Steroid Maximus


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You may know him better by his stage name, Foetus (and its appetizing variants, which include Scraping Foetus Off the Wheel, You've Got Foetus on Your Breath, and, inevitably, Foetus Interruptus). Or by one of his other multitude of stage names, which include Clint Ruin and Wiseblood. His real name is J.G. Thirlwell, and as Steroid Maximus he has created an instrumental album of strange and stylistically wide-ranging music that is certain to appeal strongly to a few and equally certain to appeal not at all to many. Nothing here is as willfully abrasive as his earliest work under the Foetus moniker, but there's enough kitschy kitchen-sink variety and enough whiplashing genre switches to leave just about any unprepared listener exhaustedly scratching his head. For example: "Tarmac Gris-Gris" combines big-band Latin jazz with bhangra-flavored vocal interjections, while "Enzymes" features accordion, violin, and junkyard percussion and sounds eerily close to something from middle-period Tom Waits. Then there's the straightforward punk-funk energy of "Chaiste," which is also characterized by a faint whiff of spy movie intrigue. Tiring, fascinating, fun, slightly creepy -- it's everything you'd expect in a Thirlwell project.

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