Scaterd Few

Sin Disease

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No one could have been adequately prepared for the sort of seismic jolt set off by Sin Disease upon its release. Merciless, brutal, neurotic, Tourettic, and consistently stunning, Scaterd Few's debut didn't push the boundaries of rock -- it annihilated them. Allan Aguirre's vocal delivery was chilling: a wild, unconstrained howl that went from gothic moan to banshee yelp within the space of a single lyric. He sings like a man on fire, wild-eyed and crazy, yelping out each dire prophecy as if every word might be his last. The band's music is equally urgent. Scaterd Few summoned a mad-scientist hybrid of dub, reggae, post-punk, and heavy metal that outshone even visionary avatars like the Pop Group. "While Reprobate" is a searing blast of white noise, Omar Domkus' elastic bass bounding and snapping over Sam West's machine-gun percussion as Aguirre (operating under the infamous pseudonym Ramald Domkus) shrieks lyrics like "Kiss me my sin disease contaminates!/Benevolent apathy regurgitate!" The group's masterpiece, "Later (L.A. 1989)," is bleak and sinister, bassline creepy and shivery as spider's legs with Aguirre again playing prophet of doom. It's a role he fills well -- the bulk of the record is given over to horrific apocalyptic visions of a future where violence and corruption has turned the human race into rotting, staggering zombies. It's no great mystery why such a bleak record inspired mass rejection and rancor, and it was even less surprising when the band revealed that the record's grotesqueries were conceived and recorded under the heavy hand of marijuana. Sin Disease builds to a phenomenally unsettling conclusion: after 15-and-a-half-minute bursts, listeners are treated to the seven-minute "Kill the Sarx II (Apocalypse)," a grim sound collage that begins as unhinged lounge music and very quickly twists into terrifying horror movie shrieks and moans, the product of some unhinged Bunuel fever dream. Despite its initial rejection, Sin Disease was considered a landmark alongside L.S.U.'s Shaded Pain and Undercover's Branded, and Aguirre revived the group in 1994 (drug-free this time) for the more commercial Jawboneofanass.

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