by Meatplow USER (111 Reviews)
August 30th, 2008 | 18 replies

Release Date: 1984 | Tracklist

Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel - Hole

J.G. Thirlwell is not a household name by any means, but if you live in garbage laden flat rented out to a group of people who spend their time smoking crack and listening to industrial groups like Swans, Einstürzende Neubauten & Laibach chances are he would be. No doubt slipping under the radar for many, the man sometimes known as Clint Ruin and Frank Want has built up quite a cult following as one of the most prolific background figures in the music business; a notable contributor, producer and remixer (having worked with Nine Inch Nails, Marc Almond, Front 242, Nick Cave, The The, Roli Mosimann, Thurston Moore, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Raymond Watts, Marilyn Manson and more) owing most of his popularity to his primary musical act, Foetus.

Cycling through several monikers over the years all involving that particular word (Foetus Interruptus, You've Got Foetus On Your Breath, Foetus Corruptus) since 1981 J.G. has concocted some of the most difficult to categorise genre-bending experiments ever put to tape, mostly centered around the abrasive sampling and drum machines typical of industrial. Early albums Deaf and Ache were raw, experimental efforts that sounded like the bastard child of electronica pioneers Perrey-Kingsley and God Ween Satan era Ween, a manic, confused mashing of musique concrète, new wave, funk, and noise ideas which lacked focus but made up for it with sheer raw insanity. Whilst third album Hole (released under Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel) is a much more refined effort, for the most part it is no less engaging for those of us with ADD.

Opening track Clothes Hoist is a frenetic bastard of a thing with many multilayered tracks of percussion, a swinging psychobilly hook to J.G's vocals and an explosion of distorted textures bringing to mind a chaotic B-grade horror movie extravaganza. It's a fun song on it's own merits, but when listened to through headphones an impressive field of sound is revealed with the sheer number of parts at work somewhat awe inspiring. Lust For Death has a Mr. Bungle before there was Mr. Bungle vibe in it's cheesy organs, rumbling double bass, cheap trumpet stabs and upbeat ostinatos using sounds sourced from god-knows where; the wild man howl of the man behind it all riding high on the madness eventually gelling after a few listens into a downright entertaining piece of music.

I'll Meet You In Poland Baby is unique to say the least, an A Cappella intro with meticulously timed delay effects providing an odd but ultimately satisfying arrangement as J.G. namedrops Stalin and The Versailles Treaty in a declaration of war (See you at your graveside baby, i'll meet you in Poland baby!). Incorporating a Nazi march "stomp" as the backbeat is an intuitive move, samples of German rallies and sirens in the distance contributing to a military wartime feel whilst the added nuances of percussion and the strange vocal hooks make it a very distinct song.

Unfortunately the rest of the album is somewhat mediocre in comparison. Street of Shame & Satan Place have a similar feel to them for the most part, the former beginning with a hell of a catchy lyrical swing over some tappity-tap snare work, clicking fingers and thundering toms. Both have a surf rock feel to the rhythm section and a simple melody driving it, Satan Place featuring vocal harmonies in spades. White Knuckles and Cold Day in Hell are a pair of slower, drawn out compositions, with a little bit of patience rewarding in terms of the nicely layered subtleties which runs constant throughout this album but still not as fun or interesting as anything else present.

The two worst songs here are Hot Horse & Sick Man, possibly because both are in the vein of parody. Hot Horse utilizes a bizarrely timed drum pattern which takes a long moment to click, with the lyrics a drawled parody of redneck life to some dissonant guitars whilst Sick Man is a parody of the melodramatic vocal style and lyrics of Nick Cave (a musician J.G. knew from way back in the days of the "little band" post-punk scene in Melbourne, Australia in the early 80's). Neither are particularly appealing as the vocals can be grating, however the musical compositions themselves are tolerable enough with some sections that are actually rather great just out of place in the context of a poor song.

Hole is an inconsistent album in many ways, however where it works it is a captivating listen. There is a manic energy to it at it's best, with a lot of density to the compositions which makes for an excellent listen through a pair of nice headphones (and some weed never hurt either). A few of the songs are subpar as a whole, but they all have their good aspects in one way or another. There is absolutely no other music on the planet quite like what J.G. Thirlwell has unleashed with Foetus, and whilst there may be better albums to start with Hole is more then enough to spark interest in investigating the pioneering industrial artist.

Recent reviews by this author
Moevot AbgzvoryathreKate Bush Hounds of Love
Zoviet France Just an IllusionSPK Machine Age Voodoo
7 From Life Sting of The Honey SpiderCromagnon Orgasm
user ratings (30)

Comments:Add a Comment 
August 30th 2008


Good review Meatplow, though i am not much of an industrial guy.

August 30th 2008



I dare say Foetus is as far from traditional industrial as you can get without completely breaking away from it, it's worth checking out if you enjoy music with an eclectic range of styles present.

August 30th 2008


love Thirlwell, haven't heard much Foetus though. any particular place to start at, or will this do fine?

August 30th 2008


Apparently Nail is pretty damn good but I haven't heard it so I wouldn't know. Fantastic review, it gets a pos from me.

August 31st 2008


I smell a troll neg...

Good review. I struggle with the industrial genre in general, can't even get past "Clothes Hoist" with this record.This Message Edited On 08.31.08

August 31st 2008


[quote=flamethisuser]love Thirlwell, haven't heard much Foetus though. any particular place to start at, or will this do fine?[/quote]

Try thaw for a more "modern" sound, hole & nail for a more 80's sort of production.

[quote=badtaste]I smell a troll neg...

Good review. I struggle with the industrial genre in general, can't even get past "Clothes Hoist" with this record.[/quote]

Review is admittedly a little rough, I find it an awfully difficult album to describe. If someone didn't like it I wouldn't mind if they left some appropriate criticism but no they are a pussy.

A big, fat pussy I tell you. Or this guy. Message Edited On 08.31.08

August 31st 2008


You see, you've got words like ostinato and A Capella to describe some areas, without elaborating on what exactly those terms refer to. As I have a classical background these terms aren't foreign to me, but to most they probably are.

August 31st 2008


^ a cappella isn't really a foreign term. good review.

August 31st 2008


thanks guys

[quote=taylormemer]You see, you've got words like ostinato and A Capella to describe some areas, without elaborating on what exactly those terms refer to. As I have a classical background these terms aren't foreign to me, but to most they probably are.[/quote]

Noted, though I don't feel dumbing down the language for a common demographic is necessary.

I don't want to make people feel insulted they can't use google if they don't know what a word means.

August 31st 2008


Are these guys supposed to be avant garde or something? Sure sounds like it. Good review Meatplow, I may give these guys a go.

Digging: Napalm Death - Apex Predator - Easy Meat

August 31st 2008


Thanks. It's all one guy though.

There's certainly an avant-garde touch to much of his work.

August 31st 2008


Sounds right up my alley. Will give this a listen

September 2nd 2008


Excellent review

September 7th 2008



July 31st 2011


But I love Hot Horse! Haha.

I like me some Foetus. This is probably the album I listen to the most with Nail coming in a close second. Nice review as well.

August 1st 2011


I love Hot Horse now, feel bad about having criticised it so bluntly here

but it's how I felt at the time so fuck it, J.G's work takes a lot of getting used to

May 27th 2012


Sadly I didn't enjoy this at all. Idk it just felt like JG lost his energy like he once had on Nail

Album's okay though, the first track is okay, and so is 'Hot Horse'

November 22nd 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

sad how nobody talks about foetus on this site, JG is awesome

Digging: Current 93 - Nature Unveiled

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2014
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy