Scatology (album)

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An original Scatology LP cover featuring the "Anal Staircase" postcard
Studio album by Coil
Released 1984[a]
Recorded 1984
(See "Background and recording" section for details)
  • Wave Studios
  • Aosis Studios
  • Bar Maldoror
Genre Industrial, post-industrial
Label Force & Form, Some Bizarre, Threshold House
Coil chronology
How to Destroy Angels
(1984) How to Destroy Angels1984
(1984) Scatology1984
Horse Rotorvator
(1986) Horse Rotorvator1986
Singles from Scatology
  1. "Panic/Tainted Love"
    Released: May 1985
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Melody Makerfavourable[2]
Time Outpositive[5]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[7]

Scatology is the debut full-length studio album by British experimental band Coil. It was recorded at various studios in London during 1984 and produced by the band along with JG Thirlwell, and features a prominent appearance of Stephen Thrower, which subsequently became Coil's official member since their next studio album, Horse Rotorvator. The album focuses on alchemy, mainly an idea of turning base matter into gold. The record contains a wide array of cultural references, including personnel such as Marquis de Sade, Alfred Jarry, Salvador Dali, Charles Manson, and others.

Scatology was first released in 1985 (with a 1984 copyright date) on LP, by Force & Form and K.422 (Some Bizzare Records sublabel). It was reissued by Force & Form in 1988 on CD and later by Threshold House in 2001. Scatology’s sole single featured the extended remix of "Panic" with cover version of "Tainted Love" on its B-side. Mainly positively received by critics, Scatology is considered to be one of Coil’s essential releases, and moreover of 1980’s industrial scene.

Background and recording[edit]

Work on Scatology began in May 1984,[8] soon after the release of Coil’s debut EP How to Destroy Angels. Early on, a track entitled "The Sewage Worker's Birthday Party" was recorded during sessions of the abovementioned EP,[2] and was featured on 10" free single applied to an issue of an Italian magazine Free,[9]:49 prior to being included on Scatology.[8]

Recording sessions were held at Wave Studios,[8] Aosis Studios[8][10] and Bar Maldoror[11] (all situated in London). Several tracks during these sessions were recorded, but were not released or metamorphosed into another tracks.[b] The core duo of the band, including Peter Christopherson and John Balance, was extended with an appearance of J. G. Thirlwell of Foetus and Stephen Thrower, the latter of whom met Coil for the first time in August 1984.[12]


Different editions of the album featured a variety of packaging designs. For the original LP release, the initial black sun design covered by a postcard with a swirling staircase known as the "Anal Staircase." The second edition had the "Sexual Architecture" postcard pasted on random covers with uncovered ones revealing the original black sun design.

The 1988 CD edition featured a cover—seemingly inspired by Man Ray’s Monument to Sade photography—with an image of a naked buttocks enclosed by an upside-down cross, finishing off with the original black sun below everything;[13] the 2001 reissue features a revised artwork from the 1988 edition, with a slogan “Stevo, Pay Us What You Owe Us!” referencing the band's dispute with Stevo Pearce.[14]

Track listing[edit]

Original LP release (1984)[edit]

All tracks written by John Balance and Peter Christopherson, except noted.

Side A[15]
1."Ubu Noir"  
3."At the Heart of it All"
4."Tenderness of Wolves"
5."The Spoiler"  
Side B[15]
7."Solar Lodge"
  • Balance
  • Christopherson
  • Thrower
8."The Sewage Worker's Birthday Party"  
10."Cathedral in Flames"  

CD releases[edit]


All information adapted from 1984 release sleeve except where noted.[18]



  1. ^ A copyright date.
  2. ^ These titles include "Ergot", "Boy in a Suitcase", "Dream Photography", "120 Dalmations in Sodom", "Thermid’or", "The Pope held Upside Down".[8]


  1. ^ Skip Jansen. "Scatology - Coil". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Balmer, Mark (January 1985). "Chemistry Set" (scan). Melody Maker. Retrieved April 24, 2018 – via Brainwashed archive.
  3. ^ Kopf, Biba (February 9, 1985). "Mined Like a Sewer" (scan). NME. Retrieved March 16, 2018 – via Brainwashed archive.
  4. ^ Tibet (February 9, 1985). "Stool Pigeons" (scan). Sounds. Retrieved March 16, 2018 – via Brainwashed archive.
  5. ^ Gill, John (January 30, 1985). "Coil 'Scatology' (K422/Rough Trade)" (scan). Time Out. Retrieved March 16, 2018 – via Brainwashed archive.
  6. ^ Lemos, Paul (1985). "Coil: Scatology" (scan). Tape And Records Reviews. Unsound. Vol. 2 no. 2. Retrieved March 16, 2018 – via Brainwashed archive.
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin, ed. (1998). "Coil". Encyclopedia of Popular Music. 2 (3rd ed.). Muse UK Ltd. pp. 1155–1156. ISBN 1561592374 – via Internet Archive.
  8. ^ a b c d e The Feverish (PDF) (3), April 9, 1985
  9. ^ "Coil" (PDF). Unsound. Vol. 1 no. 5. 1985. pp. 47–49. Retrieved February 12, 2018 – via Brainwashed archive.
  10. ^ Coil 1984, "At the Heart of it All".
  11. ^ Coil 1984, "Solar Lodge".
  12. ^ Keenan 2003, pp. 123-124.
  13. ^ Reynolds 2005, p. 481; Diesel & Gerten 2007, p. 157.
  14. ^ Reynolds 2005, p. 489; Reed 2013, p. 144.
  15. ^ a b Coil 1984, track listing.
  16. ^ Coil 1988, track listing.
  17. ^ Coil 2001, track listing.
  18. ^ Coil 1984.
  19. ^ Coil 1988.
  20. ^ Reed, Jeremy (1995). The Last Star: A Study of Marc Almond. London ; San Francisco: Creation Books. p. 181. ISBN 1871592615 – via Internet Archive.
  21. ^ They Are Going To Take Me Away (PDF), 1984, retrieved September 20, 2017
  22. ^ "Coil". Abrahadabra (in Dutch). No. 1. January 1985. Retrieved September 20, 2017 – via Internet Archive. (See English translation at Brainwashed)
  23. ^ Coil 2001.


Scatology's liner notes
  • Scatology (vinyl sleeve). Coil. Force & Form. 1984. FFK1.
  • Scatology (CD booklet). Coil. Force & Form. 1988. FFKCD1.
  • Scatology (CD booklet). Coil. Threshold House. 2001. LOCI CD15.
Articles (including reviews)
  • "Coil". Interchange. No. 2. February 1984.
  • Kopf, Biba (April 20, 1985). "The Soil And Spoil Tactics Of Coil". NME.
  • Jon Whitney (1997). "Coil interview". Brainwashed. Brainwashed Inc. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
  • David Keenan (July 21, 1998). "Coil Interview". Brainwashed. Brainwashed Inc. Retrieved April 28, 2017.

External links[edit]