Get ready for techno-rave, a new dance music already busting eardrums in Europe but still largely an underground pleasure over here.
Techno-rave's furious synthesizers, assaulting rhythm and unrelenting speed are simply not Club MTV-ready. This heavy-metal disco can damage the senses. Nonetheless major labels are signing such techno-ravers as Belgium's Quadro-phonia and L.A. Style, and T-99 from Britain.
But the Shamen, from Scotland, seem most likely to lift the genre into the mainstream. On En-Tact they do what LL Cool J did for rap: use pop hooks, sly vocals and easy, gliding melodies to soften the style's hard edges. A choir of synthesized guitars propels "Make It Mine" into Jesus Jones terrain. Third-world chants add color to the otherwise lackluster "Lightspan." The Shamen will need more than pop-friendly hooks and caged aggression to make it. But they're off to a promising start.