Review Source: Musick Forum
Release: You Knew It All Along
Label: Facility Records

We knew it all along. How could we ignore it? But what is exactly… that thing? That thing looks like something outside the usual MTV muzak we’ve fed on the last few years. That thing sounds like a denounciation. That thing acts like a mean machine. That thing, after much consideration… is THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN!

What is THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN? An Aggro-Tech (“Industrial” / “Coldwave” for the rest of us) trio from Brooklyn, NY, USA (whose talent makes you wonder why in Hell they aren’t signed yet. I guess that asking the question is answering it!) and “You Knew It All Along” is their latest effort. The third one in fact. Still self-produced mind you and what an effort it is! If you didn’t know all along that it would surpassed the already hard kicking “God In A Box” (Facility Records, 1999), then you’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

The album opens up with the virulent “American Way”. You knew it all along, it’s an anti-Bush song. Just imagine Kevorkian Death Cycle with attitude and you should get the idea. The hip-hop inspired vocal technique of Chvad SB is very effective on that song and bites you on the ass with a vengeance. The song has all the potential of becoming a club hit. Now wake up America to the sweet THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN sound.

But the vitriol bottle has just been opened up. “American Way” is just one bomb thrown at the american society. “Mettle IV: Programmed Apathy”, “Horror Culture III: The Victim”, “Cancer Song”, “Cow Tippin’” (with its pro-PETA message) are more bullets loaded in the gun. You knew it all along… the styles do differ on each song and I appreciated that. THINGS OUTSIDE THE SKIN (or just T.O.T.S. for short) shows diversity in their approach and display musicianship. At times, T.O.T.S. might sound like Skinny Puppy, sometimes like Velvet Acid Christ and from time to time like Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) with a social and political conscience. Or maybe it’s like The Residents on a killing spree. Or is it a bit like a pissed off Al Jourgensen (Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Pailhead, etc) too… but always original. T.O.T.S. has a sound of its own. A sound not easily pigeonholed. Hats off to that.

The fun doesn’t stop there. The gun is still smoking with 2 raw covers. One in-your-face from DEVO (“Going Under”) and an eerie one from… The Spice Girls (“Spice Up Your Life”)!!! Both are excellent by the way. Wait, there’s more: 8 kick-ass remixes from more underground bands (from “You Knew It All Along” and “God In The Box”) + 3 radio edits (“American Way”, “Another Dead Comedian” and “Cow Tippin’”). That’s quite a ride for the money. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s a link to a secret page on the bands website. There you get more remixes and some other goodies.

Personally, it’s my year’s personal favourite from an independant band. The band is tight and the production is nifty. Warning: You might need a few spins before really enjoying the T.O.T.S. wicked sonic mixture. But when you step into Chvad SB’s universe, you get yourself addicted. Well, that’s my case. I knew that all along. “You Knew It All Along” is objectively a great album. I strongly recommend it.

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– review by Alien




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