This is the original Kerrang! review of In Utero from September 1993.
You can almost taste it. The anticipation. Another Nevermind? Kurt Cobain's descent into fear, self-loathing and unholy noise? Neither, really.
The title says a lot. Nirvana have withdrawn and headed womb-ward to dodge the general bullshit that's tracked ’em ever since they hit multi-Platinum pay-dirt.
A couple more spins of In Utero, and it becomes even clearer: this ain't no piece-o’-shit stab at punk rock non-conformity. This is Nirvana making the kind of record they want to make. On their own terms.
Following the controversy of Albini-gate – the bizarre episode where producer Steve Albini's kiss-and-tell confessions suggested that the band were bowing to record company pressure – In Utero emerges as a subtly ironic and cathartic record, shaving the territory between the band's formative Bleach platter and its groundbreaking successor, Nevermind.
The rougher, Bleach-styled material is the most vitriolic, with Kurt's fuzzbox set on stun, his lyrical barbs personalised and sharpened. When he chortles 'One more solo?' on album closer Gallons Of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through The Strip, the track and the album implode in a two-fingered salute of defiance. Radio Friendly Unit Shifter further sums up Kurt's challenging mood as he snarls, 'I love you for what I am not, I do not want what I have got', swiping at the bitter irony of multi-Platinum success against a backdrop of Sonic Youth-styled six-string abuse.