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COIL

Progressive Electronic • United Kingdom


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Coil biography
Founded in London, UK in 1982 - Disbanded in 2004

Coil is an experimental-multidirectional post-industrial music collective founded in the early 80s by John Balance and Peter Christopherson, both artists were firstly involved in Pyschic TV. From a creative angle, the band has demonstrated and provided innovative schemas of composition and experimented various forms of ambient music, from industrial to ritual and droning, mainly based on tape machines, loops, sonic electronic machines and various instruments. The sound aesthetic is impregnated by very deep, richful, moving and disturbingly obsessive textures as in the now classic How to Destroy Angels (1992) and Musick To Play In The Dark (1999). A notorious band and an important contribution in the development of abstract soundscaping experimentalism and endlessly challenging electronic music.

Similar bands in the archives: Zoviet France, Throbbing Gristle, Contrastate, Jeff Greinke, Allegory Chapel ltd.

Philippe Blache

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COIL discography


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

3.93 | 17 ratings
Scatology
1984
3.00 | 6 ratings
Transparent (as Zos Kia / Coil)
1984
4.20 | 26 ratings
Horse Rotorvator
1986
2.67 | 7 ratings
Gold is the Metal
1987
4.34 | 17 ratings
Love's Secret Domain
1991
3.71 | 11 ratings
Stolen And Contaminated Songs
1992
2.60 | 7 ratings
How To Destroy Angels
1992
4.00 | 5 ratings
The Angelic Conversation
1994
3.67 | 6 ratings
Worship The Glitch (released under the name ELpH vs Coil)
1995
2.50 | 7 ratings
A Thousand Lights In A Darkened Room (released under the name Black Light District)
1996
2.38 | 10 ratings
TIME MACHINES
1998
4.00 | 7 ratings
Astral Disaster
1999
3.76 | 16 ratings
Musick To Play In The Dark
1999
2.21 | 5 ratings
Queens Of The Circulating Library
2000
2.21 | 5 ratings
Constant Shallowness Leads To Evil
2000
3.74 | 11 ratings
Musick To Play In The Dark Vol. 2
2000
3.80 | 5 ratings
Moon's Milk (In Four Phases) Bonus Disc
2002
3.28 | 6 ratings
The Remote Viewer
2002
3.50 | 2 ratings
ANS
2003
3.86 | 7 ratings
Black Antlers
2004
3.31 | 16 ratings
The Ape of Naples
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
...And the Ambulance Died In His Arms
2005
4.00 | 5 ratings
The New Backwards
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Backwards
2015

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Live Two
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live One
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live Three
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live Four
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live Five - Gdansk Autumn 2002
2019
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live - Copenhagen 2002
2019

COIL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

5.00 | 3 ratings
Unnatural History: Compilation Tracks Compiled
1990
4.00 | 4 ratings
Unnatural History II (Smiling In The Face Of Perversity)
1995
4.04 | 4 ratings
Unnatural History III: Joyful Participation in the Sorrows of the World
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Golden Hare with a Voice of Silver
2002
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live Box
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Windowpane
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
Wrong Eye
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Consequences of Raising Hell
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Anal Staircase
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Wheel
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Snow
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Gay Man's Guide to Safer Sex +2
2019
0.00 | 0 ratings
Swanyard
2019
0.00 | 0 ratings
Heartworms
2019
0.00 | 0 ratings
Airborne Bells
2019
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Don't Want To Be The One
2019
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Restitution of Decayed Intelligence
2019
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Sound of Musick
2019

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

4.00 | 5 ratings
How To Destroy Angels
1984
3.33 | 3 ratings
The Anal Staircase EP
1986
3.50 | 4 ratings
The Unreleased Themes For Hellraiser
1987
3.00 | 3 ratings
The Snow EP
1991
3.05 | 3 ratings
Born Again Pagans (released under the name Coil vs ELpH)
1994
4.04 | 4 ratings
Spring Equinox: Moon's Milk Or Under An Unquiet Skull
1998
3.17 | 4 ratings
Summer Solstice: Bee Stings
1998
4.95 | 5 ratings
Autumn Equinox: Amethyst Deceivers
1998
2.60 | 5 ratings
Winter Solstice: North
1999
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Restitution Of Decayed Intelligence
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Selvaggina, Go Back Into the Woods
2004
3.33 | 3 ratings
Coil / Nine Inch Nails - Recoiled
2014
0.00 | 0 ratings
Another Brown World / Baby Food
2017

