Theatre Of Hate – Do You Believe In The Westworld?

28th May 2024 · 1980s, 1982, Music, Postpunk

Do You Believe In The Westworld is an epic with its thunderous tribal drums, the mighty clang of that guitar riff, the slightly sinister sax and the dubwise echo that matches the cinematic sweep of Kirk Brandon’s mini-Western in words, carried by his stentorian vocals.

I remember buying the 12-inch single, with its constructivist sleeve featuring a muscular partisan spoiling for a fight, with the band name in English and Italian (Teatro del Odio).

Looking back, I guess it’s one of the first post-punk records (not that anyone used the term then), and alongside the likes of Bauhaus, one of the first to have the term Goth attached (if it actually was at the time).

The drums, of course, recall Adam and the Ants, who were huge at the time, and I’m not sure who plays that massive guitar riff: it could be Kirk himself, and it could be Mick Jones of The Clash, who produced the record.

Original guitarist Steve Guthrie had played on their early run of singles – the double A-side Original Sin/Legion, Rebel Without A Brain and Nero – but left after their debut album, He Who Dares Wins, recorded live in Leeds.

He was replaced by Billy Duffy but not until they’d finished recording their first (and only) studio album Westworld, with producer Jones playing additional guitar. So it could be any one of the four.

The band released another excellent single, Hop, but the general response to the Westworld album was that it failed to match the power of those early singles, or their incendiary live shows.

Theatre Of Hate broke up in 1983 after Duffy left to form The Cult, with Brandon going on to form Spear Of Destiny, leaving a second studio album, Aria Of The Devil, recorded as a trio of Brandon, drummer Nigel Preston and bassist Stan Stammers, unreleased until five years later.