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Otto's Revenge | Gods of Love and Torture and Light

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Gods of Love and Torture and Light

by Otto's Revenge

This is the digital re-release of our 1997 record which captured the band's best work in its 1989-1997 history in the St. Louis punk/alternative scene. It includes the very first song we wrote the first day Kurt and Jerry met (TV Nation from 1989).
Genre: Metal/Punk: American Punk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Anger Jam
2:11 $0.49
2. My Sobriety
2:15 FREE
3. Gods of Love and Torture and Light
2:39 $0.49
4. I'm so Happy
4:45 $0.49
5. Toxic Tides
4:39 $0.49
6. In a World of Shit
2:24 $0.49
7. Bigger Than We Know
3:34 $0.49
8. Talkin Shit
2:44 $0.49
9. TV Nation
2:51 $0.49
10. Clint Eastwood
1:57 $0.49
11. Bus, Bus, Bus
7:08 FREE
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Despite many trials and tribulations, Otto's Revenge maintained a consistent presence in the St. Louis punk/alternative scene from 1989-1997. Most of the band lived together from 1990-1995 and shows/parties at the Otto's Revenge homes were an essential part of the Otto's Revenge experience.

The band was also recognized for its commitment to the greater St. Louis music scene for producing The Guide to Fast Living compilation series of St. Louis punk and alternative bands. The Guide to Fast Living helped local bands gain airplay and audiences beyond what they had previously experienced and also raised awareness for Kids Under Twenty-One, a teen helpline (http://kuto.org).

The x ray that appears on the cover are a souvenir of a morning at the last Otto's Revenge home on Bates in South St. Louis. A storm window slammed shut onto the fingertips of lead singer Kurt Hoffmann's two middle fingers. The cover image is one of the actual x rays that was taken of his finger. Finding something artistic in the excruciated seemed a fitting theme for Otto's Revenge.

About the Music
At the core of our music, we are a punk band inspired by our love of the great classic punk bands of the early-to-mid 80s, many of whom we saw live at the great St. Louis area punk shows: Black Flag, JFA, the Adolescents, the Descendents, teh Minutemen, fIREHOSE, Minor Threat, Fugazi, Government Issue, Dead Kennedys, etc.

In addition, the band has always had an interest in having a wider sound, exploring different genres and not limiting our songwriting. Most notably, singer Kurt Hoffmann was a huge fan of jazz and the incorporation of saxophone, which did not come in until 1996 with the addition of Dan Stephens, was at once a departure for the band but also something that brought the band to a sound that had been part of the vision from early on.

The songs on this record represent material written throughout the band's early history. TV Nation was literally written the first day Jerry and Kurt met in 1989 and other songs were written between 1989 and 1993. Otto's Revenge had produced 3 previous recordings:
- "Missouri" released on cassette only in 1993
- "Exercise Your Freedom of Speech" released on CD in 1994
- "Clint Eastwood" was the first song from a studio recording in 1995 when that lineup of the band split up. Kurt and Jerry took that only completed song and it became the impetus for The Guide to Fast Living, releasing it with other St. Louis punk/alternative bands.

While creating a lot of material over the years, Jerry and Kurt never felt the music reached the sound they were striving for and were never happy with the recordings. In 1996, they finally found the lineup that achieved that sound. We also finally found the production we were looking for at the home studio of Tom Kodros in Alton, Illinois.

Instead of multi-tracking all of the parts as we had previously done, the entire band played live and we did limited overdubbing of guitars and vocals. The result was so much faster to produce, a lot more fun, and finally achieved the sound we had been looking for.

This record was originally released as "I Wanna Live Like Clint Eastwood" following the lyrics of that song. We changed the name of the record because while we still hold great admiration for Clint Eastwood, that reference does not hold the same significance it once did (note the reference when we first wrote the song was based on Clint Eastwood the actor as he appeared in his earlier films from the 70s and 80s). We wanted to title to be more about the band so it was changed to the song that was actually written about the band and our life living together. We also changed the order to give the flow more punch, and removed the quiet part from "Desert Song" which is now "Gods of Love and Torture and Light."

With this release we also put the first chapter of Otto's Revenge to bed and begin the next chapter which began when we reunited in August 2014.