COIL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Musick To Play In The Dark Vol. 2 by COIL album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.74 | 11 ratings

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Musick To Play In The Dark Vol. 2
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars John Balance mumbles and intones dark little thoughts as synthesisers twinkle like stars in the night sky in this second volume of Coil's Musick To Play In the Dark. As with its predecessor, the album captures Coil following a transition from the "sun music" of their earlier career - with its more aggressive, boisterous aspects - to the "moon music" captured here, with its roots deep in the subconscious and its approach almost ambient in its gentleness. Double meanings abound - "Ether" could refer either to the titular narcotic, or more ethereal spiritual ideas, or the idea of the luminiferous aether, and Balance seems to be talking about at least two of these at any particular point in the composition. A puzzlebox to contemplate when the lights are out.
 How To Destroy Angels by COIL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1984
4.00 | 5 ratings

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How To Destroy Angels
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS (EP)

Amongst the earlier techno flavored albums released by COIL, this first extended play release HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS focused on a meditative otherworldly mix of ritual ambient and droney industrial textures that conspired to create a bizarre amalgamation of sounds that transcend 3D reality. Subtitled "Ritual Music For The Accumulation Of Male Sexual Energy," this collection of two lengthy tracks that still extends to a near 40 minute playing time was originally intended to be the B-side to the track "Silence & Secrecy" by Psychic TV but due to John Balance and Peter Christopherson leaving became an early aspect of the COIL universe.

As with most of COIL's early output this one is mired in mystery and ambiguity. Originally released on L.A.Y.L.A.H Antirecords in 1984 it was later repressed in 1988 but never found its way onto any other format than vinyl 12", however remixes were crafted and the HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS "New Remixes and Recordings" emerged in 1992 on CD format. Add to that of the the two lengthy tracks that swallow up each side of the original vinyl, the second side "Absolute Nowhere" varies during the repressing. It started out as simple noise-filled grooves on the first edition and then became multi-layered music on the second.

This two track EP takes the cosmic otherworldliness of early progressive electronic acts such as Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze and creates bizarre soundscapes outside of the Berlin School continuum. The title track sounds most like a mix of a Tibetan Bhuddist ceremony with a steady percussive flow of metal percussion such as on cymbals, gongs and other metallic devices that make nice resonance. The synthesized parts are more ambient and flow like gentle clouds in the skies above with no rhyme or reason but still offer a subtle exchange of tones, timbres and dynamics that never get too wild.

The second side consists of the lengthy "Absolute Elsewhere" which clocks in near 24 minutes and is eerily hypnotic and will only be accessible to those who have mastered the ability to meditate for long periods of time. A droning sound that sounds like a dial tone on 20th century telephones before dialing is accompanied only by what sounds like the scratchy end of a record where the loops of staticky contact are in a perpetual loop for eternity. I can understand why the monotony of this one will not appeal to all but for me this experience is literally transcendental. It's almost like a bridge between the third and the fourth densities of consciousness and the portal to get there with a high pitched soundtrack.

 The Unreleased Themes For Hellraiser by COIL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1987
3.50 | 4 ratings

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The Unreleased Themes For Hellraiser
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Coil's infamously rejected dark ambient soundtrack work for Hellraiser has been released in various forms over the years - first as a highly abbreviated EP, then with further bonus material from other soundtrack jobs added, then as tracks on the Unnatural History series of compilations.

The best release of the material so far is the 2015 one - reverting to the title The Consequences of Raising Hell (a subtitle used for some earlier releases of The Unreleased Themes For Hellraiser), it includes the 9 surviving Hellraiser tracks, a series of short pieces produced for commercials to pay the bills, and a clutch of untitled tracks which represent early instrumental working versions of pieces that ended up on Gold Is the Metal.

