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remik :: Sutcliffe Jügend - When Pornography Is No Longer Enough

Sutcliffe Jügend - When Pornography Is No Longer Enough
Label: Death Factory
Catalog#: DEATH-982
Format: CD, Album, Digipak
Country: Sweden
Released: 14 Sep 1998

Pornography of Violence

For the sake of full disclosure, I should begin by describing my initial reaction to this material. I eagerly fired up this album on my cellphone while riding a tram. But when the first bars (this may not be the most appropriate term here) of the music hit my ears, I caught myself feeling a tinge of embarrassment. I suddenly became concerned whether the person sitting behind me could hear what was coming out of my earphones, and if so, what he would think of me. The sound was so loud and grating, it caused me to reflexively worry about my reputation. Christ, what am I listening to?? If someone overhears it, they'll throw my ass off the tram, or phone the psychiatric emergency services! Such is the power of the deeply ingrained bourgeois conditioning that festers in the unconscious of many a bohemian. Such is also the power and destructive impact of the most radical musical outfit the world has ever known - Sutcliffe Jugend.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki all rolled up in one, if I may put it this way. This is how intense is the shock wave generated by the sounds on this disc. It's a sheer nuclear assault on all taboos and bourgeois conventions. Blood seeping from the nose, and especially the ears. A skull-crushing racket of the highest calibre. A hemorrhaging in the brain. In short, highest achievement.

When pornography is no longer enough, enter Sutcliffe Jugend with its pornography of sonic violence so awesome it brings nations to their knees. This is one of the band's best efforts. It came out on the Swedish label Death Factory (a subsidiary of the legendary Cold Meat Industry). Perhaps in the UK they've had enough of Mr. Kevin Tomkins' craziness -- his wild electronic feedback and distortion mixed with Indian squeals and war cries. Warning! Listening to "WPINLE" on headphones at full volume can induce suicide! (I recommend listening at half volume.) Playing this loud on a stereo, on the other hand, may result in a visit from the police, notified by terrified neighbours convinced that an actual homicide is taking place in your home.

It occurred to me a long time ago that SJ's music would make for an extremely effective CIA interrogation tool (I object to torture on principle, though). I'm surprised the spy agency hasn't thought of this yet. Then again, maybe it has... Osama bin Laden is dead (or so they tell us). Too bad they killed him on the spot. Had they instead forced him to listen to this album, Osama would have in no time shaved off his beard, converted to Christianity, and rebuilt the World Trade Centre -- all by himself! But enough praise; time to take a closer look at the content of this excellent release.

"WPINLE" is the first of two concept albums SJ recorded for Death Factory ("The Victim As Beauty" is the other) whose purpose is to pry into the mind and emotions of a psychopathic serial killer. This is not a new idea, of course. Similar avenues have already been explored since the early 1980s by the likes of Whitehouse (of which Kevin Tomkins used to be a key member) on such releases as "Dedicated To Peter Kurten", "Right To Kill" and "Psychopathia Sexualis". However, those records tend to take a descriptive approach to the subject matter. Typically, under the layer of sick electronics Whitehouse presents some radio or TV announcement about a discovery of a large quantity of human remains. Alternately, a lecturer tells us in a detached manner about the exploits of infamous murderers (see "Psychopathia Sexualis"). Tomkins adopts a very different modus operandi. He has no interest in second-hand reports. Instead, he himself becomes the lust killer! A maniac who explodes into a barrage of the most threatening and demeaning verbal abuse imaginable before he snuffs the life out of each of his victims. This changes everything. The invectives and mad shrieks are so suggestive that the listener begins to seriously wonder whether SJ's leader could be capable of committing a real-life murder... If the listener also makes the mistake of visiting Discogs.com and finds a photo of an unshaven Tomkins with a gleam of madness in his eyes, the listener will become convinced the man is dangerously "psycho". One would do anything to avoid running into this character in a dark alley. Tomkins' deranged holler "GET ON THE F..KING TABLE!" on "First Victim" is a classic moment, a perfect example of how power electronics vocals should be handled. This scream has become part of the canon of the genre in the same way Deathpile's Jonathan Canady's screaming on "G.R." has achieved timeless status. (But that album is another story.)

Eight tracks, seven victims, and confessions of the following sort: "Left To Die With Many Cuts", "My Pleasure Your Pain", "With A Beauty Beyond Compare: Slow Torture". This is what "WPINLE" is about. One of the strongest and most important statements of power electronics ever realized. A masterful work by virtuosos of the genre, and one of the most extreme records in the history of music industry.

It's only music, you might say. True enough. But serial killers are not a literary fiction, or an invention of a handful of underground musicians. Here in Poland we've had such specimens too -- guys like Marchwicki and Staniak, to name a few. We live in a world where pornography is easily accessible to children everywhere (thanks to the Internet). Violence constantly evolves, attaining ever more sophisticated forms, while the blood-soaked images saturating the media don't make much of an impression on anyone anymore.

When you're eating breakfast in the morning, sipping coffee and listening to the news from around the world, keep in mind that a day may come when someone startles you brutally, yelling "Get On The Fu..ing Table!" in your face. And this time it won't be Kevin Tomkins.

(Lots of thanks to Palatrius for translation from Polish.)

1 When Pornography Is No Longer Enough 2:04
2 First Victim: With Knife: Left To Die With Many Cuts 4:20
3 Second Victim: With Brutal Force: My Pleasure Your Pain 3:06
4 Third Victim: With Control: Message To Your Mother 5:50
5 Fourth Victim: With Murderous Passion: Homage To De Sade 4:30
6 Fifth Victim: With Murderous Passion: Homage To De Sade 3:38
7 Sixth Victim: With Venomous Contempt: F.B.C. 4:20
8 Seventh Victim: With A Beauty Beyond Compare: Slow Torture 6:13

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