Back at the beginning of 2011 a rather strange album ‘The Kudos Of Serial Killing’ by Section 37 fired up my mental cortex as it was a rather unique way of musically getting beneath the skin of the serial killer. It did this without any real limitations as far as genre conventions were concerned, mixing things up along an electronic backbone musically but it was the voices that it gave the killers that made it most interesting. Narratively the album even went as far as to not just talk about their actions but even to let their voices defend them. I found it a potent and illuminating trip through the psychology of the mass murderer and listening to it again the other day it was like putting on a favourite pair of black gloves, grabbing a sharp blade and popping out to embark on a bit of good clean efficient butchery.
Stuart J Harris just like most killers who are foolish enough to try and team up with others, found himself alone after the recording of this album but then by chance he hooked up with the like-minded John W Frost from an Indie / emo rock band no less and the chance to expand upon the ideas of Kudos was borne. Shortening the group name to Sect 37 we now have an hours-worth companion piece of new music ‘Legion’ or Legio Mihi Nomen Est to dip into the minds of the ‘many’ embarking on the practice of human culling out there.
Divided into 16 parts we move between chilling soundscapes, spoken word pieces and various songs dipping into the killers psyche and sharing their thoughts and reflections on their art. First number proper ‘I Know You Know I Know’ shows that musically this is not going to be tied down (or up). A beat that’s reminiscent of The Orb is joined by vocals from what could easily be an 80’s pop band. The lyrics are naturally a different matter and the contrast between quirky pop and the subject matter make it all the more horrifying. “Save me from the dark in me” says the voice accompanied by minimal ambience on ‘The Call Of Chronozon.’ Whereas the ballad that is ‘Sitting In The Dayroom’ sees a voice that may have been saved from further killing but is incarcerated both mentally and physically with only his no doubt drug stifled memories to live with.
I found one of the most chilling parts of the album ‘What did you do in the war, Daddy’ where we enter the post traumatic fractured mind of one who was taught to kill to such an extent they took trophies of ears and could not revert back to normal life after. It’s an all too familiar tale and taken from its intro of bombs dropping and boots marching to the voice calmly talking about his experiences over ambient electronic beats and militaristic drumming it certainly sends a shiver down the spine. I also loved the Americana twang that gives us the self-described ‘Them Serial Killin’ Blues’ as we all love a good ode of backwoods and moonshine evisceration, well I know I do!
Tracks like ‘Stone Cold Stone’ remind of the likes of GGFH musically and thematically completely at odds with the poppy harmonic croons repeating the track title. It’s a bizarre mixture but in a world where you have a band of stoners from Japan and Yankee redneck death metallers professing their musical hero killing worship I guess it’s far from odd. It’s an eclectic mix here and not just musically, as far as the different reasons for killing are concerned we take a look at several of them as the album progresses. One of the last numbers is left to the ‘Thrill Killer’ and theirs is a grim and eerie musical canvas. The voice states they don’t fit into the normal conventions of the killer but they do it simply for the thrill.
By the time the album is done, it has left you with a really good insight into this compelling phenomena, which in popular culture (look at the likes of Dexter and Hannibal at the moment) is never going to grow out of favour and is always going to have people following it with anti-hero fascination. Sure an album with such subject matter is no rare thing but Sect 37 have addressed it thoughtfully and somewhat uniquely and that is not just on the one level but on many.
Apparently if we all survive until then the project plans to release new material on the annihilation of humanity in 2014. Can’t wait.
(7.5/10 Pete Woods)