Steve Davis and the amalgamation known as +DOG+ have never been predictable when it comes to album content, though they have consistently released noise of the highest quality for over a decade. The group truly hit their stride, however, on their last release, the antisocial masterpiece, Bliss. Forced Morality is equally misanthropic, but less blunt, almost quieter in the harshness.
The album opens with “Generation XXX,” a wall of static and power electronics that lasts for over seven minutes. Things get really interesting, though, with “Gutterman Research.” Clocking in at just under two minutes, it’s a sparse, stark track built around a repetitive motion that subtly shifts tones as the seconds progress. “The Obvious” is even darker, almost minimalistic as delayed, distorted, disembodied screams merge with electronic bass tones. “Satan Sings for Etan” follows in a similar, though much harsher and nightmarish, mode: the voice – a cry of anguish from a soul condemned to torment – dies out early, the soundtrack becoming the background noise of Hell, burning, oppressive chaos. “Mingled” combines rhythmic static with early Kraftwerk-like tones and that tortured, distorted voice in what could perhaps be the ultimate anti-pop song. Clocking in a just over 30 seconds, “Blessed Beasts” is nothing but distorted beat and harsh tone.
It’s not nice music and it’s certainly not pleasant listening. It is (sound) art, but it’s the low art of the gutter, the street and the vulgar city, not of the trust fund elite and the hipster mutual admiration society. It’s also more punk rock than most peacock punk rockers could handle. It’s a reality many of us would prefer to avoid, but few of us can. It’s the truth, cold, hard and non-partial.
We can face the demons, or ignore them.