This is part of a Retrospective that covers the bands entire discography. You can find the post for the previous album here. There’s also an introduction and disclaimer that you can read here, that I strongly suggest you start out with.
It feels like it’s been fucking forever since I tackled an entry in this Retrospective. Did I really write about Master of Death a whole month ago? Jesus Christ, I’ve been slacking off. Hard. I need to get back to it. Badly.
So anyway… This time around we’ll be covering the bands 2015 EP, Cruel Pornography, which is notable for a couple of reasons. First of all, much like the bands previous EP Anthem of the Outcast, this one stands out for its pretty unique sound compared to the bands other releases. Much like that album, this isn’t an Electronic album, and is more of an Industrial Metal album, with heavy guitars and a fuck ton of screaming. And the sound itself isn’t all that bad either. It’s a welcome change, and adds more diversity to the bands already varied catalogue of music. However, what lets this release down is that, much like Bitchcraft, the songs are littered with juvenile sex lyrics, which kind of ruin the otherwise energetic sound. And again, unlike the likes of Let’s Start a Riot or Epic there’s little outsider charm or unique aesthetic here to make these feel welcome. Anthem of the Outcast was great because it was a unique, one-off shift in sound for the band while also coming loaded with a meaningful message. And while Cruel Pornography showcases a similar shift in sound, there’s nothing else here that we haven’t seen from the band before.
This album is also notable for being the last EP in the bands discography to feature Jayy Von Monroe, who abruptly left the band after the release of their 2016 album Scissors (which we’ll be covering after this). That whole situation is best saved for when we talk about Scissors at length, as Jayy’s departure relates heavily to the songwriting and general theme of that album, but I figured it was worth making note of this fact anyway.
With all that said, if you’re one of the three people that still looks forward to and reads this Retrospective, you probably recall me referring to Cruel Pornography as one of the bands most inconsequential and worst releases. I’ve never really liked this album all that much. When I first listened to it, I thought it sucked. When I listened to it again a couple of years later, I still thought it sucked. Even after several more listens, the album just never clicked with me, to the point I genuinely thought it was worse than Bitchcraft. And I tore that album a new arsehole back when I covered it last year.
But given that I’d only really listened to Cruel Pornography a handful of times, it’s an album I was never really too familiar with. I could barely remember any of the songs on this thing, outside of The Sexorcist, so for this Retrospective I had to back and relisten to it several times in a row to make sure I had something to talk about.
And interestingly enough, I’ve come to the unexpected conclusion that I now actually kind of like this album. At least, I enjoy it more than I originally did. It’s not the bands finest hour, and it’s probably their worst EP outside of OMFG Sneak Peek and Extended Play, but it’s better than fucking Bitchcraft and is nowhere near as bad as I remember. At all.
Yeah, the lyrics are fucking terrible for the most part, and there’s a lack of meaningful… Anything really… But the actual sound fucking bangs and the vocal performances are pretty fucking fantastic. Dahvie Vanity in particular just screams his fucking face off for the vast majority of the album and he does a pretty great job at it, which is… Surprising to say the least. Dahvie has always been the weakest point of this band vocally, but he manages to deliver some pretty powerful vocals on this thing, which is… Honestly impressive. Why he didn’t do more of this shit during his time as Blood on the Dance Floor’s frontman will forever be a mystery to us all. And of course Jayy Von Monroe is as good as ever. But at this point, I don’t need to tell you that.
And with all that shit said, let’s get into this rather short EP, shall we?
The album opens up with Sexually Explicit which is just a spoken word intro track. It’s honestly nothing special and unlike the likes of Sorcery from Bitchcraft or The Calling from The Anthem of the Outcast it’s completely skippable on repeat listens and doesn’t add much to the album at all. But it’s fine I guess?
Then the album immediately kicks things into high gear with The Sexorcist which, despite its fucking awful, cringe-worthy title, is actually a pretty damn good song. With an extremely hard hitting beat and really heavy guitars, the song just slaps so fucking hard. Dahvie’s screaming vocals, particularly in the beginning, are also really, really good here. There’s even some pretty great lyrics in the introduction section commenting on the bands bad reputation. “They want to censor us, give us shame, kill our name. But they don’t ever see, all we want to be is free” is such a good fucking line and probably one of the best parts lyrically of the entire album. It’s just a shame that the rest of the track doesn’t deliver on the lyrical front, with a bunch of juvenile references to sex and drugs that just aren’t all that funny or clever. There’s literally a part where Dahvie just screams “SEX SEX SEX!” I know Blood on the Dance Floor can sometimes be stupidly cringey with their lyrics, but come on. They can do better than this shit.
