Direct Action

Reviews

Direct Action Tomorrow Is Too Late LP

Aside from its vital late ’70s and early ’80s originators, 1980s Canadian hardcore post-’83 often suffered from really difficult recording and production, while being released at or past the point where the floodgates of hardcore records had flung open worldwide, and distinction became harder to glean. A lot of the records are cool and probably resonate deeper with local fans, but the original DIRECT ACTION Trapped in a World LP from 1985 is a mixed bag of solidly good hardcore fighting with really uneven recording and mixing, mired with strange production choices tempering its delivery. By 1988, it seemed already apparent that something was lost in translation between this Toronto band’s 1984 Tomorrow Is Too Late demo and the aforementioned LP, and a nicely-mastered German collection on Bitzcore delivered a mix of recordings from both. European bootleggers served up the demo on LP, minus a track, half a decade ago, but here it is finally released, legitimately and in its entirety. Charmingly chaotic rapid-fire volleys of blistering hardcore singed with a DISCHARGE/VARUKERS/ENGLISH DOGS-style heavier guitar sound, with biting quick vocals spitting over the top. As the title suggests, there’s a real beautiful immediacy to the demo like the best of ’80s hardcore: put together a band with some friends, cop a band name off the headlines (the Squamish/Vancouver Five had just taken “Direct Action” to the actual streets in Canada in 1982), and blast out sixteen hardcore bombardments with lyrics volleying defiance against the government, the cops, and your own impending nuclear annihilation. That might make it sound simultaneous wonderful and generic, but it sheds comparison to its contemporary deluge of thrash with how unrelenting energetic it is, and how the mix floods everything into powerful blasts of mayhem. The presentation is nice with brief liner notes, but a bit sterile in organization compared to the organic explosion of the music or the included replication of the original chaotic hand drawn and cut ’n’ paste collage lyric sheet poster. Fun record.

Direct Action Trapped in a World LP

Full speed ahead, this gem changes with a rapid beat packed with storming drum action and quick metallic guitar licks. From Canada, it’s not what you’d expect, as each number is laced with energetic appeal and hollow vocals. For those who like it raging in the speedcore tradition, this baby sets the stylus afire.

Direct Action Direct Action cassette

It would be unfair to characterize this band as something between DISCHARGE, DOA, and MDC—because although there are some tinges of each influence, DIRECT ACTION is their own band, slashing out with one intense song after another, all of which are powerful, intelligent, and well done. Get this tape, and their hopefully upcoming 12”, but they have had some problems with the mail (it’s the name), and many sent out never arrived. They’ll send you the tape and cover in separate packages to avoid such problems.