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Wednesday, January 27, 1999

Review - The Destroyer

Artist: Alec Empire

Posted on Wed, Jan 27, 1999 at 4:00 AM

The Destroyer
Label: Digital Hardcore
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: The Destroyer

Alec Empire is the young man causing a commotion with his agit-prop band Atari Teenage Riot, and his label, Digital Hardcore, shares the name of the "genre" he is most associated with. His vitality, his active struggle against German nationalism and his remixing sensibilities give a distinct identity to his electronic-music forays, from ambient to drum & bass.

"The Destroyer" captures much of Empire's angst, but it's his superfast, distorted beats that liberate. Most of the lyrics are sampled from hip-hop cuts or film -- a Jack Nicholson sample set against a drum break is a speaker-cracking highlight. "Heartbeat That Isn't There," with its emphasis on feel over abrasiveness, sounds more like a personal statement than his political-posturing work with Atari Teenage Riot.

There is no separation in digital hardcore between the snap of the snare and the crackle of a stylus hitting a vinyl record. Empire wants every wall to fall, and this booty-shaking assault is on the way to get it done.

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