:Wumpscut: | Siamese (review)

Album artwork for :wumpscut: 'Siamese'

:wumpscut: ‘Siamese’ cover art.

The annual springtime ritual has arrived. Time to listen to :Wumpscut:’s latest work, Siamese, and examine its strengths and weaknesses in comparison with at least 12 other full-length albums. This year’s task is made all the more difficult because Siamese arrives on the heels of last year’s Fuckit and Bunkertor 7 Resample, two highpoints of Rudy Ratzinger’s long music career. So how does Siamese stack up? The short answer is somewhat well, but Siamese is no Fuckit.

The album starts off with a scorcher completely out of left field. “Falling From Lucifer’s Grace” pummels the listener with precision electronics and nasty snarling vocals over a bed of sampled heavy metal guitar riffs. Rudy has used guitars sparingly in the past (“Black Death” and “Mortal Highway”) but never to this devastating affect. Yet the guitars seem almost as an afterthought, just another texture for Rudy to play with. A great club stomper, this track gets the album off to a solid start.

The momentum slides immediately afterward with “Boneshaker Baybee (Video Edit)”, the main single (and first full-length :Wumpscut: video). Not a bad song by any means, just a little bizarre. Seemingly about a night at the strip club, the song is repetitive and simple. It also features some really harsh high-pitched sounds, making it at times physically painful to listen to. The video features a computer animated set of skeletal Siamese (conjoined) twins who have been mounted on a pole, as one would find in a museum perhaps. The twins struggle throughout the video to loosen themselves from the pole that is impaling them. It’s comical and a little disturbing, but mostly just weird.

Next up is “Siamese”, which lyrically and thematically would not seem out of place on 1997’s Embryodead. The song describes conjoined twins who hate each other and want the other one dead, but who obviously cannot live without each other. Maybe sort of a gothic retelling of Stuck On You, the comedy starring Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear. Rudy’s pained vocals really stand out here, but the beat drags and doesn’t seem to match the song very well.

“Ziribit” has sort of a honky-tonk feel to it, lots of fun and a nice little interlude. Rudy even makes a half-assed attempt to sync up the beat with samples of a dog barking. As with previous instrumentals, Rudy takes the opportunity to experiment with new sounds and ideas.

“Auf Wiedersehn im Massengrab” and “Teufelszeug” do not fit with the earlier sound of the album, and make the preceding instrumental all the more appropriate as a segue. Oppressive and suffocating, they would not be out of place on 2008’s Schädling, yet they shine a little brighter due to the impassioned vocals. “Teufelszeug” in particular is somewhat interesting in that it sounds a bit like it could be a slower song off of 1993’s Music For A Slaughtering Tribe. In the scheme of things, though, two forgettable tracks.

“Bambam” returns some momentum to the album in an accidental fashion. Practically an instrumental, the high-energy track repeats four gibberish words over and over and over and over again. Here the album veers direction once again with “Loyal To My Hate”, a high-quality standout track. With a driving beat, layered electronics, and clean vocals this wouldn’t seem out of place on Fuckit. Unfortunately, the lyrics do get repetitive by the end.

The quality continues with “Blood Stigmata”, one of the most diverse and interesting songs off of Siamese. With sort of a gothic harpsichord intro, the song goes on many tangents without losing its direction. Rudy throws in some quite out-of-control synthlines into the mix, but he never loses the strong melody and the driving simplistic bassline. Also, importantly, there are enough lyrics to suspend the entire song without repetition. Out of all the songs presented on Siamese this one best captures the spirit and originality of Fuckit.

After an album full of twists and turns, Rudy finishes off with “Killuh”, the first time he has used female vocals since 2007’s Body Census. The song is in Catalan, spoken in the Catalonia region of Spain. Rudy has done many songs with female vocals, but this one ranks pretty high in terms of quality.

In the end, Siamese probably ranks somewhere in the middle in comparison with all other :Wumpscut: albums. Siamese starts out solid, loses direction in the middle, then finishes strong. It’s an album without focus, but also with no bad tracks. Long-time fans will find much to praise, since there are elements drawn from many previous albums. However, fans less familiar with :Wumpscut: would be better off starting with FuckitBunkertor 7Dried Blood of Gomorrha, or Wreath of Barbs.

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