Saturday, September 04, 2010

God's Balls (1989)

Tad's debut album for Sub Pop, a fine set and arguably the apotheosis of everything that grunge ever intended or could hope to be, has been out of print for ages—and became so actually not that many years after its release. Which is just plain a damn shame. All that talk about grunge as the fusion of metal and punk-rock is realized so completely here it's evident in the song titles themselves—"Behemoth," "Pork Chop," "Helot," "Sex God Missy," "Boiler Room," "Satan's Chainsaw," so on and so forth—as well as the cover art, offering a simple black and white portrait of bruiser Tad Doyle, ready to brawl, framed on either side by his rhythm section henchmen. This is music that rumbles and thunders until you feel it in your bowels. It's loud even at the lowest volumes and it's impossible to turn up too high. At moments it sounds like the center of a war zone heard from a tank rolling down a city street at night: terrifying, galvanizing, utterly and completely alive and thrilling. It is always a bludgeon of metric tonnage, but at the same time it often retains a kind of grace—lurid, violent, dangerous—but nonetheless grace. The best snapshots of the sound tend to occur in the first minute or so of each track, as it feels its way into what it wants to become, and then bursts forward into that, all confidence and poise, like flowers blooming in stop-motion film. No, obviously not everyone's cup of tea—the wizards at Sub Pop have deemed it appropriate to leave it out of print all these years, after all. It never caught on, lost in the shadows of the better known lords of the Seattle grunge flash. Although how something this big, figuratively and literally, could simply be lost like that is beyond me to understand, let alone explain. Send email to Sub Pop. Demand the return of this album.

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