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4.6 out of 5 stars
Horse Rotorvator
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2003
This was Coil's second full-length release, and it is perhaps one of the most genuinely dark albums ever recorded. Most of the songs have a menacing sexual feel to them, and the subject matter is death and perversion. "Ostia" explores the murder of deviant Italian filmmaker Pasolini (who directed the sleaze-fest "Salo: 120 Days of Sodom"), while "The Golden Section" is a monologue about the erotic nature of death, set to a symphonic apocalyptic score. There are aspects of electronica to the music, but this CD of course predated the whole mainstream industrial/techno movement of the 90's, so it's more of a subtlety. There is an Eastern feel to some of the music, and "Penetralia" demonstrates how much of an influence this band was for artists like NIN and Ministry. The cover of Leonard Cohen's "Who By Fire" is outstanding, remarkably faithful to the original while still sounding like Coil. It goes without saying that, with song titles like "The Anal Staircase" and pictures of nude male statues, there is an undeniable homosexual theme to much of this material, but it's not something that is constantly thrown in the listener's face. I recommend this for anybody who is into disturbing, avant-garde industrial music to be dismembered to.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2004
10 years ago I first found and fell in love with this CD. I have never liked it more in all that time then I do now. Its almost mind bending how creative music was when it was hard to make. In 1986 There was tape edits and noises to work with, there was analog and synth, nothing modern or digital and it reflects in sound today. I can't forsee a better experimental industrial/avant garde band to ever exsist. Coil are simply uncompromising originals.
As mentioned by other reviewers this album was known to be an extended meditation on death. Some of the commentary in a narrative "the Golden Section" speaks of death's similarity to love. I've only now found I understand that narrative. The song following "The Golden Section," track 12 called "The first five minutes after death" can lul me into comfort or into tears.
This album should hone to anyone with a learing world view, someone who lives in existentialism, someone who is filled with sadness, someone who has ever truely loved... for death like love appears all embracing and transcending.
You'd have to hear this album through every minute to understand its power, cause not a single song in the album defines it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2004
I first heard this CD sometime around 1988; a local DJ in Birmingham, AL. would host "Horse Rotorvator Parties" at midnight about once or twice a year. Obviously, the station was not known at the time for spinning New Kids on the Block or Poison or Paula Abdul or whatever.
Anyhow, this CD became a much sought-after collectible in the local record stores and I remember paying upwards to $30 back then for my copy. From the opening track to the bitter end, this CD had me enthralled---rather "spellbound" if you don't mind the cliche.

I certainly wouldn't call this music "GOTH" by the standards as they were at the time, but it definitely has a dark and menacing quality to it. In fact, I really don't think Bauhaus, the Sisters of Mercy, Fields of the Nephilim, or Joy Division ever came this close to the pleasing cacaphony found here. Those who relish electronics will certainly find nirvana here, but its not electronics in the fashion of Depeche Mode or New Order. The electronics herein are used to create a complete soundscape, as opposed to providing an upfront rhythm. This is not to suggest that "Horse Rotorvator" is completely driven by synths, however. In fact, some rather unique flamenco-style guitar is featured on this album, which is comprised mostly of originals and a fantastic cover of Leonard Cohen's "Who by Fire." While this disc contains no recognizable singles, "The Anal Staircase" was released as a 12-inch back in the day.

Few of Coil's releases measure up to this one, and the ones that come close usually aren't as dark as this one. While I do possess a rather large Coil collection, I easily consider this to be their swan song. If you buy it and like it, be sure to also check out Click Click's "Bent Massive" and Tangerine Dream's "The Sorcerer."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2006
Horse Rotorvator was an experiment by Coil. If this was released today, it would probably fall comfortably into the industrial genre. However, Coil were one of the original innovators of the industrial genre. Long before Trent Reznor even had aspirations of forming a group, Coil was churning out great records like this... Purely experimental, not trying to be anything specific. And that is what is great about this kind of music. It doesn't try to fit into any category or genre; it doesn't try to sound one way or another. Not to sound cliche, but this is music from the heart. It focuses on being original rather than another carbon copy.

Some people may think that this music sounds outdated, but I would take it over any of the electro Goth groups of today. Nowadays, bands seem to try too hard to fit into a specific category, as if their music is only made for a particular subgroup of people.

The music of Coil is very diverse and artistic. Just when you think you know what this band is all about they turn and go into a completely different direction.

