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THROBBING GRISTLE

Progressive Electronic • United Kingdom


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Throbbing Gristle biography
Founded in the middle of the 70s (by the freely improvised collective COUM transmissions), Throbbing Gristle is one the most notorious figures in the genesis and the development of Industrial power electronic music. Their original musical path is rapidly followed by a bunch of challenging combos such as SPK, Zoviet France, Einsturzende Neubauten, MB (?) Their pioneering work remains unique in the whole genre, delivering a sonic combination between hypno-minimal pulses, aleatoric sound manipulations, lo-fi synth chords and haunting disembodided / frenetic / convoluted vocal. their first album The Second Annual Report (1977) and 20 Jazz Funk Greats (1979) are considered as milestones of the genre. They feature mechanical pop grooves, unusual motorik rythms surrounded by an arsenal of tripped out epileptic depressive noises. Trobbing Gristle?s powerfully-noisy-theatrical experiments radically interact with a dense subversive imaginary dealing with the hybrid human cultures, the divided ego, Dystopia, fetishism, ultra-violence, sexual perversion, mass control and modern totalitarianism.

Throbbing Gristle official website

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Second Annual Report of Throbbing GristleSecond Annual Report of Throbbing Gristle
Industrial Records 2011
Audio CD$19.98
$22.02 (used)
Throbbing Gristle Bring You 20 Jazz Funk GreatsThrobbing Gristle Bring You 20 Jazz Funk Greats
Industrial Records 2011
Audio CD$22.63
$27.94 (used)
DoaDoa
Mute U.S. 1993
Audio CD$40.00
$21.00 (used)
Throbbing Gristle's Greatest HitsThrobbing Gristle's Greatest Hits
Industrial Records 2011
Audio CD$14.41
$17.05 (used)
First Annual ReportFirst Annual Report
Thirsty Ear 2006
Audio CD$100.00
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Heathen Earth: The Live Sound of Throbbing GristleHeathen Earth: The Live Sound of Throbbing Gristle
Industrial Records 2011
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D.O.A.: Third & Final Report of Throbbing GristleD.O.A.: Third & Final Report of Throbbing Gristle
Industrial Records 2011
Audio CD$29.30
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20 Jazz Funk Greats20 Jazz Funk Greats
Mute U.S. 1993
Audio CD$50.00
$20.99 (used)
RaftersRafters
Import
Eastworld 2011
Audio CD$23.44
$110.00 (used)
Heathen EarthHeathen Earth
Mute U.S. 1993
Audio CD$28.00
$9.96 (used)
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THROBBING GRISTLE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THROBBING GRISTLE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.65 | 26 ratings
The Second Annual Report
1977
3.97 | 23 ratings
D.o.A. The Third And Final Report
1978
4.13 | 32 ratings
20 Jazz Funk Greats
1979
3.42 | 10 ratings
Heathen Earth
1980
3.04 | 5 ratings
Journey Through a Body
1982
3.00 | 1 ratings
CD1
1986
0.00 | 0 ratings
TG Now
2004
3.00 | 1 ratings
Part Two: The Endless Not
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Third Mind Movements
2009

THROBBING GRISTLE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

THROBBING GRISTLE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

THROBBING GRISTLE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Hits
1980

THROBBING GRISTLE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
United/Zyklon B Zombie
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
We Hate You (Little Girls)/Five Knuckle Shuffle
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Adrenalin/Distant Dreams (Part Two)
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Subhuman/Something Came Over Me
1980
0.00 | 0 ratings
Discipline
1981

THROBBING GRISTLE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Heathen Earth by THROBBING GRISTLE album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.42 | 10 ratings

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Heathen Earth
Throbbing Gristle Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Throbbing Gristle recorded an intimidating number of their early live shows, but the twin issues of less advanced live recording technology (particularly at their budget) and highly variable recording conditions meant that the resulting mass of cassette releases ended up being highly variable in quality. Heathen Earth seems to have been an attempt to produce a "definitive" live album by simply not quite recording it live; by performing in their own studio before a select group of fans, they could control the recording conditions far better than they could in some unfamiliar sports hall somewhere.

