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This Heat


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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This Heat's 1979 debut, paintakingly recorded over the previous two and a half years, was an astonishing piece of work, and This Heat were to exert an influence out of all proportion to their modest album sales.

There are a few obvious points of reference. Faust and Can were clearly influential, both in terms of the music (particularly Hayward's drumming) and the use of the recording studio and taped sources. The vocals and lyrics owe something to Robert Wyatt, and there's also something of Henry Cow's sheer out-there otherness. Aside from that, This Heat were something unique in the post-punk musical landscape of the late 70s and early 80s. They had musical abilities to match or exceed most prog bands, but played with an intensity and ferocity that owed more to punk and recorded using techniques generally heard on dub reggae. Other bands were using some of these elements, but none so inventively or with such a single minded vision and sense of purpose. In some ways they were very much of their time, but like a lot of the best RIO and Krautrock they still sound fresh and relevant today.

The obvious stand out tracks are the frenzied, drum powered workouts Horizontal Hold, Twilight Furniture and The Fall Of Saigon, but the quieter moments like Not Waving and Water are equally compelling. It's not as coherent as their masterpiece Deceit, and the final 3 minutes of Test Card go on longer than is strictly necessary, but this is a powerful album from one of the most genuinely progressive bands of the last 40 years. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#84694)
Posted Monday, July 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars 2.5 stars really!!!

Of all the groups you will find in our beloved ProgArchives, This Heat is along with Faust and Henry Cow, the hardest and most uncompromising ever. Don't look for "real" music here (that is songs with beats, lyrics and melodies), but more of a "musique concrete" or industrial rock that only has irregular rhythm patterns, repetitive sequences and highly unlikely sounds ever thought to make music. Am I exaggerating a bit? Well, maybe just a tad, forcing the character traits a wee bit in order to make my point solidly understood.

As much as RIO is already an extreme form of music, as much as This Heat's music is an extreme form of RIO, which unlike what some might think, does not showcase extreme musicianship (at least not in terms of virtuosity), but is extremely adventurous and experimental. While I hold this type of music (as well Faust's) in high regards, I must say that I was never tempted to own it, because there is a blatant problem of repeated listenings, which is simply not cutting it with me. This type of albums gets maybe two listens in a row every second decade (time was up; hence these TH reviews ;-) but hardly anymore. TH is one of those influential bands that record sales will never show.

Hard to really recommend this type of record on a wide-spectrum site, but let it be known that I have recommended This Heat to a few House Music freaks, which were dying for stuff like this.

Report this review (#113088)
Posted Thursday, February 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply one of the most outrageous and brilliant albums in the history of rock. Like Marmite you either love it or hate it, but there's really nothing quite like it. It's the missing link between Krautrock and post-punk experimentation, brutal in parts and mesmeric in others, and it clearly influenced many bands since. Now remastered its aural assault is shocking even 30 years later. An essential purchase for those with adventurous tastes!
Report this review (#114540)
Posted Thursday, March 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl & Neo Teams
4 stars Whoa! This sound strikes me with remarkable earache! (Of course, as a good meaning)

Beyond my expectation...This Heat had broken the progressive rock world. At the beginning of the album, there's faint electric sound in my ear. Suddenly, exploded noise (I consider it's not so-called sound!) grasps my brain. What an avantgarde production! Into the noise, lazy and weak voice comes and then let me feel depressive...after that, attacking me are the scattered percussive components. Again and again they hit, blow and squeeze my heart. What a violent work! At the last part...exotic melody and drumming go streaming, then the faint electric sound, that came previously, fades out and disappears.

I cannot recommend the product to persons who like symphonic progressive rock. That's so natural. I'm sure the album brought a revolution for progressive rock music. As the revolutionary of Avant-prog, 4 stars I wanna give.

Report this review (#194203)
Posted Thursday, December 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars A band caught somewhere between avant-prog, post-punk, and even the more experimental and darker side of early new wave, This Heat dropped two LPs that broke genre barriers with all the creative spark of a band from this millennium and with the chops to make them twin masterpieces. Progheads, punks, and industrial people all alike will find themselves challenged by the dour, angry, complex, and style-busting music contained within. The mix ends up creating a strange, dark, but excellent sound that guides you through the wreckage of humanity. Each track explores a different take on their overall style, often featuring unique instruments and instrumentation. "Deceit" is the greater album, but their self titled still remains a several times over impressive piece of genre and subculture defying avant garde music.
Report this review (#1319271)
Posted Wednesday, December 3, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars This Heat began recording this self-titled debut album in 1976, the year British punk exploded, and finished it in 1978, with post-punk well underway. Musically, it is as original, revolutionary and hostile as punk and as experimental as the most avant-garde post-punk; the closest point of comparison I can think of would be Public Image Ltd. at their most Krautrock-influenced moments on Metal Box, perhaps with certain influences creeping in from the likes of Henry Cow or Faust. I think the subsequent Deceit has the edge on this, but this complements the work on that album nicely and anyone interested in This Heat will sooner or later want to hear both.
Report this review (#1586292)
Posted Saturday, July 9, 2016 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars I like what it says in the bio here that these three guys had short hair and wore second hand suits as they played live in the late seventies. They were a British act led by drummer Charles Hayward formerly of QUIET SUN, but the music here is far different from that band. Many felt that they were carrying on where FAUST left off at the time, and one of the bands who were huge fans back then of THIS HEAT were HENRY COW. Clarinet, viola and the usual instruments are featured here with all three guys using tapes so it's hard to tell at times what I'm hearing but as usual I'll try to describe what I think I hear.

"Testcard" starts and ends the album and it's just what the title says. "Horizontal Hold" has this heavy beat, an almost industrial rhythm that starts and stops. I like the speedy guitar strumming or is that viola being strummed after 2 minutes. Angular guitar follows with keyboards, a beat and more. A beat with electronics follows then intricate sounds start to come and go. Such a cool sounding track. "Not Waving" opens with organ-like sounds as viola joins in and it builds. Sounds drone until 2 minutes in when it settles right down. The clarinet kicks in before the vocals arrive, both continue and the vocals are avant sounding. Such an experimental backdrop to the vocals here. It's haunting late to end it. "Water" sounds nothing like you'd expect but instead we get random cow bell-like sounds and percussion throughout. The sound builds after 2 minutes as it turns quite powerful.

"Twilight Furniture" is a top three song for me. This is a more traditional song with a catchy beat as the guitar comes and goes. Vocals after a minute and they will also come and go. It settles late with viola. "24 Track Loop" is just that as sounds drone and an electronic-like beat takes over. More drones follow before an uptempo beat joins in. Clarinet is added before 4 minutes then it all settles back to end it. "Diet Of Worms" is grating with those high pitched sounds throughout. "Music Like Escaping Gas" is a top three track as sounds hum and start to build. Picked guitar after a minute then a throat is cleared before 2 minutes(haha) as windy sounds and vocals join in. It's just insane after 3 minutes. Great track! "Rainforest" has loud banging to start along with cymbals and atmosphere. It settles back some as a rhythm kicks in before 2 1/2 minutes to the end as it blends into "Fall Of Saigon" my final top three. Multi-vocals join in and they actually sound normal. They stop after 2 1/2 minutes. Check out the avant guitar expressions. Nice. The guitar speeds up late ripping it up big time.

Man this is a classic Avant album but I feel their followup "Deceit" is even better. A solid 4 stars.

Report this review (#1587913)
Posted Saturday, July 16, 2016 | Review Permalink

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