An often startling exclamation of scorching creativity and vicious intent.
Rob Crossan 2008
It's been a long time now since Atari Teenage Riot tore up venues across Europe with their uncompromising mixture of breakbeat, cavernous guitar riffs and heavy-duty techno but Alec Empire has clearly lost absolutely none of his rancor and bite. The Golden Foretaste of Heaven snarls with a turbo fuelled tautness that shows up other electro dabblers to be, well, really rather fey compared to the high tar content bite of this album.
Opener, New Man, comes tearing out of the speakers with Alec growling like a demonic Mark E. Smith about familiar topics of anomie, and urban distress. The diesel smeared choke down an Autobahn is unrelenting on If You Live Or Die with some speaker-erupting synth beats.
The relentless pounding of hell’s dance floor gives way to some sparse distinctly Berlin future city scape atmospherics in 1000 Eyes in which a chink of vulnerability in Empire's amour becomes apparent with the cries of how he wishes to get down on my knees and pray to her with a longing leer that Lou Reed wouldn't be ashamed of.
This is an album that, despite its cacophony of buzz-saw feedback and howling distortion is much more accessible than much of Empire's previous work. This is the sound of a Berlin full of fluorescent strip lights, dawn speed rides around forlorn estates and a constant mazy search through oil drums and factory detritus towards a pulsing dance beat that never quite goes awol.
Empire remains one of the most original pioneers of fusing together the most disparate elements of dance and rock and The Golden Foretaste of Heaven is an often startling exclamation of scorching creativity and vicious intent.