Amen RoadRunner Records

As ever, this arrives with a biog of such utter shite proclaiming it's importance and all that guff. Yeah, ok, it's angrier than the Sex Pistols ever were? If you say so. And even if it were true, what the hell relevance has that got anyway? None. That was more than 20 years ago. This is now.

So yeah, we've got an angry record ok. You can hear the gitted teeth singing in places, you know the sort of thing. Force the words out instead of enunciating. But anyway, to say this angry is true. It's also very American centric in it's bile and outpouring of anger. Opening track Coma America is little over 2 minutes of soundbites. A theme that appears to recur on I Don't Sleep. Of course I'm guessing cos I have no lyric sheet. But yeah, soundbites. Actually Coma America reminds me of the first time I ever heard Warrior Soul. Biting political rhetoric they were doing at the time, and well received. Look what happened to them. Most songs hover around the 3 minute mark or even less, and let's face it, anyone who believes that someone can put forward a political manifesto in that time is going to be one scary fucker. I wouldn't trust them. All you can ever hope to do with something like this is to encourage people to investigate a topic a little further and do some real research and try to arrive and some real answers.

TV Womb seems to be an attack upon the reliance of people on TV, almost equating it I guess to being in the mothers womb, safe and sound, protected from the harsh realities of life in the comfort of your own TV set.

Nothing wrong with this, but itís not revolutionary. The comparison with the Sex Pistols. Iíve heard them described as well as what the Dead Kennedys wouldíve been 20 years after their time. Bollocks. Amen use music many others are peddling as the means to convey their message. the DKs were creating music that was different as well within the context of the genre they were operating in. To me there is no comparison. Amen arenít bad, but they shouldnít even be considered in the same breath yet. That will take a bit more time, and something with more substance than what is currently on offer. Down Human has a cool riff in there, as does Drive - which is one of the best songs on here, but Iíve heard similar riffs in many other CDs.

This whole thing ainít bad, but there gets a point where hype kind of overtakes reality, and this for me is a case in point. Accept it for what it is, and itís a class CD. Any more than that .... well not for me thanks.

And yep, I know, theyíre not on RoadRunner anymore.


Rico - Sanctuary Medicines

Sometimes it gets tricky to review something. It shouldn't, but I'm only human. What am I on about? I'm on about reviewing something which the mainstream media has almost unanimously voted as being akin to the second coming. It's like, do you review without prejudice, solely based on the music (which of course you should), or do you kind of review against the music and also this hail of hype. I often tend towards the later. Which could well be wrong, but thatís how it is. So at the moment I feel like "Rico, you'd better be Jesus fucking Christ". Not the way it should be really is it? No, but like I said, I'm only human. Still, aparantly, according to Shave Your Head, "if you're still making records without your pain, then you're still making records that sound the same". Wooooo, controversial. Yeah, pain and angst is fine. But you can also enjoy life. A balance is quite nice. I don't like bands that are 100% politicial all the time without lightning up. Same as I don't like bands that are just party party party all the time, hey, everyone gets depressed. Reflect that. And don't like stuff which is 100% "man, I'm fucked. I'm disturbed I am. I feel pain you can't feel". Fuck off, if you think that then you're just an egotistical little fuck. Now a hint of all those is how it should be. A moody little fucker who sometimes thinks everything is great, and sometimes feels insecure and in the pits. Ok, so that's how I see myself and obviously I apply that to how I see things. But that's what Rico is doing. If of course it's all "real" and not "fake". Sorry, went off track again there. Music, what about the music?

Well, this isn't quite the second coming for me. Yeah, it's good. There are some decent tunes in here, as well as some stuff which simply doesnít move me at all. To me and the little that I know, it sounds NIN inspired and influenced. But I've been told this is awesome, and I'm getting uppity about it. Maybe that's a good sign. I think music should be able to instill passion in you in doses.

Tracks such as Aeroplane which says "it's alright" kind of sum themselves up for me. It's alright. Doesn't excite me though. Smokescreen goes for a more brooding ominous feel looping guitars building a sense of doom and despair. Black Limo is more of a "rock" affair, loud crashing guitars. Still doesn't grip though while Float feels more electronic new wavey sort of thing. Come on, tell me I'm wrong, I don't know what I'm talking about. Overload is one of my favourites, the melody and troubled vocals finally mix into something that appeals to me. Of course This+That is the big fuck you song. Every line starting with a fuck. Sure, it'll grab attention. Good song though? Well, it's ok, but in terms of the "oh my good god look at all those fucks, how offensive" it's nothing like as good a song from a pure song perspective as say Tool's Aenima. There are some funny elements to it, "fuck Elvis is dead" but whether it's meant to be or not, it'll come across more as a shock song, an anthem for a generation of people looking to swear with a purpose. Much like Rage's "fuck you I won't do what you tell me" line. Which is boring. It starts electronic and moody, before building to the apocalyptic fuck you climax. Kind of feels it would've been better electronic all the way through. Attack Me ain't bad, "attack me" comes the cry.

I think that this is the sort of music that if it is going to sink in with me, needs more than a few listens before it happens. And at the moment, no matter how much I try, I just see an OK album.