"Destiny won't speak in slogans"
It's been 10 years since Alec Empire's band Atari Teenage Riot burst from the Berlin underground, spawning a record label which offered freedom for many like minded artists who were fed up with the a mucic scene on the verge of an monotonous implosion. Digital Hardcore was born. Towards the end of the last millennium, things weren't looking too good, ATR were collectively burning out, and the elitist underground couldn't cope. The backlash had begun. The backlash was dealt with by using only silence. All the while the rumour mill did it's thing, circling and achieving nothing more than creeping snobbery. But whilst all this was happening, Alec Empire was writing and recording his 'debut' album proper, _Intelligence and Sacrifice.
The first thing you notice on listening to this double cd, is that the songs are certainly more streamlined. They have verses and choruses, they don't frequently breakdown into epileptic mechanical fits. This was, I feel, pivotal to the ATR sound, but ATR this isn't, and it works all the better for it. 'Path of Destruction' lulls you into a mellow sense of security before the riffs kick in, much much harder than any you've heard on a DHR release before. Then for the next 50 minutes of disc one, you get an album so hard and yet so exhillaratingly listenable that Alec Empire fans will define his work as either BIS/AIS, before 'Intelligence and Sacrifice' / after 'Intelligence and Sacrifice'. For better or worse, this album is certainly going to prove a turning point. It's here Alec gets down to business. If it causes the ienvitable cries off "sell out" from within the scene, for using some heavy promotion and a more mainstream approach, then these scenesters then so be it. We can counter that, there is a message here, a phrase the crops up many times on this album, "if you don't hit it, it won't fall"
Isn't it obvious what's going on? "it's time to finish the game."
CD2 is the 'mellower' cd of the two, the cycle, this is where the mindset of Alec Empire comes into play. Opening with '2641998', it's clear that far from being in store for a mellow ride, you are actually going to be listening to a equal yet different heaviness. Heavy beats, cavernous noise, it's a hard disc to listen to after the initial rush of disc one, but it pays off with some great electronic music, and even a track that may well cause you to reach for your line in 'Electric Bodyrock'.
It's going to be interesting to see where 'Intelligence and Sacrifice' takes Alec Empire, and indeed, DHR. This could prove either the new beggining, or it may just fall to bits gloriously. If it does fall, then it'll fall having gained the respect of the harder music lover, the anti-corporate activist, and anyone whom has ever wanted something 'more' from a record.
10Christopher Lloyd's Score