ON THE AGGROMETER, Justin Broadrick not only lives in the red, his blood is splattered all over the VU meters. Godflesh makes Ministry sound like Journey, White Zombie like The Monkees, and Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor like Michael Bolton. We're not talkin' tame. Yet this heavy lead pail of despair and nihilism is ultra-crafted, with Broadrick's scorched vocal chords treated for precise emotional impact when he delivers his accusatory brand of lyrical moral politics. Nietsche and Lovecraft would both enjoy his tales of skull-splitting woe. And the musicianship is beyond peer: The thudding bass is given a sub-dub treatment, the percussion tracks echo and clang like cemetery gates slamming shut, and the relentlessly grinding synth/guitar motifs, leavened by sampling technology, attain a mantra-like hypnotic glow that's devastatingly effective.
An Andres Serrano photo on the sleeve just adds to the tasteful presentation.
Rarities, B-Sides and Other Stuff
ALTHOUGH THIS IS the second remix package released by singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan since 1993's exquisite Fumbling Toward Ecstasy, it's anything but a rehash. The fact that classics from her first three albums are so alluring in their new guise attests to the breadth of McLachlan's musical sensibilities. Fans who don't warm to extended dance mixes of "Vox," "Into the Fire" and "Possession" can take heart in the shimmering "I Will Remember You" and inspired covers of Joni Mitchell's "Blue" and an old Gordon Lightfoot gem, "Song for Winter's Night." As she glides from rainy day moods into techno tracks and back, McLachlan never leaves her soulfulness behind.
WHAT ON EARTH is Herbie Hancock--sideman to the peerless Miles Davis, colleague of Wayne Shorter and Ron Carter, and postbop pianist extraordinaire--doing turning out jazz renditions of Don Henley's insufferable "New York Minute?" Crafting a new jazz canon is one thing, but Hancock, a superb arranger, takes the long way to get to it, working up after-hours renditions of pop tunes like John Lennon's "Norwegian Wood," Stevie Wonder's "You've Got It Bad, Girl," and, gulp, Kurt Cobain's "All Apologies." In Hancock's hands, even a chestnut like Art Garfunkel's "Scarborough Fair" works pretty well as late-night mood music. Just don't let a purist catch you enjoying this odd excursion.
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