Defecation, “Purity Dilution” (1989)


I’ve tried and tried but can’t remember, not even a little bit, how I got hold of this tape but there are enough clues to give me a general idea. What I’ve got is the cassette reissue (NBA RED 6050 – 4) that came out in 1992 with different cover art and a bonus song on side one. What that means to me is that I almost certainly bought it in Florida, probably at Vinyl Fever, and like much of what I picked up at that time, the only thing to recommend it was the band name. My thinking was probably something like this:

Defecation! Huh-huh, yeah, okay, right on, I bet it sounds like shit. Oh well it’s on Nuclear Blast, how bad can it be?”

I bought a lot of music in those days based on the label and possibly the band name. It wasn’t such a bad strategy, when you think about the fact that there were only a handful of labels with decent distro that signed the kind of metal bands I liked.

Little did I know that this was a side project of one of the guys in Napalm Death, Mick Harris [1], and a future Napalm Death guy Mitch Harris [2]. As far as I can tell, neither one of them are related to Steve Harris, Macho Harris, or even Moses Harris. Mick beats the skins, Mitch strokes the strings, and both contribute vocals. The liner notes explain how they recorded it once in Vegas on 1-inch tape with the intention of mastering it in England, only the tape got lost in the mail for months. Mitch went to England to re-record it only to have the tape unexpectedly show up the day before he left. He went over anyway and when they got to the studio, it was set up for ½ inch tape! Bugger! Instead of flaying something alive, they re-recorded what they’d already done AND recorded five new songs in one monstrous 29 hour session with Dan Lilker and Steve Bird as the producers.

So while you ingest this slab o’ tortured steel, try to focus on the fact that it is 1989. The heaviest shit you’ve heard is probably Slayer, or possibly Venom. You fucking hate Poison and Skid Row. Like, three people in the States know there’s a storm coming, and one of them is Sarah Connor. Keep that in mind.

Look, Mick and Mitch were no slouches. The guitar tone isn’t as dirty as Nihilist/Entombed, there’s more of a grindcore/punk influence, but it’s still filthy as fuck. Listen to the first few seconds of “Side Effects”: that’s good old fashioned musical pummeling. Consider that this came out before Left Hand Path and right around the same time as Altars of Madness and Terrorizer’s World Downfall, and that puts Defecation at purty-near-abouts to ground-fucking-zero of the whole grind/death whatthefuckever genre. Too bad it was just a side project and never amounted to much in the long run, though I guess it did get Mitch into Napalm Death, so not a total loss, eh?

Overall, it’s not a horrible album. Killer intro bit. Pretty well produced considering the time and budget constraints. Riffs are riffy, drum bits sound like Mick eats lightening and shits thunder. But it does suffer from a bad case of samey-samey. That doesn’t bug me too much because, hell, Motörhead put out basically the same song for twenty-three studio albums and I LOVE MOTÖRHEAD. Vocals are a deathly gurgle, which is good, and a grindy-shout thing which I don’t dig as much but still, it ain’t Miley Cyrus so I’m happy enough.

[1] Mick Harris left Napalm Death after Harmony Corruption and he started Scorn, which influenced, to one degree or another, the development of dark-hop and the dub-step. Funny how those things work out. Now when I see the Ylvis video for “Someone Like Me” or the Key & Peele sketch about two guys getting nosebleeds while listening to dub, or when I’m punching Skrillex in the fucking face, or any of the other 13,425 popular dub-step cultural references, I can raise my beer glass and say “Gee thanks a fucking LOT, Mick Harris, what the fuck?”

[2] Mitch was in Righteous Pigs, and I’ve got that tape too somewhere and I’ll get around to reviewing it at some point. Oh wait… I already did! Fuck I’m good! The dude is still in Napalm Death, after all these years. Ya gotta admire the dedication. Plus, he’s wearing a Master t-shirt in the photo session for the Defecation LP… how fucking underground is that in 1989?

4 thoughts on “Defecation, “Purity Dilution” (1989)”

  1. That’s such an iconic album. I only got the chance to hear it well after the fact, but you couldn’t help but know of it back in the day. Great name, incredible album cover and it was on Nuclear Blast, so you knew there was a solid chance of it being killer.

    Have you heard the followup Mitch did on his own? It’s pretty solid in its own right.

    1. I haven’t listened to it yet, but it’s on the list of “things I gotta do before I punch Skrillex in the face”. I did, however, listen to a bunch of Scorn. If you like that kind of thing, it’s really quite good… minimalist industrial isn’t always my thing but I could see how in the right circumstances I wouldn’t mind it in the least.

    2. I had a Scorn CD back in the day. Don’t remember the title and ain’t got time to Google, but it had “Silver Rain Fell” on it. And agreed, it was good for certain moods. He did a ton of that stuff, too.

%d bloggers like this: