PLEASE LIMIT 1-2 COPIES PER CUSTOMER.
The words legendary, seminal, and classic get thrown around at will these days, but Rudimentary Peni’s debut album is all of them. Recorded over two days at Southern Studios by John Loder and originally released in 1983 by Crass off-shoot label Corpus Christi, Death Church showed a band moving away from the urgency of their two early 7”s and into their own realm. Creating a template that bands have been trying to replicate ever since, while ticking all the boxes to become a genre-defining album. Iconic artwork, a unique sound and their own lyrical universe. All merging seamlessly. Sonically the album is full of Nick Blinko’s extraordinary vocals and equally remarkable guitar, Grant Matthews’ big meandering driving basslines and Jon Greville's tight and relentless drum work which together made something intricate and hard hitting, with a sequence that makes the 21 songs on the album flow perfectly. Visually, the album is every outsider art lover’s wet dream. A six-panel poster sleeve with every inch covered in Nick Blinko’s claustrophobic black and white line drawings, while lyrically the songs deal with madness, religion, death, and questioning humankind from a dark poetic place rarely found in any art form.
Remastered from the original master tapes by Arthur Rizk and housed in a replica poster sleeve. Death Church is back in print in LP, CD and cassette after nearly a decade of no official reissues.
Our take: Sealed Records has gotten Rudimentary Peni’s first album, Death Church, back into print and the world is rejoicing. Writing a description of Death Church feels a bit like trying to write something about Damaged or Walk Among Us or Never Mind the Bollocks… it’s all but universally heralded as a great album, so what can I add to the conversation? Probably nothing, so I’m not going to try. The album is available on the Sealed Records Bandcamp site and all streaming services, so if you haven’t heard it, it’s easy to rectify that problem. The record will blow your mind. However, those of you who are novices in the world of Rudimentary Peni might wonder why the album’s re-release has gotten so much fanfare. The short version of the story is that Rudimentary Peni is a band that people care about deeply. But why? One thing that separates Rudimentary Peni from most of their underground punk peers is their talent for building an immersive world around their music. There are some bands—Black Flag, Misfits, the Stooges, the Ramones—whose music, lyrics, visual aesthetic, and everything else surrounding the art clicks together so perfectly that it almost seems like a world you can step into. Indeed, many people try, listening to these bands’ music obsessively, trying to dress, talk, and write songs like them. Rudimentary Peni, though far less well known, has a similar thing going on. Rudimentary Peni’s world seems like it was ahead of its time, even better suited to 2022 than 1983, when Death Church came out. Singer Nick Blinko’s engagement with mental health / mental illness in particular seems prescient, since not only has the discourse around mental health become so much bigger in the decades since then, but nowadays it seems like everyone is on some mood-altering drug or another (I’m a Lexapro person, myself). The changing informational and economic landscape has also helped to balloon interest in Rudimentary Peni. As far as I know, Rudimentary Peni had no domestic releases in the US in the 80s and, hence, no promotion. Even in their native England, the band only played live a few times and remained a mysterious presence. The grand digitization of the 21st century has done little to remedy the sense of mystery that surrounds them. (I remember Usman excitedly showing me a radio interview with the band that surfaced on YouTube a few years ago.) Since Rudimentary Peni was pretty hard to find out about and really good, the people who found them in the pre-internet era developed a profound reverence for them. I remember when someone put “Teenage Time Killer” on a mix tape for me when I was a teenager… it sounded so weird, but so interesting, that haunting lead guitar line drawing me in like a siren’s song. On the rare occasions when I would come across one of their records in the years after that, I would always buy without question, exploring the group’s discography haphazardly as I came across the records. I’m certain I heard The Underclass and Archaic well before I ever scored a copy of Death Church. Speaking of which, the internet era has made Rudimentary Peni’s records extremely collectible. Much like G.I.S.M., Rudimentary Peni was a band that was pretty hard to hear before the internet. Once people could hear the music, it made them want the vinyl, but the records had been out of print for years, occasionally appearing as bootlegs but largely unavailable. The value of Rudimentary Peni’s vinyl went through the roof, and over the past few years I’ve seen copies of Death Church sell for hundreds of dollars. It’s unsurprising that someone stepped into that gap in the market, but I’m very glad that it was Sealed Records who did so. Their reissue of Death Church satisfies both the intense fan and the astute record collector, the vinyl having been cut from the original master tapes (it sounds great) and the packaging a meticulous reproduction of the original record’s incredible fold-out poster sleeve. Because what would a Rudimentary Peni record be without a pile of incredible Nick Blinko artwork to feast your eyes on? So, whether you’re a collector who needs something to keep a spot on your shelf warm while you hunt for an original, or you’re just a punk fanatic who wants to experience this landmark record in all its glory, now is the time.