|Icons of Filth review by Jang Lee (I wrote this in 2003).
I recently purchased the newest Icons of Filth LP. Surprisingly, I was somewhat turned off by the old English font they used on
the cover. Normally they had this spiderweb style with decrepit looking characters, hand-written with a black ink pen. Plus, all of
their earlier releases were put out on Mortarhate Records (London) with a signature black and white layout of surrealist drawings
relative to religious oppression, war, vivisection, class conflicts in Europe. Originally, it all seemed very dark and gloomy to me.
Even though the artwork for the cover of Nostradamnedus was designed by the same artist as the previous titles, it was quite
I played the album. It felt unfamiliar to my ears. The vocalist Stig sounded younger. I was thinking that maybe Go Kart Records
may have put the wrong sticker on this album. "Perhaps this is not Icons of Filth and Go Kart made a mistake at the vinyl
pressing plant by slapping an Icons sticker on someone else's record." I then counted all of the songs on the record cover and
they matched with the vinyl. I went over the lyrics to each song to double check and they fit. Wow, I would've thought that the
singer had a thicker, more aged voice. The last release they did was called "Filth and the Fury" which came out in 1985. The
vocals on this particular release had a lot of reverb on them. Actually, it sounds like the band recorded in a gym. This album
Nostradamnedus was recorded with a professional, cleaner sound. Some people do not like the new album for this and some
people do. You will get different opinions from everyone. You just have to listen to it for yourself. My favorite song on the new
album is Ghetto of Disillusion.
Some weeks back, Icons of Filth came to Los Angeles for the first time. They never toured America before.
They were on the road with Defiance. I have no idea why, but for some reason a lot of DIY Punk scene were not happy with this.
Who cares! I like Defiance and Icons. Few people were not interested in seeing them who used to wear their shirts and patches.
I went to the Glass House show in Pomona. The show was organized by Ron M. (best show promoter in L.A.). There were
hundreds of young kids. I think the majority of them were from ages 14 to 17. Some older punks were present; they were the
ones in the way back just checking things out. I decided to venture towards the mouth of the stage, joining the younger kids.
I first met Icons in the back room. I've seen quite a few pictures from the 80's and they haven't aged that much.
In fact, the guitarist Daffy looks like he hasn't aged at all, he still looks the same. The bass player Ed first came up to me and
shook my hand, introducing himself to me. He said, "We will be at the shop on Sunday to talk, but we are not doing the record
signing." I said sure. I told him that I contacted Mike from Defiance prior to this show and asked if both bands could do the
record signing at the Radical Literature/Music Store. Mike's reply was yes. I was just happy that Icons were not mad at me.
After waiting awhile, Icons of Filth hit the stage. Two big banners went up. It was their famous art work. They first started out
with the song "Onward Christian Soldier." In between songs Stig would speak out against the War in Iraq and talk about George
W. Bush. This was refreshing to hear. Normally bands just play straight through. They were on stage clad in black and the
singer, Stig, was barefoot, spewing radical statements in such a tense time. When they were doing "Death is Only Release" he
made facial expressions like an animal in a vivisection lab. Especialy on "Show us you Care," another song against vivisection
where he used a lot of body motions to try and match the pain inflicted on animals with his lyrics. This is too difficult to
articulate, you have to see it. Stig saluted the audience with peace signs bunch of times when he was singing and we saluted
him back with a peace sign.
After a song he would read his lyrics like a poem with no background sound and when the music starts, everyone sings along in
front. Even the new stuff was really great live. On one of their songs they couldn't start it on time together, they kept messing up,
Ed the bass player would laugh about it and everyone else did. They were called for an encore and the crowd was chanting, but
sadly they did not continue. One kid front of me kept saying Fuck Defiance I'm here to see Icons?. He was really pissed off
that Icons did not play more songs.
Next up was Defiance, and a taped speech was playing. Not sure what it was about, but one of the band members told me it
was against the war. When they went on the kids went wild. Now, I understand why Defiance was headlining this show. The
majority of the young kids came to see them. Icons of Filth were from the early 80's. They are around their early 40's now. Icons
of Filth comes from an Anarcho punk background which was influenced by Crass. I had a chance to talk to them and they said
they used to follow Crass around.
On Sunday, I did a veggie food catering for Icons ofFilth and Defiance at Luna Sol Cafe. But the place was not packed due to a
big anti war protest going on at the same time. The show later that evening will start at 4pm. So we all had to leave the place
early. I showed a flyer about Free and Critter. And told them about Ruckus and Rampage. So they all agreed to write letters to
them and I got some paper and pens. They are all political prisoners who are into punk and anarchism. Pete from Icons liked
the Activist Store and even donated merchandises like shirts and Cd's. They will be used to help out jailed anti war activist
I asked Stig about the diffences in the punk scene between now and then. He told me that the old UK days was just all punk
rockers with leather jackets, but the US seems to have a lot of activist punks. So after that we all went to the show.
Stig came up to me at the gig and told me how bad he felt about not having organized the shows as a benefit, or attending any
protests out here. I told him that local protests are too risky, because last week at the anti war demo, cops were arresting and
beating people up for no reason. But he said that he should have been there and that he felt like crying. And he told me that he
is sad that he met so many wonderful people, but has to fly back tomorrow to the UK. And they are losing money from this.
And in the Old days all they did was play benefit shows. So this was their last show. I ran into couple of old friends from the
80's who I still kept in touch with. I pulled their shirts up to show their Icons of Filth tattoos which they got done in the mid 80's.
