Rudimentary Peni Cacophony LP reissue

To review a classic record is a difficult task. Ideally, a serious reviewer should pretend to be unfamiliar with the work before writing about it in order to be somewhat objective and maybe offer something fresh. The risk of being in awe before a canonical record and therefore unable or unwilling to think critically about it is also serious. After all, there must have been dozens of reviews about Cacophony in the past 35 years, and most people already know about the record. Why bother when I could just binge-watch a mediocre series that I will inevitably forget about? Originally released in 1988, Cacophony is one of RUDIMENTARY PENI’s most famous recordings and some people rate it as the band’s best work, but I am not one of them. The band’s uniquely deranged, bizarre sound, magnificent creepy aesthetics, their reluctance to play live, and the mystery surrounding them have clearly created a legend, and few bands can claim to be as cult as PENI. There is no doubt that reissuing Cacophony is a brilliant idea and a necessity, as it is a classic album that just should be available. More than a collection of songs, it has to be listened to as a gothic trip, if not a descent, into the life, psyche, and oeuvre of Lovecraft, an uncanny world governed by fear, madness and eeriness. It is as strange as it is particular, unlike any other punk albums. To be honest, I like Death Church much better, and I think Cacophony makes more sense if you take PENI’s previous output into account, as it is a clear departure from conventional punk songwriting, if not from the classical definition of punk itself. Taken individually, the 30 songs that made up the LP are not particularly meaningful—it is only as a cohesive whole, as a full narrative, that they create deep meaning. Musically, Cacophony is hard to describe. Polyphonic, versatile, dark, free, macabre, insanity-driven, undead, strangely sensual, anguished and tortured, creative asylum punk rock. It is great, essential even, but I am still struggling to know if I love it or if I am just fascinated. Whatever the answer, we should all thank Sealed Records.