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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Atomizer

Big Black

1986

Atomizer

Album Summary

Atomizer is the debut full-length album by American punk rock group Big Black released in 1986.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.81

Votes

4220

Genres

  • Punk
  • Rock
Reviews
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Fri Dec 17 2021
5

Even if it's abrasive as shit, it's still very accessible and likable. Love Durango's and Steve's driving guitar, Roland plays the drums like a damn machine. The bass sounds beautiful. Also, Steve's delivery is spot on and the lyrics, even if they're simple in nature, when paired with the music, want me to punch a hole in the wall in sheer rebellion, anger, and hatred towards the world and the state we're headed. Oh, and it was recorded in 1985, some 35-40 years ago, and it still feels like it was recorded yesterday. Holy shit. A landmark in music. Fucking recommended the whole way. Also, Steve, if you're ever reading this, I love you and everything you do.

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Mon May 30 2022
4

Wholesome songs about paedophilia, racial passing, abuse of power in the police force, arson and self-immolation, shame, fist fucking and domestic violence, alcoholism, the tale of a Vietnam vet who becomes a contract killer (or is it really about drug addiction), the rat race, and cattle slaughter in abattoirs. The aural equivalent of suffering blunt force trauma to the head from a sledgehammer, these guys are so nasty, hard and bleak, that they make everyone else’s music sound as light and fluffy as a Disney movie soundtrack.

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Fri Feb 11 2022
5

5.0 - Came to this with low expectations and they were immediately shattered. I've come to respect Steve Albini's exalted status as a producer. Now I'm in awe of him as a complete artist. The interplay of brutal drum machine, growly bass and clear vocals situated defiantly in the foreground - these elements make this album feel timeless. And the guitar sounds! Dry, gnarly, industrial. "Kerosene" is an obvious standout - so bleak! How do they conjure a screeching pterodactyl on "Passing Complexion"?? This album sounds nothing like what I know about 1985.

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Sun Apr 03 2022
5

And this will stay with you until you die

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Thu Dec 16 2021
5

Still love this album. Bleak, angry, raging, powerful stuff. I don't think they ever bettered this, although Songs About F*cking comes very close.

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Mon Dec 20 2021
5

punk album

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Thu May 12 2022
5

Loud noisy fun. Always worth a revisit.

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Wed Jun 15 2022
5

Damn... dehä e hårt

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Fri Jul 15 2022
5

A big noise from big boys. I have this on vinyl and still play it often. I believe Nirvana ripped BB off with a lame, sanitized version. This is the real deal.

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Fri Aug 19 2022
5

Littéralement mind blown, le mélange de son est ahurissant, c'est tellement en avance sur son temps. L'une des découvertes les plus surprenantes des 1001.

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Thu Sep 08 2022
5

Loved it. Never heard anything quite like it

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Thu Sep 15 2022
5

Lol, this is incredible! The production is so noisy and raw. Steve Albini's band, so that makes sense. Sometimes gives me some Ministry vibes with the combination of drum machine and distorted vocals.

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Thu Sep 22 2022
5

Great I really enjoyed the punk sound!

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Thu Sep 22 2022
5

Steve Albini: master of noise Post-punk meets noise rock meets industrial meets awesome.

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Thu Oct 06 2022
5

Just a solid, noisy, angry punk record. Shades of everything from Judas Priest to Ministry. Think it loses a little steam near the end, but I was surprised how much I enjoyed the whole thing. Favorite tracks: "Bad Houses", "Stinking Drunk", "Fists of Love"

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Sun Oct 30 2022
5

I am not a huge fan of electro based music. But I can appreciate good sounds, elegant beats and surprising musical twists and turns. This album works as background as well as for intense listening. A discovery.

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Fri Nov 25 2022
5

Classic 80s album with big reputation that I never got around to but I knew it would be excellent of course.

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Fri Dec 31 2021
4

Rough and gritty. Good.

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Wed Feb 09 2022
4

Did not expect to like this so much, but it fucks pretty hard. 4.25

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Fri Feb 11 2022
4

Fun, verryyyyyy similar to Minor Threat. Good, yes.

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Fri Mar 25 2022
4

What a ride

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Fri Apr 15 2022
4

You have to listen to this loud to match the vocals with the instruments or else you’ll hear more instruments than the vocals. Which is either brilliant for a punk band or just because I listened on YouTube

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Wed May 04 2022
4

Probably not one I'd listen to again but it really grew on me as I listened. Some great, heavy riffs. Standout track: Bazooka Joe

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Thu May 12 2022
4

Had not listened to this one before. But it's very good. Sort of a punk rock/industrial thing. Reznor of NiN was probably a fan of this album. I liked it.

