record, with authentic 90s politically laden angst flying around your ears non-stop.

What keeps this political bombardment from becoming overbearing are the many samples, often used in a humorous way. The superbly mixed 'Hello Teenage America', with its broad and multidimensional layers being clearly defined, features The Mothers Of Invention (Zappa can be found often on 99%). Its industrial feedback echoing in the background against the latin-esque lead piano sample is superbly well executed. The album’s centre piece and longest track, 'Dogstar Man / Helter Skelter', is amazingly fun, energetic, and diverse, mostly due to its use of samples. In this case: A Clockwork Orange screams, that lead up exquisitely to the climactic sections, mixed with some Pixies vocals from 'Hey', which was released a year earlier. Stitched together from all of these separate elements, topped off with 23 Skidoo sound effects, it makes for a career highlight.

Perhaps the timelessness of this record stems from its industrial influences. According to Discogs, the amount of industrial releases has been rising steadily ever since first surfacing in the 1970s. 99% is filled to the brim with industrial hallmarks: clanging, bangy, repetitive rhythms, anxiety, dissonance, and the aforementioned punky, aggressive vocals. Knowing this, it must come as no surprise that Wax Trax! took care of its US release. Interestingly, the band was dissatisfied with being labelled as an industrial act ever since their debut was released. They therefore heavily featured techno influences on its follow up, 99%. Despite this, industrial influences are ubiquitous still. The first few seconds of early highlight 'Psyche-Out' will hammer this home immediately. Immense, stomping drums, a relentlessly psychotic synth line, and incredibly urgent vocals terrorize you from the get go and explode in your face later on. 'All The Things You Are' features more highly saturated beats, factory banging, metallic samples and some super cool vocals (The Doors, more Zappa).

The album has its lighter moments too. 'Think Fast', despite featuring an incredibly aggressive and neurotic beat, features ethereal and dreamy space sounds, recalling the sunnier moments from Orbital and The Orb. '10 x Faster Than The Speed Of Love', with its funky guitars, recalls early Fatboy Slim, Mr Scruff, and even disco era Daft Punk. It incorporates soulful horn samples, a very pronounced wobbly bassline, and some The Legend of Zelda chanting sounds (“aaaaayyyiieeeee!”). A tune effortlessly blending together a set of sounds as diverse as this absolutely makes for an unforgettable experience.

When looking back, what is remarkable about the references here is that they are all referring to albums that were released many years after 99% came out. Despite this record truly being ahead of its time, and it being credited as a jumping board for trip hop, breakbeat and drum and bass, it remains strangely obscure. It is time to change that, there is something for everyone here.



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user ratings (23)
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Trifolium
November 14th 2021


29139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm in PARAAADISSE NOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW





Thanks Pangea for the quick proof-reading action!

Pangea
November 14th 2021


7740 Comments


this looks good

Digging: Spellling - The Turning Wheel

parksungjoon
November 14th 2021


39264 Comments


criminally overlooked act

Trifolium
November 14th 2021


29139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes. Big time!

Source
November 14th 2021


19349 Comments


heard subliminal sandwich have yet to hear this one

Trifolium
November 14th 2021


29139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

And I have yet to hear Sandwich! Curious! They have changed stuff up a lot, right?

Source
November 14th 2021


19349 Comments


subliminal sandwich is illbient

Trifolium
November 14th 2021


29139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ah yeah, that's something different from this then. I'm definitely going to check more MBM.

Demon of the Fall
November 14th 2021


22519 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Hmm, didn’t love Sub Sammich but will give this a go maybe. Good review Trif, probably (I haven’t read it yet).

Digging: MONODRAMA - mndrmooaa

Trifolium
November 14th 2021


29139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hihihihi thank you for the unshakable faith Demon!

Trifolium
November 15th 2021


29139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Another day, some more Meat Beat Manifesto.

Pikazilla
November 15th 2021


20630 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Time for some meat beat

Trifolium
November 15th 2021


29139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

😬



That name. It might be why they didn't become more popular...

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
November 15th 2021


10249 Comments


Trif! This sounds cool!

Trifolium
November 15th 2021


29139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh man, it so is!!! Great energy, lots of cool stuff happening.

normaloctagon
November 15th 2021


8032 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

man, stellar review and advocacy as always. will be checking this soon

Digging: MF DOOM - Special Herbs 7,8

Trifolium
November 16th 2021


29139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks occy 💖🤗

Hope you find something here. It's a nice little weirdo of a record. Psyche-Out should appeal to anyone!

Trifolium
November 18th 2021


29139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh my god that booooooooooooom from Now into PSYCHE-OUT!!!! That track is so greeeaat. 💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼💥

parksungjoon
November 18th 2021


39264 Comments


the real deal

and yea sandwich isnt too too much like this

Trifolium
November 18th 2021


29139 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haven't heard it yet, this is still on daily rotation (and Sisters Of Mercy, good combo!).



But absolutely. What a track. And there's stuff here that even competes with it too!



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