Jim Farber
January 18, 1991 AT 05:00 AM EST


Current Status
In Season

We gave it a B+

”Are you ready to degrade yourself?” Meat Beat Manifesto asks on their new album, 99%. You’d better be. They subscribe to a growing extremist style known as ”industrial music,” which, broadly speaking, combines the gargantuan beat of a dance club with the wrenching twist of an auto wreck. Groups like Ministry, Skinny Puppy, and Front 242 are the genre’s chief perpetrators. But these dedicated noisemeisters have developed a cruel modus operandi of their own. On their second American album this British band has created a sound that’s at once minimal and overwhelming. Like the most unrelenting house-music groups, they specialize in stark, earsplitting rhythm. The band may add monotonous vocal declamations (suggesting a zombified form of rap) and some ugly keyboard samples, but the center of the sound remains purposely hollow. The point is to infuse the record with a hint of the void. In the process they’ve created dance music thrilling and revolting enough to be ideal for a club at the end of the world. B+

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