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Thu May 12 2022
4

This is a great album. I was very into hardcore punk when this came out and it was just… different sounding but with all the intensity and emotion.

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Thu May 12 2022
4

Is it punk, metal, industrial? All of the above.. Great album that help pave the way for industrial metal bands suck as Ministry, NIN, KMFDM. Great album. Kerosene is so damn good.

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Fri May 13 2022
4

I'm not sure I'll remember much of this tomorrow but it's really good fun while you listen to it. I dare anyone to listen to Strange Things and not nod their head manically along to the beat.

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Fri May 27 2022
4

Pretty cool, shame it's not on Spotify though 4

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Fri May 27 2022
4

That was angry fun. I heard bits of The Pixies as well as some angsty metal. There was a pop sensibility hiding in well constructed, musical songs.

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Thu Jun 09 2022
4

very fun noisy stuff. might be my favourite punk album now

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Wed Jun 15 2022
4

Clxssic. The pounding drum machine, Albini’s inelegant delivery, and the sound they produce from their metallic guitars is either stunningly ghastly or like you’re being run over with a bulldozer. That being said, there are better noise-rock albums out there… well deserving of being on this list, nonetheless

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Wed Jun 15 2022
4

Pangarrre

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Fri Jul 01 2022
4

Um, yes please. May I have another? I'm really embarrassingly unfamiliar with most of Albini's own music (though I have listened to Shellac some), but I loved this! Absolutely scratches the itch of early Ministry and all that Wax Trax industrial stuff, but still has a quality to it that's entirely separate from that scene. Weirder guitar sounds and noisier perhaps? Whatever you want to call it, I would have loved this in 1993 and kind of can't fathom that it came out in '85. Btw, did you see the news that Steve Albini won like $150k in a poker tournament recently? Can you imagine playing cards with that dude? Ha. Anyway, this one was way up my alley and has given me a sliver of hope in this list yet. Will we see a Ministry record? Skinny Puppy? Nipple rings crossed, dudes.

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Wed Jul 27 2022
4

You can hear so much of Albini's influence – whether it be the song structure, sound, or production – on grunge/alternative/punk/HC. Collectively, the songs work well together. Definitely will revisit in the future.

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Wed Aug 31 2022
4

Not something I'd seek out but it was fantastic

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Fri Sep 09 2022
4

Like a proto nine inch nails mixed with 80s punk sensibilities. So much energy and angst, but still listenable.

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Thu Sep 15 2022
4

Big Black fuckin’ rock. Don’t have much else to say. B+

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Thu Sep 15 2022
4

Liked this album, but didn't love it. Gotta appreciate what it did though. 3.75/5

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Fri Sep 16 2022
4

Too bad I didn't know about this album as a teenager!

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Thu Sep 22 2022
4

Pretty cool, unique vibe. High energy. Grows on you as it goes.

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Sat Sep 24 2022
4

Kerosene, Bazooka Joe

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Fri Sep 30 2022
4

Uh.... good thing I'm going to work my gosh what the hell is going on here. Very intriguing album where there are weird electronics mix with noise rock and post punk. I like the frist half of this album more The second part. I can't believe they got away with some of these lyrics but then again this is Steve Albani we are talking about. He gives no shits.Oh great who generated albums please give me something interesting that I DID NOT HEAR BEFORE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD

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Fri Oct 28 2022
4

Oh damn this is heavy, I LOVE it. It's noisy, abrasive, brilliantly produced.

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Mon Oct 31 2022
4

Was excited to listen to this one since I’m familiar with Albini as an Engineer/Producer. He has worked with a lot of my favourite bands, Ty Segall, METZ, Cloud Nothings so I wasn’t surprised to be impressed with this album. It’s crunchy, gritty and loud. Sounded like a band that would have been pretty cool to see live, big fan of this one. Definitely going to explore their other work. 4 stars!

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Thu Nov 03 2022
4

Unexpected funk - a treat for the ears

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Fri Nov 04 2022
4

Hitting right in the sweet spot between punk and industrial.

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Fri Nov 11 2022
4

Politically-charged proto-noise? Sign me up. This fucks.

