Android Lust is without question one of the world’s most fascinating, innovate and disturbing Industrial acts. While there is a strong live presence incorporating a full band, the music is the work of Shikhee – since 1997 this artist has created some truly chilling and evocative sounds that act as the ultimate sound track to inner turmoil and the sonic embodiment of a person’s dark side. Now 12-years-on, with this special re-issued box-set featuring three albums (the debut ‘Resolution’, the long out of print remix album that accompanied it (‘Evolution’), complete with some new tracks, and a ‘Rarities, Demos & B-Sides’ disk). Through this limited edition collection one is allowed to recapture what made (and still makes) Android Lust so unique within the confines of dark electronic music.
So, to start at the beginning as it were, with ‘Resolution’ and its opening tune ‘In The Arms Of The Heretic’. This evocative darkwave anthem instantly strikes with charming electronics, thumping beats which act as a strong contrast to the haunting samples and screams – you will never hear music that’s more varied in terms of the way that it soothes but still manages to evoke a sense of fear. ‘Refuse’ and Shikhee’s whispers take influence from progressive influences like Placebo and throws them in with the most twisted parts of Psyclon Nine and early Skinny Puppy – its truly violent lyrics and unrelenting EBM-styled alternative sounds will both shock and evoke. ‘Heathen’ is an altogether more melodic affair that draws from coldwave and heavier Industrial styles to hammer the ears with machine beats and symphonic backing bleeps before ‘Cruelty’ creeps in with repetitive samples and chill-out-style synth elements that soon give way to unforgiving mechanised wails and a vast and expansive soundscape based upon pure Throbbing Gristle-influenced Industrial noise.
Follow-up ‘Suffer The Flesh’ has long been a favourite for fans and it’s easy to see why, this one mixes furious electronic drumming, angst-ridden and disturbing vocals and danceable EBM parts that serves to make it the ultimate in alternative and crossover music. By contrast, ‘Spine’ is an enchanting and accessible Cure-meets-Collide-style electro ballad that relies on a backbone seductive samples and soft vocals that contrast completely with the dark and personal themes embedded within the lyrics. ‘Visceral Stimulation’ smacks the listener in the ear immediately with jackhammer beats and intelligent synth work that would make Trent Reznor quiver. Particular highlights include the piercing lines of squelchy electronics that inhabit the track at around four minutes in, accompanied by seductive samples and defiant whispers to close.
‘Used’ is by far the darkest and most exhilarating track on this disk, flies buzz, a woman screams consistently, all-the-while enchanting techno elements and sweet vocals offer up Android Lust’s trademark aural contrast until Shikhee explodes with a tirade that would leave the likes of Al Jourgensen completely stunned. ‘Viscera’ manages to blend orchestral elements within a decadent shell of Portishead-like grace (even with the standard twisted sample) for the album’s best track, before ‘Heathen (Witch’s Hammer)’ pushes in and rocks hard with some quality beats and metallic tones for what can only termed as a real cyberpunk belter that perfectly implants heart pumping heavy-as-hell sounds within a delicate ethereal skeleton. ‘Heathen (A Thousand Thoughts)’ again sees the Shikhee utilise real sonic contrasts to close. The artist creates a fairytale landscape something similar to Faith And The Muse to then throw it in a blender with some of her more avant-garde and rock-orientated influences including Coil and a pinch of Kate Bush.
Now on to ‘Evolution’ – this beast showcases some nifty remixes and some blistering new material. ‘Cherished Agony’ is a true clash of progressive Industrial sounds and violent, almost punk-like vocals. Similarly ‘Amnion’ steps it up a whole new gear in just under three minutes with cutting samples and a brutal hellektro stomp. This one is all set to become a favourite in the future as the impact on the ears is almost mind-blowing.
