Originally recorded in Chicago with producer Steve Albini—with sessions that were later scrapped in favor of the Washington, D.C. re-recordings that constitute the final release—In on the Kill Taker retains some of Albini’s famously dry and scraping sound design. As a whole, the album has been called harsh and relentless, but the individual songs are full of sonic gifts and creative surprises. Though the lyrics contain some of Fugazi's most obtuse and intriguing subject matter—including a tribute to director John Cassavetes, whose intractable ideals made him the Fugazi of the movie industry—it's unquestionably a guitar album. Frontmen Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto go to new lengths to uncover unheard sounds from their instruments. “Returning the Screw,” “Smallpox Champion," and “Instrument” are just a few examples of their determination to get the broadest possible ranges of sound from electric guitars. Surprisingly, the album’s most memorable moment isn't a fuming outburst. The trancelike introversion of “Sweet Low” was proof that Fugazi could find new forms of warmth and delicacy in a self-made landscape of frosty and disruptive rock music.