Alec Empire : London Charing Cross Road Mean Fiddler

...this ever-evolving maverick is ahead of the game...

It's only right that the electro-noise revolution's

poster boy should kickstart tonight with 'Everything

Starts With A Fuck'. Breaking the land-speed obscenity

record with a splatter of industrial punk, it's

exactly the entrance we expect from Digital

Hardcore impresario Alec Empire.

Not everything else tonight is quite as abrasive, however:

after all, Empire's last album, 'Intelligence And Sacrifice',

even contained some memorable tunes. And if that album was

his unashamed stab at rockist commercialism then this gig -

albeit in ear-bleeding style - follows suit. Yet when he's

surfing the industrial/nu-metal explosion of 'The Ride' and

'Killing Machine', it becomes clear that these chaotic

sprawls are really just a ploy for luring kids away from

Fred Durst's influence. Because, in the brazen Iggy Pop/Robert

Palmer mix of 'Addicted To You', or the feral punk/techno/metal

car-crash 'Path Of Destruction', there's still enough electronic

trickery, head-fuck noise and street protest lyrics to mean this

ever-evolving maverick is ahead of the game.

Meanwhile outside in Oxford Street they're boarding up the shops before

tomorrow's May Day protests. They're too late.

Alec Empire might now be

aiming at the masses but, in here, the riot's started early.

Jim Alexander

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