That said, I think the exercise reveals Throbbing Gristle as a band of emperors without clothes; it feels less than the sum of its parts, like their particular noise-sickness industrial schtick had already run its course. The impending breakup and reconfiguration into various subsequent projects could not have come at a better time.

 Part Two: The Endless Not by THROBBING GRISTLE album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Part Two: The Endless Not
Throbbing Gristle Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars Out of the blue in 2004 Throbbing Gristle banged heads together and finally got down to releasing new material for the first time in 23 years. This 2007 release is however a mixed bag. It's a bag full of spanners and diamonds. The seriously weird Genesis P Orridge re-appeared with botox lips, breast implants and no doubt some dodgy goings on in the trouser department.

We have the difficult problem of context in this recording. 1978's 'Hamburger Lady' - the burn victim song set the foundation in stone of all TG recordings henceforth. Therefore how do you satisfy the hardcore fans? A very troublesome quandary indeed.

The super opener 'Vow of Silence' is one way to start, where demented digitally treated vocals are splattered over 'Coil' mastermind Peter Christopherson's industrial electronics. What's created is a swirling devilish sound of impending catastrophe.

I'm feeling sea-sick already and we're only 7 minutes in. Such a pity then that 'Rabbit Snare' has such feeble vocals over the top of an otherwise great, creepy track. If only he'd used those famous Dalek effects on his voice this could have been fantastic. As it is, I cringe at the awful stringy and flimsy vocal power that P- Orridge delivers here.

The whole album has a very 'Coil' feel throughout. 'Chris and Cosey' - the other two members who've had a long musical career by themselves sound almost redundant throughout this recording. More than likely they were involved in the evaporated guitar tune 'Separated'. This sounds original TG more than most of these tracks.

'Almost a Kiss' is an incredibly weak track which should have been expunged from the outset. Dreadfully poor vocals are delivered through lips you can almost visualise as being the size of bananas as P-Orridge delivers some of the worst conventional, without treatment vocals I've ever heard. It's bloody torture in fact. A zero out of ten. How annoying then that it goes on for almost 7 minutes. This is the biggest 'spanner' in the works as mentioned in my intro as far as this album goes. Dreadful fare...

'Greasy Spoon' sounds very similar to 'It's in My Blood' from Coil's "Ape of Naples ' LP. No bad thing - as I love that track with it's deeply malevolent electronic throbbing vibe.

Genesis P-Orridge finally comes good with 'Lyre Lyre' (Liar, Liar geddit?) due to the immense distortion on his vocals. It sounds like the victims point of view whilst being stretched on the rack by the Spanish Inquisition as he threatens all sorts of eternal damnation. It's torture noise from hell.

There's one last great tune in the title track. Sounding just like a dirty, heavy "Coil' tune. It's therefore more 'Psychic TV' than Throbbing Gristle. This album is a real Rubik's cube of all 3 artists who went on to record after 1981. The overall feel is one of a 'Coil' album but with some 'Psychic TV' vocals which at times are excellent and at others, truly awful.

 The Second Annual Report  by THROBBING GRISTLE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.65 | 26 ratings

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The Second Annual Report
Throbbing Gristle Progressive Electronic

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

5 stars On any normal day, if asked "When is a prog album not prog?", I'd probably simply answer "Bat Out of Hell" and that would be that. But recently, I got to thinking about Throbbing Gristle's work in terms of what could ever allow them on these archives - it's pretty obvious that they are quite unlike any prog electronic out there, let alone the rest of the progsphere.

