This is yet another record my brother taped for me in high school, I wanna say in1986; I believe the flip side was the first Killing Joke record. Anyway, it completely floored me. From the first twitchy, metallic, searing guitar riff on the opener "Secrets" to the epic last track "That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate," I was perplexed and enveloped by this record. It was like nothing I had ever heard and still has that immediate impact. Crazy to think this record is 31 years old as it sounds fresh and exciting right now. I know it sounds cliched but this record IS epic. I remember hearing all the weird sounds, tape loops, textures and then coming to realize that it was an actual band member doing all that. His instrument was JUST effects... crazy. The band's constant touring and playing to small crowds when they were first around has been thoroughly documented. My wife saw them at Danceteria in the early '80s with like 10 other people in the audience. But in one of the cooler developments for such an influential band, they have a second life now (not unlike their fellow innovators, Wire): they actually release new records and play to sold out crowds at big venues getting the praise they deserve. I saw the first reunion shows at Irving Plaza, before they started to write and release new records. It was like seeing a huge arena band reunion where everyone in the audience (mostly men in the 40s of course) were singing along to every song, pumping fists. I am sure there was a tear or two shed in that crowd of diehard music geeks! My brother saw them a lot back in the day and he joined me for that Irving show, which was great. Haven't listened to this whole record in a while, and just gave it a spin this morning. 31 years later, it has lost none of its urgency, innovation, great songs and EPIC quality.
"When I was very young, I admired hardened criminals locked behind prison doors; I visited inns and taverns they frequented; with their eyes, I saw the blue sky and the blossoming work of the fields; I tracked their scent through cities. They were more powerful than saints, more prudent than explorers — and they, they alone, were witnesses to glory and reason!"