Reviews

Martin Sprouse

Instigators Phoenix LP

With an almost entirely new lineup, the music here is a mixture of their early sound with a “progressive” U2 feel which hangs some of the time, but I did find myself picking the needle up before a couple of songs ended. The vocals are also hard to deal with, carrying out each word with too much attention.

Chumbawamba Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records: Starvation, Charity and Rock & Roll – Lies & Traditions LP

A little bit of punk, folk, dance, and pop appears here, but the message remains the main interest. A combination of thought-provoking lyrics, written information, tape commercials, and acted-out situations has been done before, but there is still a need for this type of effort and this band is doing their part.

World War XXIV World War XXIV LP

All 16 tracks were recorded from ’83-’85 and have finally made their way to vinyl. The music is hyper-melodic thrash that has the same roots as UK’s STUPIDS. A mixed bag of happy, silly, and serious lyrics only add to this record’s potential, making this a high energy surprise.

SNFU If You Swear, You’ll Catch No Fish LP

The long awaited follow-up to their first LP is here and takes off where the other left. Classic SNFU songs are filled with catchy riffs, breaks, hooks, beats, howls, and laughs. These twelve songs rip from start to finish, and the band has yet to compromise their sound and ideas, and hopefully never will.

Condemned? Humanoid or Biomechanoid? LP

Strange fuzz fusion metal core. All the typical metal speed changes are here and mixed in with high speed thrash that is accompanied by snarling vocals. The production helps create a spooky, dark sound that is too forced.

The Varukers One Struggle, One Fight LP

An aggressive guitar sound that strays away from the metal leads and relies on fast-paced metal riffs. The vocals are gravelly, and the music is powerful but repetitious at the same time, yet the band’s message sticks with a hard political stance.

Underdog Not Like You EP

This East Coast band offers songs that are simple, catchy, and have a nice, aggressive edge, which is combined with equally catchy vocal patterns. Maybe it’s that this band put some thought into what they wanted rather than directly duplicating their influences. Good strong effort.

Ruin Fiat Lux LP

A post-punk feeling comes from this LP, but the power and message is in no way compromised. The structure of each song is straightforward, bold, and creative. Loud, raw sound mixed with strong vocals that deal with personal philosophies and enjoyments. A lot of variety makes this surprising and striking.

Egg Hunt Me and You / We All Fall Down 7″

A studio band with Jeff Nelson and Ian MacKaye who document two incredible songs. Simple, strong, straightforward structure with interesting, powerful music and very inspiring lyrics. A great amount of creativity mixed with sincere effort make this record highly recommended. Beautiful packaging.

Dr. Know This Island Earth LP

Not as close to speedmetal as some might guess, this record has a good, steady rhythmic beat, interesting vocals, dark lyrics, and loud guitar that at times falls down towards wanking leads. When these pieces are put together, a rocking sound comes forth – but in many ways is too consistent and tiresome.

Slam End of Laughter LP

Out of the 15 mid-tempo punk songs here, most are made up of delicate guitar leads, simple drum beats, and droning vocals that lean toward the dark side. Maybe the songs are too long, maybe the band doesn’t live up to their name, but this slab just doesn’t stand out.

Ugly Americans Philadelphia Freedom EP

For the most part, a letdown from the band’s previous releases. The title track is laced with funk guitar and sing-alongs, and the remaining ones lean towards offbeat rock’n’roll. Musically, the material seems to be missing what the band was aiming for.

Slapshot Back on the Map 12″

These seven songs are nothing but classic melodic power, as the music comes across as early UK BLITZ backed up by the Boston HC sound that until now was lost in a fog of stupid metal. Gravelly vocals are broken up by catchy sing-alongs, and the production is slick yet only enhances the band’s sound.

Gray Matter Take It Back 12″

Underlying garage pop riffs and harmonies potently mixed with pounding drums and gut-wrenching vocals, the end result is nothing less than powerful. Six songs that are drowned in rawness and energy, and can’t help but grab our attention in one way or another. The lyrics lean toward personal concerns.

Forethought Easy Life cassette

Ten songs from this new Bay Area band that has influences ranging from dirge to blues, rock, and punk. The simple melodies and complex beats add to the interest here but detract from the power, but an intensity can be felt through the raw, loud vocals.

Maniacs The White Rose of Resistance LP

These 12 songs from this veteran German band pound out the melodies and harmonies, combining them with a nice raw edge. The vocals carry politically concerned lyrics smoothly and stand aside while several Oi rooted chants step in. Catch and rockin’.

Funeral Oration Survival EP

Although the band has reformed and has had some line-up changes, their patented power sound comes across as strong as ever with the release of these four songs. Combined melodies and loud thrash come forth with harmonizing vocals and straight-forwards lyrics, all making up this band’s creative sound.

Class War Better Dead Than Wed! EP

An interesting mixture of musical influences and strong, simple lyric message. Side A features a mid-tempo guitar chant punk song and one polka poetry number, while Sid B lets out a dance/rap tune dominated by a repetitious horn off. Nothing that outstanding, but the ideas and effort shouldn’t be ignored.

AOA / Oi Polloi Unlimited Genocide split LP

On this great Scottish release, AOA sport seven songs centered around a fast thrash sound that is well defined by all the instrumentals; the vocals are shouted and keep up to the music’s pounding pace. OI POLLOI shred out all six songs, all of which are no less than enthusiastically executed – clear, melodic, hard-hitting music. Raging!

Feederz Teachers in Space LP

The cover pic (of the space shuttle explosion) is only the beginning of the offbeat, twisted message. The music has thundering drums and the great combination of rockin’ and experimental guitar work. The vocals are angry and slide toward an expected demented nature, but are demanding at the same time. A great documentation of how bad taste can be used for creative communication.

Christ on Parade Isn’t Life a Dream? EP

Delightful raw production sets the atmosphere for this five-song EP. The music is set to a clean fast tempo and involves simple changeovers and stead beats. The vocals are shouted and represent an angry tone. Overall, this seems to have captured a strong DIY feel by bringing back some of punk’s basic nature.

GRB Estoy Tan Contento EP

An offbeat mixture of melodic mid-tempo awkward punk and hyper-speed thrash accented with heavy Spanish vocals. Tempo changes are quick, powered by demanding, clever guitar licks. Seven songs that are kept to a fast pace and a potent foreign hardcore feel.

Culture Shock Reality Stop No. 44 cassette

Ten songs from a new band made up of members from the ruins of Wessex punk bands, the outstanding one being Dick from the SUBHUMANS on vocals. The band surrounds itself with a strong reggae punk/ska sound that is based on flowing melodies and very catchy rhythms. Very refreshing and interesting without making compromises.

Crass Best Before… 1984 2xLP

An outstanding compilation of CRASS material most of which is taken from past singles. But there are three previously unreleased songs that document the band’s musical growth. Recorded interviews and conversations are included, as well as a complete lyrics booklet that contains an essay about the band’s history. Overall, very inspiring and highly recommended.

V/A There’s a Method to Our Madness LP

A great collection of mostly unreleased tracks from North American bands like LUDICHRIST, DISORDERLY CONDUCT, SACRED DENIAL, ASSAULT, PSYCHO, and many, many more. There are a few speed-metal riffs here, but the common denominator is speed. Aggressive speed-thrash attack.

V/A Connecticut Fun LP

This 28-song comp is made up from the likes of 76% UNCERTAIN, YOUTH OF TODAY, LOST GENERATION, VATICAN COMMANDOS—13 bands in all. The music ranges from powerful thrash to melodic late-’70s punk to hard-edged rock. Production is consistent, resulting in a fairly good sampler of what the CT scene has to offer.

7 Seconds Walk Together, Rock Together LP

This new English pressing of the infamous 12” contains all the original tracks, and on the flipside there are six previously unreleased and one new song, all which were recorded live. The sound quality is fair for a live recording and it sounds very much like the vocals were overdubbed, and if that’s the case, the whole side loses credibility.

Seizure All Hail the Fucking System EP

Four tunes that are centered around a very catchy, steady, pounding beat and a nice guitar buzz. The lyrics deal with simple political statements but remain interesting, which is complemented by the deep-throated vocals. Good stuff.

Dead Silence Stress LP

Driving, angry mid-tempo punk with rhythmic, distorted, upbeat sounds blended with good sing-alongs and politically minded lyrics. Several treats show up on this, as some memorable basic guitar and vocal arrangements make a very loud release from this band that does not live up to their name.

Oi Polloi Resist the Atomic Menace EP

Blazing, hard-hitting guitar thrash from the long-time Scottish band. Five songs that do their best to break walls by the use of the band’s loud, powerful 3D music combined with gravelly vocals. Definitely active in more ways than one!

