Even though the power-tool bludgeoning of Jim G. Thirlwell's music may have some contemporary cohorts, it's his peculiar brand of lyrical ranting that sets the now NYC-based Thirlwell (better known as Foetus, and all of its various permutations) in a world entirely his own. Imagine a crack-powered Eric Bogosian gargling a bag of nails during one of his true horror shows, city life monologues interspersed with extemporaneous readings from De Sade's 120 Days of Sodom, and you'll be getting close. He's not the type of guy to put on a happy face in his music, but it's that sinister vibe that gives his choice cuts--like "A Prayer for My Death" off 1988's Thaw, and the feverish "The Throne of Agony" off 1985's Nail--their unique bite.
His latest, 2001's Flow, doesn't find Thirlwell breaking any new ground for himself, though it's as dense and death-obsessed as anything he's put out in the past decade. Tracks such as "Cirrhosis of the Heart" and "Victim or Victor?" display his ability to turn any genre--from smoky jazz to surf to Pink Floydian forays--into his own little cesspool of corruption. But what may prove more interesting is Flow's companion album, Blow, due out this fall. On it, Flow's frustrations are remixed by the likes of Amon Tobin and DJ Food. Blow may not turn out to be less wicked than Flow, but at least you'll be able to say it without making a menstrual allusion.