Now, it could very well be their influences still managing to talk for themselves: roll call reveals White Noise's deconstruction of their own happy psychedelic electro on the second side of "An Electric Storm", K Kluster's minimalist mechanical musics that were as much a precursor to industrial as to their own later work as C Cluster, and Can's "Aumgn" and "Peking O", where they let themselves experiment with soundscapes outright engineered for introducing listeners to the sounds of madness, plus some conceptual and performance tips from Zappa, Beefheart, and Morrison. What TG made is best compared to the two cited Can tracks, which were the least prog but the most radical pieces they ever made. And from there, further musical influence came from John Cage and the concrete composers, and further conceptual influence from the likes of William S. Burroughs, first compiling the library of transgression behind industrial.

Ultimately, though, I conclude the connection is pretty strong, and what TG made, especially here, is something like an errant Hull sourced answer by the Dusseldorf School to Tangerine Dream and the rest of the one in Berlin. Think of this as a pitch dark "Zeit". That is the unique thing about early industrial: it was a unique stepping off point from not just electronica but also psychedelia and, I would now say, the fringes of prog.

More importantly, of course, is the music. The sounds. This album is nothing short of a grand, all encompassing portrait of a dark world not completely of P-Orridge's, Fanni-Tutti's, Christopherson's, and Carter's own designs. This record is the founder of not just industrial, but also of the grand tradition within industrial of debuts being spectacular mission statements - "Mix-Up", "Birthdeath Experience", "Kollaps", "Laibach", "Pretty Hate Machine". Through judicious choices and playing, the band achieved music that sounds like an inexorable march through the mirror of our world they set up. Gristleised guitars sound like mechanical thunder on "Slug Bait - Southampton", and then go martial on "Maggot Death - Rat Club". Sickly synths move the experience forward even in the album's slowest and otherwise quietest moments. P-Orridge was happy to recite lyrics about war crimes and how much the audience sucked, and they had samples to top even that. And "After Cease To Exist" achieves a heck of a balance: ever gripping, yet often too quiet, in that haunting sense.

And special mention goes to the samples, what helps achieve the soundscapes in the greatest, scariest, and most unique way. Random sounds, out of place dance tunes, horrified and horrible people, with placement and even juxtaposition to die for. John hit upon a great concrete soundscape like this with "Revolution 9" - perhaps another influence - and Steven Stapleton would do plenty of great work like this as Nurse With Wound, but TG's concrete side really sticks out. It's what I stay for and what I envy.

Altogether, I can conclude by saying a few concise things about this beast. Still one of the greatest of all industrial albums. A unique and excellent experimental record. A terrifying, dour, off, and yet addictive soundscape. A mission statement. A monument to what transgressive art can be. A prog album that isn't prog. Industrial people - if you haven't, listen to this. Adventurous progheads - perhaps you won't like this, but if you're feeling really open minded, you might find something or other in here.

 CD1 by THROBBING GRISTLE album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.00 | 1 ratings

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CD1
Throbbing Gristle Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
3 stars Despite being recorded live in studio on the 18th March 1979, this didn't see the light of day until 1986. It's pretty much what you'd expect from this bunch of misfits and recidivists.

It's dark, it's creepy, it's unsettling. All played in that unorthodox manner that only TG could. Four untrained musicians that simply knew the type of sound and atmosphere they wanted to create and got out there and did it.

CD1 is full of discordant guitar, cornets, home made synths, rhythm tapes and the odd violin. A really odd mixture at face value, but one that bears fruit. That is - fruit that's decayed and crawling with maggots. this would have made a really good horror soundtrack to David Lynch's 'Eraserhead'

There's next to no vocals present on this album which leads me to believe that it was really just a studio jam with no real direction. Just an experiment to see what the outcome would be with four very different heads playing live simultaneously.

The liner photos show disturbing images of Vietnamese prisoners, Japanese sexual bondage and a Nazi Death Camp. I should have expected nothing less. If that was done now it would appear cheap, derivative and done for shock value only. Back then it must have been downright odd and macabre.

This isn't as good as their studio recordings which sound more fleshed out, but it gives a good indication of how they sounded live and is far more precise in having been recorded on 'Teac' 8 track in a studio environment.

