One-man electro-riot Schizoid – the brainchild of Canadian headbanger and anarchist J. Smith – is a brutal combination of techno, punk and grindcore. Unfortunately, it rarely combines the three, choosing instead to switch suddenly from a pounding hardcore beat to thrashy guitars, then onto something more mellow, maybe a sample or two, then back to the punding beat again. And it goes on like that for forty minutes, with very little variety. Add some black metal-style screeched vocals, with so much distortion that you can’t make out the conspiracy theories which are meant to be transforming your outlook as you listen, and you have a pretty impenetrable album.
On further listens, however, it grows. The more restrained sections are quite interesting, with intelligently chosen samples having more effect than some of the childish vocals. These lighter moments serve to break up the noise, preventing it from getting too tedious. The disjointed approach works at times, never dwelling on one noise long enough for the listener to get bored. (I feel I must point out at this stage that I’m actually quite fond of tuneless noise when it’s appropriately used, which it is here.)
There are a few quality tracks, notably the anti-Christmas anthem Indulgence/Compulsion? and the rowdy battle-cry of The Big Picture. Two Minutes Hate is a relaxed, atmospheric calm before the storm, showing what Smith is capable of when he resists the urge to rant. Similarly, when he allows himself to be positive, and offer a solution to the problems he screeches about, Smith shows himself to be intelligent, and not the angry teenager he at first seems. Food For Thought and Elitist Musings are surprisingly adult, while New God is a fantastically tuneless and squelchy anti-organised religion diatribe. And Extict and Obsolete has Daleks in it, which wins my support every time. There are a few too many weak tracks, and a reliance on “it’s all a conspiracy!” outbursts, which get tedious after a while, but All Things Are Connected is a solid album. (Nick Lancaster)