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Society 1
The Sound That Ends Creation (CD)
Fearing the Exit (DVD)
Earache Records
www.earache.com


This one almost got moved out of the stack, but since it came with an accompanying DVD, I'm giving them both the treatment. I should note that the same standard I hold for the musical CD I do not hold for the DVD documentary since I consider the DVD to be only for hardcore fans, and will, as such, view it from that perspective.

Society 1 is the brainchild of porn auteur Matt Zane. For a while in the '90s, Zane defined the ideal of the Gen-X porn genre, whatever that was. After making his millions, and presumably bored with the limitations of his craft, he decided to transport his hedonistic lifestyle into the one medium that was almost certain to get him even more free sex: hard rock music. Mr. Zane likes to call himself "The Lord", which it seems, is the bait on the end of a large hook designed to land some sort of Tipper Gore-type of fish. Society 1 is today's Marilyn Manson or Insane Clown Posse. I mean, we all know the routine by now. HM is decidedly uninterested in the whole controversy aspect of shameless self-promotion except to note that it is a nearly perfect symbiotic relationship. Conservative media whores would be lost and cashless without their complementary, adulterous devils. With names like Sin, Dirt, The Lord and um… Preston, I can only surmise that these chaps are just champing at the bit to find their Right-Wing Christian Playmate. I'm a little concerned about Preston though. His name seems to indicate a lack of commitment, or perhaps a penchant for underachieving. C'mon, can't you at least have a name like Vice, or Chlamydia or something?

But anyway, whaddya say Mr. Jerry Falwell? You haven't said anything ridiculously stupid in at least 6 months, and it's possible that the public has nearly and collectively forgotten about you. Now I'm just guessing here, but I expect that the coffers get to overflowin' every time you put your foot in your mouth. Might I introduce you to Society 1? You have it on my word as a scholar and a gentleman that they are a low and foul breed who espouse the virtues of those corporeal delights you have sworn to eradicate. By God, I expect that they are corrupting your very grandchildren at this moment. So, Jer, (can I call you "Jer?") let's cracking on that media circus!

Okay, It's time to be somewhat serious now. I've gotta say something about the music, so here it is: Society 1 is a competent but uninspired band. They've drawn from numerous sources including Metallica, Danzig and Pantera to create a highly marketable but none-too-challenging musical foundation for Zane's political platform of Sex, Piercings and Rock & Roll. To their credit, they're pretty successful at integrating what they've learned from other bands together, but when you primarily draw from inspirations that themselves are remarkably similar, the outcome of your own efforts becomes rather indistinguishable from the source material. Matt has a manifesto of sorts proclaiming a new way to live in which the person becomes subjugated to his own impulses and urges. He claims that he's not in it for the money, and for someone who is already very rich, that can probably be taken on its own merits. However, to be judged within this medium, a new way to live matters precious little when you've accompanied it with an old and established way of making music. Herein, the message may be dangerous, but the delivery is a tad mundane and played out.

Now for the DVD: The first documentary is compiled from band members' and crew members' personal video footage. The majority of this comes from numerous tour dates that all show the same thing: Matt Zane screaming at fans, daring them to come onstage and fuck him in the ass; he censures them profusely when they fail to take his offer. Afterward, he has sex with some possibly underage groupie in his limo. The irony of this repetitive tedium coming from an ex-porn director is not lost on me. If your interest is to catch fleeting images of tits as viewed through a night-vision video camera, then this will provide mild titillation. If you expect to gain some pithy insight into the band, then you will tire of it quickly. Documentary is probably the wrong label for this; videolog would be better.

The second documentary was clearly produced by another source, and has much better footage of the concerts, including a detailed section where Zane is suspended by surgical hooks through his flesh prior to and during the performing of his show. The whole suspended-side-o-beef angle is built up with a great deal of aplomb, and while I've never actually been suspended in that manner, I know that the Jim Rose folks regularly make their daily salt off of similar stunts. So, maybe it's a big deal and maybe it isn't. There seems to be more telling than showing of the danger involved, but I'll at least credit them for talking a good game. Unfortunately, the talk goes well beyond my interest level, and I went to 4X and 16X a few times just to get to the hangin' bits. There is more live performing here, but it is still well under what I would expect to be paying for - were I a loyal fan. There are also a few MTV-style videos contained on the disc as well. I found these to be a bit disappointing as they had a far too slick veneer for what I'm supposed to believe is a seedy and 'underground' type of band. If you want someone to believe that you really are out on the fringe, high-dollar productions are strictly verboten.

-JD

Track Listing (CD):
1. It Isn't Me
2. Let Me Live
3. 6 Months
4. No Father
5. Touch A Girl
6. Realms Of Bliss
7. Lord
8. I Love Her
9. Bleed
10. Enraptured
11. Skies
12. Wounded Veins


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Mike Doughty



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