REVIEW: Krushed Opiates - "Driving the Two-Dimensional Highway"

By Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Chain Border

Driving the Two-Dimensional HighwayApt pupils of the history of industrial and acid house, this collective of coldwave cutmasters, Krushed Opiates, has assembled a seventy-plus minute slamdango affair of A plus rump shaking jams as refreshing as anything released by their contemporaries. Expertly crafted, Driving the Two-Dimensional Highway is a continual blitz of grooves and samples that recalls their roots ala Revolting Cocks and Tackhead and propels the listener into the modern age of rave with respectful nods towards KMFDM and Chemical Brothers. Yet for all of this peer flattery, Krushed Opiates has originated a kitsch unto themselves that will not be denied.

This trio of savvy collaborators, a. Warr (a.k.a. Krush-R), Kevin b. (Skin Receptor), and d. Smith (Opiate Receptor), has pieced Driving with songs from compilations and the previously released Lack of Focus EP (available only as a download), along with new goodies and remixes that seizes control of one's ears and rattles them senseless. Odd that Smith's notoriety separate of Krushed Opiates is he is the brainchild of the highly-publicized Melissa virus; as he is currently repaying his debt to society in prison, the listener will quickly forget his transgressions within minutes of play.

American Blonde struts out with a groovy Lords of Acid-like panache, complete with the scratchy guitar samples and lusty moans. Before one has a chance to dismiss Krushed Opiates as derivative, however, it slips into a Front 242-esque pattern with Boom, which deliciously calls to mind the foundations of the Wax Trax era of industrial, along with its smart-alecky sibling, Boom's Half Brother. Casey steps the pace up with its dick-thrusting grind of slick riffs and twinkling synth notes. This defines what Krushed Opiates is about: evolution of groove splotched with death metal samples and traditional dance beat sensibilities. Beggin' (The Full Remix) is grimy, sassy and confident, while the hilariously titled Flintstones Chewable Morphine is anything but sedate, a seriously infectious jam with an unbelievable mix, one of the sickest vibes of late to challenge Traci Lords' Vampire Mix. And it doesn't stop there.

The next trio of cuts is hard driving club music at its best: Destiny (I Did Nothing Mix), Shutdown and Like Its Nothing crunch forward like Terminator machines wreaking havoc in the future, relentless in their pursuit of the perfect beat while flailing away with vintage Slayer samples that would likely have En Esch licking his chops. Monster sends the play to advanced level until Ripped circumvents back to old school dance conventionalities, complete with the obligatory Carmina Burana sample, while Go brings this steamer slowly into port without ruining the sense of excitability created by the previous songs. There are two unlisted tracks at the end, both of which are catch-your-breath wind-down ear-pleasers.

What is so remarkable about Krushed Opiates is the respect it pays to the veterans of the genre, past and present, while splicing out a distinct niche for itself. The feel of Driving is like taking a retrospective odyssey from the classic years to the new, then dipping us back to the old in salute. Depending on one's tastes, the laden guitar riffs may become overbearing, but to the serious listener, these samples are tasteful, as if Krushed Opiates is flirting with becoming the next Ministry or Rammstein, but having the integrity to discipline themselves before selling out. Said discipline is evident on a track like Master Beat (Mojo Rising Remix), in which the Prodigy-influenced bitch-smacking samples interchange before becoming redundant, a trait Krushed Opiates has seemed to domesticate throughout the entire album. Driving the Two-Dimensional Highway is a highly rewarding knee-jostler that is catchy as all hell and difficult to ignore.

Contact Information:
Post: DSBP, 237 Cagua Dr NE, Albuquerque, NM 87108-1820, USA
Phone: (505) 266-8274

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