The difficult to categorize Milemarker, now a Chicago-based quintet, is constantly changing its style and sound, and with Satanic Versus the band manages to do it all on a single disc. From the Faint-styled electro dance of the opening "Join Our Party" to the follow up D.C. angularity of "The Banner to the Sick," Milemarker traverses through more styles than some bands do in their entire careers. If only one of them would stick. There are plenty of stellar moments on the record, but they all come and go almost too unexpectedly, and if you find something compelling going on, odds are they aren't going to keep it up much longer. If the notoriously hard-to-pin-down outfit were to focus on a specific groove, be it technologically enhanced rock or the doom-heavy post-hardcore that is scattered about the record, it's doubtful that it would be long before Milemarker had the market cornered. Half of the disc was recorded by the illustrious Steve Albini, and it's no surprise that these songs sound a bit thicker and tighter than the others, especially the chugging horror that is "New Lexicon," but just when things start to get comfortable, the band shifts down a few more gears and proves that unpredictability is not always the most compelling approach. Nevertheless, they are still a force to be reckoned with, and there is no denying that when they are on, they are very on. Satanic Versus is well worth the time for any fans of the group's past work, but newcomers might have a hard time figuring out what they're getting themselves into over the course of this manic offering.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Peter J. D'Angelo