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Coil Unnatural History II (Smiling In The Face Of Perversity) album cover
4.04 | 5 ratings | 1 reviews | 40% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1995

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Red Weather (4:12)
2. Theme From Blue I (2:21)
3. Airborne Bells (5:21)
4. Another Brown World (11:42)
5. Contains a Disclaimer (7:35)
6. The Hellraiser Theme (2:48)
7. In Memory of the Truth (2:57)
8. Unquiet Rest (2:04)
9. Wait, Then Return (2:11)
10. The Hellbound Heart (2:22)
11. The Box Theme (3:04)
12. No New World (3:56)
13. Vanishing Point (1:53)
14. The Main Title (3:19)
15. Theme From Blue II / The Hills Are Alive
- Theme From Blue II (2:17)
- [silence] (1:30)
- [hidden track (The Hills Are Alive)] (7:17)

Total Time 66:49

Line-up / Musicians

- John Balance / performer
- Peter Christopherson / performer
- Stephen Thrower / performer on tracks 3 - 14
- Drew McDowall / performer on tracks 2 and 15

Releases information

Unnatural History II: Smiling in the Face of Perversity
1995 CD Threshold House / LOCI CD10

Thanks to siLLy puPPy for the addition
and to siLLy puPPy for the last updates
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COIL Unnatural History II (Smiling In The Face Of Perversity) ratings distribution

(5 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(40%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

COIL Unnatural History II (Smiling In The Face Of Perversity) reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Once COIL established itself as a viable act in the underground world of musical oddities, the synergizing combo effect of John Balance and Peter Christopherson along with a few friends here and there proved to be quite prolific as the albums started cranking out, however there was also a wealth of loose fodder that didn't quite make it onto full albums per se but found themselves on 7" singles, B-sides, various artists comps or remix EPs. Enough of this material was compiled to release three stuffed to the gills compilation albums and none were better than the UNNATURAL HISTORY trilogy. While the first edition focused on the short timespan of COIL's nascency from 1983-86, this second edition with the clever title UNNATURAL HISTORY II (SMILING IN THE FACE OF PERVERSITY) captured a larger chunk of time covering 1985-1996 which found the noise worshippers evolve from relatively non- musical mind trips to the world of more melodic ambient, industrial, darkwave and extremely experimental electronica.

UNNATURAL HISTORY II (SMILING IN THE FACE OF PERVERSITY) is not only a much more diverse compilation than its predecessor but also features a wealth of different projects that weren't meant to be but didn't quite make it, such as the tracks from "The Unreleased Themes For Hellraiser" which include "The Hellraiser Theme," "The Main Title" and "The Box Theme" which appeared on an EP that due to its obscurity has been all but impossible to find. This compilation also contains three unreleased tracks ("In Memory of the Truth", "Unquiet Rest", "Wait, Then Return") which were recorded during the Hellraiser sessions. This collection also displays COIL's evolution through a decade's time which showcases how COIL became the masters of creating organic emotional responses from their errant devious displays of darkened robotic and detached synthesized sonic terror. While the recurrence melodic loops was a staple sound early on, beginning in the mid-80s where this comp begins, the Balance / Chistopherson formulaic approach of dubbing over the repetitive motifs began to incorporate a wealth of sound samples, guitar riffs and eerie processed musical pastiches.

While many of the tracks revolve around the repetitive industrial themes that add layered elements, the Hellraiser tracks are less rhythmic and based in more eerily macabre settings as if a more depressed version of Goblin's cranked out a soundtrack in depressed somnambulation. In fact, much of COIL's music on their compilations revolves around a very gloomy despondent pessimism and stark doleful resignation through pure escapism. The unreleased track "In Memory Of The Truth" is downright scary as ghostly voices haunt the horizon while a synthesized violin and whirled dark ambient backdrop casts a darkened overcast where the light finds a continuous diminishing return. "Unquiet Rest" another unreleased track takes it even further as the percolating background static seems is struggling to keep a lugubrious melodic series of synthesized notes from coalescing into something even remotely cheerful. "The Box Theme" is super creepy as it captures the innocence of a child's music box and creates a sonic storm of depression to suppress any chance of happiness from emerging into the world. Another gift from the Hellraiser tracks and a perfect example of how COIL could juxtapose the disperse elements of youthful innocence with a darkened overcast.

Perhaps the strangest moment on this album is when the final track 
"Theme From Blue II / The Hills Are Alive" starts off with as disco funk but then quickly shifts into a dizzying reverberation of audio effects but brings back da funk periodically. This perfectly demonstrates COIL's uncanny ability of obfuscation, how these guys can doctor up a recognizable style and distort it into a bizarre concoction of unrecognizability. UNNATURAL HISTORY II (SMILING IN THE FACE OF PERVERSITY) is another excellent collection of disparate free floating tracks of COIL's ridiculously productive 80s and 90s run. Overall, this second phase of the band's existence embraced more melodic principles albeit drenched in melancholy and darkness. While the earlier material was brilliantly composed, the tracks on this show a clear sign of increased sophistication that augments COIL's ability to tackle the synthesizer and mixing effects like Mozart dominating the piano. While personally i prefer the first UNNATURAL HISTORY comp to this as it's more surreal and detached from reality, for those who want a thread of melodic musicality, then this one will suit you better. It's hard to believe that an album this good was constructed of free radical tracks that bounced from one underground reality to the next but thankfully they were all compiled to create one of experimental electronica's most memorable moments.

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Here is the extensive UNNATURAL HISTORY II (SMILING IN THE FACE OF PERVERSITY) of each track's previous release:

This is a compilation of tracks that have previously been available elsewhere plus some unreleased tracks.

"Red Weather" - From the 1983 release "Bethel". Power Focus / Datenverarbeitung limited edition cassette. "Theme From Blue I & II" originally released 1993 as a Threshold House 7" single (LOCI S1). 1000 numbered on blue vinyl, and 23 signed and numbered on canary yellow vinyl. "Airborne Bells" was the B side to "Is Suicide Solution?" - a 1993 Clawfist 7" single release. An edition of 1400 copies. (XPIG22) "Another Brown World" was featured on "Sinople Twilight In Catal Huyuk" on the Belgian Sub Rosa label (LP - SUB 33004, CD - SUB CD007) "Contains A Disclaimer" - was released on the Pathological Compilation. (Cat no. Path 1) - 1989. (LP/CD) "The Unreleased Themes For Hellraiser" (aka "The Consequences Of Raising Hell") - "The Hellraiser Theme", "The Box Theme" & "The Main Title" were originally released on Solar Lodge Records as a 10" 1987 (Coil 001). The original pressing was on black vinyl, with a second pressing on coloured vinyl (500 clear and 500 pink). The CD release with additional tracks - "The Hellbound Heart", "No New World", & "Vanishing Point" (originally called "Attack Of The Sennapods") - was released in 1990 on Solar Lodge / Torso (Torso CD161). "In Memory Of The Truth", "Unquiet Rest" & "Wait, Then Return" are previously unreleased pieces recorded at the same sessions and subsequently lost until now. Track 15 contains the hidden track "The Hills Are Alive" (15.3), taken from the compilation Macro Dub Infection Vol. 1. Track 15.1, "Theme From Blue II", lasts for 2:17 before a period of silence.

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