Album Review: They Live! - Evil Nine

Back when BlackPlastic first reviewed Evil Nine's FabricLive album it was a pleasant surprise: this wasn't some boring, breaks-fueled yawn affair, it was a Facebook Republican Army-lead riot.

The more BlackPlastic listens to that album the more it becomes apparent that this is a mix album that helped define a genre. It is one of the first mix albums to put Justice, Test Icicles, Mystery Jets and Digitalism into a pot and turn the heat up and it still sounds fresher than most albums that have tried to do the same thing since.

They Live! is the realisation of the dream launched with that mix. This isn't breakbeat but it has breaks. It's not rock msic but it certainly rocks. Previous album You Can Be Special Too had some great crossover moments (the hip-hop influenced 'Crooked' for one) but They Live! works by being more extreme and more appealing at the same time. As if that weren't enough it even has an undead zombie theme.

They Live! does so much that it is one of the finest crossover albums released this year. Title track 'They Live!' is a zombie national anthem, its cold auto-tuned vocals sounding like a clinical and mechanical observation of the apparent futility of human existence.

There are also guest spots (as there were on the last album). El-P turns in a spot on the hard on the outside, soft in the middle 'All The Cash', melancholic in a "I'd throw myself to the zombies to save you" type way. Emily Breeze sounds all goth rock chick in a nineties way that should suck but Evil Nine's minimal approach to thrash metal makes it very, very right.

Concept albums are risky business and, to be honest, BlackPlastic isn't sure this really counts as one because the references are subtle and generally only apparent in tone. Having said which, if They Live! is a concept album then it succeeds with aplomb; this is a blast of a record. If there are any concepts deserving of albums they are surely zombies and / or space. Zombies IN space? We can dream - in the mean time pick up this year's darkest crossover record.

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