On the whole, it's as good a collection of Coil's mid-1980s soundtrack and similar instrumental work as we're likely to get. A little reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails' soundtrack to Quake in places, the Hellraiser material is just as spooky as the movie demanded; meanwhile, the remaining tracks explore other moods, with the advertising jingles offering a sort of interval before the more disquieting material creeps in on the concluding untitled tracks.

 Unnatural History III: Joyful Participation in the Sorrows of the World by COIL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1997
4.04 | 4 ratings

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Unnatural History III: Joyful Participation in the Sorrows of the World
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars COIL's third collection of stray tracks that found their way onto various formats including limited edition releases, various artists comps and B-sides. UNNATURAL HISTORY III: JOYFUL PARTICIPATION IN THE SORROWS OF THE WORLD collected another ten tracks and was released in 1997 and essentially captured the last of the odds and sods of the first fifteen years of COIL's existence. As with all COIL material, the core duo of John Balance and Peter Christopherson were responsible for the development of the tracks but a few friends such as Chris Carter, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Drew McDowall, J.G. Thirlwell, Andrew Poppy, Bill McGhee and Martyn Phillips contributed here and there and added their personal touches.

Once again, UNNATURAL HISTORY III displays a wealth of forgotten mind trips that didn't make it onto the official album releases and honors the wealth of diversity that COIL implemented as they transcended the boundaries of ambient, darkwave, industrial and the avant-garde to create sound collages unlike any other. While the material is surprisingly diverse in its approach, a few factors carried on from the previous UNNATURAL HISTORY compilations. Firstly, the love of lazy mid-tempo almost trip hoppish beats that provide the basic groove for all the wild and woolly experimental touches to swirl upon and a healthy love of bizarre multi- dimensional trips that incorporated various sound samples. "First Dark Ride" displays this perfectly as a big fat beat allows chimes and other bizarre synthesized sounds to compound around.

Danny Hyde aka Aural Rage is credited for writing some of the tracks and his stylistic approach appears on tracks like "Baby Food" which eschew an overt beat and instead implement an overlapping series of bizarre musical scales with different timbres. Sort of like alien church organs on a world with a helium based atmosphere. It's also one of the band's more known tracks as it appeared on the 1993 compilation "Chaos In Expansion" which appeared on the underground Sub Rosa label. "Music For Commercials" sounds unlike anything COIL had done before. It's perhaps the most cheery and uplifting music they ever could have imagined. While originally the B-side of the "Hellraiser 10," the short run of various melodic developments that change it up often were supposedly used in real TV commercials.

Tracks like "Panic 12" Version" show perfectly how COIL was starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel with these stray tracks as it is somewhat weak. It's essentially the Dionysian remix of the B-side of their single "Tainted Love." It's basically a boring industrial beat with some screams and cheesy synthesizer sounds thrown in. Skinny Puppy without the inspiration so to speak. One for the dance floor but not one that matches their high quality musical marksmanship. "Neither His Nor Yours" is a cool Japanese sounding track that mixes some cool polyrhythms. It was donated to raise money for AIDS projects in New York City. It's also quite industrial with a heavy percussive drive and bleak atmosphere. "Feeder" is one of many avant-garde classical sounding tracks. Sort of like John Cage with a slight beat and random sound effects.

There are many more industrial beats on UNNATURAL HISTORY III: JOYFUL PARTICIPATION IN THE SORROWS OF THE WORLD compared to the previous compilations. While i've always considered this third installment of the trilogy the weakest of the three, this is by no means a bad collection of disparate material existing side by side. While some tracks are filler and could've been left in the vaults, the majority is a killer mix of the usual surreal intricate compositional constructs with that unmistakable Balance / Christopherson mix of lunacy while some of the tracks that imbibe the industrial nectars were clearly intended to be one offs for various projects that wouldn't be associated with COIL's main body of work. While all tracks are not created equal the first side is as good as anything on the other comps and nothing on the second side is bad per se, just not as OMG exceptional either.

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Here is the extensive UNNATURAL HISTORY III (JOYFUL PARTICIPATION IN THE SORROWS OF THE WORLD) of each track's previous release:

Third in a series of anthology discs collecting tracks that originally appeared on various compilations and limited edition releases.

