Top Sounds - I

ICONS OF FILTH - Nostradamnedus {Westworld} Recorded some 18 years after the classic ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ and some 14 years after the band initially split-up, this was originally released by Go-Kart Records in 2002. I recall being a bit let down at the time of its release; it seemed to lack the fury of ‘Onward...’ in favour of a more accessible Rock direction. While that’s true, it’s still resolutely a Punk album and is more the sound of progression than compromise. Lyrically, some of the late vocalist Stig’s best work is here, most notably ‘Treadmill’ and ‘Perpetual Notion’. After a few plays, the depth of the tracks really comes out with highlights being ‘Plastic Wrap’, ‘Ghetto Of Disillusion’ and the best of all, ‘Grind’. There is some inventive and atmospheric guitar work here too - check out ‘Flag’. Artwork is once again done by Squealer. Not the ideal starting place for the curious, but those who know the band and missed out first time around should pay this some attention. Given the old cobblers many bands release after such a hiatus, this stands up to close scrutiny remarkably well. (05.01.17)

IMMOLATO TOMATOES - Stumbling Block: Complete Recordings 86-88 {Boss Tuneage} Crickey - this is something I never thought would get a re-issue! IMMOLATO TOMATOES was a band based in the wonderful England town of Brighton and this 22 track comp collects the bands three demos. Soundwise, think first album INSTIGATORS (vocals especially) fused with a bit of 7 SECONDS and GOVERNMENT ISSUE and you’re pretty much there. There are plenty of highlights here, but most are on the second (from ‘87) and third (from ‘88) demos. Check out ‘Wasted Words’, opener ‘Sometimes I Feel’, ‘Look Back In Anger’ and the title track. Much of the first demo (from ‘86) was recorded on the second one. As always with these Boss Tuneage reissues, there is a booklet laden with flyers and photos and a bit of a biography from a couple of the band members and it’s all been put together to look great by Welly at Artcore zine. I’m pretty sure these fellas never made it to my home town of Ipswich, although I do recall seeing them on a sojourn to Brighton. Another welcome bit of historical preservation from BT and, although they lack a bit of bass, these demos still sound surprisingly vital. (05.11.15) 

INSTIGATORS - Phoenix {Boss Tuneage} OK - listen up kids! This was originally released on Bluurg Records back in 1986 and followed the band’s excellent debut, ‘Nobody Listens Anymore’. It’s also in my Top 10 of British Punk albums ever; quite possibly Top 5 even. This was the first ‘GATORS album to feature new vocalist, ex-XPOZEZ man Andy Turner and, to this day, it sounds unique. Opener ‘Blind Eye’ hurtles along while ‘American Dream’ has a great set of lyrics questioning the Land of the Free. Highlight though has to be ‘Hedonism’ that pivots around a stunning riff and has more drama than most bands manage in a career but somehow retains its Punk Rock Perfection. This re-issue includes a live recording from Berlin in March 1987 and includes some of the material from that debut album but sung by Andy - and he does a stellar job too. Graphics are minimal, as was the original, but spiced up with some greats photos and tight layout. There’s a double album vinyl deal or stand alone CD. If you’ve never heard the original but go weak for both DAG NASTY and SUBHUMANS (UK), then trust me, you need this as an education, a historical document of UK Punk and as, quite simply, a fucking stunning album in its own right that still sounds vital and urgent some thirty years after it was recorded. Classic is an over used term, but this truly is.

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