No Allegiance Mad LP

From the ashes of PORNO PATROL comes this full-force four-piece that holds back on nothing. A great combination of abrasive vocals (in English) and high power thrash, German-style. The lyrics are clear, angry, and rebellious, and enhanced by shouting choruses. Loud and powerful.

V/A That Was Then… This Is Now! EP

Four songs from four Philly standouts, including RUIN, ELECTRIC LOVE MUFFIN, SCRAM, and FOD. Each band holds their own creative ground that challenges the listener. Some noise thrash, post-punk, reggae, world beat—it’s all here, and all four songs support a hard edge. Well put together musical document.

V/A Lethal Noise cassette

An hour of some of the best old and new talent from the Bay Area, including SHORT DOGS GROW, CLOWN ALLEY, VICTIMS FAMILY, RHYTHM PIGS, plus many, many more. Mostly from demo tapes, it’s overall a good sampler of what the Bay Area has to offer. Booklet included.

Vicious Circle Hidden Supervision? EP

A really diverse two-song EP from this powerful Aussie band. Side A represents a hard-hitting, melodic tune filtered with acoustic guitar and a slow pleasant rhythmic beat. The flipside, on the other hand, sports a speed-metal/punk thrash guitar riff and harsh vocals, and is kept to high-power fast pace. Catchy.

V/A 24 Shit Kickin’ Classics cassette

A new European comp tape that stresses the need for original bands that don’t follow the latest metal trend. Such bands as L.A.W., the SECT, STALAG 17, DISTURBED, RED LETTER DAY, and so on are included, and most have a strong punk influence, making their songs raw and powerful. Sound is decent.

Uprising Screaming From the Inside cassette

Blazing, ear-shattering UK thrash attack. Four songs, all set to a hyper-organized hysteria. Clear vocals raging out against oppression and falsehood are combined with very well-produced powerful assaulting music. Short and sweet and well worth looking into!

Disaccord Don’t Ask Me Why cassette

Buzzsaw guitar burns its way through 14 songs, all set to a classic, crazed, thrashed-out tempo. It’s produced by machine gun drumming, but the vocals are lost in the background and seem to be merely muffles. Nevertheless, the music makes up for it—fast and hot!

B.R.Dreck Live cassette

Well-rounded musical influences play an important role in this German band’s sound which is a nice mixture of early punk, thrash, and pop. They switch off, and the combination of male and female vocals adds an interesting diversity to the arrangements and blends well with the mid-tempo, offbeat tunes.

Avskum Live at Blitz cassette

Fast-paced basic thrash, Swedish style. Ten songs come forth with a good, steady beat and loud guitars. The vocals are harsh, but hard and heavy at the same time. Overall, the production is pretty good for a live recording and gives a healthy taste of what this intense band is all about.

V/A Guest List cassette

A pretty cool comp featuring ten great Ohio HC bands, most of which have either been hiding or overlooked. Included are the talents of GUMBY’S REVENGE, PLASMA ALLIANCE, PPG, IDIOT HUMANS, NUMBSKULL, PLAGUE, and many more. Good Midwest sampler!

V/A End the Warzone EP

A high-speed comp 7” with such bands as LÄRM, PILLSBURY HARDCORE, STRAIGHT AHEAD, and ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT. All of this material is raging thrash topped off by a positive message. Extreme power and aggressiveness.

Public Enemy Wanted Dead or Alive cassette

CAPITOL PUNISHMENT crossed over with early STRETCH MARKS makes a good comparison of what this Canadian band has to offer. Eight songs that rage through your speakers at hyper speed. Catchy chords and high-pitch tapping beat.

Knock-Out James Knock-Out James cassette

Harkening back to punk’s melodic power days (and to punk’s less political lyrics), this band is in reaction to the metal direction many HC bands have gone—it’s done decently, thought the singing doesn’t really cut it (OK for thrash, but punk demands more in this department). Like the direction, though this beginning leaves room for growth.

Kids for Cash No More Walls EP

Good first effort from this Virginia band, who whips out six blazing melodic thrashers spliced with vocals that don’t rely on shouting, but on a harmonizing approach to communicate. The speed is kept to a moderate pace and catchy musical riffs and sing-alongs only add to the power.

DC Necros History of… cassette

Although this band was involved in the DC scene in the classic years of ’81-’83, they do not follow along the same musical line as many of the other bands. This band resorts to raw, good ol’ sloppy rockin’ punk, much in the vein of the GERMS, especially the vocal style. All seven songs do a good job of documenting this needlessly ignored outfit.

