Bait and Shift

Have the former industrialists of Pitchshifter become children of the Korn?

A prime example is the edgy, caustic "Genius" with its wall of guitar distortion and a huge bottom end of fat, choppy beats driving Clayden's manic screech: "If dysfunction is a function, then I must be a fucking gee-nee-yuuus."

Twisted yet witty lyrics and a unique amalgamation of sounds set Pitchshifter apart from the metal-pop of Korn and Limp Bizkit. Unfortunately, the departure of Carter following .com left Clayden to work the digital wizardry himself -- and with his own ideas about utilizing the technology at hand.

"I stripped down a lot of the stuff that we would normally have," he says, "like millions of layers of sampling that would clutter things up, and just said, "OK. What's the minimum that you can get away with and it's gonna still be Pitchshifter and convey that mood?' And I think it's a stronger album for that -- no disrespect to Johnny or anything we did."


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No disrespect to Clayden, but he's rejiggered the Pitchshifter formula a bit too much. Electronica influences that made the band so unique have been buried in the mix.

"It just seemed like a natural progression to us, because we did about as much as you can do programmingwise with guitars on," he explains. "We came off nine months of touring right before we started writing this album, so we had a much better idea of what works live, and the band's just moving more in that direction. I mean, there's still a lot of electronica on this album, but it's done in a subtle way."

True enough. The verses in "Hidden Agenda," "Wafer Thin," and "Keep It Clean" have a slightly hip-hop flavor, while "Dead Battery" and "Scene This" contain drum 'n' bass breaks, although veiled ones.

Even with less techno twist, Pitchshifter offers a brainier slice of metal musicality than most of its contemporaries. And while Deviant marks a move away from overt electronic experimentation, the choice to record with producer Dave Jerden (Alice in Chains, Jane's Addiction) for a fuller guitar sound helped bring to fruition one of Clayden's long-standing punk dreams -- to collaborate with former Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra.

Because Jerden prefers to work in his Los Angeles studio, the band flew to the U.S. for the Deviant sessions, and Clayden and Biafra -- mutual fans of each other's music who had joked for years about writing a song together -- finally hooked up when Biafra swung through L.A. on a speaking tour.

The result is the tongue-in-cheek "As Seen on TV," a driving punk rave-up to which Biafra lent one of his trademark spoken-word screeds: "Each new hot generation has a statement they wanna call their own. Tattoos? Piercings? That's for moms and dads. What you want to do is spend your allowance on Devil-horn implants, Elephant Man head, designer tails, third leg, fourth leg/Everyone a hermaphrodite!"

Says Clayden: "He made it all up on the spot. He literally walked into the booth, put the headphones on, and just did it all straight in an hour. And then he was like, "Let's go eat.'"

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