But despite my issues with the lyrics, The Sexorcist isn’t a bad song. It’s pretty catchy and the production is good enough and interesting enough that I find myself coming back to it more and more as the years go on. It’s just a shame about those fucking lyrics.
Afterwards we move straight into Battle Cry which is also pretty good. It’s not the most interesting song production wise, with some fairly repetitive and basic riffs, but lyrically it’s a vast improvement over The Sexorcist with lyrics relating to self-harm, drug use and abuse. And on an album like this, where most of the songs are just about fucking and sucking, I appreciate that a lot, even if musically it’s a little boring for my tastes.
Sadly the better lyrical content is put to a stop with the next song, the title track: Cruel Pornography. I really don’t fucking like this song at all. From the extremely grating production all the way through, to the fucking awful lyrics, this song just sucks. That fucking intro sounds like someone repeatedly smacking two kitchen pans together. And the lyrics. “Cocaine in a crucifix”? No. No. Just stop.
This is then followed up with Filthy Animals which is more of the same shit. It’s a song about rough sex and it’s just really fucking boring and shares all of it’s problems with the previous track. I don’t like it at all. Fuck this song.
But there’s a silver lining at the end of all of this with the final track: Live To Die, which also happens to be the best track on the entire album and a hidden gem in this otherwise painfully average EP. Unlike everything else on Cruel Pornography, Live To Die is a very quiet, slow-paced and almost depressing song with a sad melody, pained vocals and really grim, upsetting lyrics about caring for someone so much that you’d die for them. It’s a song that I can honestly relate to in a lot of ways, with lyrics like “Lift me up, high above the stars, life me up, high above the scars” and “I live to die, I die to live, for you” hitting really close to home for me. The final chorus in particular is just fucking incredible, and is the best way they could have closed this EP. It’s a more meaningful, and emotionally charged song that some how snuck its way onto an album full of dirty, energetic, industrial metal, sex songs. And I’m glad it exists. If there’s any song I’d recommend listening to from this album it’s this one. It’s the best song on the album and it’s also incredibly accessible compared to a lot of their other songs. Give it a listen.
And that more of less sums up my thoughts on Cruel Pornography. I wound up having a lot more to say about it than I had originally thought. It isn’t the bands best release, nor is it their most memorable, but it’s not as bad as I remember it being. Yeah, the lyrics are dreadful for the most part, and most of the songs range from unbearably bad at worst to average at best (with one exception), but it’s a decent album. It’s alright. It has a pretty cool sound. And it’s certainly better than Bitchcraft.
It’s a pretty average Blood on the Dance Floor album. And that’s just fine.
And now, here’s some track ratings for you all:
- Sexually Explicit – 2/10
- The Sexorcist – 8/10
- Battle Cry – 6/10
- Cruel Pornography – 2/10
- Filthy Animals – 1/10
- Live To Die – 10/10
Live To Die
Cruel Pornography, Filthy Animals
Would I Recommend It?
Ehhhh… That depends honestly. If you’re into Industrial Metal and don’t mind some cringey, sex charged lyrical content, then sure. Give it a go. You’ll probably find something to enjoy here. If you’re a fan of the bands other releases, then sure. Give it a whirl. I’m apparently in the minority here, and a lot of fans of the band seem to really like this one so… Maybe I’m just a weird member of the fandom or something. Who knows?
Regardless though, I strongly recommend checking out Live To Die even if you decide to give this one a miss. That song is amazing and easily one of the bands best and most accessible songs. Maybe try out The Sexorcist as well, if you’re feeling particularly bold. It’s a good time.
So yeah. It’s a “maybe”. Probably the hardest “maybe” in this entire Retrospective.
Next time we’ll once again be switching back to full-length releases and will be covering the bands eighth studio album: Scissors. This album is notable for being yet another dramatic shift in sound and lyrical content, being more of an 80’s inspired Synthpop album with next to no sexually explicit lyrics (or cursing in general) at all. That, and it’s also the last in the bands entire discography to feature Jayy Von Monroe, who abruptly left Blood on the Dance Floor shortly after its release. And oh boy, there’s a lot to talk about there. We’ll get to it.
How does Scissors compare to the rest of the bands discography, and is it a worthy send-off for Jayy? We’ll see.
Until next time folks!