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Fri Nov 18 2022
4

Frantic

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Fri Nov 18 2022
4

A little too long for what it is, but what it is is fucking rad.

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Fri Nov 25 2022
4

Really good album. I liked the aggressive guitar sounds, fast-paced drumming and overall production. Maybe a little bit too one-dimensional to give it full marks, though.

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Thu Dec 16 2021
3

I'm too old to waste time listening to this fucking guy yell at me for an hour. Beats are interesting I guess.

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Fri Jan 14 2022
3

Meh

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Thu Feb 03 2022
3

Reminds me of Rage, Grew on me second time round, Might come back later. 5/10

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Thu Feb 03 2022
3

Strong 3, wiggy music

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Thu Mar 03 2022
3

One of the more yikes-inducing albums on the list, I'm sure. I hope Steve Albini is confused by my having listened to as flac files taken from a vinyl edition.

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Wed Mar 23 2022
3

Punk oscuro. Ni fu ni fa.

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Fri Apr 01 2022
3

Liked the instrument play but did not like the screaming, felt out of place

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Mon Apr 11 2022
3

Never heard of this album or band before...but man there are some crazy tracks here...If I ever had a budget could see using some of these in a film. Fists of Love and Kerosene being two off the top of my head.

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Mon Apr 11 2022
3

It explains a lot about where Albini is coming from. I enjoyed this.

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Fri Apr 15 2022
3

Meh

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Wed Apr 20 2022
3

first listen very harsh industrial sound and i didn't not like it

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Thu Jun 02 2022
3

Not available on Spotify. Found on your tube. Pretty good.

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Fri Jun 10 2022
3

Good punk/industrial record for it’s time, definitely a pioneer. Poor quality recording and redundant songs dropped this one down for me, but still great stuff

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Sun Jun 26 2022
3

I don't know about this one

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Fri Jul 01 2022
3

punk bem executado.

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Fri Aug 05 2022
3

They have this industrial sound that I'm used to with CSS.

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Wed Aug 24 2022
3

Good wholesome fun

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Wed Aug 24 2022
3

Not really my thing, but I can see how it leads to the things that are my thing.

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Thu Aug 25 2022
3

Liked this a lot for what it is. Sounded like highly caffeinated Black Flag with some youthful exuberance.

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Thu Aug 25 2022
3

Sadly not on the old Spotify 🙁

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Thu Sep 01 2022
3

Cet album au nom extrêmement douteux ne m'a étrangement pas tant dérangé que cela musicalement parlant. En revanche, sa présence sur exclusive sur Youtube m'horripile au plus haut point. Nous avons déjà émis plusieurs rappels à l'ordre à l'encontre des artistes usant de cette stratégie. Le prochain album sera sanctionné d'un 2/5, et ce peu importe sa qualité.

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Wed Sep 07 2022
3

Another punk rock album that gets palced next to the many others: not very remarkable, a bit too loud and aggressive and easily forgettable

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Mon Sep 26 2022
3

Pretty good punk album. I appreciated the amount of instrumental compared to vocal.

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Wed Oct 05 2022
3

I actually enjoyed this more than I figured I would. It wasn’t amazing but the drum machine was cool and it rolled along.

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Wed Oct 05 2022
3

Punk is not usually my 1st choice to listen to but was listenable.

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Fri Oct 07 2022
3

Good punk sound

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Fri Oct 21 2022
3

The lousy quality of the record affects a little bit the possibility of analyzing their songs. I know that garage rock should sound as bad as it is on this release, but it's still making it hard to appreciate. Given that this album is part of the remains of punk history and 80s history that is accessible to us. We probably will never know how these things happened at that time, but this kind of thing makes us feel something that matters. It shows us how humankind is linked by the long line of history and its revolutions (musical revolutions for the sake of this list, but not only). I didn't know anything about "Big Black" before today, but I'm used to enjoying early punk rock.

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Sun Oct 23 2022
3

An enjoyable punk romp

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Wed Oct 26 2022
3

The current stereotype of the American small town serves as a handy illustration of the Hegelian dialectic (although the standard formulation of the Hegelian dialectic came from followers of Hegel rather than Hegel himself). Nice, clear introduction, that! For those without the foolishness to get philosophy degrees, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a 19th-century German philosopher noted for his obscurancy. Indeed, his obscurancy has led plenty to denounce him as a charlatan (and may well lead me to make some howlers in articulating his views), but he also proved a decisive influence on modern European philosophy. Anyway, focusing on one aspect of Hegelian thought, Hegel asserted that history followed a rational process of progress, a process that became formalised as the Hegelian dialectic. That is, a central thesis gets formed, and the opposite to that thesis, the antithesis, generates in reaction. The thesis and antithesis come into conflict, out of which emerges a synthesis, which retains the rational aspects of both the thesis and antithesis whilst rejecting the pair's irrational aspects. This synthesis in turn becomes the thesis in another round of the Hegelian dialectic. Everyone following? In honesty, it doesn't really matter if you're not. So, American small towns. In 1984, you get the movie Footloose, where wackjob preacher John Lithgow bans dancing and it's up to Kevin Bacon's nifty pins to boogie apart Lithgow's neighbourhood tyranny. So here, John Lithgow represents the thesis and Kevin Bacon the antithesis. I won't spoil it, but you can guess what the synthesis is. And Big Black's Atomizer, with its abrasive guitars and crass lyrical themes, is basically Kevin Bacon (Yes, I knew I had a point to all this!). Now, a lot of parpings has been whaffed out regarding the iniquities of the American small town, and how all the young people get so bored with their parents' genteel Christian fascism that they spend their time putting meth up each others' bottoms and nailing themselves to passing cars. I tend to find such depictions tawdry and rather dishonest: some teens do get mashed up on toad secretions, but most actually just graduate. Speaking of which, the central figure to Big Black, Steve Albini, got himself a degree in journalism before forming Big Black. Nowadays, Steve Albini has more renown as a recording engineer. The job title is significant: Albini refuses the tag of "producer", considering his role to record the act faithfully without contamination from his aesthetic sensibilities. Over 1500 acts have sought his ministrations, most famously Nirvana with In Utero. Of course, I can't speak about the totality of his work as an engineer, but I have loved much of the most prominent work he's engineered. The perceptive might have noticed that I have waffled on something chronic with scant mention of the album. That's because the album is insubstantial to the touch. It's an okay punk album cursed with rather a lack of spark, and yet more evidence to my argument that America never really understood the potential of punk. I do not concur at all with the notion that this is noise at its rawest. Each song sounds fine (not great) in isolation, but the frenzy dissipates as song follows song, and in the end you both feel both drowsy and unfilled. Along with this, the oh-so-adult nature of the lyrics often strikes one as a product of quite cheerless immaturity. That this immaturity was intentional, the punchline for a killing joke, is of no relevance whatsoever. You may consider a song about some teens setting themselves on fire for shits and giggles to be profound, but not me, I've read Hegel. And I've seen Footloose.

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Thu Oct 27 2022
3

Aaaaaahhh!!!

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Mon Oct 31 2022
3

Initial impression 3.5, probably give this one another listen

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Wed Nov 02 2022
3

this is not available on Spotify, I assume for my own protection

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Sat Nov 05 2022
3

Not on Spotify

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Thu Nov 10 2022
3

Not on Spotify

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Mon Nov 21 2022
3

Didn't hate this even though it's heavy. Not bad

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Thu Dec 16 2021
2

Lidt noget larm, men der var fin gang i det.

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Mon Dec 20 2021
2

Lot of energy but I just didn't like it.

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Wed Dec 22 2021
2

Too hard too fast too loud

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Wed Dec 22 2021
2

Found this one a bit hard to listen to

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Thu Dec 23 2021
2

too abrasive for my liking

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Fri Dec 24 2021
2

2, ne sviđa mi se, naporno za slušat

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Mon Jan 17 2022
2

Thos was pretty shitty.

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Thu Jan 27 2022
2

I like this genre, but not this album

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Thu Jan 27 2022
2

Heavy, driving, hard, too much for these old ears

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Sun Feb 13 2022
2

Bij de eerste nummers dacht ik het te moeten doorworstelen. Maar al bij al was het niet 'verschrikkelijk'

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Thu Feb 17 2022
2

mehh

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Mon Feb 21 2022
2

One halfway-interesting track and a whole lot of noise. Best track: Kerosene

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Fri Apr 01 2022
2

I just can’t win.

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Mon Apr 18 2022
2

Not sure if it's the YouTube quality but this sounds way more industrial than punk (to be fair I'm not schooled on the cross over there)

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Mon Apr 18 2022
2

Couldnt play it on spotify

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Wed May 04 2022
2

Too much for me, no thanks.

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Wed May 11 2022
2

Deliberately trying to make bad music in the 80’s must have been very dificult

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Wed May 11 2022
2

2.5

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Fri May 13 2022
2

2/5

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Thu May 19 2022
2

не доступен

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Fri Jul 01 2022
2

I'm really torn with this one. I liked the energy and some of it really had me hooked. But the production sounded off to me - too thin or small or something? And the more I listened to it, the more I wanted it to end, which isn't great. I won't go back unless some really explains it to me.

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Thu Jul 14 2022
2

You have to be on Spotify to exist. It's a shame since the bit I listened to on YouTube sounded pretty cool

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Sun Aug 21 2022
2

Surely the favorite album of those three teenagers Suzanne Stone (Nicole Kidman) manipulates into murdering her husband in the movie "To Die For". Especially Joaquin Phoenix's character. It feels like an album that would inspire a kid like that.

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Wed Aug 24 2022
2

It wouldn't work on Spotify, so I streamed it from YouTube, every 2-3 songs, I'd think, "Oh, this is different, nice interesting change ... " and then find I was listening to an advert. It's good solid guitar noise, which I want to like, but when I find myself enjoying the jingles more, it's very telling.

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Thu Aug 25 2022
2

Interesting at times, grating at most.

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Thu Sep 01 2022
2

Le chanteur des Big Black est très certainement l'homme le plus malsain de ces cent dernières années. J'en ai pour preuve sa manie d'entrer en salle des professeurs tout en confiant à ses collègues adorer quand le vent frais souffle dans le c** des gosses. Il y a des choses qu'on devrait parfois garder pour soi...

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Thu Sep 08 2022
2

Most songs feel too repetitive. I don't mind the chaotic tone but it becomes too much. Very monotonic.

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Thu Sep 15 2022
2

Asskolli hressilegt. "Noise rock" er einn af flokkunum sem þessu bandi er gefinn og það stendur alveg undir því. Mun ekki setja þessa plötu í gang eitthvað oft en get ímyndað mér að það hafi verið bilað að fara á tónleika með þeim!

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Sun Sep 25 2022
2

Unsure what it was

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Mon Sep 26 2022
2

I don't think I'm enough into metal to 'get' this

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Thu Oct 06 2022
2

2.5 stars. Not bad at all.

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Fri Oct 28 2022
2

so it’s not on Spotify so not gunna listen cos I’m lazy, but based on the album cover I’m gunna say a solid 2.5 x

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Mon Nov 14 2022
2

I wanted to like this, I really did, but I couldn't. It just grated on my ears too much. 2 stars.

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Wed Dec 15 2021
1

Just not for me

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Thu Jan 27 2022
1

Just not me. Tried hard, but this didn’t move the needle.

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Wed Mar 23 2022
1

Сверх ужасная музыка. Записывали явно на кухне

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Thu Jun 16 2022
1

Einstaka sinnum skemmtilegt gítarsarg og gott beat, en miður skemmtilegt umfjöllunarefni í textunum og á köflum of fráhrindandi fyrir mig. Æi, ég nenni þessu ekki.

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Wed Jul 13 2022
1

Not my thing. Couldn’t get through it

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Sun Jul 17 2022
1

Not on Spotify

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Mon Jul 25 2022
1

Hated it.

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Fri Aug 26 2022
1

beurk

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Fri Aug 26 2022
1

Probably one of the worst albums here

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Fri Aug 26 2022
1

Punk metal stuff. Not my cup of tea

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Fri Sep 02 2022
1

Not my type of music

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Wed Sep 07 2022
1

No thank you. Just noise. Completely unnecessary inclusion.

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Thu Sep 15 2022
1

Really not a fan of this industrial noise music. Somehow, I was already familiar with the song "Kerosene" but I can't for the life of me remember where I heard it before. I still pretty much hated it though.

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Wed Oct 05 2022
1

A guy screaming at me, over noise.....blech

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Thu Oct 13 2022
1

Unbearable tbh. May have been influential for noise music bands maybe, but I've heard better, more interesting, less simply awful versions of the same thing. Couldn't get through it. Might try again but I doubt it.

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Fri Nov 04 2022
1

This sucked. IDK if the recording was trash or it was supposed to sound that way.

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Fri Nov 04 2022
1

The music wasn't terrible but I just really hated it. Didn't help it wasn't on Spotify. That's probably not the band's fault.

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Thu Dec 01 2022
1

Could be the recording or listening through headphones but the sound is wack which makes it painful to listen to

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