There comes a certain point after which being extreme for its own sake stops becoming interesting, and you have to actually be creative. This was the problem I had with Masonna, and why I lost interest with them in favor of Merzbow: the former was pure overkill to the point of redundancy, while the latter was (and is) more artful and adventurous. In the same vein, that’s probably why grindcore bands like Carcass and Napalm Death, despite being completely over-the-top, managed to remain interesting — they tried to be at least somewhat evolutionary instead of just beating the same dead (rotting, bloated, stinking) horse.
Which brings me to Agoraphobic Nosebleed, brainchild of Scott Hull, founder of the far more maliciously creative X-core band Pig Destroyer. Over the course of the two CDs and 136 (!) tracks of Bestial Machinery, there’s almost no evolution or refinement to speak of save for minor changes in production style or levels of sound quality. And I think that’s probably the idea: ANb isn’t out to evolve, just to survive and succeed, Klingon-style, and from the sound of it also take out as much of the competition as possible along the way. If grindcore is the music you play to clear a room, this is the music you play to clear a room of grindcore fans … or maybe to make them into new ANb fans.Read more
Unnatural History was the second of many Coil albums that compiled a slew of non-album tracks in one central form, if only as a footnote for the completists. Before this was the “stopgap / breathing space” of Gold is the Metal (with the Broadest Shoulders), a closetful of outtakes from the Horse Rotorvator days or earlier. History pulls together pieces from as far back as 1984, but doesn’t attempt to make any kind of chronology or narrative out of them. Not that we really need one: if you’re a Coil fan, it’s almost certainly on your to-do list anyway, and if you’re only a casual listener then you should only come here after listening to the actual album material.
That said, there’s some genuinely intriguing material here that might well appeal to even non-fanatics. One of the biggest pluses is the inclusion of several tracks from an earlier release, Nightmare Culture, where Balance and Christopherson paired up with Boyd Rice under the moniker Sickness of Snakes. (The flipside, with Current 93, is on Nurse With Wound’s In Menstrual Night CD and is absolutely worth seeking out.) “Various Hands”, “The Swelling of Leeches”, “The Pope Held Upside Down” and “His Body Was a Playground for the Nazi Elite” are all wonderfully nightmarish and unsettling. This was back when Coil had gotten their hands on an Emulator III and were using it with gruesome, creative flair — it took me forever to figure out that the noises in “Pope” were pig’s squeals, with a good deal of LFO and other processing applied to them. Read more