The lengthy outro is lifted from '20 jazz Funk Greats - Convincing People'. A classic non sexy slab of sleaze. A constant one note keyboard stab is engulfed by malfunctioning guitars and a doom laden bass line. Chris Carter's keyboards are twisted, dysfunctional and unpleasant.

All of which just goes to prove that they really were one of a kind.

 Journey Through a Body by THROBBING GRISTLE album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.04 | 5 ratings

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Journey Through a Body
Throbbing Gristle Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Recorded in Rome in March 1981 'Journey through the Body' is the last studio recording by 'Throbbing Gristle' and is also their poorest. Beginning with some ear piercing blasts of high pitched hospital death bleeps it's followed up by breathy grunts and gasps through what sounds like moans and groans through a rolled up newspaper.

Recorded in 5 days, one day per body section, it's laid down without any pre-planned idea and laid directly onto tape without fuss. That damn hospital dialysis machine 'bleep' far outstays its welcome during the 15 minute opener 'Medicine'. There's enormous amounts of distorted effects on vocals throughout, creating that 'Throbbing gristle' sound you'd come to expect. unfortunately, there's very little coherence to proceedings. 15 minutes in and things finally kick off with coronet deconstruction and a cool drum machine which is the TG trademark.

It's a pity that it all sounds so end of the road. You can hear it all too clearly. The inventiveness and bile has been squeezed out of them. You can tell they just want to part ways. 'Journey Through a Body' is limp in a way I would never have thought possible from these four musicians who, despite being poles apart, sound disinterested in the outcome of this recording.

There are however some terrifying moments towards the end with female screams and bloated bass distortion. But it's really just a last 'Hurrah'. Even Chris Carter's piano outro sounds like a goodbye and farewell to all things 'Throbbing Gristle'..

Maybe they'd heard the new kids on the block 'Nurse With Wound' and gave up?

 20 Jazz Funk Greats by THROBBING GRISTLE album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.13 | 32 ratings

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20 Jazz Funk Greats
Throbbing Gristle Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Bearing its ironic title and insincere cover (snapped at an infamous British suicide spot), Throbbing Gristle's 20 Jazz Funk Greats finds Genesis P-Orridge and gang combining more nuanced electronic industrial (compared with the rawer Second Annual Report) and disturbing lyrics to dynamite effect. Fusion fans expecting something more up their alley from the title may wish to step back and reconsider, but alternately anyone interested in exploring the origins of industrial music will find this one of the more accessible jumping-on points in the Throbbing Gristle discography - though with Gristle "accessible" is very much a relative term. You could even dance to some of this if you broke your kneecaps first.
 The Second Annual Report  by THROBBING GRISTLE album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.65 | 26 ratings

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The Second Annual Report
Throbbing Gristle Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Rarely has a band name done a better job of providing a snapshot of a group's sound. On their first release for widespread consumption, Throbbing Gristle present pulsating, ugly industrial soundscapes in a live and studio context. It certainly isn't for everyone - as a terrifying audience confrontation at one point amply demonstrates - but at the same time this groundbreaking material is a lo-fi, grainy snapshot of the birth of industrial music and has few if any precedents. This birth of a new sound is a minimalistic thing and those who prize pristine recording conditions will find its low budget production difficult to engage with.
 D.o.A. The Third And Final Report  by THROBBING GRISTLE album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.97 | 23 ratings

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D.o.A. The Third And Final Report
Throbbing Gristle Progressive Electronic

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars

As a fan of the industrial sounds of the latest Gary Numan sounds I had to try this dark and disturbing artist Throbbing Gristle and this album looked as good as any. Well, it was dark and disturbing but not totally unlistenable unlike other disturbia I have heard and avoided. TG begin this joyous romp into excess with printer data sounds of I.B.M and then move into a deep recurrent synth throb and manic caterwauling on Hit by a Rock. United is a 17 second ultra sped up version of a fairly decent 4 minute song. I prefer the long version but it is interesting that the band decided to speed it up out of recognition, though it would have been fun to slow it down back in the days of vinyl by hand spinning the disc.

