THROBBING GRISTLE – D.O.A. THE THIRD AND FINAL REPORT
Chris Carter has remastered the audio and the LP’s come packaged with an 8 page full colour booklet featuring some previously unpublished photos, press reviews from the time, and other visual ephemera from the Industrial Records archive.
PITCHFORK, DREW DANIEL
THROBBING GRISTLE – D.O.A. THE THIRD AND FINAL REPORT OF THROBBING GRISTLE
Widely regarded as the band’s finest hour, 1978’s D.O.A. effortlessly surpasses Second Annual Report both in its ballsy, forceful execution and its passionate range. If TG are Fleetwood Mac, then D.O.A is their Rumors: the sound of a band alchemically transforming romantic upheaval into their sharpest statement. In a proggy gambit worthy of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, D.O.A. explodes the idea of a unified album into a suite of collective songs punctured by four solo pieces from each band member. Sleazy’s “Valley of the Shadow of Death” is a fetishistic fly-on-the-wall compilation of working-class men and boys talking shit, a sonic file folder of vanished moments that are naggingly unclear (Chit chat? Hustling?). Gen’s melancholic pleading on his solo effort “Weeping” couldn’t be further from the tranquility of Cosey’s idyllic “Hometime”, and this polar juxtaposition flags the album’s messy personal backstory (the album was recorded after Gen and Cosey’s ongoing romance imploded, and Chris and Cosey’s lifelong partnership began). But the standout solo track is surely Chris Carter’s celestial arpeggio staircase “AB/7A”, a clear influence upon the now-much-imitated Emeralds aesthetic of heart-tugging synth mandalas.
Counterbalancing these solitary excursions, the group efforts on this album are exhilaratingly bleak: From the chemtrails of distortion on “Hit By a Rock” to the amplified sound of early computer code stored on cassette on “I.B.M.” to the final raveup of “Blood on the Floor”, it’s never less than car-crash fascinating. At the center of the record is “Hamburger Lady”, a nightmarish vision of a burn victim’s excruciatingly prolonged survival in the administered world of a high-tech hospital. It’s probably Throbbing Gristle’s greatest song, and it sounds tougher and more menacing than ever. The re-mastering has put a bass-jeep-worthy oomph into the low end of the kick drum, thickened the seasick, doomy bass dirge that, yes, throbs at its heart, and sharpened the edge of the scything central riff, a party horn run through a custom-built effects unit called the Gristleizer. Witch-house wishes it were this creepy, but even upside-down crosses won’t save you from the horror of everyday life. A nauseating masterpiece, and an essential recording.
12″ VINYL ALBUM (IRL002)
Throbbing Gristle – I.B.M.
Throbbing Gristle – Hit By a Rock
Throbbing Gristle – United
Throbbing Gristle – Valley of the Shadow of Death
Throbbing Gristle – Dead on Arrival
Throbbing Gristle – Weeping
Throbbing Gristle – Hamburger Lady
Throbbing Gristle – Hometime
Throbbing Gristle – AB/7A
Throbbing Gristle – E-Coli
Throbbing Gristle – Death Threats
Throbbing Gristle – Walls of Sound
Throbbing Gristle – Blood on the Floor