Highly recommended for people interested in experimental music.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2004
Dark. Soul crushing. Insanity. My first experience with Coil was the "How To Destroy Angels" release. NOT what I expected, considering I bought their work for the NIN remixes they had done. Yeah, such a shame Coil were about 80x better. Anyways, "Horse Rotorvator" is the anti Depeche Mode. It's a truly gothic work. None of the makeup and glam, but just the death and atmosphere. And it doesn't sound horribly dated for a nearly 20 year old album.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 25, 2003
This was my first introduction to Coil, a disc I picked up on a whim after finding it and being intrigued. I honestly don't know how I hadn't heard them before, let alone never became a fan. Might not be for everyone, mind you. Take old-school Einsturzende Neubauten, and the Legendary Pink Dots, dose all parties involved with hefty amounts of mescaline, yohimbe and Jager before locking them in a studio for a week and you might find this album in the aftermath. Absolutely disturbing, in a way that creeps in from sideways, and cackles in your face before dancing off with an odd and disjointed beauty. My only argument against it is that it's so short.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
If you have any interest in Coil whatsoever, this album is one of the absolute essentials for your collection. A previous reviewer said it best, and I will quote him/her here: "If you're new to Coil, buy this album. If you're a Coil fan, you already have it." Perhaps truer words have never been said.
This is one of those albums that, when you listen to it, you can't help but realize how much of an influence Coil has had on modern music. By way of example, listen through this album just once and you will never be able to look at Nine Inch Nails the same way again. Coil's ability to manipulate sound, often absurd, and mix it with heartfelt instrumentation and equally heartfelt lyrics transported to your ear courtesy of Balance's crooning and emotion-wracked voice is perhaps unparalelled by any experimental artist in music today.
This is vintage Coil that is sure to please. As a closing note, for the casual listener interested in exploring Coil's music: this is perhaps one of the most easily accessible works. For anyone interested in delving into Coil for the first time, I recommend Horse Rotorvator, along with Love's Secret Domain, Stolen and Contaminated Songs, and Musick to Play in the Dark volumes 1 and 2.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2006
I first heard this CD sometime around 1988; a local DJ in Birmingham, AL. would host "Horse Rotorvator Parties" at midnight about once or twice a year. Obviously, the station was not known at the time for spinning New Kids on the Block or Poison or Paula Abdul or whatever. Anyhow, this CD became a much sought-after collectible in the local record stores and I remember paying big bucks back then for my import copy. Aaaahhh, from the opening track to the bitter end, this CD had me enthralled---rather "spellbound" if you don't mind cliches.

I certainly wouldn't call this music "GOTH" by the standards as they were at the time, but it definitely has a dark and menacing quality to it. In fact, I really don't think Bauhaus, the Sisters of Mercy, Fields of the Nephilim, or Joy Division ever came this close to the pleasing cacaphony found here. Those who relish electronics will certainly find nirvana here, but its not electronics in the fashion of Depeche Mode or New Order. Rather, the electronics herein are used to create a complete soundscape, as opposed to providing an upfront rhythm. This is not to suggest that "Horse Rotorvator" is completely driven by synths, however. In fact, there is even some rather unique flamenco-style guitar featured on this album. "Horse Rotorvator" is comprised mostly of originals, but does feature a fantastic cover of Leonard Cohen's "Who by Fire." While this disc contains no recognizable singles, "The Anal Staircase" was released as a 12-inch back in the day.

Few of Coil's releases measure up to this one, and the ones that come close usually aren't as dark and sinister as this one. While I do possess a rather large Coil collection, I easily consider this to be their swan song. If you buy it and like it, you'll definitily want to check out some of their other stuff. You also might find something vaguely familiar to this in Click Click's "Bent Massive" and Tangerine Dream's "The Sorcerer."
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2006
I seriously doubt that I will ever tire of 'Horse Rotovator'. In my opinion, any 'fan' of industrial music who does not appreciate this masterpiece (or worse, does not own it) is merely a sad, uninformed and tragic waste of Hot Topic couture. I like to call them 'Hot Topic Nihilists'.

Every song on this album (and yes, i am reviewing the VINYL copy, because I am old and was actually around to buy it way back when) pulsates with a vital, thrumming creativity. From the opening strains of "The Anal Staircase" to the diminishing chaos at the tail end of "Ravenous", everything fits, it all works, and it is all tragically compelling.

In fact, during the first hours of the 9/11 fiasco, i was at work trying to get things done, but i couldn't do a thing when i was listening to NPR, so i finally turned to Coil and Godspeed You! Black Emporer in the hopes of getting some perspective. "Horse Rotovator" and "Symbol symbol symbol symbol" (erm, you know, that one...) by Godspeed were the only things that made any sense as everyone else was running lost and adrift. I was adrift, too, but at least i had a soundtrack.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2000
This is by far one of the greatest albums ever written. I've been listening to this album for ten years now and it never ceases to amaze me.
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