White Devil’s “Year of the Tyrant” captures the chaos, confusion, and righteous anger of this very moment. Samples skitter about with gleeful abandon as they are framed within a hard rock/heavy industrial churn. Everything about the sound is super saturated brought almost to the breaking point. These dense collages of samples mixed with intense grooves have a sense of urgency that propels them forward. Completely vocal-less, a narrative emerges through their deft use of found snippets of news broadcasts, found songs, and other elements that filter into the mix. By dovetailing with the sheer madness that engulfed millions of isolated individuals there is a wildness to the entirety of the thing.
Deeply and defiantly anti-establishment, the way the social commentary comes through feels highly reminiscent of Negativland’s early output, for there is a narrative that helps to tie the album together, however loose it may feel at times. Beyond this there is the sheer intensity of Cop Shoot Cop’s early 90s New York City hardcore punk confrontational ethos. Akin to Cop Shoot Cop, the way that the many snippets are distorted into nightmarish visions feels true to their aesthetic. Yet the way that White Devil does it feels distinctly their own – a mixture of old school industrial, plunderphonics, and a whole slew of noisy grime laid on top.
Things start off strong on the kaleidoscopic, almost psychedelic array of different genres blasting off together with “BLS (It’s Gettin’ Kinda Heavy)”. Quite intense with its hard rock riffs and harrowing dialogue is “Intubation” where the sense of unease is explored in full. Deranged with its pure unhinged flow comes “Let It Drip” which covers a wide swath of territory, showing off the coarse nature of public discourse. With a sarcastic take on comes “The Pfeffa”. Elements of metal shine through with “C;):nt”. Various b-movie samples pepper “40 Days”. “You, Too” offers cryptic spirits to rise up. Engulfing the atmosphere “T” presents a somber universe. From Bush to the present “White Devil” goes caustic. “Vesicate (Feeding the Whore)” dives into the way people have it all ripped away. “Hades Sharpens His Teeth” plays up a cacophonous din. “Between The Lines (A Special Message from QAnon)” lets the QAnon tell their story, an odd wrong one. With “Boogaloo Boogie” White Devil brings it all to a funhouse of mirrors finish.
“Year of the Tyrant” shows off White Devil’s undeniable skill at creating a sense of pure delirium and serves as one of the most brutal things I have heard in a long time.