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Alec Empire - Intelligence and sacrifice (DHR)

Alec Empire in ballad shock! I swear, the eight track on this CD, 'Addicted to you', is about as close to a ballad as everyone's favourite German anarchist disturber of the peace is going to get. He does shout a lot, but it seems to be something of a love song and the music is quite a bit slower and more gentle than the rest of the tracks on display.

OK, that's probably a strange way to kick off a review of the first real solo album by Atari Teenage Riot's in-your-face frontman, as his previous solo outings have been more single based, but by the time you've listened to more than a few minutes of this, you're liable to be as punch drunk as Mike Tyson after a few minutes with Lennox Lewis and could say anything. There are those who'll claim that "Intelligence and sacrifice" is the work of a genius, and admittedly, there is really nothing else around like this, but it really is heavy going. Most of it is made up of thrash metal guitars, gabba rhythms and Alec shouting his fucking head off.

Alec manages to outdo the intensity formerly achieved by ATR through nothing else than simply going all out and bludgeoning the listener. While the "music" of ATR is designed to cause riots, this is too much and is most likely to cause tinitis or possibly deafness. You may actually find yourself wishing for Hanin to come on screeching just to soften the sound.

CD2 is a slightly different prospect, less intensity, a lot of wanky soundscapes and sound effects, with something of free jazz influence. It might be interesting to your average music fan, but anyone who's had an interest in experimental music over the past 20 odd years, it's nothing special. Throbbing Gristle did a lot better in the 70s, this is dated, indulgent and ultimately boring.

Alec Empire may be a genius in the eyes of some, but I find him incredibly self-indulgent and not a little boring. While in his own mind, he's creating brand new and fresh sounds, real geniuses before him have done a lot better.

Donnacha DeLong

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