Next is the Valley of the Shadow of Death which is an incessant synth drone and some odd taped conversations that are unintelligible but have some expletives and sounds in the background may be military effects. Not sure about what that is saying. Next is the Dead on Arrival that is really industrial sounding like machines in some kind of hospital. I like the synth patterns and overall atmosphere but there is not enough variation and someone tell P-Orridge to stop tooting like a maniac. Weeping is the next one and it is a morbid study in suicidal thoughts with lyrics that defy explanation "My arm is torn open like a wound, My universe is coming from my mouth, I spent a year or two, listening to you, Discrediting myself for you, You didn't see me on the floor weeping, You didn't see me lying by the door, You didn't see me swallowing my tablets, You can't look inside my eyes no more." The sounds on this are very weird and even remind me of Oriental plucking guitar reverberations and some off key violin screeches.

Hamburger Lady is a classic from Throbbing Gristle that I knew about even before I knew they existed as it is controversial for its portrayal of a lady mutilated and burnt and the term was how the police referred to the poor burns victim. The lyrics are morose reverberated by Genesis P-Orridge and the slices of guitar by Cosey Fanni Tutt are wonderfully dark. This is as dark as it gets for this band apart from Slug Bait which I care not to hear again. Hometime is an unusual atmospheric piece with some nice little girl talking but we hope she is safe, though the album cover has an unsettling look to it, especially the insert photo of the little girl lifting her dress. Of course the band are out to shock and we can add our own interpretations and as much as I try I cannot hear anything particularly odd about the girl's rantings, though that may be the point.

AB/7A is an excellent synth piece that motorvates along like vintage Kraftwerk and is certainly one of the more electronic passages of music on the album. E-Coli returns to grim moody themes with a pulsing synth, off key sustained toots and some eerie effects. Throughout this slow moving music is a lecture by some physician speaking of the effects of deadly bacteria. The mood is really brought down low after the previous bright synth driven track. It is remarkable how each track is completely different. Next is Death Threats which is a phone message of some bloke who wants to end the "industrial world" of the band, and some weird woman who wants to set some bad hoodlums onto P-Orridge for some reason; quite nasty really considering it is a real phone call from some deranged woman. Up next is Walls of Sound that is really a noise distorted with screeches and static, quite a kick in the guts after all the other tracks and again stands out as completely diverse from other tracks. Moving on to Blood on the Floor, which is droning vocals and a synth sound and mercifully is ended after a minute.

2 bonus tracks appear and they are both unsettling and perhaps did not make it to the 1978 album because they are so over the top. We hate You (Little girls) is a throwback to the album cover image. Can you imagine that girl sitting there and hearing this screaming maniac yelling their lung raw about how much they hate her.

At the end of the album I feel as though I have heard something that must not be ignored as it is so ground breaking and yet it was not really an enjoyable experience and purposefully so. This type of music exists and if you dig hard you can find some really disturbing stuff out there such as Nurses with Wounds, Frankie Suicide and this. Perhaps that is what the music industry needs to set it in its place. This off kilter music must balance out all the commercial music. It can't all be radio friendly commercial and it can't all be industrial noise; there must always be balance. Somehow Throbbing Gristle draw me in the way that The Residents draw me into their dark universe. I prefer The Residents for their humourous approach and the problem I have personally with Throbbing Gristle is not that they do not deserve recognition as artists breaking the barriers, but the problem for me is that the music is so tuneless, forgettable, weirdly morbid and deeply depressing. If that is the type of music you desire than this is the perfect band for you.

 Heathen Earth by THROBBING GRISTLE album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.42 | 10 ratings

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Heathen Earth
Throbbing Gristle Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A super dark album that begins with a deeply unsettling coronet played through a strange flanging effect unit. The gates of hell then open up as Genesis P. Orridge opens his big blubbery dead pan lips.

