Reviews Written by
Daniel R Barnett (Dallas, TX United States)

Industrial Fucking Strength, Vol. 4: Chillin Is Killin ~ Lenny Dee

The evolution of hardcore and speedcore, August 12, 2004

First things first. Take a good look at the performers featured on IFS4: CHILLIN IS KILLIN. Noticably absent are the likes of Delta 9, Temper Tantrum, HCM, DJ Jappo, and the surviving members of DOA. With the sole exception of Dummy Plug Conspiracy, this is the first appearance for everyone on an IFS CD compilation. Even producer Lenny Dee is notably quiet, apparently content with seamlessly mixing the tracks together and throwing in an occasional short bridge. What you get on CHILLIN IS KILLIN appears to be the next evolution of hardcore techno a la Industrial Strength - but it's not without growing pains.

This 2-CD collection begins with a "Chillin Side," which largely focuses on the darker, moodier aspects of hardcore and hard trance. If you still don't have a subwoofer, now might be a good time to get one; the kicks sometimes feel like a challenge to your speakers to not disintegrate into powder. The Outside Agency, DJ Demigod, Earthquake, and Tocsin are among the acts represented here, with Perfect Dark supplying an infections techno/metal hybrid with HERE I STAND. By the time you've made it to the "Killin Side," you'll find yourself waist-deep in speedcore and digital hardcore, hurled almost relentlessly at your ears by Tocsin, Dummy Plug Conspiracy, ROG Hardcore Produktionz, and others. But neither side is exclusively "Chillin" or "Killin," as artists such as belladonnakillz and Sunjammer demonstrate with their own contributions to IFS4.

CHILLIN IS KILLIN shows hardcore at a turning point. Euro-style gabber appears to be long gone from IFS4, although speedcore remains an integral part of the mix. The TR-909 sound remains a staple, but there appears to be a new effort to diversify kick textures and patterns to keep the beat from going stale. Performers on IFS4 occasionally cross-pollenate their sound with drum-and-bass, metal, and apparently even relatively obscure acts such as Le Syndicat. The IFS gender barrier is busted as well, with female artist T-Bone joining her bandmates in Tocsin. And many of the performers show themselves willing to push the frontiers of hardcore in terms of tempo, ambience, and overall sound.
The changes, however, are not without a little strain showing. BASSDRUMSZ by CUT.A.KAOS, RIPPER'S DAWN by DJ Demigod, and A MESSAGE FOR CHRISTINA by DJ Torture are fairly tedious; the latter plays like the poor man's YA MUTHA by DOA. Some of the performances are a bit messy, though not quite to the point of near-collapse seen in the Brutal Truth/DJ Freak collaboration on Earache's HELLSPAWN. I get the feeling that IFS4 is looking for its own identity, but it could be that maybe it's already found it and is daring everyone to catch up.

All in all, CHILLIN IS KILLIN is definitely worth checking out. It will be very interesting to see where Lenny Dee takes us next.