The Brigade The Dividing Line LP

TEARS FOR FEARS meets the ALARM meets the CURE meets FRANK SINATRA. This new band, formerly called YOUTH BRIGADE, has a new sound which will take most by surprise. The classic YOUTH BRIGADE sing-alongs in a different character and well-executed lyrics are combined with very complex creative music that in my book spells—CHEESY! The slick production and studio trickery will play an important part in helping this record be a major radio hit. What’s next, an MTV video? Progress, growth, or change…you decide for yourself.

V/A We Don’t Need Nuclear Force LP

A pretty good world sampler featuring mostly previously released material that falls under the ranks of punk, hardcore, and post-punk. Some of the talents in the limelight are BOSKOPS, VARUKERS, TOXIC REASONS, RATTUS, WHITE FLAG, BRISTLES, and many others. Comes with a free six-song EP.

Scapegoats Kopflos EP

Much along the same lines as CRUCIFIX or the VARUKERS, this has loud smashing guitars topped off with metal-edged leads. Vocals are in the infamous gravel style and the lyrics possess political awareness. Speed is kept fast, making this a very tasty platter.

Lärm No One Can Be That Dumb EP

Holland’s version of a young DRI. This band whips out 16 simple generic thrashers on this one. Strong vocals are the center of the music, and an undistinctive guitar sound relies too much on distortion for the frantic riffs and stop-and-go songs.

Indigesti Osservati Dall’Inganno LP

Non-stop intensity comes from this longtime Italian outfit. The powerful music is complex and at times awkward due to the band’s capacity in integrating leads and riffs that create some great, hard-hitting melodies. BAD BRAINS-type vocals add to this tight, original, impassioned release. This puppy shreds!

Capital Scum Clutch the Flag EP

Really cool raging five-song EP from this Belgian four-piece. The music can closely compare to early DISCHARGE minus the poor production and adding a lot more American thrash influence. For the most part, all the songs rip and have enough power to blow out any pair of speakers. Good stuff!

Anti-Heroes It’s Time to Change EP

This four-song slab has a sound very similar to STIFF LITTLE FINGERS due to the melodic, raw mid-tempo music and harsh gravel vocals. The lyrics on the other hand stress political awareness and action like England’s CONFLICT. Combined, these influences blended with originality makes an entertaining and inspiring record.

Zyniker What Went Wrong? cassette

Seven politically motivated experimental noise songs held together by a rhythmic beat. The vocals are distorted and have a rough feel to them. The music has the ability to bring across a strong, powerful sound, but fails somewhat due to the production. Potential does exist.

V/A Livin’ in Peoria cassette

Such names as CHiPS PATROL, CAUSTIC DEFIANCE, HATE, and UNACCEPTED show what they are all about through the two-to-three songs each on this Peoria scene benefit comp. As a bonus, there are live tracks by bigger acts that have passed through this town, making for 26 songs. Raw production, of course.

T.P.U. Demo cassette

A basic four-song cassette enlivened by cool buzzsaw guitar and clean bomping bass licks, developing a cross between the VANDALS and JFA. The band has a good sense of humor and the enjoyable rough production only adds to the potential of this band’s material.

Outcry Far Cry 12″

A younger, thrashed-out version of MARGINAL MAN, with melodic rawness mixed with personal and social outbursts in the lyrics. Each of the seven songs are filled with simple, fast tempo power riffs and harmonizing vocals with choruses, resulting in a very impressive debut release for this Minneapolis band. Good stuff!

Ministry of Truth Significant Others LP

Heavy on the melodic side which supports the band’s early SoCal punk influences. The music is held together by clean guitar work and a constant fuzz bass beat. The vocals at times are way overproduced, but nevertheless whip out classic harmonies while ranting about personal and social issues. Good first effort.

Fuck Shit Piss Call Me Paranoid cassette

Offbeat, mid-tempo punk from the hot sands of Vegas. Awkward, distorted leads cut loose every so often and high-pitched trebly bass make six strong, catchy tunes—but they for the most part take the back seat when the raspy vocals come into the light and question stereotypical, political actions. Good first effort.

C.O.T.C. Better Alone Than in Bad Company cassette

Ten fast, aggressively raw guitar thrash songs combined with a deep, pounding drum beat. Each is constructed of speedy chaotic riffs which are interspliced with slower tempos. A young band, but they have the ability to punch it out. Good first effort.

C.I.A. C.I.A. LP

Finally, the long-awaited second piece of vinyl by the Connecticut trio gets released. For the most part, the tunes rip but don’t have as many magic moments as their debut EP. However, the band does put their all into this record, creating a strong, tight, melodic 15-song punk LP.