"First Dark Ride" was originally released on the Coil vs. The Eskaton 12″ "Nasa Arab". "Baby Food" was originally released on the compilation Chaos in Expansion. "Music for Commercials" originally appeared on the 10″ & cassette versions of The Unreleased Themes for Hellraiser. According to John Balance, "Panic" was mislabeled in the CD booklet as being the 'Dionysian' remix, commenting, "But then again, isn't everything Dionysian."[1] "Neither His nor Yours" was originally released on the compilation A Diamond Hidden in the Mouth of a Corpse. "Feeder" was originally released on the album Core - A Conspiracy International Project by Conspiracy International, a label run by Throbbing Gristle members Chris & Cosey. "Wrong Eye" and "Scope" were originally released on the 7" single "Wrong Eye/Scope". These two songs were released along with "Meaning What Exactly?" on the compilation The Portable Altamont in 1993. "Lost Rivers of London" was originally released on the Ptolemaic Terrascope benefit compilation Succour. The song was later remade and released as "London's Lost Rivers" on the vinyl release of the Black Light District album A Thousand Lights in a Darkened Room.

 Unnatural History II (Smiling In The Face Of Perversity) by COIL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1995
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Unnatural History II (Smiling In The Face Of Perversity)
Coil Progressive Electronic

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.

 Unnatural History: Compilation Tracks Compiled by COIL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1990
5.00 | 3 ratings

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Unnatural History: Compilation Tracks Compiled
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars Perhaps one of the strangest and most experimental electronic acts ever to have emerged was the English duo of John Balance and Peter Christopherson, better known as COIL. While initially started as a solo project of Balance while he was in Psychic TV, the project got more sophisticated once former Throbbing Gristle member Christopherson got involved. The project officially began in 1982 but the duo didn't release their first album until "Scatology" was released in 1984, however before the debut came out the two not only crafted the more dance friendly industrial music that was included on the first release, but they were also busy creating some of the most bizarre sonic experiments ever attempted. Most of these tracks never appeared on their albums but were scattered about all over the place. Some on mini-LPs, some on splits, some as singles, some as limited edition releases and others on compilations of various artists releases. Another interesting note is that early pressings are susceptible to disc rot due to some sort of outbreak in the 1990 period. There have been other "performers" who have joined in for a track here and there but basically this was the Balance / Christopherson show.

After COIL released three official albums they started to compile some of all the loose fodder scattered about and the first release of this disparate material appeared in 1990 in the form of UNNATURAL HISTORY: COMPILATION TRACKS COMPILED. The tracks were recorded during the 1983-86 timeline and include not only the classic Balance / Christopherson mind bending electronic surreality as COIL but also include three tracks with Boyd Rice when they were known as Sickness of Snakes which released one EP titled "Nightmare Culture." For anyone who is familiar with the bizarre musical (or not so much so) adventures of COIL, then nothing on this COMPILATION will be overly shocking however this collection provides a interesting historical glimpse into how Balance and Christopherson evolved from making phantasmagoric electronic mind trips that focused on non-melodic or even non-musical experiments with industrial, psychedelia and the avant-garde elements, to how they eventually added bleak and forbidding melodic components.

Much of this should be considered pure noise with tracks like "The Pope Held Upside Down" sounding like a day in hell where demons are having a conversation with Satan in electronic format. Tracks like "Sicktone" have an underlying ambient flow but underneath it sounds like an airplane taking off. Some tracks like "His Body Was A Playground For The Nazi Elite" mix experimental noise pitches that oscillate between notes accompanied by an ominous military march type of percussive drive. "Homage To Sewage" displays a more bleak industrial vibe but makes bands like Einstürzende Neubauten sound like a Disneyland attraction whereas some like "Here To Here (Double Headed Secret)" engage in a minimalist melodic development with the experimentation taking place in freaky echo effects and chilling timbres of the synthesized sounds. While utterly alien in nature none of the tracks exceed the five minute mark with the sole exception of the closing "How To Destroy Angels (mono version)" which at almost seventeen minutes comprises a quarter of the album's running time. This is an alternative version of the track that has been included many other places over time.

