The Anix – Demolition City (Re-issue)
Release Date: 15/07/22
Running Time: 01:06:49
Review by Dark Juan
It’s fucking wonderful.
I have drunk gallons of the stuff in the past 48 hours. The reason I have been drinking this fine beverage instead of the more usual seeing just how much alcohol I can consume until my liver cries enough is, because I have brewed a batch of wheat beer in Dark Juan Terrace that I am frankly fucking terrified of. Mrs Dark Juan cowers every time she sees a bottle. This is because I have somehow managed to brew a beer so potent it can be used to degrease engines, fuel moonshots and make top fuel dragsters spontaneously explode. I drank a mere THREE bottles and had to be put to bed. Mrs Dark Juan informed me, the morning after, that I had all the grace and majesty of a leaping wombat and that watching me pinball my way off every wall in the house on my way to bed was most entertaining indeed. Whilst, I was cheerfully informed, that I maintained I was entirely sober throughout. Clearly, this was all a massive pack of lies because I don’t get drunk, I get cheerful and I happily reminded Mrs Dark Juan of the time we went to the 1-in-12 in Bradford (the Hellmouth, for reasons that are clear if you live near the infernal charnel pit most of it is) and she got that blattered on ginger ale that an Aussie punk band had brought with them, that she did a runner down Sunbridge Road and had to be recovered by our friend Clive and Dark Juan’s daughter, Lex, had to be pressed into service as a guard in the back of the Rockmobile (being the car I had at the time. A small Toyota Yaris. This is before the time of the Mighty Gothikpanzer and the Schwerer Gothikpanzer) to stop Mrs Dark Juan legging it again. That shut her up. And then I remembered the time I had helped Bri Doom (of Doom) with something there and I got to giggle at a Crust megastar swearing at, and booting, the recalcitrant door of an anarchist Punk club when he couldn’t get it locked…
The point is that I have another thirty bottles of this stuff and I don’t know what I did to make it like this. Oh well, I’ll worry about it later…
The Anix is an Electronic Rock artist and producer from Los Angeles, in the former colonies of Her Majesty – The United States of America. Happy recent Treason Day, ungrateful colonials! No more tea parties for you! Obviously, before any dickheads get their knickers in a knot, I’m fucking joking. Really it has come to something when people are so willing to be offended these days that you have to put a disclaimer in right after a bit of sarcasm… Anyway, the music!
“Demolition City” was originally released in 2008 and The Anix has remastered it for release with FiXT. Now, I’ll be honest, The Anix completely passed Dark Juan by upon its original release, so it was with anticipation I fired up the pooter and clamped my cans on.
Wow. This is an unusual sound. Think of the ultra-high production values of Evanescence’s first two albums – this gives you an idea of the production of the record. It is multi-layered, dense and clean with lots and lots of things going on at once with a guitar sound that is so overproduced it sounds almost like it is artificially generated. Just like Evanescence’s debut. Add to this the industrial aesthetic of Nine Inch Nails, the raw emotion of Smashing Pumpkins and Staind, the pop sensibility of Depeche Mode and Ayria and the gothic electronics of God Module, Gothminister and I: Scintilla. This is the sound of The Anix and in 2008 this would have been an incredibly futuristic record. Listened to in 2022, however, it has become a bit of a time capsule. The aural equivalent of reading 1920’s science fiction where everyone had their own hovercar and food came out of the wall from a slot and no-one needed to work anymore. Do NOT take this as a demerit, though. This type of music is what made Dark Juan diversify his listening to encompass other kinds of music than just Metal and the world is a better place for it.
Rampaging Pop hooks collide with crushing Industrial guitars and 80’s analogue synths blasting out the kind of electronica that required day-glo leg warmers to dance to and over it all glides the crooning, boy band singing and harmonies of The Anix himself in a gloriously joyful and well-meaning explosion of genre-bending. Even his voice, though, is just another weapon in a copious and effective arsenal as he gleefully slams it through square wave processors and vocoders to turn it into a cyborg killing machine intent on making you die from falling in love with it while it cruelly abuses you emotionally. ‘Pull Me Under’ has a lovely little The Cure reference in the intro, verse and the bridge so you can chuck Pop-Goth into the melting pot as well…
It’s no secret I love Electronic Industrial and Synthwave, and this record for me is the juncture where Synthwave split off from Electronic Industrial and went off into its own 80’s time warp. Both electronic genres are heavily present throughout this whole album, most noticeably on ‘Feel Like You’ and ’Emergency’ where stupendously huge choruses meet the kind of Ultravox and Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark synthesisers that abounded in the New Wave and New Romantic eras of British Pop music…
The Anix is also very good at quality control. There have been too many records like this one (I: Scintilla’s second album, particularly) where the band have abandoned the muscularity of their sound in order to chase that elusive prey for the alternative musician, the megahit single. This is not the case with “Demolition City” – from opening cut ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ to the last song there’s a brutally efficient clarity of purpose and sound and a consistency in quality that is truly unusual. A delightful lack of compromise as The Anix gleefully proclaims to the world,
“THIS IS MY MUSIC AND MY FUCKING SOUND. I WILL NOT CHANGE FOR YOU OR ANYONE!”
This sort of stubbornness resonates deeply with Dark Juan. “Demolition City” has gone from nothing to possibly my favourite album of the early 2000’s despite my only hearing it for the first time in 2022. It’s that good. And this re-release just gets better as there are rarities – unreleased tracks and alternate versions galore. For value for money, it can’t be topped. Over 66 minutes of high quality music cannot be denied.
To summarise then – electronic alternative industrial metal. A smorgasbord of disparate influences welded together into a dangerous and exciting new shape and very forward thinking for the brutality-obsessed early 2000s world of Heavy Metal. As a release in the 2020’s though, being harsh, and I am after all supposed to be a critic, there is a certain datedness to the singing, which is very Aaron Lewis and Trent Reznor influenced and would be loved by creepy little Emo’s in stripy tights everywhere. Circa 2006. But I fucking adore this album. It transports me back to good times, and The Anix himself (a person who identifies themselves only as Smith. Actually, I made that up. He’s called Brandon Smith but just Smith sounds better) is a master fucking craftsman of hooks and choruses. This is music you could sing yourself hoarse to for hours on end. There are twenty-one songs on this record and there are NO weak ones. Although ‘Reason To Lust’ sounds disgracefully like something Justin Timberlake might have written, but it is saved by a knowing, winking, tongue in cheek delivery that oozes overblown, silly sexuality throughout.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has dragged his Menace baggies and his Team Satan 666 T-shirt out of the wardrobe and has been gyrating gleefully around the lounge for over an hour and needs a beer. It has some downstairs that Dark Juan has brewed! Oh… wait…
9/10 for a superb album in every department.
01. This Game
02. Bullets Without A Gun
03. Don’t Save Your Breath
04. Half The World Away
05. Nothing lasts Forever
06. No Way Out
07. Double Zero
08. Even If It Kills Me
09. She Lives In The Dark
10. The Ghost Of Me And You
11. The Black Phoenix
12. Feel Like You
14. Between The Lines
15. Double Zero (alternate version)
18. Long Way Out
19. Pull Me Under
20. Reason To Lust
21. Stuck In A Phase
(Brandon) Smith – does everything himself. And he’s a handsome chap too. Bastard.
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.