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Coil - Scatology CD (album) cover

SCATOLOGY

Coil

 

Progressive Electronic

3.93 | 17 ratings

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Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer
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.

Dobermensch | 4/5 |

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