The ‘Suffer The Flesh (Musculus Infinitus)’ remix by Occulttechnologies that follows is much more cyber-infused than the original – the vocals and the electronic beats have been amplified turning this from a deep and heart-wrenching track to a KMFDM-baiting club hit of epic proportions. I Parasite’s remix of ‘Refuse (This Rotted Heart)’ takes the original formula and explores Shikhee’s strong vocal range while pushing the prominent screaming samples into the background creating a progressive beast with a wide appeal. ‘Cruelty (Culag)’ (remixed by Cydonia) concentrates on beautiful orchestral elements and balances those neatly against Mortiis-esque icy electronics. Follow-up, ‘Where Angels Lie’ utilises Android Lust’s tried-and-tested dark-electro formula and incorporates some skull-pounding rock beats for a great effect. Note the wicked and raw vocals at around 3:12 – here Shikhee displays true passion before a thumping, exotic electronic conclusion. The ‘Suffer The Flesh (Friction)’ mix is more stripped back than the previous versions. Here, the audience can truly appreciate the emotion and ideas behind this twisted-yet-honest track.
‘Slice Of Life’ is a Bauhaus cover and a punky and dark effort that really electrifies the original version with some intricate beeps, contrasting chaotic vocals and persistent off-beat drums. It definitely makes for one of the collection’s highlights. Meanwhile, ‘Downer’ (remixed by Crocodile Shop’ is an exciting drum and bass infected rock-out that splices Shikhee’s strong vocal tones in-between some massive electro-trip-hop-digital-hardcore-type beats. This one’s our standout for this disk. The follow-up, ‘Cruelty (Desolate)’ is again a stripped back take on one of the original tunes. This time, the emphasis is on creating a vast IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) background leaving the listener to appreciate the music first, allowing for them to also appreciate the unnerving sounds that in-turn will inspire a range of emotions. The ‘Cherished Agony (Grandma Moses)’ mix by Gridlock drills a hole through the cranium with its piercing coldwave influences synths and drums that build, lulling the audience into a false sense of security before a slow, mesmerising conclusion. The final track, ‘Eviscerated’ is some pure, back to basics electronic noise, featuring delightful clanging, spooky-yet-enchanting beeps and…an electric drill to finish things off…nice.
The final CD is a collection of rare and un-released material and remixes. It’s pretty interesting stuff. The first tune, ‘I Exist’ was written for ‘The Dividing’ album but discarded. We’re glad this saw the light of day eventually as it’s a strong and complex IDM track with some standout vocals and it readily displays how the band and artist have made a clever progression from pure electro-industrial to more electro-rock over the years. The ‘Where Angels Lie (Writhing)’ remix is a symphonic bleep feast that offers some relaxation (despite the searing emotion embedded within the lyrics), alongside an eerie sense of peace following the onslaught of the previous track.
Next, the original 1996 ‘Spine’ demo (with added guitars) sounds like a more sensually satisfying KidneyThieves – it’s pure aural destruction and one of the best tracks on here. The second ‘Suffer The Flesh’ Occulttechnologies remix (that wasn’t included on ‘Evolution’) is a more straight-forward dance tune (with added creepy vocals…of course) that leads into the ’94 pre-Android Lust demo of ‘Sin’. This one’s a surprising keyboard-led post-punk style ballad featuring some nice acoustic guitar and a very credible vocal performance from Shikhee – a definite departure from what most will know. The ‘Cherished Agony (Last Drops)’ remix meanwhile strikes as a tub-thumping powerhouse that arguably carries more impact than the original with its hammering beats, intelligent breaks and the vengeful and pained vocals. The ‘Used’ original demo follows, and again sounds much more “Goth” sounding than the established AL sound – this first material will undoubtedly appeal to fans of stuff like A Place To Bury Strangers and Scarling.
The ‘Sin (Sympathy Mix)‘ by I Parasite is next and it’s a fully rocked-up take on the original – it would be great to see both of these bands perform live on stage together one day to see how that would work out. This mix is blissfully dark stuff. As the album comes to a close, the original ’96 demo of ‘Down’ hits hard and fast with its emotive gothic elements before ‘Prisoner’ takes over. It’s great to hear this early stuff – it knocks the socks right off of cult early 90s acts like Switchblade Symphony and modern day weirdos like Rolo Tomassi– quality stuff. The final track of the collection is ‘Burnt’ which was written to accompany the track ‘Burn’ from ‘The Dividing’ album – it’s typically haunting but the keyboard elements serve to create that intense, frightening, and yet weirdly appealing musical landscape the Shikhee loves so much.
With a collection this strong, Android Lust cement their status as one of pure Industrial’s defining acts – this material is haunting, hard-hitting and strangely addictive.
For fans of: Skinny Puppy, Mortiis, Faith And The Muse
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