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Coil Horse Rotorvator  album cover
4.27 | 33 ratings | 3 reviews | 42% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1986

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Anal Staircase
2. Slur
3. Babylero
4. Ostia (The Death Of Pasolini)
5. Herald
6. Penetralia
7. Circles Of Mania
8. Blood From The Air
9. Who By Fire
10. The Golden Section
11. The First Five Minutes After Death

Line-up / Musicians

- John Balance, Peter Christopherson, Stephen E. Thrower / All electronics and effects

Guest artists:
- Raoul Revere / Backing vocals
- Bill McGee / Strings
- Clint Ruins / Brass arrangements
- Paul Vaughan / Narratives

Releases information

Force & Form LP
Treshold House 2001 LP reissue
Recordvox 2011 CD reissue

Thanks to philippe for the addition
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COIL Horse Rotorvator ratings distribution

(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(42%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (6%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

COIL Horse Rotorvator reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dobermensch
5 stars This is the most destructive album I've ever heard. The theme is sex and death but basically it's about the four horsemen of the Apocalypse who betray their steeds by slitting their throats. From this a huge Earth moving object is constructed using the jawbones of the dead animals where the world is ploughed up and renewed.

The opener - 'The Anal Staircase' is a nervy, twitchy and very unsettling tune. It's also the most upbeat with fire blasted vocals of impending doom screeching over a multitude of looped bells and industrial sounding drums and various keyboards. A wonderful tune that is packed to the gunnels with vocal effects, percussion and disturbing child giggling in the background.

'Slur' has a very dirty sound using distorted harmonica and bells creating a filthy, sweaty, slutty heat. The vocals only add to this uncomfortable atmosphere as strange tribal percussion thumps out ominous beats to its conclusion.

'Babylero' lasts only 50 seconds but sums up dramatically the overall feel of this album where ethnic Moroccan child-like chants are intertwined with soft wooden scraping percussion.

Marc Almond's sidekick Billy McGhee adds some beautiful classy strings in one of the stand out tracks - 'Ostia' which relates the story of the murder of degenerate Italian film-maker Paolo Pasolini of 'Salo' infamy. He was killed by being run over several times with his own car, dying in November 1975 on the beach at Ostia in Italy, near Rome. Despite this, It's an object of beautiful sadness amongst a cesspit of filth. This six minute track is guaranteed to send tingles up the spine in the wrong way. A track that stands out amongst all Coil tracks in that real strings are used amidst the mayhem.. There's one part towards the end where you hear John Balance singing 'You can hear the bones humming' where, laid on top are very queasy sounding strings which really puts a knot in your stomach due to the orchestral wobbliness.

'Herald' just goes to prove how mental these guys were. This sounds like a Salvation Army Band on acid with tubas, various reed instruments and out of kilter drumming.

Things take a turn for the more fearful in 'Penetralia', which is full of very heavily treated drum beats while mashed up guitars and horns spew forth an abomination of gargantuan ugliness.

'Ravenous' gets more creepy with squeaking doors, slow, heavy drums and 'Fistful of Dollars' styled guitars.

Clint Ruin of 'Scraping Foetus off the Wheel' fame adds his highly stylised warped brass to the truly demented 'Circles of Mania'. Named after the first part of the movie 'Salo' from '75 it's also the sleaziest and most grotesque part of 'Horse Rotorvator'. Vocal references to Nero and degenerate Rome are hollered as weirdly stretched guitars and sleazy horns belch out in the rudest of manner. In all honesty this has to be the the most demented vocals I've ever heard. Lines that I want to repeat would get me instantly banned from this website and they're used frequently.

What is undoubtedly the grimmest and heaviest track follows in 'Blood from the Air' . It's the biggest slab of doom you're ever likely to hear. A mighty throbbing slow bass with squelchy jews harp and unusual metallic percussion pulsate like a migraine headache. The hugely affected vocals are so confrontational that it really stops being entertainment and turns into something evil and well and truly scary. In particular, where a mass of electronic noise is followed by children and women crying and whimpering in distress. The deadpan vocal delivery of 'God is a Sadist and he knows it', does nothing to help my psyche whatsoever.

This is such a departure from their first album ' Scatology'. There's no comparison. 'Horse Rotorvator' is better constructed, produced, written and executed, despite it's overwhelming feeling or dread and terror.

Peter Vaughn contributes the lyrics on ' The Golden Section'. He's the bloke who used to narrate the BBC's Horizon documentaries from 1970 -1990. This is a sinister meditation on death. Horrible vibes are given off throughout this morbid spoken piece. All the while militaristic drums and unearthly squeaky horns pulverise the ears as ugly keyboards patter out an arppegiated theme.

'Horse Rotorvator' is profoundly dark and creepy, and probably more than any other album, changed the way I looked at music since first hearing this in 1990.

What follows is surely one of the heaviest doom laden tracks ever laid down on vinyl.' The First Five Minutes After Death' is a repetitive hammer blow to the body as horns mixed with 'End of the World' militaristic drums are interspersed with bloops and bleeps resulting in the grimmest outro I've ever heard.

I own a permanently damaged soul as a result of this recording.

Caesar Caligula would have loved it...

Review by Warthur
4 stars I can't think "Horse Rotorvator" without imagining Sade singing it to the tune of "Smooth Operator", but there's nothing smooth about this epochal exploration of electronic industrial esoterica. And you can't help but love an album whose opening track - and by far the most accessible and danceable song presented - is called "The Anal Staircase". Honing the combination of occult preoccupations, sinister narratives, and disconcerting electronic soundscapes, Horse Rotorvator crystallises Coil's 80s sound. The most distinctive track is The Golden Section, on which a calm measured voice (BBC documentary narrator Paul Vaughan) delivers a disturbing narrative about the Angel of Death.
Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars HORSE ROTORVATOR is the second official release by the avant-garde electronic band COIL, who were clearly on another planet in 1986 when they were making this kind of stuff. If you dropped down in that time period you wouldn't hear anything even remotely similar to this being played in public at least. This was and still is highly experimental music that evokes nightmarish darkened depths where only the insane can thrive. I guess I am one of those insane individuals because I have always loved the bizarre soundscapes that COIL painted. This second release by the band is actually a transition album incorporating the sinister vocal dark wave type tracks from the debut album (almost reminding me of a more hellish version of Soft Cell at times) with the depressive instrumental ambient music that would become their staple for pretty much the rest of their career. The music is surprisingly varied and they clearly had a way of identifying more ways of constructing creepy music than any other act in history.

As I listen to this I am simply in awe at how simple the music seems when it begins and then how amazingly complex it can get as one sound creeps in after another and before you know it is a tapestry of sound for the manic, depraved and absolute crazed. I guess the whole point is to induce a psychotic frenzy, a neo-freakout or whatever you want to call it. The song titles alone suggest a strong desire to eschew even a meager bit of conformity. Tracks like "The Anal Staircase," "Penetralia," "Circles Of Mania" and "The First Five Minutes After Death" only confirm that this gifted group that consists of John Balance and Peter Christopherson as the creative core are one of the most twisted and subversive musical acts that has ever put out recordings. Be warned for if you listen to this you may feel a sense of dread, despair and impending doom unlike any other that even other depressive forms of music can achieve. Oh yes. I love it so very much.

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