Although not as well-known as Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Skinny Puppy, KMFDM, or Front Line Assembly, the Thessalonian Dope Gods made some noteworthy contributions to industrial music in the '90s. The Ohio agitators, in fact, showed much promise on this 1994 release, which draws on the influence of Ministry, Nitzer Ebb, and Nine Inch Nails (among others) but also demonstrates that the Gods were striving for originality. One of the things that they have going for them on Urban Witchcraft is an expansive outlook and a willingness to mix things up -- in other words, they aren't afraid to combine industrial with a variety of other styles. Industrial music is the foundation, but during the course of the album, the Thessalonian Dope Gods draw on everything from punk, hardcore, and heavy metal to rap and techno. Industrial purists might think that Urban Witchcraft is too far-reaching, but then, the bandmembers never claimed to be purists; while this CD is industrial-oriented, it certainly doesn't exist in an industrial bubble. As a rule, those who have gotten the most out of Urban Witchcraft are the sort of people who appreciate a variety of music and who are capable of listening to Throbbing Gristle or the Revolting Cocks one minute, Anthrax the next, and Ice-T or the Beastie Boys. Urban Witchcraft is slightly uneven -- many of the tunes are great, while some are merely adequate -- but all things considered, this CD is worth obtaining if you fancy an eclectic, broad-minded approach to industrial music.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson