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coil reissues: Stev√∏, pay us what you owe us!

Hard to believe 1984 was seventeen years ago. At the time, Thatcher andReagan were in power, Cabbage Patch kids were in style, Duran Duranwere selling out arenas all over the world, researchers publishedreports on the link between HIV and AIDS, Indira Ghandi wasassassinated and Apple introduced the Macintosh. Coil also releasedtheir debut album, a record at the time which was embraced by thepost-industrial scenesters, yet over time has become regarded by manyas somewhat of a cult classic. The music contrasted the trends: wherePsychic TV and Chris and Cosey were softening up — heading down a moreeasily digestible pop route — Coil were summoning pan, waking Maldoror,digging up sewage and turning shit into gold. The album, produced byJim Thirlwell features guests like Marc Almond, Gavin Friday, AlexFerguson and a new third member, Stephen Thrower. Coil weren't afraidto push the boundaries of the genres, using varying sounds fromelectric and organic instruments and collected samples from all overthe world. Why can't they get the CD release correct however? The firsttime around was an unauthorized issue circa 1990, the original releasewas issued with a running order inconsistent with the sleeve and ahalf-assed mastering job. This time around the running order wascorrected, but there's a brand new typo on the booklet and themastering job is worse. Louder doesn't necessarily equal better, theequalization was tweaked to make certain things sound clearer, but thevolume was beefed up to the point of clipping on the really bombasticsounds all over the disc. Here I was originally thinking this would besomething wonderful but when compared to the original vinyl edition,I'm severely let down. For those curious, the same bonus tracks fromthe first issue of the CD are here: Tainted Love, Restless Day and thelonger version of Spoiler.
Originally titled 'Funeral Music for Princess Diana,' Coil's secondfull-length album surfaced in 1986. While the album was more consistentin its theme (various perceptions of death) it was recorded in variousstudios with various producers at the knobs. While the production mightsound dated in parts, the songs themselves are once again timelessclassics. Like 'Scatology', 'Horse Rotorvator' splits genres with thevarying styles - a beefy opening dance track, punchy post-indusrtialsound collages, creepy sequenced melodies, loud guitar riffs, bigbands, bugs and guest speeches. Fortunate concert-goers over the lastyear have paid witness to Coil's revival of "Blood from the Air" whichsounds as fresh now as it did 15 years ago. Unfortunately, once again Ihave issues with the mastering job. Like the other reissue theequilization has been tweaked, this time beefing up both the low bassand high end, coupled with a volume increase. The main result isn'tclipping this time (except for the track "Ravenous") but acassette-like hiss sound, much like that out of place thread in thecurtain - once you notice it, you can't ignore it. The track listinghas been corrected where once again the first issue of the CD wasinconsistent. The artwork includes the cover picture from the originalLP and previously unissued photos inside the booklet. Fans who alreadyown the original issues and are quite satisfied with their versionsneed not worry about the reissues. Obsessives with moral obligationsand relatively new fans shouldn't waste time however. Coil are gettingpaid for these versions, and at $13-15 USD a pop, they're more thanworth it.