Classic Album Review – Ultraviolence “Life of Destructor” 1994
It seems silly to discuss the artistic merit of an Ultraviolence record, but Life of Destructor is different sort of animal. Johnny Violent tries hard to reach out of his hardcore ghetto, striving to be the Wagner of gabber, or Lou Reed if the songs of street level romance were fuelled by PCP instead of mellower fare. Life of Destructor is unique in Violent’s discography, being the closest he can get to subtlety. The songs let the listener come to them, without spoon-feeding the concept the way PsychoDrama over-does it, and wrapped inside that cartoonish cover art is the gripping story of a personality in the process of disintegration. Imagine a copy of The Wall being found by a future advanced civilization who decide that it’s a great concept but needs to be played about ten times faster.
“I Am Destructor” establishes the thudding leitmotiv of the whole piece, before “Electric Chair” takes over and machine-guns its way into your heart. It’s hard to pick stand out tracks, because everything fits into the flow so well. “Hardcore Motherfucker”, at nine minutes, is just as much a cog in the wheel as all 48 seconds of “We Will Break”. It’s all leading somewhere oddly compelling; Violent kept returning to this sonic well for subsequent releases but nothing else made this kind of narrative sense.
An alienating, primitive, unlovely and absolutely indispensable document of the one and only time a hardcore techno or gabber record was a coherent piece of art. 8 out of 10