(4 / 5)
Five discs, a bumper 65 tracks. Unavailable for many years on CD, the two albums from 1981 have now finally been treated to a deluxe edition.
Alongside the original albums, which have been remastered, are the two reunion shows issued under the “He Who Dares Wins” banner and a bonus disc featuring a previously unissued live concert from the “Westworld” tour.
Formed from the ashes of punk band The Pack, Theatre Of Hate blazed a trail through the post-punk netherworld of the early 1980s with a string of indie hits and incendiary live performances. The band were fronted by blonde-quiffed singer/guitarist Kirk Brandon, joined by bassist Stan Stammers, guitarist Steve Guthrie, saxophonist John ‘Boy’ Lennard and drummer Luke Rendle.
After several acclaimed singles and a live album “He Who Dares Wins”, the band recorded their debut studio album with legendary Clash guitarist Mick Jones producing. The resulting LP, “Westworld” was issued in February 1982 and reached #17 in the UK chart, promoted by a Top 40 single “Do You Believe In The Westworld”.
Theatre Of Hate continued to enjoy success throughout 1982, with new guitarist Billy Duffy in tow, releasing a second live album; “He Who Dares Wins: Live In Berlin”, and more singles. But sessions for a second album, “Aria Of The Devil”, were abandoned and the band broke up. Kirk eventually re-emerging in Spear Of Destiny. For some years now, Kirk has fronted a new-look Theatre Of Hate, who unveiled their first studio album since “Westworld”, entitled Kinshi, in October 2016.
Housed in a clamshell box, the 5 CD package also boasts within the booklet, a raft of illustrations, and fresh sleeve-notes penned by music writer Pat Gilbert drawn from interviews with band members.
Disc one was recorded at Leeds Warehouse in January 1981, the second disc is from a West Berlin concert of September 1981. “He Who Dares III, was captured in Manchester in 2007. Bristol in 2012 and the final CD delivers the previously unreleased tracks recorded in Brussels in May 1982.
By Sally Fox
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’