Subhumans

Reviews

The Restarts / Subhumans split 7″

Holy fuck, man, I bet the RESTARTS were listening to a lot of SUBHUMANS when they were young punx just starting up their band in the mid ’90s. Flash forward damn near 25 years and they’re sharing a split together, both bands relative elder statesmen to their peers. Time is a funny thing, innit? Both offer up excellent tracks, with a clever 99% vs the 1% shared theme. The RESTARTS offer up “The One Percent,” a classic ripper in their metallic but anthemic punk style with a gloriously over-the-top guitar solo and super-catchy vocal hook. SUBHUMANS are a bit more subdued on their “99%,” nodding to their anarcho roots, but the poignant chorus is instantly memorable.

Subhumans Crisis Point LP

One of the few bands from my teenage years that I can still listen to and rely on to affirm and validate my punk forever-ness. I was a little concerned not seeing the Bluurg logo on the rear of the sleeve, but Dick’s distinct handwriting is instantly comforting. So here we have SUBHUMANS’ second studio album since ’87, the last one being ’07s Internal Riot. Much like that one, Crisis Point proves that the band is still relevant in style, intention, and message. I can’t even think of another band that has lasted this long and never sucked or strayed. They certainly have not lost any urgency or creativity with age, nor has Dick lost his wordsmithery or wit. “See the diamond it’s forever disconnected / From the horrors of child labour, so intensive / Mining undermining our perception of expensive / Shiny lies to pacify the apprehensive.” Who wouldn’t want this guy as their poetry professor? They’re still on track with anti-capitalist, anti-xenophobic, and environmentalist calls to action, while not forgetting modern technology’s role in all the apathy and injustices. Never pretentious or preachy, always intelligent and critical. I almost failed to mention the giant SUBHUMANS stencil included in the package. Is anyone actually gonna use this thing? Maybe someone can rearrange the letters into a more pertinent slogan to paint our cities. All I can come up with right now is “Ass Bum.”

Subhumans Worlds Apart LP

Take a variety of musical approaches (yet still the style the SUBHUMANS have established for themselves), push it all together into 12 new songs and one instrumental, and the third LP release brings this band even higher in growth, creativity, and continuous stamina. Multitudes of paces and Dick experimenting with different vocal approaches has the SUBS into another serious exceptional effort.

Subhumans USAT4 Live San Francisco cassette

A very hot performance from their US tour of last year, but unfortunately the sound quality makes you feel like you’re in the bathroom at the On Broadway instead of up front. Actually, it’s not quite that bad, but it isn’t good enough to do this band justice.

Subhumans Rats EP

The textured, and often virtuosic musical trappings of the SUBHUMANS augment four compositions not quite up to this band’s ultra-high standards. “Labels” is an energetic dose of British thrash, and the EP’s title track contains some bracing changes of pace—all with the great SUBHUMANS lyrics.

Subhumans From the Cradle to the Grave LP

The A-side is totally great, full of that powerful, cleanly produced, uplifting, and distinctive SUBHUMANS sound. The B-side revolves around the theme of the album’s title, and runs through many musical styles from lyrical point to lyrical point. As with most such ambitious ideas, some of it works and some doesn’t, but the higher moments remind me of nothing so much as ATV or CRASS. I can’t wait to see them live!

Subhumans Time Flies… But Aeroplanes Crash 12″

It shouldn’t be necessary to describe the UK SUBHUMANS’ basic approach. Once again, their combination of semi-thrash tempos, peculiar guitar embellishments, and radical lyrics hits home, and in a 12″ format, the production accentuates their power. There’s a couple of turkeys on this record, but the roaring “Get Out of My Way” and the psychedelic “People Are Scared” really stand out; “I Don’t Wanna Die” is an OK Yank-style thrasher.

Subhumans Evolution EP

Now here’s an English band and record that I do like. All of this material has that special feel of intelligence and commitment, whether the rock ’n’ roll of the title track, the thrash of “Not Me,” of the power-chording of the unlisted track. One of the best, no doubt about it.

Subhumans The Day the Country Died LP

After three great singles, the SUBHUMANS have released an album that is equally great. They are part of the CRASS family, so if you don’t like your opinions strong, too bad. This LP has non-stop power, thanks to the absence of breaks between songs, and it has some great anthems like “Minority” and “Black and White.” Their themes are always handled skillfully, the music shifts from thrash to more typical English punk, and the sleeve is a lovely gatefold job which has the lyrics printed inside over a backdrop covered with “think.” No question about it, this one’s a must.

Subhumans Religious Wars EP

Like their last single, this latest EP by the SUBHUMANS (UK) offers one excellent ’77-style punk cut and three good examples of filler. There’s no doubt that “Religious Wars” has it all. Inventive guitar-work, manic velocity, and scathing anti-religious lyrics; unfortunately, the other songs imitate generic Brit-punk.