Steroid Maximus
Ipecac Records

First appeared in the Seattle Weekly, August, 2002

J.G. Thirlwell, the multi-monikered musical maniac responsible for all things Foetus (Scraping Foetus of The Wheel, Foetus Inc., Foetus All Nude Review, etc.) resurrects his Steroid Maximus project a full ten years after his initial pair of offerings under that name. He pretty much picks up where he left off, though the tracks on Ectopia are more homogeneous and polished. His early nineties Steroid material wore you down with it’s sheer mass of sampled material and frenetic pace. This improvement is probably partially due to dramatic technological advances, but Thirlwell’s growth as an artist undoubtedly plays a roll as well

Like an imaginary soundtrack to a very strange film, the all-instrumental material leads the listener through vivid cerebral vistas, some scary, some larkish. Thirlwell throws out random styles, samples and sensibilities, and makes it all seem effortless. It’s heavy on the neo-swing and lounge motifs but there are plenty of eclectic curveballs thrown in to spice up the proceedings. Foetus fans will certainly not be disappointed with this new collection (if they can live without his singing). But, even if you’ve shied away from Thirlwell’s “doom und drang” in the past, this is a fun, breezy—albeit kooky—listen for a sunny summer day.

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