Personnel: John Balance, Korg Polysix, Akai Linn, Akai Sampler (vocals); Danny Hyde, Peter Christopherson (programming).
Audio Mixers: Coil; Danny Hyde.
Recording information: Creek Street; Intimate; Magazine Studios; Sluts Hole; Swanyard.
Backwards was conceived as the follow-up to Coil's excellent, dance-leaning 1991 album Love's Secret Domain, and was partially recorded and mixed at Trent Reznor's studios in New Orleans with intention for release on Nothing Records. For various reasons (possibly label-related, possibly due to dissatisfaction with the recordings, or due to changes in musical directions or general life perspectives) the album was never released, although bootleg recordings of the sessions have surfaced, and a remixed version titled The New Backwards was given a limited release in 2008. Danny Hyde, a Coil associate who co-wrote much of this album, authorized the album's release on U.K. label Cold Spring in 2015, and the album was unquestionably well worth the wait. Simply put, the album is vintage Coil, and acts as a logical midpoint between the acid house-inspired Love's Secret Domain and the mystical, celestial revelations of the Musick to Play in the Dark releases. Vocalist John Balance sounds every bit as confident, moving, profound, and menacing here as he ever has, ranging from sounding absolutely demonic on "Be Careful What You Wish For" to poetic on "Paint Me as a Dead Soul." The group sounds chaotic and possessed on the harsh, clanging "Fire of the Green Dragon," and "AYOR (It's In My Blood)" manipulates hellish screams over a steady, pumped-up techno pulse. The album's longest cut, "Heaven's Blade," melds galloping breakbeats with violins and lyrics about "blood on the sun." Several of these tracks, including the heartbreaking-as-ever "A Cold Cell," appeared in remixed form on Coil's 2005 release The Ape of Naples, and it seems beside the point to debate which versions are better; they all sound fantastic. Backwards is as brilliant and moving as any of Coil's best work, and sounds ahead of its time no matter how long it took to see the light of day. ~ Paul Simpson