Look in the middle of the booklet of I.N.R.I.. Right there in the center of the middle page, staring up at you is a little caption. This little caption says, 'Why should I believe if God's not here to save me?' This is how the album begins, with multi-repetitions of this same line. The anti-Christian platitudes don't stop there, though, oh no, that would never do. Practically every lyric on this album has some anti-Christian overtone or other. Maybe it's just me, but this sort of thing just doesn't excite me. Not to infer that I am some sort of fundamental zealot. Not to say that I am offended by this. Not to give the impression that I have any sort of problem with any pro- or anti-religious lyrical content. Just that, on this sort of constant scale, it's easy, clich'd and fucking boring. Sorry, but it is.
It's not big. It's not original. It's just as bad as anyone else that writes singularly about what they believe and nothing else. The only difference being, of course, that anti-Christian sentiment is just one part of I.N.R.I. that appeals directly to the intuition of enough of Psyclon 9's prospective audience to make it viable. But then, that's the whole problem with this album - the compromise between what the band are capable of doing, musically and lyrically, and what they've actually done, seemingly because of what some of their audience said last time around. But let's not get ahead of ourselves here.
I'm going to go out on a limb here, and I'm sure someone will come along and tell me, in great detail, why I'm wrong, but Psyclon 9's debut, Divine Infekt is the best alternative-electronic album I've ever bought. Without falling into the sheer brutality of the noise genre, it still packed one hell of a punch. A series of three minute electro-explosions leave you with the feeling of having just been flattened by something huge. The whole album was urgent, immediate, and unapologetic and all sorts of other banal descriptions that people generally use to infer that something is good.
In a genre that usually deals with six or seven minute monsters, there was something refreshing in what Psyclon 9 were doing. So then, why the fuck has I.N.R.I. destroyed all of that urgency? All of that immediacy? All of that power? Hell, I'm buggered if I know, but whatever it is, I'm sure it's got something to do with that whole, 'pandering to the wishes of your prospective audience thing" I was rambling about earlier. Some people said, "We want longer songs!" Psyclon 9 made their songs longer and in doing so, lost their musical definition.
Okay, so the album isn't all that bad. In fact, it's actually a pretty decent listen most of the time. Punctuated with inspired synth work and enough memorable hooks for a full body suspension, I can't even think of a song on it that I would even say is 'bad'. It just leaves me with this awful feeling of a band that has the ability to be the best, ceasing to be the best for no cogent reason. I'm not going to start throwing around irrelevant terms like, 'selling out' or anything else like that. Just that I.N.R.I. is a massive step backwards. A regression, rather sadly, hidden under the guise of 'evolution', or possibly even that 'maturity' thing that is so much maligned in pop music.
'Rape This World', 'Harlot' and 'Nothing Left' all show hints of what Divine Infekt was all about. The whole album does, really, but even then, those hints do nothing to save this album from blending in with everything else wandering around the in harsh-EBM wilderness at the minute - and this is where I can again say, 'I.N.R.I. appeals directly to the intuition of enough of Psyclon 9's prospective audience to make it viable...' without jumping the gun.
The whole album is one giant compromise, and it shows. It tries to please everyone, and as old Honest Abe once said, "You can please some of the people all the time. You can please all of the people some of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time." Psyclon 9 would do well to take note.
7.0 / 10
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