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Surgical Meth Machine

How does that saying go? “If it’s too loud, you’re too old?” Well, if that’s the case, than Uncle Al must still be at an infant to have been able to make something like Surgical Meth Machine. Just when you thought this man couldn’t get any heavier, faster or louder, he goes and shatters your eardrums like never before with his brand new band.

Released via Nuclear Blast, the Industrial pioneer and Metal genius who brought us Ministry, Lard, RevCo, 1000 Homo DJs and a plethora of other acts gives us his fastest music to date with this self titled masterpiece of mayhem. Recorded in his home with engineer Sam D’Ambruoso and featuring guest vocals from longtime friend and fellow Lard member Jello Biafra, Al Jourgensen proves he’s still got it. And the best part is; he doesn’t care.

When Artists create music, or movies, or whatever medium it is they work in, there is always the nerve-wracking business side hanging over the Artist’s head like the sword of Damocles. Every artistic choice you make is haunted by the fear of: is this the right choice because when creating art is your job, or it’s not just about being true to your art. It is a business and for 30+ years, business has been good for the Cuban native. And that is why, this album is so good. There is something liberating about finally not giving a “fuck,” and that is where Al finds himself with this album. He has had an iconic career and has not only created some incredible songs, but he has also been an innovator for a whole genre of music. This album feels very much like Jourgensen just said, “I have an idea and I don’t care if it makes money or sells or whatever because I don’t need to. I just want to make this album.” And that carefree, fun attitude and relaxed sense of nerves has given Jourgensen carte blanche to have fun.

And that is what this album is. It’s fun. It’s high octane, grab you by the jugular and take no prisoners – fun. The album opens with “I’m Sensitive,” which in a tongue-and-cheek way makes a point about all the negativity people spew online. As well, it lets you know this album is beyond criticism because it’s not there to be criticized, it is simply what it is, take it or leave it. Jourgensen refuses to lose sleep over what you think about this album.

Surgical Meth Machine
Surgical Meth Machine
(Nuclear Blast)
Written by: Ryan M. Andrews
7.5 out of 10

My favourite thing about the album is once it starts, it doesn’t stop; literally. There is no pause between tracks and no song fades out. Each song blends from the first into the next and while the album starts off on a heavy note and the first couple songs are ear-shattering masterpieces, the songs slowly begin to mellow, so by the end of the album, it has a completely different sound, but is still recognizable as the same album. On this journey from start to finish, there are a few odd choices, for example, the cover of Devo’s song, “Gates of Steel,” but it works. Devo fits with the insanity of the rest of the album.

This isn’t meant for background noise. Surgical Meth Machine is loud and in your face and for any Uncle Al fans out there, or just speed metal fans in general, this is an album for you.

Album highlights: “I’m Sensitive,” “Tragic Alert” and “I Don’t Wanna.”

Ryan M. Andrews, HMS

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