How did this delightfully nasty musical project escape my awareness up to now? Sometime-collaborator with KMFDM, Nine Inch Nails and Einstürzende Neubauten, Raymond Watts has been intermittently active in his own post-industrial project PIG and enjoying success in Japan since the late ‘80s/early ‘90s. This, his ninth studio recording release, contains 11 tracks with enough jolly rancor, both musically and lyrically, to distinguish itself even from the iconic bands with which it is associated.
Ominous tolling bells, slide guitar riffs and Marilyn Manson-esque tirades pervade this diverse, yet artistically coherent concept album. The title track, “Viva Evil,” says it all: An ebullient and enthusiastic celebration of not so much evil as in-your-face iconoclastic values—an embrace of the nihilism inherent in Industrial culture.
The opening track, “Diamond Sinners,” proceeds at a moderate, syncopated and engaging rhythm. Other tracks, like “I’m So Wrong,” are rapidly paced, cadenced like a frenetic fistfight. A deep, buzzing drone undulates in the background of the seventh track, the gospel music-like “Saturated.” One track, “Toleration of Truth,” grooves along at the pace of a relentless zombie march. Hissing instrumental noise accompanies threatening, yet charming vocals on “The Fly Upon the Pin.” “Mercy Murder” suggests a New Orleans funeral band’s staggering march.
While the overall trend of this album is toward melodious and compelling musical hooks, there are ecstatic bursts of explosiveness, fury and menace in the belching guitars and vocal narratives. Although this qualifies as an excellent entry in the hard rock/psychobilly category, akin to Revolting Cocks and Primus, it also has its share of danceable tracks and employs the entire range of electronic gimmicks to put it in the industrial loop.