Unit:187 – “Capital Punishment”


Capital Punishment
(C.O.P. Int’l.)

After a long hiatus and band restructuring, Unit:187 has returned. Those familiar with their previous 21st Circuitry releases, especially “Loaded”, will find more of the same here, only in a more refined form.

Unit:187, now only John Morgan and Tod Law, is in a finer form than they’ve ever been in the production and programming departments. Dark and minimalist, though, it lacks the catchiness and easy enjoyability of their earlier works. Where is the “Lardass”, “Nobody”, or “Shitlist” for this album? The material, in general, doesn’t grab on and refuse to let go like it did on previous ventures.

Another obstacle for the band to overcome in their search for new fans is the fact that this is, essentially, a remix album for unreleased material. Included on this nine-song disc are Unit:187 originals of the dark and brooding “Angels”, the hip-hop-ish “Second Class Citizen”, the muted and atmospheric (though dancey) “Euphoria”, and the crawling rhythm of “Infested”. All the tracks are dirty electro with exemplary programming, though the vocals are so minimalist that it hurt my enjoyment of the album. Tod’s vocals are sparser than ever before, receiving almost as little time as the samples.

The other five tracks are remixes, one each of the songs “Second Class Citizen”, “Lust Poison #9”, and “Capital Punishment”, and two remixes of “Anger Management”. Hearing these tracks remixed by Chris Peterson, Anthony Valcic, and others only makes you want more, especially to hear the original Unit:187 versions, but none of that will be found here (though Unit:187’s website [www.unit187.com] promises that all the non-album tracks will show up eventually for free). Decree’s “Dry Heave Mix” drags “Lust Poison #9” through the mud, making the song sound dirtier and noisier than I could have imagined, having heard a clip of the original song. The Anthony Valcic-mixed “Capital Punishment” is enjoyable and shows what promise the song could have, but lacks focus and a real vocal track to add a spine to the song. The real gems of this album lie in the remixes of “Anger Management”, varying from a female-backed dirge to harsh electro goodness. It proves to be the best song out of the lot, for my taste.

All in all, the album (if you can really call it that) has its weaknesses: mainly brevity of material and a lack of Unit:187’s identity within all the mixes. But Unit:187 fans should take note, this band is back, harder and harsher, more grim and smooth than ever before. And it also shows a depth of growth in writing lyrics as well as music, as they’ve strayed from lyricising about inner conflict to take on a more overtly political stance. If they had only included all the original versions as well as remixes, this would have been a rival to the underrated “Loaded”.

(C.O.P. International Records, 981 Aileen St. Oakland, CA 94608)


from IndustrialnatioN Magazine #18 (2003)