667 Neighbor of the Beast – Review

667 Neighbor of the Beast

(Industrial Strength/TMC)
by Scott Hefflon

Lenny Dee presents uneasy listening. This double-CD (for the price of one!) is part three of the Industrial Fucking Strength series of hardcore techno, for those unfamiliar with this groundbreaking series. Lenny Dee, producer, pioneering techno DJ, and founder of the label (which went through Earache in the mid-’90s and now goes through ex-Earache GM Eric LeMasters’ The Music Cartel) is credited for having started the first hardcore techno label in the world, as well as one of the first electronic labels in the U.S.. While I like Atari Teenage Riot and the whole DHR (Digital Hardcore Recordings) thing, this stuff hurts my head after a while – the incessant pounding of that one goddamn beat – the devil’s in the details…

DJ Jappo vs Lancinhouse‘s “EXLXAXL (remix)” opens with 20 seconds of Enya (probably from Watermark, also used in Steve Martin’s L.A. Story), then gets creepy with a sample from Scream and the whispering of a (probably copped) Slayerism, “Do you wanna die?,” then beats on that same goddamn beat that’ll get yer ass shakin’ but really drive ya nuts if yer just sitting around the house. Repetitive trance and droning stoner rock have much the same (unwelcome) effect on me: I can feel myself getting dumber as my eyes glaze over, my shoulders slump, and my mouth goes slack.

Later, on Rob Gee‘s “Get the Fuck Up,” the juvenile repetition of the phrase is saved by a Beastie Boys “rock the house” kinda beat, that keeps sliding into that beat again, but is mixed with Metallica’s “Damage, Inc.” in a way those bozos shoulda tried themselves. Yeah, why not go sue someone else for taking music beyond your limited parameters, pit-scratchers!

So while I think hardcore techno/gabber is still only a teenie more creatively interesting and revolutionary than (tired) tried’n’true guitar/bass/drums/vocals, well, it’s a step. I still don’t see how ATR’s tendency to shout “start a revolution!” is supposed to, ya know, change jack shit (it provokes cheering and clapping from the audience, but accomplishes less pleasurable results than white trash rebel yellers hollering “show us your tits!”), but it’s worth a try. Much like “Weird Al” is a “pop culture cuisinart,” hardcore techno is an underground culture cuisinart, and there oughtta be points awarded for calling out where the original samples and beats came from. From Enya to Clive Barker’s Pinhead, there’re samples from all corners here, and culture freaks like myself love to have our ears prick up at a familiar snippet tucked beneath the garbage disposal grind and coked-up beats.

I still prefer “happy hardcore” (peace’n’love at 100 mph!) cuz it’s a weird’n’fun crossbreed of disco, pop divas, amphetamines and humor, and actually has a goddamn melody – and a soaring one at that – but most people don’t know what that is either… Hardcore techno is speedmetal for cyber kids (that tag line is over five years old and still the kids haven’t gotten it), and, well, the next step for people who think Fear Factory stumbled onto something pretty cool (over a half decade ago) but were too goddamn dumb to go anywhere with it.

Maybe some of these names mean something to you: Temper Tantrum vs Unexist, DJ Cybersnuff, Emotional Response, Lenny Dee & the Hardcore Warriors, HCM, The Multi Death Klan, Delta 9, Narotic vs UVC, Lethal Insanity, DOA, Berzerker, Bill, Simo, Seige & Menace, Deadman, Dummy Plug Conspiracy, and DJ Skinhead.
(PO Box 629 Port Washington, NY 11050)