In Flames [1995-1999]
Revolutionary collective mentality aside, you always knew she was the coolest member of Atari Teenage Riot. From her armor-piercing screams, to her Avengers/Carnaby Street/Dominatrix personal aesthetic, she was just radiating superstar anti-diva potential. And now, I finally get a copy of In Flames, and the circle is finally complete. She’s quietly stolen the show from Alec Empire. Take a quickie scan at the packaging: cool slogans, cool collage, cool photos, cool razor sharp bangs, cool liner notes. I’m getting a definite Symbionese Liberation Army vibe here. Or is that S.C.U.M.?
Let’s try and keep it short, like all the best manifestos. In Flames has a messy, “Destroy All Monsters and a drum machine in a blender” sound, which contrasts very, very nicely with the lucidness and clarity of the lyrical strategies. I’m gonna restrain myself from any commentary on the political leanings of the record, either rah-rah or tsk-tsk, but what I will say is this: if you are a girl, you gotta own this record, if you are a boy, you need to hear this record, and THEN go revolt. And the music at times proves more powerful even than the message! The all-around amazing “Girl Serial Killer” has a Wu-Tang Clan motif buried in there somewhere! Björk will surely be covering “You Will Never Get Me,” by next year; it’s the most jaw-dropping moment of musical beauty to come out of the DHR camp since Christoph de Babyon’s “My Confession.” There are the expected moments of angular aggression that one would come to expect from a lynchpin of Atari Teenage Riot, like “In Flames,” but the record on a whole is based upon many distinct and diverse moods. A triumph all the way around, y’know…
Digital Hardcore Recordings, 30 Dean St., London W1V 5AN , UK ; www.digitalhardcore.com