This LP is very much of its time but carries one hell of a punch even in 2013. Recorded live in the studio with a youthful John Balance (of future 'Coil' fame) looking on in admiration, I still have the rotten quality video of the event itself and therefore have a somewhat biased view towards this recording. It's an unhealthy, sexually deviant, dark and foreboding state of affairs. The audience in the studio look as awkward as the band as all keep their heads down in what could be mistaken as embarrassment. What is created is one of the darkest and most threatening albums I've ever heard.

Thrashing electronics and massively deteriorated guitars batter about wildly as P, Orridge delivers his vocals in that 'lifeless zombie' like manner that he is renowned for. The only lead vocalist with a dead soul. You've only got to look at his face - even when he smiles he looks like he's smelling a crate full of dead fish.

Large echoing effects are used on all instruments during 'The World is a War Film' in which events turn much darker. Incessantly doomy vocals are at the forefront with talk of impending catastrophe and armageddon spouting from Genesis P. Orridge in one of his more bellicose outpourings. It's all wonderful stuff where the lyrics include the unforgettable 'The human race is disgusting, a disgusting race to be eaten by flames'. These are words that have stuck in my mind for 25 years.

Thankfully there's a bit of respite with Chris Carter on keyboards playing the very electronic 'Dream Machine' as all sorts of electronic tweakery play about in the background. All four members played equal parts in 'Throbbing Gristle' from beginning to end. There was never a case of vocalist takes centre stage. In a way I think that's why they were so successful.

There's some weird vocal play on 'Still Walking' where very dodgy sexual antics are described but are so warped that it's difficult to tell exactly what's being said.

R2D2 makes a star appearance in 'Don't Do As You're Told' which appears to have been written for the Droid hospital scene in 'Star Wars'. Big stomps of electronica repeat themselves as airy coronet floats about the damaged robots entrails. The dead vocals of Genesis P.Orridge work a treat. He sounds like a spectre and I think that helped Throbbing Gristle in many ways.

Throbbing Gristle were a band where all four disfunctional members performed as a perfect team, in the right time, in the right place.

 20 Jazz Funk Greats by THROBBING GRISTLE album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.13 | 32 ratings

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20 Jazz Funk Greats
Throbbing Gristle Progressive Electronic

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Seems like our Progressive net is getting wider these days, and bringing up some odd fish. Throbbing Gristle, in a Prog Rock forum? Good grief, who's next: Alan Vega and Suicide? (On the other hand, why not?)

Throbbing Gristle scared me in my sheltered adolescence, and even now, as a more worldly-wise adult, I still feel uneasy in their company. The band's transgressive audio-visual ethos was akin to lifting a rock and seeing the writhing mass of creepy-crawly things beneath it: all part of the rich tapestry of life, but hardly something you want your nose rubbed in.

Their 1997 studio album is probably the quartet's most accessible effort, but with this group that's a relative measure at best, and it doesn't extend too far beyond the parody cover art and title track: a rinky-dink robotic pop rhythm, complete with groovy, whispered interjections like "yeah..!" and "nice!" Just a touch of ersatz beatnik humor to brighten an otherwise nightmarish soundscape; some editions of the album telegraphed the punchline by adding a naked corpse to the faux-'60s cover photo.

But don't be fooled. Throbbing Gristle was notorious for exploring the darker recesses of the human condition, operating in a dark industrial netherland of post-punk electronics. The German bands that inspired them (KLUSTER, early KRAFTWERK, the first TANGERINE DREAM) were formed in reaction against the horrors of their collective past. But groups like TG embraced those same terrors as a way to confront our darker impulses, without flinching. Torture, genocide, pornography, disfigurement, etc...all set to a throbbing mechanical backbeat, with atonal brass accents, eerie tape effects, and soulless vocals conjured from somewhere beyond the grave.

Disturbing stuff, but...well, you decide. If nothing else, the band offered a challenging antidote to all those vapid synth-pop superstars hogging the limelight at the dawn of the 1980s. For the best effect, play the album late at night, with all the lights off. But hide the knives first.

Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition.

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