Sanctus Iuda Disco 2xLP

A 30-song semi-discography of Poland’s SANCTUS IUDA’s (“Saint Jude,” the patron saint of lost causes) recordings from 1995–1998. Their sound is grounded in thick, mid-tempo Euro-squat crust like HIATUS or FLEAS AND LICE, with oversaturated guitar distortion capped with caustic, berating vocals. The tempo occasionally quickens to speedy hardcore bursts, while their later recordings slow to a crushing churn, but the remastering here hammers a nice consistency to the variance. Sides A and B chronologically present their split EPs with the SARCASM, SHARPEVILLE, REGENERACION, and DOG ON A ROPE, along with the otherwise-unreleased material (mostly live songs and covers) from their 1996 ABC cassette. Side C has darker, sludgy unreleased demos for an aborted second LP, that treads the slower AMEBIX / NEUROSIS / GODFLESH gloom, twisting around the thrash blasting. These four tracks are pretty hot, as they edge on that late ’90s pocket of experimental, heavy bleakness, with caustic vocals raking over the top of everything. Side D is an unreleased 1996 semi-techno remix of songs from their first LP (the only recording not included here), by a member of SARCASM, that weaves in samples and deconstructs everything to interesting but only questionably essential results. While you could pick up the band’s original records for equivalent cost, this collection is packaged in a nice gatefold with tons of grainy band photos, record covers, and an extensive booklet with a Polish-language history of the band—but is oddly deficit of lyrics or other artwork that really signify to people unfamiliar with the band, or the Polish language, what they’re singing about. Polish labels have been impressively and wonderfully attentive to documenting their scene history, but sometimes as they upgrade everything from old cassettes or make an efficient package of old vinyl, they forget that not everyone has always been around to follow along, or how leaving the lyrics and meaning by the wayside works on the assumption that everyone still understands the impact of those lyrics, and subscribes to those ideas meaning—and the state of the world in 2019 underlines that the ideas still need to be hammered home.