REVIEW: HIDDEN AGENDA, "Party Killer"

The mystery band that brought the world "Kill Yourself For Satan" and "Keep on Rockin" returns from obscurity to torment us with yet another trash heap of death-obsessed, poorly executed noise. At least they got the title right. Put this CD on when it's time to bring the party to a grinding halt and drive all the guests away.

Unlike their epononymous debut, this CD has an angrier tone and relies more on cover tunes. Be warned, however, that this band isn't using the old "cover song" ploy to get airplay updating a well known song in a more modern style. This band's idea of a cover is "Love Theme from Necromantik", which is a cheesy little solo piano track that reportedly was taken from an underground German film about a necrophile and his "girlfriend." The 70's pop ballad "Feelings" is utterly demolished by gravel voiced Rod Munch and Rael's pain-inducing caterwauling, and the band's continued assault on the genius of Steve Miller continues, with a version of "Big Ol Jet Airliner" that sounds like Nirvana on a very, very off day. Stranger still, the band subjects us to a surf rock version of the theme from 2001 ("Also Surf Zarathustra") and an aptly named track titled "Get that Screaming Bitch out of my Ear" which juxtaposes Pink Floydian piano noodling against shrieking that would make Yoko Ono proud. Truly one of the most unlistenable things I've ever heard.

Despite the irritating nature of many of the tracks, one track has broken out off this retched CD to become a minor underground hit. "Kurt Cobain is Dead, I Wish it Were You" is raw searing anger, primal scream therapy in the vein of John Lennon's first post-Beatles album, backed up by a simple driving drum machine pattern and a grinding guitar riff. Try as I might to dislike and ignore this track, it forces its way back into my brain, if for no other reason than to search for clues as to why Goober screams "What are you doing with that toilet seat cover?" in the middle of the song.

As for the other original songs on the CD, "Seek the Darkness" stands out, simply because it tries to cram so many styles into a single short composition. Failed relationships, rather than revenge, seems to be the primary theme here. "Feelings", "Together For Life", "Kurt Cobain", "Paint you a Picture", "Say Goodbye to Christmas Day" (an apparent homage to Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Nebraska’ period), and "Love Theme from Necromantik" are all love songs in the Hidden Agenda world.

Shamelessly recycling material from their first release, they cram a "remix" of Busload of Nuns, and not one, but two (more like one and-a half) new versions of "Kill Yourself for Satan" in between tracks. At the start of this album, Hidden Agenda lays down their mission statement: "to make just one child cry". With their new release, they should have no problem making children, and adults, not only cry, but double over in agony and beg for death.

In general, this CD is more listenable than their debut (if the word "listenable" can really be applied to the obnoxious noise this band makes).

Rating: two stars (mostly for "Kurt Cobain is Dead")

Your humble servant, Eduard DeColere

Sponsored by the Natasfosuna Corporation for the Morally Corrupt