Pigface Below the Belt
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Meg Lee Chin
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Below the Belt is a remix album based on the tracks from A New High in Low. The problem with reviewing remix albums is at what point do you review it for its own merit as a stand-alone album or as a compliment to the original. Below the Belt is one such quandary in that it really can be viewed as both, but reviewing it as either might limit it.

For anyone who's familiar with the Industrial/Experimental group Pigface, headed up by mastermind Martin Atkins, an album full of unusual, trendy and off-the-beaten path tracks is of no surprise. Songs laden with strong drum beats layered with guitars and electronics (samples, keyboards) are the norm, but the occasional interspersing of new concepts are not unheard of.

In comparison to the original album, Below the Belt is a fine change of pace. Curse Mackey's remix of Radio Bagpipe is a nice evolution of the original track, using the main sound theme and adding more to it, bringing more life to the piece. Hanzel Und Gretyl's handling of Nutopia is also a nice change of pace; taking the heavily rock influenced track and infusing it with a steady electronic bass line.

While some tracks retain the integrity of the actual songs, others diverge, using some of the elements, but refocusing the concept of the track. Quoit's rending of More is almost void of the original tone of the track, but plays up the drumbeat and adds snippets from the actual track. First Taken Third Found, redone by JF Coleman, focuses on the primal drums, processing them through synthesizers to achieve its final sound.

What it comes down to is that there really is no new music here. The remixes really only put a fresh new paint job on the original tracks. The great thing, though, is that the remixes don't try to put a "popular" face on the songs. The album is as eclectic as the original. If you like remix albums or loved the original, this album is a good purchase. For those who don't like remixes, this will not change your mind. Below the Belt is a dark evolution away from mainstream.

- - Vane

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