'Solitary Confinement' is Leaether Strip's third album and was released back in 1992. When this master piece hit the streets, I was already quite familiar with this Danish powerhouse thanks to the groundbreaking sophomore wax, 'Science For The Satanic Citizen'. But nothing prepared me for what this recording would do to me. From the opening moments all the way to the closing stages, 'Solitary Confinement' took me, and still takes me, through all kinds of motions. Dark, claustrophobic and terrifying mindscapes leads on to cathartic, soul-cleansing and liberating states of emotions through the 12 tracks founder Claus Larsen offer.
To me ‘Solitary Confinement’ is a two-chapter album musically in the sense that the first chapter, from ‘Mortal Thoughts’ to ‘Evil Speaks’, is intense, heavy, fast and punishing. The second chapter, from ‘Adrenalin Rush’ to ‘Antius (Psycho Strip Edit), is slightly slower, more somber and foreboding musically, while lyrically it follows chapter one.
‘Mortal Thoughts’ launches this amazing album and it is mid-paced, to the point and in your face. The mix of melody, hooks and brutality is bar to none and it is the perfect opener. ‘Strap Me Down’ follows and is pulsating, claustrophobic and intense, yet very liberating at the same time. The feel, or vibe, continues with ‘I Am Your Conscience’ and I absolutely love it. Coming at you at full force the song is fast, pounding and unforgiving. At the same time it is very cathartic. “In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility”, a bloody brilliant beginning to ‘Nothing Seen-Nothing Done’. The main synth-line is so hypnotic, or trance-inducing, and electrifying, that it reels you and holds you in it’s grasp. ‘The Dance Of Deception’ follows and is the slow one in this first chapter. Claus brings in a huge cinematic feel of the horror kind and he paints fantastic albeit horrifying images which triggers all kinds of emotions. What follows next is my all-time favourite Leaether Strip song, ‘Evil Speaks’. This composition has it all being full of intensity, brutality, hooks and melody and with Claus being a wizard at combining these ingredients, the outcome is fabulous!
Leaether Strip might not be the creator of electronic body music but if you ask me this band took the foundation of this music and veered into a realm of it’s own. And it all happened with ‘Solitary Confinement’. Claus had honed his ideas with the two previous excellent releases, ‘The Pleasure Of Penetration’ and ‘Science For The Satanic Citizen’, but now with his third album those ideas had come together and formed what Leaether Strip is, an unstoppable beast. Leaether Strip is still very much active and puts great album after great album, tweaking his music just enough to always keep it relevant and on point. However, personally ‘Solitary Confinement’ is a masterpiece and a recording I always return to especially if I need to release angst and tension. Because those electronic sounds and percussive brilliance Claus creates here is so cathartic and liberating. Tusind tak, Claus!