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Sinsation Review

by Ned Raggett

It wasn't necessarily inevitable that Raymond Watts would end up on Trent Reznor's Nothing label, but it also made perfect sense when he did, given the Englishman's propensity for industrial-flavored doom and destruction. Perhaps the connection was a step too far, given how songs like "Serial Killer Thriller" and "Hot Hole" had the same feeling of dancefloor/arena stomp and riff of such Nine Inch Nails numbers as "Last." Then there was the perfectly groan-worthy title "Painiac," which hurts to even say out loud (and let's not moan the various typical-of-the-genre groans about heavy-duty sex and control). However, Watts' ear for trying a variety of different styles wasn't completely lost and, in fact, if Sinsation was Pig's stab at the mainstream, it actually wasn't a bad one. Recording and producing everything himself with the help of guitarist Steve White and a couple of guests (including Underworld's Karl Hyde, who co-wrote and played on the weird, restrained snarl and metallic clangs of "Shell"), Watts is no slouch in the studio. At his most chillingly effective, he includes a forlorn kind of beauty to the album -- the echoed piano and clatter of "Analgesia" and the concluding strings and keyboard tones of "Transceration." Some of the demented horn arrangements and doomy vocal samples about American society call to mind Foetus, while there are enough speed metal guitar parts to satisfy a Guitar Center's worth of thrashers. Indeed, the resemblance of songs like "Hamstrung on the Highway" to later nu-metal/industrial efforts from other bands is almost frightening, though Watts prefers his slightly distanced and distorted singing voice to hoarse MCing. A few songs are more sturm und drang without purpose, such as the brief, spooky instrumental "Golgotha," but generally speaking, there's at least enough to satisfy most listeners inclined to such sounds.

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