I have to give credit to a now deceased friend who turned me on to the bizarre and alienating world of COIL. This COMPILATION was not only my introduction to this unique but daunting experimental artist but was also my gateway drug into the greater world of industrial, dark ambient, drone, noise and experimental electronic music in general, however i have to admit that i really started with one of the most surreal albums i've ever heard even to this day so most music that falls under the umbrella term electronica sounds quite tame in comparison. Even much of COIL's discography is more structured than this freeform assault on the senses that is designed to startle and dismay as it forces you to question the whole notion of what exactly constitutes music in the first place. Perhaps encountering this in the modern era won't prove as awe inspiring since such sound collages have been replicated ad infinitum however even to this day, nothing scratches that avant-garde electronica itch like this first installment of the three UNNATURAL HISTORY COMPILATIONS.

If you by chance are seeking something that has musical and non-musical elements and takes you down the rabbit hole into a darkened tenebrous sonic universe that incorporates aspects of droning, tape loops, minimalism, glitch and chaos all conspiring to create an occult soundtrack into some very bizarre initiation ritual, then you cannot go wrong with this collection of sonic demons that will make you trip without using drugs. COIL utilized some of the craziest methods for conjuring up these sonic entities. They were famous for ritual drug abuse, sleep deprivation, lucid dreaming, granular synthesis and reading tidal shifts as well as implementing occult practices such as scrying, SETI synchronization and chaos theory as their methodology for constructing these very, very weird sonic wonders. This may or may not be something that appeals to your sensibilities but one thing is for sure, you probably have never heard anything like the mesmerizing sequence of sonority that takes place in these thirteen tracks. This is perhaps my most treasured COIL album, not only because it was the first but also the best in its sheer ability to alter my consciousness even after the gazillionth spin.

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Here is the extensive UNNATURAL HISTORY of each track's previous release:

Tracks 1, 2 & 3 were originally released as one half of the Nightmare Culture Mini-LP on LAYLAH Anti-Records (LAY 14), under the group name Sickness Of Snakes. This consisted of John Balance, Peter Christopherson, and Boyd Rice, to whom we owe many thanks for his co-operation and collaboration. Track 4 was originally released on the German Ohrensausen compilation LP in a limited edition of 1000 (500 black, 500 white vinyl) (DOM V77-03). It was recorded at the same 9 hour session as tracks 1, 2 & 3 and also features Boyd Rice. Track 5 was included on Life At The Top, a compilation on Third Mind Records (TMLP07). The track is an out-take from our Scatology sessions. Track 6 was released on a Nekrophile Records compilation cassette called The Beast 666 (NRC03). The track dates from 1983. It also formed the musical base for the Zos Kia song "Rape" which was released as a 7" on All The Madmen Records. Track 7 first appeared on The Elephant Table Album (A Compilation Of Difficult Music) album, a double compilation LP, released by X Tract Records (XX001). Track 8 appeared on a compilation cassette called Peyrere in 1986. It is an early demo track from around the Scatology era. Track 9 was recorded at home by John Balance in 1983. It previously appeared on the limited edition cassette Raw Like Sewage (not in the database yet) on the Premonition label. Track 10 forms part of the soundtrack to Derek Jarman's film "The Angelic Conversation". It first appeared on a cassette called Less Than Angels, a release limited to 100 copies. Track 11 released on a limited 7" single on the Shock 45 (SX002) label. Actually, the track does not appear on Wrong Eye / Scope. Track 12 was previously released on the LAYLAH Anti-Records compilation The Fight Is On. Track 13 is available as a one-sided LP on LAYLAH Anti-Records: How To Destroy Angels (LAY5). It is "Ritual Music For The Accumulation Of Male Sexual Energy"

 Autumn Equinox: Amethyst Deceivers by COIL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1998
4.95 | 5 ratings

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Autumn Equinox: Amethyst Deceivers
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

5 stars This is the 3rd EP in a series of EPs based on the 4 seasons by Coil. It was released on the Autumnal equinox in 1988 which was fitting of course. Coil was an experimental and mostly electronic duo that has released quite a few albums and have also worked with many artists like Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails doing remixes. Their music is typically quite dark and unsettling.

