Armed Audio Warfare indeed! What a perfect title for this massively punishing collection of rare and previously unreleased songs that give a glimpse into what Meat Beat Manifesto's debut album might have sounded like had its masters not been destroyed in a fire. The 11 songs here see Jack Dangers operating in the same fusion of dance, hip-hop, and industrial styles that would make 99% and Satyricon the cult classics they are, but here things are much more intense. One could even make a case that Armed Audio Warfare is one of the hardest and harshest albums of all time. At every twist and turn, hooks and melodies appear out of the acid-rain mist that is the album's heavily distorted and fuzzy underbelly. From its subject matter to its unrelenting sonic buzz, the album evokes a sense that a jackhammer has been used to sculpt its songs. Jack Dangers intones like a madman on "Genocide," a diving and darting dose of screams, Public Enemy-like ferocity, and crunchy electronic sounds that make Nitzer Ebb sound like giggling toddlers. Funky, tropical rhythms worthy of 99% make "Reanimator" a lighter change of pace. "I Got the Fear" pummels a listener with aggressive, metallic sound fragments, seemingly birthing the drill'n'bass genre; one imagines Aphex Twin and Squarepusher drooling and taking notes. "Kick That Man" and "Give Your Body Its Freedom" are the other highlights, both of them political, experimental, and cacophonous masterworks, fitted with pistons and funk. If Dangers sometimes falters a bit when tries to rap over his beautifully squalid songs, one can chalk it up to a sense of humor and move on. Call it the middle ground between Foetus and Public Enemy, but definitely call it a slice of maverick genius. Though one can't guess at how powerful the lost debut album would have been, Armed Audio Warfare is an accessible and stunning masterpiece that makes the loss less painful.
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AllMusic Review by Tim DiGravina