Sunday, 6 October 2013

Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel ‎– Nail

1985 is primarily known to a lot of us as being the year of Back to the Future. But while most folk of the time were rocking safely to Huey Lewis and the News, at least our industrial heroes were bringing the noise, right? Not quite. Trent Reznor would deliver something that sounded oddly like Depeche Mode four years later, and receive plaudits for changing everything. Ministry were still New Romantics. It’d be nearly half a decade before Godflesh would mutilate our ears with the mighty Streetcleaner.

Thank fuck, then, for Jim Thirlwell. Actually, ‘noise’ does him a disservice. In his Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel identity, he released his fourth record, Nail. Nearly three decades on, this album sounds fresh and eclectic. You get the feeling anything is possible (he actually starts shouting ‘I can do anything I want’ on concluding ‘Anything (Viva!)’. Nail opens with a semi-classical prologue that doffs its cap to Wagner, but it’s not long before ‘The Throne of Agony’ throws the frenetic drum machine, surreal sung-shouted lyrics and random ‘Mission Impossible’ interludes into the mix.

Gypsy punk even rears its head in – whisper that chorus – ‘Enter the Exterminator’. You get the feeling this kind of controlled chaos and intellectual snarling is what Dave Mustaine was aiming for with Megadeth, but could never quite reach (great riffs, though). It’d be a stretch to suggest this combination of electro and epic classical is a kindred spirit to the Venetian Snares album Rossz Csillag Alatt Született, which would follow exactly two decades later, as the primary mood is that of fiendish playfulness, rather than mournful paranoia. Nevertheless, both are equally grand and eye-opening.

Thirlwell was in a stunning headspace at this time (akin to peers Michael Gira and Nick Cave), as only the next year, he delivered the magnificent Wiseblood record with Roli Mosimann of Young Gods, which was the brutal younger sibling to Nail. Dante would have been proud of this musical descent into the inferno.

Source: Robin Jahdi for FactMag (The 100 Best Albums of The 1980s)