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This Heat - Deceit CD (album) cover


This Heat



4.31 | 127 ratings

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5 stars "This Heat" is another one of those bands that tends to go largely ignored, was pretty much completely ignored when they were a band, yet still ended up having a huge impact on a sub-genre that ended up growing from their influence. Their second album "Deceit" was unheard of in 1981 when it was released, and would continue to be unheard of for quite some time, however, it is now regarded as a classic album of the post-punk era.

The album takes on some quite dire subjects such as nuclear war and imperialism. The album, according to Charles Hayward who plays bass, keyboards and drums for the band, said that "We had a firm belief we were going to die and the record was made on those express this sort of fear, angst, which the group was all about, really.". The music is a combination of new improvisations and songs that were played in concert, and this was all mixed together, which created an album that goes from textured and atmospheric to extremely noisy and harsh.

"Sleep" starts things off with an almost prehistoric and industrial sounding track, which contains vocals from all of the members of the band, sometime singing alone and other times singing lines together, with one distinctive low, gravelly voice and another falsetto voice along with a "normal" sounding voice. The music stays soft, but when "Paper Hats" starts, there is a brighter tone to the jangly instruments, but a more morose sounding vocal that eventually turns to a manic sounding vocal with harsh and industrial style sounds. The music can change instantly, and it does, especially in vocal stylings. The music definitely takes on a very avant-prog sound, which wasn't done very often back when this was released. The sound is way ahead of its time. After 2 minutes, it gets really noisy and chaotic, then suddenly changes to a bass heavy staccato sound in an instant, and this sound continues for the next 4 minutes until it finally just kind of falls apart. Even so, the music on this album is a lot more melodic than the debut album, but you can still expect the unexpected at all times.

The bizarre gets even more bizarre on "Triumph" which sounds like a march made from various random instruments and percussive items. A loose vocal hangs precariously on the minimal yet chaotic sound. "S,P.Q.R." is more structured sounding with fast strumming, thumping drums and tinkling cymbals with the odd vocal harmonics that are based on texture more than chords. This track has been covered by a few bands since then, including the excellent band "Sleepytime Gorilla Museum". "Cenotaph" continues with the more structured sound, but is quite metallic sounding based on the chiming guitar chord that keeps repeating and the grinding effects that go on under the textured harmonics.

"Shrink Wrap" is a short track featuring some crazy looping techniques and layering effects, percussion and vocals into a hodgepodge of sounds, but driven along by a rhythmic feel. "Radio Prague" is more minimal with a rapid clicking sound, glitchy indiscernible spoken vocals (almost like scanning past radio talk stations quickly) and other percussive noises. "Makeshift Swahili" follows directly off of this as it organizes everything into a droning sound, staccato, percussive guitar strings and shouting vocals. The instruments provide the melody, but there is no real melodic tune in the vocals until the track gets half-way along, but at which time the instruments meld together and then become quite unpredictable and heavy, all the while, the drone continues in the background. The sound suddenly goes lo-fi somewhere along the way and before it can get totally chaotic, it fades out, yet not completely.

"Independence" has a bit of a happier tone to it, with whistles, tonal percussion and such. Over the top of this we get the voices speaking in a sing-song way reading off a part of The Declaration of Independence. It sounds like a liberty parade from hell. "A New Kind of Water" uses a simple, tension building guitar line and combines this with a chorus of layered, thickly textured vocals. The instruments build up a bit, and take on that industrial feel, with repetitive strumming and quirky drumming while the bass moves to support the vocal melody. The last track is "Hi Baku Shyo (Suffer Bomb Disease)". This one is full of strange effects, processed howling, soft screeching and a repeating minimal passage that sounds like a toy accordion. It is all quite minimal sounding, but very eerie and sparse, a study in sounds and noises.

As I said previously, this music was way ahead of it's time, completed when there was nothing much out there like this at all. The funny thing is, is that you can play it now and it would still feel relevant. If you picked any other album from the 80s at random, your chances of getting an album like this would be quite low. It is a definite classic, and many artists have talked about its influence on them, especially those bands that are more experimental and avant-garde style. For lovers of the quirky, odd styles of avant prog, this album is a must have.

TCat | 5/5 |


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