Anyway, this gig was at Fais Do Do in L.A. The show's crowd was weird. A majority of them were young Punk Rockers, which
was cool. But I was very sad that not much of the L.A. Anarchist crowd did not attend. I was hoping they would come after the
anti-war protest or something. Well a couple of em' did later on. And of course you had the Raw Tofu band from O.C. who
opened the show. Later on it was Scarred for Life from Long beach. Icons were up next. Stig got up on stage telling people to not
buy cosmetic makeup that tested on animals. He continued to talk between songs and then read the "Brain Dead" lyrics and
said Treat Women with respect.
When another song went on this kid with a leather jacket kept doing a stage dive and before the next song Stig said something
against leather. This person Stig is not only a punk musician, he is an animal rights activist as well and his words really came
from his heart. I was so proud of Icons of Filth. This time they did more songs when the crowd called for an encore.
Later on, Defiance came on and the kids went wild, again! This was a really great show all in all. Icons of Filth might not be big
as Defiance today, or draw as much as Defiance now, but they have dedicated, life-long fans who have their tattoo. I mean even
members of Defiance and Scarred For Life have their tattoos. And so do I and few Of my friends.
I don't know if they are coming back next year or not. But I was very happy to see them play again. The next
day I ended up calling all of my friends who did not go to the show and told them the story. Truly, an experience!
Andrew Sewell, Stig (singer from Icons of Filth), died of a heart attack in the early hours of Saturday 23rd October 2004 after the
IOF set at a gig in Hackney, London. Andrew Sewell and Icons of Filth did so much for the Animal Liberation movement and
many other important causes. When I met Andrew and Icons they were honest and really down to Earth people. It's a great loss
to the punk community because they did so much. Icons of Filth inspired us with ideas, lyrics, music, benefits, organizing, and
the message of love and caring. Let us all continue and carry on the message and dreams that Andrew had.
|Icons of Filth in London mid 80's
Photo by Tammy
|VIVISECTOR By Icons of Filth
I am the man in the white coat
Wherever there's pain you will find me
I record the data as cats choke
Then present to the government my findings
I tell them I'm nearly there
That I've nearly found it
Need another million pound grant to help me
I've discovered a new chemical in cat shit
Syringe it into dogs eyes to benefit humanity
After three months of the same medication I find
Ten were driven insane and the others went blind
Says Dr Dickhead the bollock brained scientist
"Wow, I've just discovered rabbit flesh rips
I'll inflict pain and torture & commit any crime
If there's a PHD at the end of the line
I'll be a murdering shithead and a licensed thug
Until I discover a new wonder drug
I deal in any futile atrocity
Blind to the fact it's all just curiosity
You know I'll never run out of patients to treat
For every thousand that die there's a thousand on the streets
Fifty brainless monkeys with fifty smashed skulls
Vivisected by yours truly until their senses are dulled
One brainless moron like me torturing habitually
With my mindless fucking probing which typifies humanity
Yes it was fucking sickening what happened to the Jews
Humans vivisected by Nazi pigs in queues
The age of the concentration camp never left us at all
The scalpels are still sharp and clean within these four walls
Killing a rat, murdering a cat
The torture of a Jew again
Doesn't matter who feels it
The pain is still the same
Taken from it's cage, consequences paid
The same fascist pain and torture but in another age
|ENOUGH IS ENOUGH By Icons of Filth
Authority clamps down on us all like a chainsaw
Some get severed and some get cut
Who really gives a shit if it's 1984?
Thinks got too bad years ago and getting bad some more
You can't fool me. Get stuffed. Enough is enough
Are you too thick to understand
That things have gotten way out of hand?
At this rate it won't be too long
Governments cons go on and on and on
It's getting so bad now, can't hardly move
Forget all your troubles and get in the groove
Dance the night away, who cares anyway
This sort of pathetic negativity goes on and on and on
How intense have things got to get
Before you can see that all is set?
Will you wait til Britain's great dirty cruise missiles have
already traveled many miles?
Things are gonna get tough, enough is enough
Boys now decide what happens over here
Britain is now the 53rd American state
A nuclear powered launch pad, prefixed "Great"
A country run by ageing egoistic politician fucks
Smashing disagreeing mouths with military rifle butts
Numbing liberated brains with policeman's truncheons
"Shut your fucking face...the state must function"
So much for Thatcher's Victorian values
Vicious brutality, oppress and abuse
They piss and shit on anything they don't like
You can say that I'm wrong but I know that I'm right
The whole world over is in such a fucking mess
Money is the main thing so sod all the rest
Big business multinationals are screwing the world
Draining every penny and last drops of blood out of peoples in
The Coca Cola blood acting in accordance with the latest
stocks and shares
Businessmen, boss men, seeking. Just don't care
They've detached themselves from the reality we all have to
All they've ever done is conned us to the hilt
Made us slave in their factories, the factories we have built
And the products that we've grafted so hard to make
We have to buy back to make great the state
Sometimes I wonder how they continually get away with it
Maybe we're really content to wallow in the shit
Fuck all consequence, the state must still function
Maybe we deserve this shit and maybe we don't
Maybe the world will blow and maybe it won't
But one thing I do know is that enough is enough
But how many of our number are prepared to stand up?
Can we offer an alternative to killing the earth?
We can only but try , we can't do no worse
Enough is enough.
Yeah, enough is enough
Now how many of our number are prepared to stand up?
|Icons of Filth in Los Angeles 2003. Photo by Jang
|A memorial Benefit gig for Andrew Sewell (aka Stig from Icons Of Filth)
This clip shows Colin Jerwood from Conflict appearing with the Icons of Filth whilst they play
Enough IS Enough from the Mortarhate Projects album.
|Icons of Filth - Onward Christian Soldiers (live in Los Angeles 2003)
|Icons of Filth - Death is the only release (live in Los Angeles 2003)
|Tricia from Autonomy doing guest vocals for Icons of Filth. This was a benefit
show for Stigs kid - in Corona, California. USA (RIP Stig - we love you)