It starts off with a short track called 'Regel' which is made up of strange electronic noises and vocals that are a combination of singing and high pitched calling. This ends quickly and goes to 'Rosa Decidua'. This one is very atmospheric with synthesized keyboards (organ and etc.) and a nice female voice, guest vocalist Rose McDowall from Strawberry Switchblade, singing from what sounds like a distance. Soon a poetic reading starts while all of this is going on. This is a nice track with a lot of depth. There is also a nice tenor voice from Robert Lee from 'Sorrow', another guest vocalist, singing in counterpoint.

'Switches' starts out with an echoing, ambient drone. Soon, electronic noises and pulses come in, making some very interesting and captivating noises. This one is really unsettling when listening through headphones and can really scare the flibindigibits out of you. Make sure you at least have a good stereo set up to get the real effect of this track. This track really shows the ingenuity of Coil, and is worth getting the EP for. Simply amazing.

'The Auto-Asphyxiating Hierophont' is a more majestic sounding track, yet it is still quite unsettling. It is also more melodic, but in a very discordant way. There are processed, chanted vocals here, which sounds like a male and female doing a reading at the same time. While this is going on, there are strings and a thumping percussive noise playing along. Again, this is very spooky and unsettling. At the end this is all replaced by electronic noises before the strings come back in again without percussion or voices.

'Amethyst Deceivers' is the last track on the EP. There are again electronic effects with an electric harp and guitar/bass playing while more chanting is going on by McDowall. Additional voices are layered in later.

This is a very beautiful addition to the Season EP cycle. It is very ritualistic sounding, and gives one the feeling of an old folk/pagen folk music and chanting but feeling very up to date with the orchestration and instrumentation. This is one EP that is worth searching for, especially if you like this style of old ritualistic folk. When combined with the entire song cycle, this is an amazing work, but alone as it is on this EP, the biggest drawback is you wish it was longer. However, I can easily give this one 5 stars as it is the strongest EP in the cycle. You can also find the entire cycle on the release 'Moon's Milk (in Four Phases)'. This is the way I would recommend getting these 4 EPs for those that are curious.

 Winter Solstice: North by COIL album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1999
2.60 | 5 ratings

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Winter Solstice: North
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

2 stars This EP is the final in a series of 4 CDs that contain music inspired by the seasons. Each one of these CDs is so different, but that is usually the case with Coil, and that is what makes their music so interesting, you never know what to expect. Overall, this one is cold and ambient, the music definitely reflects the empty feeling of the winter season, at least in the north half of the hemisphere.

This EP has 4 tracks. The first track, "White Rainbow" is sparse recording, at least most of the way through, with inconsistent percussion, vocals that sound like Brendan Perry from "Dead Can Dance", except with all electronic synths and sounds. The song is sung in a chant style, but with one voice, no harmonies. This sparseness continues most of the way through, but towards the last few minutes, strange electronic noises start to take over the track until it obliterates the drone and vocals that have been dominating the song.

Next is "North" which is comprised of metallic electronic sounds, again quite ambient with a soft rhythm underneath. There is a lot of echo, and you can hear a indiscernible and processed voice that sounds like it is echoing through a dark hallway. No melody here, just experimental and spooky ambience.

"Magenetic North", the third track, is another electronic drone, with varying tones that swirl around. There are subdued, almost whispered, and tuneless vocals. There is no rhythm here, it's just mostly quiet and subdued. The feeling is loneliness and isolation. The best way to experience this is with a good set of headphones, in a darkened room, with your eyes closed. It's also a good time to take a nap, because it goes on for 8 minutes.

It's not Winter without a Christmas song, so, Coil puts a traditional folk song on as the last track. Titled "Christmas is Now Drawing Near", it is sung and performed by guests "Rosa Mundi". It is a Catholic song, and it sounds like it, with a little Celtic feeling to it. Strings provide a drone like sound while keyboards provide atmosphere, keeping things cold and mostly dark.

