Holy hell! When a band I’ve consistently liked over the years fades away then comes crashing back with, not only a solid record but, an album that easily makes it into our year end best list on the strength of their “comeback” then consider us one happy music fan.
But who are we talking about?
For that answer, we have to go back some twenty years and a small Industrial label called Slipdisc Records. They had Nihil. They had Rorschach Test. They had 16Volt. They had Drown. They had The Clay People. All unique. All worth discovering if you haven’t already. Out of those, though, The Clay People immediately stood out by creating these gigantic anthems. Sure, there were the bleeps and boops but the band had metamorphosized from their earlier and decidedly more Industrial sound (Definitely check out Stone-Ten Stitches) into something transcending the genre. And this was back in 1998!
Demon Hero (& other Extraordinary Phantasmagoric Anomalies & Fables) builds off that self-titled monster with probably their most concise record to date and a bit of an anomaly on the MER roster. But the same thing could be said for their time on Slipdisc. Hell, the only time I saw them live they were opening for Type O Negative!
But I digress.
It’s an album that demands to be listened to at high volumes, an unrelenting tour-de-force that rawks hard out of the gates as vocalist Dan Neet screams “Fuck you! You’re not changing my name!” on opener “Utopian Lie”. From there, friends, it just gets better and better.
“Bloodletter” settles even more into the groove of the 1998 self-titled record but make no mistake, Demon Hero is no throwback! This is The Clay People for the 21st Century which is even more biting and visceral than when they first burst onto the scene as Neet growls intensely while uttering lines like “I’ve been plagiarized/I’ve been beat up/I’ve been manipulated/I’ve been gunned down!”
“Now” is shreddy and bestial with Neet bellowing and sounding as ferocious as ever. Remember “Am I Human?” off the seminal self-titled? Well, this is even heavier. And I’d be remiss not to mention the rest of TCP bringing the thunder here. Like Dan Dinsmore, returning on drums, sounding as bombastic as ever with these precision attacks throughout. Then there’s Brian McGarvey and his blistering guitars which reign supreme once again but that’s not all! Walter Flakus of Stabbing Westward and The Dreaming adds his electro prowess alongside programmer Wade Alin while Chris Wyse of Hollywood Vampires and The Cult lends his bass to “genRX” and the “Strange Day” redux (Originally appearing on the aforementioned Stone).
Elsewhere, “Illuminatus” is classic The Clay People with Neet’s biting storytelling and “Palegod” is pummeling and groove heavy, like a more “live” sounding version of something to be found on Stone. Let’s go so far as to say this could be a kindred spirit to “Mechanized Mind” perhaps? “Colossus” sounds just as gigantic as the name implies with Dinsmore’s uncanny beats pounding the way towards an even bigger chorus..and is the “Firestarter” which closes the album, like, THE “Firestarter”???? Indeed it is! That’s how it ends! With a tribal lo-fi approach, the cover works really well and is the best way to end an already impressive album.
Demon Hero (& other Extraordinary Phantasmagoric Anomalies & Fables) is out on September 28th via the almighty Magnetic Eye Records. Pre-orders are up and available by clicking here or here. For the latest on The Clay People, head on over here.