Barbed Wire Maggots is technically the fourth album by Borbetomagus -- Don Dietrich and Jim Sauter on reeds, Donald Miller on guitar -- but was recorded over a year after what became their fifth and seventh releases, Industrial Strength and Borbeto Jam. While the group's first two outings featured electronics by, respectively, Brian Doherty and Hugh Davies, and Doherty pops up on the third so-called "black album," Barbed Wire Maggots, recorded live at In-Roads on Mercer Street in New York on May 7, 1982, is the first full album featuring the trio alone. It's ferociously uncompromising, but utterly exhilarating and wildly creative. It's also the first Borbeto album to feature Donald Miller's deranged "Terry Gilliam on acid" collage artwork. While the group's other joint ventures have aged somewhat (and "sound a whole lot more like mere 'free jazz' albums," comments Byron Coley witheringly in his liners), Barbed Wire Maggots sounds as raw and exciting as if it were recorded yesterday. Dietrich, Miller, and Sauter take up where Rudolph Grey and the Blue Humans left off in 1980, losing the drummer, charging off the field to the left, and smashing right through a wall of sound of their own creation. It took everybody else decades to catch up with them.
AllMusic Review by Dan Warburton