Alec Empire - Shivers
Richard Wink 17/06/2009
Alec Empire is a pioneer, a leading light, a risk taker. Best known for founding the noise blitz group Atari Teenage Riot, a techno charged force that combined ideological screams, anime samples and the audio chaos of bombastic break beats. Empire currently sits at the table as an elder statesman, like fellow industrial old timer Trent Reznor he still has an eye for pushing sonic boundaries; however unlike Reznor, Empire appears to have lost all his edge and vitality.
I'm not sure I was expecting a record to assault the senses in a similar vein to 2001's Intelligence and Sacrifice, Shivers is closer to The Golden Foretaste of Heaven; sadly it is almost criminal that opening track 'Control Drug' is a poor man's Pendulum cut.
'Shivers' is a ballad fuelled by Diazepam, a strange song that reminds me of an electro version of Lou Reed's Perfect Day. 'Baby Skulls' has a euro house vibe, with the odd glitch, it is interesting that Empire is messing around with different electronic genres but again it feels more like a pastiche rather then Empire taking an abrupt detour into a groundbreaking new direction.
The standout moment from Shivers is 'If You Live or Die', a euphoric distortion filled beast that finally brings some beats. All momentum is lost on the cockroach crawl of '1000 Eyes' a disappointing end to a higgledy-piggledy EP. Empire seems to be pondering his next move, faced with the realisation that his ferocity has diminished. Is it time for Empire to swallow some of his own medicine? Delete yourself! You got no chance to win!