Call The Ambulance Before I Hurt Myself

Hilt - Call An Ambulance Before I Hurt Myself ©1989 Nettwerk
1. Hilter
2. Stone Man
3. Down On Mommy's Farm
4. Baby Fly Away
5. Let's Fall Out
6. Get Stuck
7. Septic
8. I'm Standing On The Rim
9. Back To Insanity
10. Jah Mon Rasta
11. Come Alive
12. Smut Peddlar (blender Licker)
13. Get Out Of The Grave, Alan
14. Young Hearts
15. Squeltch
16. Wood Soup

In yet another side project for Skinny Puppy's DR Goettel and Cevin Key, as well as Puppy producer David Ogilvie, Hilt is the creation of Alan Nelson, who provided live visuals for Skinny Puppy in the past. The resulting band is a beat heavy neo-industrial band with the occasional attitude of a hardcore punk band. Call the Ambulance Before I Hurt Myself, the first album to erupt from the group's collective mind, is a varied product with quite a bit of interesting material coupled with some rather flat and dull filler. Some of the songs barely contain the chaos brewing just below the surface, such as "Down on Mommy's Farm" or the build into neo-speed metal percussion in the album opener "Hilter". Other tracks are a bit more mood oriented, such as "Get Stuck" or "Come Alive". Nelson's voice is rather dry, occasionally tongue in cheek and even as if he's completely losing his mind while recording the vocal tracks ("Back to Insanity", how fitting) throughout this record. Meanwhile, the music relies quite a bit on heavy set beats, though often they are very straightforward. Manically distorted guitar squeals and synth washes help complete the sound. At times the music gets either too dense or lacking the dynamics to push the song forward and the result is some less than engaging material. However, some of the better songs make the CD worth the while, particularly since it includes five bonus tracks not to be found on the old cassette or vinyl version. The skip button may come in handy for Call the Ambulance... but Hilt is definitely one of the more interesting side projects of Skinny Puppy.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/2001

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Orange Pony EP

Hilt - Orange Pony EP ©1991 Nettwerk
1. Orange Pony
2. Green Love
3. Yellow Sunshine (explosions In My Head)
4. White Stuff

This Hilt EP featured a lot of progression from their debut album. The first two tracks are dub/reggae based (blame it on Ryan Moore, who guested here and is a huge dub fan). Both have some booty-shaking ability and "Green Love" features some neato wah-pedal guitar jamming. "Yellow Sunshine (explosions in my head)" is a bit more ambient with Hilt leader Alan Nelson talking in the background in his deadpan voice before eventually dissolving into noise and chaos. This EP is actually a nice forerunner to their excellent Journey to the Centre of the Bowl and naturally is a must for anyone into the family tree of Skinny Puppy as DR Goettel and Cevin Key are both members of Hilt as well.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/1999

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Journey To The Center Of The Bowl

Hilt - Journey To The Center Of The Bowl ©1991 Nettwerk
1. Birdwatcher
2. 950
3. Superhoney
4. Way Out There
5. 222
6. El Diablo
7. Loudmouth Canyon
8. Home
9. 314
10. Sandy Feet
11. Never Gonna Fall Again
12. Walkin On Thunder
13. Crazy For You
14. Real Cool Rain
15. World's Goin Down
16. The Ride

To give you an idea of how much I have loved this album, I've worn out multiple cassette copies from overplaying them. Fortunately, I now have Journey to the Center of the Bowl on CD and hopefully that'll alleviate any further mishaps with the album.

As the title suggests, Journey is indeed just that. Compared to the project's first release, Call the Ambulance Before I Hurt Myself, Journey is an extremely diverse and far ranging album that offers more stylistic variations than nearly any of the project's contributors other projects. The album offers the signature weird synthesizer and keyboard work of Cevin Key and D.R. Goettel, but it also benefits from far ranging musical concepts injected into the craft. As a result, Journey is a fantastic, heavily psychedelic industrialized rock album that is certain to take the willing listener through more deviations, twists and turns than nearly any other album from the 90s. Unlike Hilt's debut, Journey is fleshed out and well developed, offering more than just chaotic rampages through frantic drum machine bursts. There are hints of Americana "truck-stop" music with the western guitar on "Superhoney", contemplative and beautiful forays into quiet psychedelica on "Way Out There" and obligatory thrashfests of "450" or "222". Some of these songs are extremely memorable and at the very least, there is a common thread winding throughout the entire disc that gives it an incredible sense of continuity, requiring a full listen from beginning to end. The last six tracks gel so completely that the listener will be fully engulfed by the music. The only drawback is the album ends so abruptly that it is disconcerting and a slight letdown after hearing such a great series of songs.

I cannot express completely how much I have enjoyed this album over the years. The production is stellar, allowing for the core of the song to work intuitively with the sound effects and treatments that Key and Goettel are so inclined to include. Alan Nelson's vocals are drab and tuneless, yet they work very well for what the music is accomplishing here. Journey to the Center of the Bowl is easily my favorite project to ever be associated with the Skinny Puppy family and is of the highest recommendation.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/2001

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