Japan's Xinlisupreme took Fat-Cat and the world by jarring, electrical storm with their initial singles and the Tomorrow Never Comes full-length. But the noise experimentalists return before anyone could run for cover, dropping the mini-album Murder License through Fat-Cat's "Splinter Series" CD arm. Tomorrow was defined by juxtaposition, flawlessly playing delicate relent off strobe-lit explosions hardwired to the eyelids. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Murder makes mincemeat of such subtleties. While there are fleeting moments of respite, it is an album preoccupied with frightening, crashing, unending noise -- the sound of industrial culture cannibalizing itself. "I Drew a Picture of My Eyes," "Sakae," "Front of You" -- these pieces build from thrumming basslines to staccato .50-caliber percussion drops, and the forlorn, fatalistic mutterings of humans being eaten by iron smelters. The opening title track is similarly distorted; however, it layers a wayward, keening synth over the chaos, suggesting the Cure's "Just Like Heaven" played backward by berserkers. Later, "I.T.D.O.O.M." discovers a lonely, flute-like instrument wallowing in a world of breezy, grimy manhole covers. The instrument repeats its simple scale as sickly sweet air swirls through sluiceways, and it's calming, to a degree. Still, it's clear the bone-shattering aural grime of Murder's more crippling material is never far away. The album closes with "Count Down," a flawless blend of its two extremes. Fractured beats scatter like cicadas unleashed over a pounding industrial rhythm. Somewhere a melody develops, down beneath the blast doors and corrugated grating. But the machines eventually, finally burn through, silencing Murder License in peels and tears of charred shrapnel.
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AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus