Theatre of Hate

Westworld

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Led by the near-operatic, dramatic voice of Kirk Brandon (who'd just left another good band, the Pack, and would later lead the mediocre Spear of Destiny), Theatre of Hate was one of the first and best post-punk bands in Britain in the late '70s and early '80s, making big, powerful, thumping, brave, tribal-rhythm rock. Like the band's incredible contemporaries Killing Joke, U.K. Decay, Zounds, (early) Siouxsie & the Banshees, the Skids, and (early) the Slits, Theatre of Hate's intellectual edge and relevant sociopolitical lyrics are still amazing, now that many years have passed with few grabbing the torch (aside from a handful of U.K. acts, such as Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, the Wall, and Play Dead). Unfortunately, ToH's one true LP, 1982's Westworld, produced by the Clash's Mick Jones (Sandinista! era; he also plays guitar all over it), is not as consistently brilliant as the singles that preceded it. Westworld is worth hearing, if for no other reason than to encounter a few more jaw-droppers such as the high-holy "Judgment Hymn."

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