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Death In June - The Corn Years Plus [New European Recordings/Steelwork Maschine - 2020]

The Corn Years Plus is a Death In June compilation focusing on the years 1985 -1987. The CD and 7" vinyl set brings together some classic songs from the period. And it will very much appeal beyond the normal DIJ audience, as throughout the 21 track collection we get songs featuring collaborations from key post-industrial/ Neo-Folk projects such as Coil & Current 93, really cementing DIJ's importance/place in this scene.

The Corn Years compilation first appeared back in 1989 as the groups first CD release then over the years it has been reissued a few times, taking in both CD & double vinyl releases. This new edition of the compilation takes in some re-recorded/ alternative versions of tracks so, if you’re a DIJ collector it’s certainly worth picking up this new reissue.

The release is presented in a thick card 7" gatefold sleeve and features an all-over classic camouflage design with glossy white text on top. The gatefold opens up to show two creepy pictures of Douglas P. with a white & black splattered facemask and holding a knife. The CD is held by circle cuts in the card and in the copy we were sent the see-through swamp green 7" comes in the front of the gatefold. There are three different variations on the vinyl part of the release; Splatter brown/green on white ltd to 314 copies, Swamp green ltd to 525 copies, and Heavy Black ltd to 194 copies.

The tracks here originally appeared on classic DIJ albums: 1986’s The World That Summer and 1987’s Brown Book and, it’s fair to say, the tracks here show DIJ’s sound at it’s most dense, layered & darkly psychedelic.  The compilation moves from the skittering ‘n’ hazed militant beats, strummed barren guitars, and drifting trumpet work of “Torture By Roses” onto the sinister & swirling beats ‘n’ wailing creepy harmonics of “We Are The Lust” which features a great layered & unsettling vocal performance from Coil’s Jonh Balance. We have C93’s David Tibet turning up on “Punishment Initiation”- this a decidedly intense yet heady blend of rapidly clip-clopping percussion, blunt guitar strums, and sinister purring ‘n’ swooning synths. We have the classic stern, yet harmonic, DIJ track “Runes And Men” which finds a barren acoustic guitar, snapping & bounding beats, female la’s by Rose McDowall & drifting Third Reich speech samples, and of course Douglas P.'s glum, yet sing song vocals.  In all the CD runs for sixty four minutes, and it’s a good & varied disc moving nicely from  the more stern, hummable DIJ, and more moody/ experimental DIJ.

The 7" takes in three tracks which are on side A: Runes And Men and on side B: Break The Black Ice(2019 mix) and The Fog Of The World all of which make for a nice little addition to the CD.

It’s always nice to see new or reissued DIJ  releases appearing and The Corn Years Plus is a great compilation, that as I mentioned earlier, will appeal beyond the projects normal audience as we get some great collaborative moments from key Post-industrial figures like Jonh Balance & David Tibet, and there’s a nice mix of tuneful & more sinisterly experimental tracks on offer too.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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