Mussolini Headkick – “Themes For Violent Retribution” (1989)

I suspect when this came out back in 1989 that more than a few people were confused and thought this a fascist album, what with the band called Mussolini Headkick and the swastika on the front cover. But the image is actually anti-fascist, showing a Christ-like figure being crucified on a swastika, and the band name is a reference to the fact that Mussolini, Europe’s other and often forgotten fascist, literally got his head kicked in by his own people after they executed him in 1945. And the lyrics… well, let’s just say they’re clearly anti-fascist, though I suspect the group is casting a wide net with regards to what meets the definition of fascism as it sounds like they’re anti a lot of stuff.

Mussolini Headkick been described as industrial, and there are elements of that genre on Themes For Violent Retribution. That being said, it’s certainly not heavy industrial, nor is it IDM; it’s more like a blend between rock, metal, and industrial that makes interesting use of samples. Sort of a sludgier version of NIN perhaps. We played this for the first time the other night and truth be told it sort of faded into the background, but subsequent and more attentive spins reveal a nuanced album, one more subtle that one would expect. (♠) “Your God Is Dead” is lead by rock guitar sitting on top of sterile drum machine beats with lo-fi distorted vocals and a hint of aggression, a sort of collection of all of the band’s elements. At times it leaves you wanting, wanting it to be just a bit heavier, but overall it’s held up well.

(♠) Certainly more subtle than a literally Mussolini headkick…

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