"You bunch of revolting cocks" was about all the bartender could mutter as he threw out original Revco band mates Al Jourgenson, Luc Van Acker, Patrick Codenys and Richard 23 (Front 242) after a hard night of drinking. So, the name Revolting Cocks was born, or so it's told. Wherever they got the name, they haven't been terribly prolific over their career, releasing only three studio albums and one live effort in the mid to late '80s and early '90s. Cocked & Loaded (originally slated to be called Purple Head and to be released in '04) is only Revco's fourth studio album in 20 years, and the first album since '93's Linger Fickin' Good, which was significantly toned down compared to the first three albums. Other than a single here and there (mostly in the late '80s), an iteration of "Prune Tang" making its way to a disappointed fan base in '04 and "Caliente (Dark Entries)" bouncing onto last year's Saw II soundtrack, Revco have remained fairly quiet for a reasonably long while. Well, all that has just changed.
So was the wait worth it? Sure; if you're a Revco fan, certainly. If you're just an occasional industrial rock fan, or worse, a self-proclaimed Fragile Nine Inch Nails bandwagon jumper claiming to be an industrial fan, maybe not so much (but then again, you probably wouldn't be waiting for a record from the Revolting Cocks now, would you?). Revco does pump up the aggression and voltage in this release, which sounds more like a Ministry album than a Revolting Cocks release, taking cues from Psalm 69, which may be the album's saving grace. But that's to be somewhat expected as Uncle Al and his anti-Bush, anti-organized religion, anti-people, anti-everything cronies take the reigns again, this time around consisting of Jello Biafra (Lard, Melvins), Gibby Haynes of Butthole Surfer fame (having been made somewhat (in)famous by recording "Jesus Built My Hotrod" while drunk, which appeared on Ministry's Psalm 69), Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick), Phildo Owen (Skatenigs), Mark Baker (Ministry) and Stevie Banch (Spyder Baby). The lineup completely changes almost every time they release new material, but they hardly ever release new material, so it's probably hardly noticed by the under-uninitiated.
The album consists of the usual grinding guitars, drum machine beats, industrialized synth-based noise, sexual, wry, tongue-in-cheek humor, and heavily manipulated, scream-your-lungs-out vocal rants that make your throat sore just listening to it. Jello throws in his usual sardonic take on life every few tracks (which, ironically or not, are some of the album's best) with his undeniable vocal style, which helps break up the monotony and repetitiveness of the other tracks. Not that being repetitive and monotonous is a bad thing, especially in industrial music. That's what makes it industrial after all.
Tracks that take the cake however must be the society self-examination anthem "Viagra Culture" and "Psalm 69"-like rocker "Devil Cock." There are a few dropouts that could've used longer in the boiling pot, such as "Ten Million Ways to Die" and "Fire Engine", but for the most part the album surges along quickly but fairly well from one track to another, as well as one can expect from Revco anyway.
One of the drawbacks to this album, however, is that it doesn't really "belong" anywhere. There are certain albums that I own that are good for one thing or another. For instance, when I need a good shot of adrenaline, I'll throw in some Ministry via Land of Rape & Honey, The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, or Psalm 69, Killswitch Engage, Early Metallica, or the first three songs on Rust in Peace from Megadeth. When I feel like a depressed loser, I'll let Arco, Empress, some Azure Ray or Sufjan Stevens console me. But so far, I've not reached for Cocked & Loaded for anything. It doesn't really get me excited, certainly doesn't make me depressed; it's just there. Maybe all in good time.
Speaking of Ministry, as Al Jourgenson pointed out awhile ago when asked about the difference between Ministry and Revco, is that Revco is a screw-off, humorous take on life, and Ministry (paraphrasing here) is a "pull-your-sleeves-up-and-get-the-s***-done" kind of band; more focused and serious. Lately, whether it's from Revco's camp, Ministry's, or just a collective tectonic plate-shuffling of Uncle Al's brain segments, that gap has closed significantly.