Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Public Image Limited - Metal Box (1979)

Simply one of the most important and essential post-punk albums ever made - in fact, if we could've gone straight from the mid 70s to this without having to have The Pistols and The Clash in between, I might have actually believed that punk was a proper 'year zero'.  Metal Box, aka Second Edition (when reissued in regular packaging), changed my whole perception of how songs could be constructed and how the guitar could be played.  It was a massive influence on my musical development, to the point where I must've ripped off every single note Keith Levene played on this album in every band I was in during high school and university.

Always loved Jah Wobble's bass playing in PiL as well, and this is very much an album to crank up the low frequencies for.  Holding much of the responsibility for Metal Box's krautrock and dub influences, the former John Wardle famously started playing without access to an amp, so would press the body of the bass guitar against a bedstead to get some rudimentary amplification and play as hard as he could - and it shows.  And John Lydon... never better on this album, letting his Peter Hammill influences show and feeling freed by the non-linear, atonal song structures to just wail at full tilt, railing against society and exorcising the pain of his mother's death.  One of the most unique 'rock' albums ever made.  Play loud.

Tennis on Tuesday, sipping champagne, football on Sunday, home on the train


  1. hello, been raiding your site for a week. 20 + done. popol vuh, cluster, nurse with wound. and so on. much fun thank you. i have the above 2lp vinyl and cd in round metal box. going to order 4 new frank zappa coming on next 2 months. reading rudi protrudi new book volume one. again thank you. r. keith

  2. Have always loved this album from start to finish, though it goes into some very dark places. Building slowly during the first few tracks, it creates its own intense world and it really was a good idea to make it a double because you want more once you settle into the grooves. The preceding album First Issue is somewhat in the same vein, though this was PIL's masterpiece.