Throbbing Gristle - The Second Annual Report
Apr 16, 2019
88
Ladies. Gentlemen. This album is fucked up. Like, holy shit. This shit is fucking WILD.

So I knew about this album through word of mouth (being a influence from acts like Mr Bungle and Nine Inch Nails, as well as many 'extreme' acts I've loved). I knew it was a very weird album. So, when Record Store Day rolled around, I found this album lying around (white vinyl with stickers!) for only $20. I should have known what I was in for when the person I bought this off looked at me and said "You sure?". I nodded and then paid the $20 dollars. He asked if I heard this before. I shook my head. He just glanced down. I knew from the get go this album was weird. I wasn't prepared.

So, after that build up, I was excited to listen to it! I'm pretty open when it goes for experimental music.
And, just to see what I was getting myself into, I looked at some of the lyrics.
And I almost vomited.

The first track, Slug Bait, is about someone who cannot wait to kill a pregnant couple, including the child. My jaw was on the fucking floor. I had never read lyrics that made me genuinely feel sick before, but by god this track did something to me that I've felt very rarely: sickness. And it only gets worse, with a track with lyrics so vile I can't even speak on it's content. Just know that this is some sick shit people.

And, when I got around to listening to the album, by god was it an uncomfortable experience. A extremely early, innovative and off the wall record for sure, with pulsating bass riffs, hypnotic guitars and dense, thick, sludgy, aggressive, ear piercing and off the top electronics and synths all combine to create a twisted portrait of some of the most vile acts known to man. And trust me when I say that the first version of Slug Bait is only the start of the chaos.

Some of this stuff makes Xiu Xiu look like The Wiggles. The album is not for the faint of heart. Hell, i'm still debating if this is even for me. I've heard this thing multiple times, and i'm still astoundingly shocked at what Throbbing Gristle were able to say/get away with on this album. Hell, from the audio of the live performances, I don't think they did get away with it!

And that's just side one. Side one of this album is dirt, filth, grime, horror. But it's not just shock. Side two of this album is a 20 minute ambient piece that has a strong sense of atmosphere, silence and tranquility, akin to something like ASMR. Yeah, the album about child murder has a 20 minute ambient piece.

And that's one of the most endearing qualities to this album. It might seem offensive, shocking, muddy and dirty on the surface, but the more you peak back at it's cold exterior, you find something almost magical. You find a robotic heart to this whole maddening experience, waiting to finally explode. And while it never gets the chance to fully explode, it's madness is so interesting and so well made and so...well...insane, that you can only just sit there and wonder what you've done in your life to get to this moment.

And as that thought entered my mind, the vinyl stopped playing. My white, clean, newly found vinyl, after only a couple of spins, has managed to worm its way into my top collections. I put it back on the shelf after one more recent spin of side one, and just see my mother standing by the door frame, repulsed. We had a long talk about if i'm OK in the head, and the more we debated this fact, the more I started to realize: this was Throbbing Gristles plan all along. To get people talking. To get families concerned. To shock. To confuse. To change things.

And by God did it work.

Favorite Jams: After Cease to Exist, Slug Bait - Live At I.C.A., Maggot Death - Live at Rat Club

Lest Favorite: Industrial Introduction
1 Comment
Apr 23, 2019
Thanks for encouraging me into re-listening to this album. I have forgetten how much of a unique experience it is
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