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Throbbing Gristle - Heathen Earth CD (album) cover

HEATHEN EARTH

Throbbing Gristle

 

Progressive Electronic

4.09 | 6 ratings

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Dobermensch
4 stars A super dark album that begins with a deeply unsettling coronet played through a strange flanging effect unit. The gates of hell then open up as Genesis P. Orridge opens his big blubbery dead pan lips.

This LP is very much of its time but carries one hell of a punch even in 2013. Recorded live in the studio with a youthful John Balance (of future 'Coil' fame) looking on in admiration, I still have the rotten quality video of the event itself and therefore have a somewhat biased view towards this recording. It's an unhealthy, sexually deviant, dark and foreboding state of affairs. The audience in the studio look as awkward as the band as all keep their heads down in what could be mistaken as embarrassment. What is created is one of the darkest and most threatening albums I've ever heard.

Thrashing electronics and massively deteriorated guitars batter about wildly as P, Orridge delivers his vocals in that 'lifeless zombie' like manner that he is renowned for. The only lead vocalist with a dead soul. You've only got to look at his face - even when he smiles he looks like he's smelling a crate full of dead fish.

Large echoing effects are used on all instruments during 'The World is a War Film' in which events turn much darker. Incessantly doomy vocals are at the forefront with talk of impending catastrophe and armageddon spouting from Genesis P. Orridge in one of his more bellicose outpourings. It's all wonderful stuff where the lyrics include the unforgettable 'The human race is disgusting, a disgusting race to be eaten by flames'. These are words that have stuck in my mind for 25 years.

Thankfully there's a bit of respite with Chris Carter on keyboards playing the very electronic 'Dream Machine' as all sorts of electronic tweakery play about in the background. All four members played equal parts in 'Throbbing Gristle' from beginning to end. There was never a case of vocalist takes centre stage. In a way I think that's why they were so successful.

There's some weird vocal play on 'Still Walking' where very dodgy sexual antics are described but are so warped that it's difficult to tell exactly what's being said.

R2D2 makes a star appearance in 'Don't Do As You're Told' which appears to have been written for the Droid hospital scene in 'Star Wars'. Big stomps of electronica repeat themselves as airy coronet floats about the damaged robots entrails. The dead vocals of Genesis P.Orridge work a treat. He sounds like a spectre and I think that helped Throbbing Gristle in many ways.

Throbbing Gristle were a band where all four disfunctional members performed as a perfect team, in the right time, in the right place.

Dobermensch | 4/5 |

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