to write a review

Julia Gordon-Bramer

Bigger Than We Know; Better Than You Knew. Otto's Revenge Still Holds Up
It was inevitable that when that synthy 80s sound came back into vogue, so too should its counter-sound: we’ve always needed something more Black Flag or Fugazi to stomp upon and poke at the raw nerves of Madonna and Wham! Punk rock did it then, and Otto's Revenge, who've been around long enough to see it the first time, are back to pop Pop Rock in the jaw.
"Anger Jam" is exactly what it's called. It's a noisy, schizo, atonal riff that is actually pretty ballsy to open with. It seems to say, "Are you up for this? Can you handle us?"
Bring it.
"My Sobriety" opens with vocalist Kurt Hoffmann asking in his mild manner, "Is the sax up on this?" And then, LOOK OUT. This is punk rock, my friends, and anyone past a certain age can't help but join the mental mosh-pit. Bassist Jeff Boedeker throbs along. Hoffmann's “hey-hey-hey” sounds bored and seems to mock the sober title. We know he's full of shit, of course, because there is nothing boring about this extremely busy, ultra pissy track. On top of all that: the shivery, shimmery, quivery sax weirds it out in the best possible way.
"Gods of Love and Torture and Light" is the title track of the album, full of old school rock and metal that sets the tone for a lot of the following tracks as well. The vocals are a kind of chant or mantra for disciples of the Church of the Troubled. Ah, but there is transformation too: across the track we hear a union of doubled voices, a communion choking on a sacred wafer. “Never be the same again,” Hoffmann says, buried in the mix. No, we won’t.
“I’m So Happy” is the first real surprise on the album, as one finds him or herself lost in a melodic, catchy aural wilderness full of 90s shoegaze that’s even Nirvana-esque in moments. But these moments get lost as fast as you feel them in their jazzy detours and mosh-pit reworks of military style marching drills. The sax as a punk instrument, played by Dan Stevens, has always been a unique signature for this band and they milk it to the max on this album. The “I’m So Happy” words are simply unbelievable, and yet it makes us so as it pushes, no… shoves actually, against every norm.
“Toxic Tides” has the kind of heavy metal structure with straight-up shouts that feels like a direction the Offspring might have gone if they hadn’t immediately sold out. There is no chorus, just an inescapable drum beat and heavier-than-heavy guitar. This is not music to relax to. This is not music to study with. And please, no driving, as you’ll be doing a hundred miles an hour.
“In a World of Shit” is another song with opening guitar that brings the listener back to the world of Nirvana. This Kurt’s voice is not Cobain’s, but the lyrics are from that disinterested, burned-out neighborhood that enjoys a mocking use of clichés (“attitude is everything”) and a twist on trends that we feel, if not think, we understand (“too much of youth is going to my head”).
“Bigger Than We Know” is some kind of hypnotic conjuring, I believe. The whole song catches our attention and refuses to give it back. Listen closely, and if you can stop laughing, you’ll note that spell, full of familiar words and phrases that go by so fast it simply must be something subliminal. “Find me in the fields, I’ve lost my mass appeal…” Then, there is the repetition of the chorus, the song’s title, over playful heavy beats and a guitar that feels like it keeps taking us back to the beginning. Hoffmann sings, or rather, says, “Spirits will distil, my emptiness fulfilled.” Is this song an affirmation? A war with the ego and reality? A god ignoring its creation? A Frankenstein monster rising off the table?
“Talkin’ Shit” is the video single up on YouTube and probably elsewhere, full of tough South City St. Louis bar-dwellers and suicide girls, and back rooms full of pinball. Good-if-not-healthy fun, just like the song. The guitar (or is that synth?) wails like a police siren about to clear the place out. Hoffmann’s weird schizophrenic mumblings in the background work like another instrument in the band. The primitive drum solo by Steve Dachroeden is just long enough to truly appreciate before it’s taken over by Jerry Morgenthaler’s big guitar once more. Meanwhile, Hoffmann’s front-man persona rages on in a testosterone-fueled adolescent rant. He is always humorous as he advises to just “block the words out.” Never. You’ll be singing it all day, whether you want to or not.
“TV Nation” was the first Otto’s Revenge song ever written, from back in 1989. One wonders: where does Kurt Hoffmann get the breath? He crams so much into a line of lyrics, and that’s not even including the punch of feeling and a good old fashioned sneer about working “nine to fiiiiiive!” Sure, our TV Nation is going insane. It has been for a long time, and this song is a good reason to switch it off and turn up your headphones.
“Clint Eastwood” is our familiar old track from the 1990s St. Louis Punk Rock compilation, Guide to Fast Living, also a project by Hoffmann. It’s typical of Hoffmann and Otto’s Revenge in its never settled, never familiar, never-too-easy way. This is a band that’s never been comfortable in the norm, never enjoyed being categorized, and likes to set foot in the awkward, fearful places and less civilized spaces in music. Cowboys were the first American punks, after all.
“Bus, Bus, Bus” is an Otto’s tune with some crossover potential as it approaches, if not fully enters, a more gentle world of rhythm. Jazz drumming and guitar set it apart from everything else on this CD, and Hoffmann humanizes himself a little, slowing down his holler to near-singing. “Everybody’s going somewhere to be alone,” he says. We FEEL that. Yeah. Enough to start the whole disc again.

Kurt Hoffmann

Riverfront Times Review
This is an original review by The Riverfront Times when the record was first released in 1997:
“…a pretty great punk rock record that, honestly, came out of left field to me. It has tons of hum underneath its music and fills in gaps with saxophone, trumpet and, believe it or not, didgeridoo.” – The Riverfront Times