Johan Van Roy has been at this music lark for some time now – nearly twenty years, in fact. And in all that time, he has written and released songs about the darker impulses of human nature, following a similar pattern that appears to have served him well and driven him to ever greater success. Last album Axis Of Evil was, all told, something of a triumph, with a little more flesh on the deathlike bones and featuring some of the best songs of his career. And, indeed, something of a widening of scope in the subject matter.
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Which is why it is a little frustrating to find that this is based around…death, and killing. One or two songs about this would have been fine – say opener Bind, Torture, Kill which steadily builds around one refrain before exploding into life, and Dead March, which pulls the tempo right down into some deathly refrain to stunning effect.
Other tracks: Bleed For Us All is a badly constructed, and rather unsubtle, rant over those who commit violence in the name of religion, although it’s biggest crime is that it is just dull – and a similar fate befalls Menschenfresser (Eat Me). Conspiracy For The Devil is much, much better, based around a thumping beat and slick samples that allow you to avoid the ever-clunky lyrics. Massaker sounds to be rather dated EBM, but then it would, seeing as it appears to be a cover of a Tommi Stumpff track from 1991…
Torment Me is again little to write about, being SC-by-numbers, while Godsend – the first single from the album – is already familiar and works quite well as the sheer rage of the track comes through. Another pick is We Are The Sinners, another track that takes a while to get going, but is well worth sticking with, as the chorus pulls above the murky undercarriage of the rest of the album.
Sadly after that, things head downhill again, with the somewhat questionable misogyny of Fuck You Bitch and the pointless outro that is Rader.
A little less attention to the style and rather more to the substance would make for a far more satisfying whole to this album – as it is we are left with an artist who can do better doing little more than treading water. Sure, there are certainly moments of brilliance, but there is nowhere near enough.