Strangely enough, the short EP is very relaxing, even with it's dark and somber tones. It is quite ambient and mostly drone- like, and you almost wish for something a little upbeat, but you don't get it here. It is decent enough for lovers of ambient drone music, and those interested in Electronic Prog might want to try it out. Otherwise, it is not very interesting. As a fan of ambient electronic music that is done well, I really have a hard time getting into this one. You would probably be better off finding the compilation "Moon's Milk" which contains the 4 EPs in this series, as they do work better together than they do separately. Otherwise, this lone EP is only for collectors and fans.

 Transparent (as Zos Kia / Coil) by COIL album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.00 | 6 ratings

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Transparent (as Zos Kia / Coil)
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars After COIL released their debut album "Scatology" in 1984, they quickly released a collection of their earliest primal and mind- altering sonic experiments from the early 80s from the brief time when they would be closely connected with yet another errant electronic band Zos Kia, a project of John Gosling which was an offshoot of John Balance's Psychic TV. The two groups were essentially the same at this point separated in identity only by name showing the complex revolving door policies of the early industrial sound collage movement in the early 80s. These tracks on this only album to be released with the ZOS KIA moniker attached contain some of the most horrific sounds ever to be recorded onto tape with bombilations so utterly unsettling that i can not think of another album that exudes the primal essence of fear and so successful delves deep into the psyche of the listener to locate the ultimate sonic methodology for evoking intense discomfiture.

Originally released by Nekrophile only on the cassette format, the collection would finally find a home on CD in 1997 (with a different track order) by Threshold House and in 1998 Eskaton would reissue a vinyl edition. Finally in 2016 these rough drafts of soundtracks for nightmares would undergo a remastering and released by Cold Spring with two bonus tracks that were recorded by the pre-ZOS KIA noisemakers AKE and show a glimpse of the live underground event played at the Equinox event on June 21, 1983. TRANSPARENT is a bona fide history lesson in the errant nihilistic origins of COIL when they existed side by side on various Rising From The Red Sand compilations with other avant-garde electronically leaning artists like Nurse With Wound, Attrition, Konstruktivists, Lustmord and the Legendary Pink Dots. Likewise these recordings point to the antecedents of COIL's rather eccentric and occult interests and how they relay them in sonic form which continued throughout their multi-decade career which include wax cylinder recordings of Aleister Crowley and inspiration from his disciples especially Austin Osman Spare.

After the somewhat synthpop oriented debut "Scatology" that showed a slightly normal side of COIL, the collection of tracks on TRANSPARENT is downright frightening in comparison. Although some tracks like "Rape" (titled "Violation" on original release) would find their home in a new packaging on a future album (can't pinpoint it), most of these tracks are non-musical and focus more on rhythmic bursts of noise punctuated by intense spoken manifestos or psychotic keyboard deliveries that makes most horror soundtrack music seem like a walk through Disneyland. In sync with the chaos that is the discography of COIL, some tracks are solely credited to COIL, some solely to ZOS KIA and others to both while the bonus tracks are credited to the earlier KIA outfit AKE. Often referred to as monochrome psychedelia, TRANSPARENT even utilizes of all kinds of freaky everyday noises to scare the bejesus out of you. The track "Silence And Sorcery" for example is nothing more than a background of rhythmic crickets chirping with industrial noises randomly jumping from the abyss to signify their presence.

Listening to TRANSPARENT is a journey into the darkest recesses of the mind that captures the most disconcerting sonic amalgamation of factors that create an aura of shock and awe. While COIL would continue on to add more musical elements to their unique style of psychic torture, they would continue to employ many of the same non-musical elements that were laid out at this early stage with some of these tracks being cannibalized and used for sound effects in later offerings. TRANSPARENT is an interesting historical artifact that clearly lays out the antecedents of COIL's ascension into the industrial underground and also displays the less than clear delineation between all the affiliated groups and sub-groups that existed in the fluid world of John Balance and Peter Christopherson. TRANSPARENT is a must for those who crave the shadowy sonic expressions of the underground industrial world of the early 1980s when strange new unthinkable sound combinations were codifying a new "musical" movement that would find more prominence a decade later but for the uninitiated this could be considered a sonic assault that may leave them shivering under their sheets for days.

3.5 rounded down

 Scatology by COIL album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.93 | 17 ratings

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Scatology
Coil Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.
Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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