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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Wimpscut
Cannibal Anthem
Metropolis

Rating: 8/10 ?


May 1, 2006
The reason the yearly dose of Wumpscut is so crucial to dark-techno's cred isn't Rudy Ratzinger's dog-like rasp - anyone can do that, if rarely as convincingly - but the casually ferocious imagery he's uniquely able to project. The hardness of this 2006 model, in contrast to last year's astonishing, albeit less angry Evoke, may have resulted from Ratzinger taking too much to heart the disappointed whines of the milky-blue-contact-lens set, who either weren't able to grasp things like the serial killer waltz of "Maiden" or simply refused to try, but either way his base won't be wilting from the first fifteen-odd minutes of Cannibal Anthem.

A fascination with double-bass drums puts the speakers on notice during "Wir Warten" (a splattery growl-along born for silent horror flick backgrounding) and the breathy "Die Liebe." The infinitely melancholic dirge of "Jesus Antichristus" provides the most vivid delineation of the album: it's a Walkman theme for a heave-ho dragging of the crucifix through the frenzied mob, put simply. Such is Ratzinger's power, working things out visually (no, not in the poopy art-creep manner of the energy vampires who take up space in your local arts scene) before trying to match it up to his synth software.

A personal aside: I named 2005's Evoke (or parts thereof) as my top album of the year in a couple of published polls, but - and this may owe some to my having much more comfort in my life this year on many levels and hence requiring less Hannibal Lecter with my morning coffee - I can't recommend Cannibal Anthem as breathlessly. Certainly, compared to the usual Teutonic-electro swill that offers little in the way of sampling innovation this album totally melts, but it is not as daring or thought-provoking as Evoke. It may be that no one can be as efficient as Ratzinger when he's trying to rope the gothie faithful back in after an attack of experimentation, and one can't begrudge him that, really, pearls before swine and all that.

The second half of the record is indeed breezier than the first, speaking to wider themes with less conventional technology. Overwhelming as the above proffered interpretation of "Jesus Antichristus" may sound, Ratzinger's constant companion Jane does show up for some barmy hand-dancing in "Pass Auf," a nice response to last year's "Obsessio."

The sucko part is that there's no set rule dictating when an artist jumps the shark; that's left to everyone's inner critic. Hopefully Ratzinger says screw it, climbs aboard the Harley next time and, oh, whatever, allows Jane to sing about having her sexual organs probed by Alpha Centaurians to a ditty that sounds like a million banjoes. Let the swine eat She Wants Revenge and whatnot.

Reviewed by Eric Saeger
An LAS staff writer based in New Hampshire, Eric Saeger was named alt.flame\'s Newbie of the Year in 2000.

See other reviews by Eric Saeger

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