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Law of Ruins

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Album Review

Six Finger Satellite's final opus (and it is an opus) sees them taking their willfully abrasive terrorism to its logical end by extending their short jabs of no-holds-barred noise rock into space rock territory. Along the way, the band further hones some of the riff-based guitar skronk featured on Severe Exposure and Paranormalized, trying their hands at guitar-less sci-fi creepiness, picking up flashes of dub, and — what's left? — oh yeah, Krautrock. Equaling the length of The Pigeon Is the Most Popular Bird with half the number of songs, you get the feeling within the first few seconds of the opening "Race Against Space" that the record won't be a rehash of the band's earlier catalog. More atmospheric than anything they had done prior, the first 100 seconds consist of warped synth shadings and a dubwise rhythm until shifting into another convincing update of Big Black fused with Devo. "Fall to Pieces" and "The White Visitation" both build on the unsettling ambience of the beginning of the album with seven minutes of ominous hypnotism, as does the twice-as-long "Sea of Tranquility Pts. 1 & 2"; "Visitation" gives the sense of an impending alien abduction. There's also plenty to love for fans who preferred the relatively economical precision of Severe Exposure, as "Bad Aptitude," "New Kind of Rat," and "Surveillance House" keep things relatively short, tense, and sharp. Those who thought keyboards were used a little too much on Paranormalized might appreciate that they're kept around mainly for shading as opposed to driving force.

Biography

Formed: Providence, RI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Indie electro-rock futurists Six Finger Satellite formed in Rhode Island in 1992. Originally comprised of singer/keyboardist J. Ryan, guitarists John MacLean and Peter Phillips, bassist Chris Dixon, and drummer Rick Pelletier, the group soon issued their Sub Pop label debut EP Weapon, followed in 1993 by the full-length The Pigeon Is the Most Popular Bird. Both Phillips and Dixon were gone from the band by the time of 1994's Machine Cuisine 10", recorded exclusively with electronic instruments; bassist...
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Law of Ruins, Six Finger Satellite
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