Ooh Crikey… It’s a Hall of Fame
Over 30 years ago, the nascent extreme music scene gave birth to well-regarded and influential acts such as Napalm Death, Morbid Angel, Entombed, Carcass, Godflesh and also, uh, Lawnmower Deth. Five schoolmates in their late teens/early 20s released their magnum opus, Ooh Crikey… It’s Lawnmower Deth! Entrenched in the early tape-trading phenomenon and the U.K.’s burgeoning thrash explosion, Lawnmower Deth were a one-of-a-kind experience. Ooh Crikey’s playful singularity may have had its roots in more “fun” acts such as Adrenalin O.D., but their uniqueness stemmed from their camaraderie. Recorded in under a week at Slaughterhouse Studios with tons of lager—and based off of the success of a split LP with the equally silly Metal Duck—Lawnmower Deth crafted a bombastic full-length debut on the rising metal label (and fellow Nottingham staple) Earache.
Tracks such as “Rad Dude,” “F.A.T.” and “Sheep Dip” (an ode to veganism) may have been mostly satire, but also had one foot in punk ethics, engaging with contemporary politics. Best known for a cover of “Kids in America” by pop sensation Kim Wilde, Lawnmower Deth had fun, and they didn’t care whether it was funny or not. The fact that they were having fun was enough. And Ooh Crikey is fun indeed. There was no internet to lob anonymous critiques, no one to stop them and no one to ask, “What is this all about?” It just was, and it was distinctly Lawnmower Deth.
“Big and fat and bouncy rectangle on the floor,” growls singer Qualcast “Koffee Perkulator” Mutilator (Pete Lee) on Ooh Crikey’s “Satan’s Trampoline,” a song about the devil inflicting a new, more horrible form of punishment: bouncing forever in Hell. Pulling from punk, thrash, death metal, doom and even ska, these goofballs did the improbable: injecting some humor into a genre awash in its own seriousness. Twenty-five tracks covering topics as diverse as groinal gardens, legless crawling, drugs and getting drunk at the Betty Ford Clinic, Ooh Crikey is an absurd romp through extreme metal. With over half of the tracks clocking in at under a minute, there’s not a lot of room for interpretation.
Much like S.O.D.’s classic Speak English or Die, Ooh Crikey assaults the listener with sharp, short stabs of humor, wit and cynicism. To quote Pete Lee, “Originality really sucks / don’t mean nothing in their books / clichéd bands to a written formula.” Lawnmower Deth were original enough; no one has ever come close to sounding like them. So, grab a Newcastle Brown Ale, have yourself a laugh and “Assume the Position.”
Need more Lawnmower Death? To read the entire seven-page story, featuring interviews with the members who performed on Ooh Crikey…, purchase the print issue from our store, or digitally via our app for iPhone/iPad or Android.