On Liquid, Alan Wilder furthers his exploration of the lush, moody, and often haunting arrangements found on 1997's Unsound Methods. The unique blend of intricate electronic programming, crashing drums, and swirling strings found over the course of the album's ten tracks is injected with a dose of explosive energy and emotion by a collection of guest vocalists and lyricists. On board this time are Diamanda Galás, Nicole Blackman, Samantha Coerbell, Rosa M. Torras, Reto Buhle, and the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet. Liquid is also a very personal affair for Wilder. While he and a friend were driving through the Scottish countryside in 1994, a Tornado Bomber crashed in front of their car, killing the pilot. Shaken at what he had just witnessed, Wilder began to wonder what must have gone through the pilot's mind during those last few seconds before impact. Wilder's fourth full-length release as Recoil and second since parting with Depeche Mode, Liquid is a concept album that serves as a look into the mind of a warped and jaded man who's life is flashing in front of his eyes. With "Black Box (Pt.1)" and "Black Box (Pt.2)" serving as the album's bookends, the tracks in between reveal a life full of violence, sex, drug abuse, and remorse. Adding to Liquid's intense and cinematic tone are the lyrics contributed by Wilder's roster of guest artists. On "Want," Nicole Blackman adds "I want to keep you alive so there is always the possibility of murder later." She returns on "Breath Control" to confess to a sordid tale of autoerotic asphyxiation. One of Liquid's highlights, and perhaps the album's most accessible track, is "Jezebel." Reminiscent of the songs from Moby's Play, "Jezebel" is a brooding electro-gospel arrangement that features the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet singing traditional lyrics about sin and salvation. With the release of Unsound Methods, it was evident that Wilder was more interested in pushing artistic boundaries than searching for commercial success. With Liquid, he manages to distance himself from the mainstream even further, but he does so without isolating casual observers. Taking listeners through a roller coaster of powerful emotions, Liquid is proof that Wilder is still full of fresh ideas.
AllMusic Review by Don Kline