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Coil Scatology album cover
3.95 | 19 ratings | 3 reviews | 21% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ubu Noir
2. Panic
3. At The Heart Of It All
4. Tenderness Of Wolves
5. The Spoiler
6. Clap
7. Solar Lodge
8. The Sewage Worker's Birthday Party
9. Godhead ⇔ Deathead
10. Cathedral In Flames

Line-up / Musicians

- John Balance, Peter Christopherson / All electronics and effects

Releases information

Force & Form LP
Treshold House CD 2001 reissue

Thanks to philippe for the addition
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COIL Scatology ratings distribution

(19 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

COIL Scatology reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dobermensch
4 stars Well, well, well.. look who's finally appeared... Let me introduce you to Coil. Clearly the dirtiest, filthiest pair of characters in the music industry. Comprising Pete Christopherson - electronic percussionist of 'Throbbing Gristle' and John Balance, one time groupie of fat lipped, big breasted Genesis P Orridge of said band. 'Scatology' is their initial recording from '84 and it's a nasty, smelly thing which will leave you desperate for a shower after listening.

Split between studio recorded professionalism and instrumentals 'Scatology adds up to a strangely colourful and very listenable album.

It's all pretty gross and perverted. Primitive sampling is used to good effect on the opener 'Ubu Noir' which is based on a play by Alfred Jarry written in 1896 called 'Ubu Roi', where Jarry satirises power, greed, and evil practices.

Somehow Coil were rich enough to get hold of a 'Fairlight CMI' for this recording which is surprising, because these things cost an arm and a leg back then.

'Panic' has sampling by Jim Thirlwell of 'Scraping Foetus off the Wheel' as John Balance shows a dramatic range of demented vocals. I really miss the shouty John Balance of earlier years.

Some misery follows with 'At The Heart Of It All' with wailing horns and a plodding piano which suddenly stabs at the heart making this the most miserable of tunes.

'The Tenderness of Wolves' has Gavin Friday of 'Virgin Prunes' singing a distressed and mournful little tune replete with 'Fairlight' backing track that is for once not cheesy, but has a disturbing crying baby over a Yamaha DX7, and a wailing Stephen Thrower clarinet. Ugly stuff indeed and not one to play at work folks.

'The Spoiler' is much more like it, being continually on the brink of madness with John balance sounds frenzied as he delivers some truly frantic and erratic vocals as a huge electronic drumbeat thumps in the foreground. Lots of dirty shrieks and electronic mumblings occur in the background all the while.

Restless Day' is a bit more straightforward, although the howling guitars and bendy electronics lend a certain queasiness to John Balances oddly treated vocals, on this, the most tuneful of recordings present.

The little oddity 'Clap' follows which has a funny horn thing going on amongst the drum machine as a breaking glass ends proceedings.

The floaty little piece named 'Aqua Regis is a three minute tune of gurgles and scratches as an imaginary U-Boat sinks to its watery grave.

This sets everything up perfectly for the confrontational and fight-to-the-death 'Solar Lodge' with its looped hammering drum machine, desperate vocals and distorted electric guitar cascading about wildly. The guitar sounds are super in their almost 'Goth' like style.

The 'SWBP' is where things take something of a downturn for me. Not so much as how it sounds but in what's actually going on... The SWBP is an acronym for 'The Sewage Workers Birthday Party' and it sounds truly gross. Full of ambient guitar feedback, but also full of rubber gloved slushing sounds which stretch and ping like elastic as some dirty guy does stuff I don't even want to imagine. Unfortunately I'm forced to imagine for the next three minutes which is what downgrades this album markedly. I just can't be doing with that stuff man...

Mercifully 'Godhead=Deathead' pulls me out of these degenerate thoughts, and I'm assaulted by super crystal clear drum machine and totally off-kilter, crazed vocals instead. Like all Coil songs, they have meaning and depth - this one being about the drug 'Erot Rye Mould', which is found growing parasitically on grain and when baked into bread was responsible for St Anthony's Fire in the Middle Ages. Well you did ask didn't' you?.

'Scatology' is very experimental, but overly gloomy in parts, none more so than in the last track 'Cathedral in Flames' - which has some seriously doom laden moods going down with some very heavy electronic drums and also has the unforgettable 'Tarot' vocal line 'Paradise stands in the Shadow of Swords'. It's supposedly about the Marquis de Sade which ends with an overblown blast of electronic sound that's enough to give you heart failure. No really it is! It's SO loud!

Unfortunately, there's a horrid version of 'Tainted Love' by Soft Cell tagged on at the end which doesn't fit well at all due to its downbeat dreariness.

Whilst not as accomplished and refined as 'Horse Rotorvator', this stands alone in their discography, where the ghosts of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV linger amongst the deaths of the two protagonists who produced some of the most remarkable music of recent times.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Although COIL was a full-fledged group of sorts throughout its 30 plus year history, it was basically a duo at the core who controlled every decision regarding anything to do with the band. This duo was John Balance and Peter Christopherson. They in fact they had worked together for a while before they formed COIL but when Christopherson decided to leave behind his work with Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV the two began releasing albums under the name COIL.

On this debut release SCATOLOGY we hear what COIL were masters at. Starting with the very first track "Ubu Noir" they would take samples of different instruments, sound effects, vocalizations and create a dark, depressing and foreboding loop of sound that pulsates like a jellyfish propelling itself through the viscosity of the ocean's salt water. This album is filled with these melancholic pieces that mesmerise the listener by creating a sonic journey into some strange alien world where little is familiar and nothing is friendly.

Only in the very beginning of their discography do we hear more industrial sounding tracks like "Panic" or "Spoiler" which sound more like Skinny Puppy than any of the majority of future releases of COIL. These are the tracks that I tend to dislike as they just don't seem to fit in with the rest and create a lopsided effect for the album as a whole. The real surprise on this album is the closer "Tainted Love" which is a remake of the famous one-hit wonder Soft Cell, which isn't bad by any means but still seems out of place compared with the ambiance and industrial soundscapes that the rest of the album has to offer. Another factor that separates the early releases from the later is that we get actual sung vocals on a few of the tracks.

This is not my favorite COIL album and over the years of listening to the majority of their canon I have probably listened to this album the least but as i'm sitting here writing this review and listening to it I have to say that it is not a bad album at all. Uneven? Yes, but strangely charming and an interesting insight into the origins of these guys who would go on to create gradually more complex and sinister sounding ambient soundscapes that are beyond bizarre. I would say this is the perfect place for anyone wanting to explore their vast body of work to begin as their music only becomes stranger and stranger until at times it doesn't seem like music at all.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Balance and Christopherson's first album under the Coil name rather exists under the shadow of Psychic TV, which the duo had both contributed to prior to forming Coil. (Indeed, some editions include a cover of Tainted Love, linked to Psychic TV via the Marc Almond connection.) What you get is essentially a trip into synthesised industrial weirdness that's not too far off from what Psychic TV were doing at the time. Subsequent Coil releases would find them asserting their own distinct identity more, but this isn't without its grimy, leering charms and is worth a listen for anyone who wants to trace their musical development from their Psychic TV days.

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