Coil's first official full-length album, Scatology, is one of the essential landmarks in the group's discography and, moreover, one of the '80s industrial scene's more vital and influential recordings. This is the first part of the essential Coil trilogy that also includes Horse Rotorvator and Love's Secret Domain. The 1984 album exhibits the group at its early industrial stage, in transition to the undefined genre of astral noise psychedelia that Coil would inhabit for the following decades without peer or precedent. The core duo of Peter Christopherson and John Balance are joined by Clint Ruin (aka Jim Thirlwell), whose role in the production cannot be underestimated, as well as Stephen E. Thrower, Alternative TV's Alex Ferguson, vocalist Gavin Friday of Virgin Prunes, and one Raoul Revere (who is in fact British camp pop legend and Soft Cell vocalist Marc Almond). "Restless Day" is a haunting rumination that defies description, other than being an utterly essential self-defining moment in the Coil paradigm, with an atmosphere hanging in the tense space between harsh noise and harmony that apparently causes time to cease. "The Tenderness of Wolves" features the vocals of Friday in one of the more poetic moments of the '80s post-industrial sound. At the album's somber end, this outstanding work finishes with a rendition of "Tainted Love" featuring Almond, who had made the track a new wave hit with Soft Cell. Here, however, the tune is given a bleak slow-motion version that could be read as a tragically suggestive commentary on the AIDS epidemic of the era. The album was originally released on Force & Form/Some Bizzare, and was the subject of numerous bootlegs and illegitimate versions. For the record, the 2001 version on Threshold House/ World Serpent is the only version authorized by the group. Maybe the numerous LP and CD versions that have appeared since its original release are suggestive of just how vital the album is, not only in the Coil discography but to the industrial electronica scene as a whole. Scatology is nothing short of essential.
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AllMusic Review by Skip Jansen