Unless you want to end up like Rudimentary Peni mastermind Nick Blinko in a mental hospital, it’s probably in your best interest to not stare too closely at Death Church
’s cluttered, claustrophobic cover art. In its black-and-white simplicity, yet scarily chaotic demeanor, the art serves as a perfect microcosm for the 1983, hardcore punk band Rudimentary Peni’s debut album, Death Church
. Consumed by mortality (guitarist was afflicted with cancer) and madness (frontman was afflicted with schizophrenia), the dynamic, burst-fire punk-rock is impressive in its own right but is shimmied to the background as the “issues” of the artist, to say the least, remain always in the foreground. Within Death Church
lies the same nightmarish, macabre world of skeletons and twisted monstrosities that adorn the cover, punctuated by punchy punk-rock and music that attains glimpses into the psyche of a truly fu
cked up mind.
Average, pretty, normal people never create the best art, anyway. The misanthropy that accompanies Death Church’s yelps and cacophony is reminiscent of Romantic painter Francisco Goya and his “Black Paintings” in all their bleak glory, for instance. Each song bursts with energy and vigor, and is backed by Blinko’s never-diminishing lunacy. Again, much like the obsessive patterns that plague the cover art, Death Church
’s individual tracks are rather formulaic and repetitive. Raucous, 2-minute or so tracks are the standard fare, never overstaying their welcome. Lyricism spans a wide range, and it’s often difficult to decipher between the chilling gibberish of a madman and the bits of anarcho-wisdom. The moments of political and social dissatisfaction, like the call-to-arms against “rock stars” like Joe Strummer that only lie, lie, and take your money are tempered with the insane ramblings of a maniac that’s lost his grasp on reality, exhibited best on another standout, the celestial pondering of “Cosmic Hearse.”
isn’t the sound of Blinko exorcising his inner demons, but rather unabashedly displaying them for the world to see in full prominence. Simplistic yet satisfying, the seminal punk album exists best as a stark reminder of mental affliction’s power and ability to affect, even if the perpetrator in this case is the same man that would believe himself to be the Pope later in life. Yet, perhaps most impressively, Rudimentary Peni avoid collapsing into sideshow territory with Death Church
, as it is the tight riffs and choppy melodies that provide more-than-adequate background music for Nick Blinko to spew himself upon. It’s a little tough to take the extremism seriously at points, but either way, dam
n it is interesting throughout.