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I See Good Spirits…and I See Bad Spirits (1988): You’re Never Gonna Change My Words

My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, I See Good Spirits… and I See Bad Spirits (Wax Trax!, 1988)

[originally posted 17Sep2001]

A montage of sixties pictures of various sorts decorates the album cover.

And this is what the devil does.
photo credit: Amazon

TKK’s debut disc, the soundtrack for a film that never got made (the members of the band met in film school), is one of the first and one of the best releases from the Chicago arm of the scene that has now come to be known as “industrial dance.” Combining the more aggressive pop style Ministry showed on their Twitch release with heavy metal chord progressions and a decidedly darker lyrical bent than much of what was coming from the scene in 1988, Good Spirits/Bad Spirits blazed the trail that the rest of the Chicago bands followed a few years later, when Ministry and its various hangers-on became popular. Far from being the usual industrial-dance beatfest, this disc wanders from turnkey dancefloor work (“Do You Fear for Your Child?”) to anthem rock (“These Remains”) to almost-stock-metal (“Gateway to Hell”) and back again during the slightly-under-an-hour it runs. Instead of being inconsistent, the whole comes off sounding much more interesting than your average album in the genre. On first listen, you’re never sure what’s coming next, and after the unpredictability wears off, the songs themselves are catchy enough for repeated listening. Just don’t try to decipher the lyrics. They’re awful. *** ½

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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