Big Thing Some Guts cassette

Rockin’ garage punk with slight pop influences, but great unrefined sound. The lyrics are rebellious and presented in a good-hearted, humorous manner. A close comparison might be an early garage version of the DICKS. Watch for vinyl because these guys rock!

Spineless Yesmen Gotcha Boss cassette

Down and dirty gothic rock along the same lines as 45 GRAVE and TSOL. The songs are kept to a slower pace and become a bit overbearing at times with their habit of dragging on. The guitar riffs add a nice touch and create good melodies but the rough production keeps this one together.

Sex Mutants The Right to Be Left Alone cassette

Pretty angry stuff! With song titles like “Angry Youth,” “Society Sux,” and “I’d Rather Be Dead,” you can tell these guys spend too much time thinking about the bad and not enough time trying to create some good. I hope their ideas will expand and their grungy punk music will develop into something creative.

76% Uncertain Gitargodz Suk Tour ’85 cassette

This blazing 20-song cassette was recorded live on the band’s summer tour, and features a well-rounded sampling of the band’s old and new material—with a vast majority to be released. Production and mix are clear, and holds a hard edge which adds that great “live” feel to the band’s music and vocals. Recommended.

Rigor Mortis The Conveyed Message LP

Heavy-sounding punk/metal crossovers combined with painful throat-cancer-type vocals. Tempo is kept down to a medium pace which compares them to English notables like EXPLOITED, MOTÖRHEAD, and UK SUBS. Some ear-catching riffs and choruses here, but nothing comes out and grabs you.

Rebels and Infidels Young, Gifted, and Black cassette

Interesting new material from this long-time Bay Area band. With this effort comes a lot of different influences, both musically and lyrically. One song may be upbeat funnypunk, and the next edging into slower-paced post-punk. Diverse, and very enjoyable.

The Mumbles Resurrected From the Shed cassette

This ten-song tape is made up of a twisted mixture of hard-hitting garage blues, psych rock, and wailing vocals. The pace is kept to a slow, steady, bass-dominated speed with a clean guitar sound. Low-down and dirgy, but very entertaining.

Massacre Guys The Rider EP

Slow- to mid-tempo garage rock which musically and lyrically is laced with feelings of doom. The music does at times have a healthy raunchy feel to it, but never really cuts loose and expresses the potential power that would produce something that’s memorable.

Love Canal It’s a Dogs Life So Blow It Out Yer Ass LP

Quite some progress since their early demos; the humor is still strong, but isn’t as strong when mixed with the high-speed melodies, with rockin’ guitar leads and smooth production. A little too serious? Maybe just a little bit coming from this band, but still, this platter is made up of a lot of talent, energy, and potential.

Khadafy Youth Allah Fall Down cassette

Loud, distorted, sizzling guitar and dirge-oriented bass beats dominate the majority of this thirteen-song crazed dosage of thrash. The rawness of the music is representative of the anger that this band feels toward the typical punk rebel topics. Heavy, rough garage-type production but loud as hell. Watch for vinyl.

Guilty Bystanders Broccoli Rules cassette

Mid-tempo thrashed-out funnypunk. The music becomes a diverse punk sound set to hilarious lyrics helped out by a classic snotty vocal style. With song titles like “She Only Loves Me When She’s Stoned,” there is a lack of depth in the material, but it does bring on a nice demented chuckle.

Didjits Signifies My GO-T cassette

Heavy rockin’ garage sounds are the main element that makes up this nine-song tape. Twangy guitar leads complemented by delightful distortion make for some catchy riffs while a steady drum sound holds the backbeat in control. There’s also a strong humorous side to the band’s warped view of life in the lyrics.

Brutal Assault Screaming Urges cassette

Pretty cool hyper aggressive thrash produced by this Florida three-piece. The band’s method for success is to play as fast as possible, slip in several clever speed changes, and spit out a clean, pissed-off vocal style. Fifteen ragers that are simple in nature, but have the ability to make an impact.

Amateur Gynecologists Gynecore cassette

A good example of generic suburban hardcore punk. This band falls into the “We’re pissed off at something and we don’t know what it is, but let’s still form a band” syndrome. The music isn’t that bad, and with time it should develop. The lyrics, on the other hand, are meaningless and don’t have a bit of fun quality to them. The best thing about this tape is that this band was formed, give them time and hope for the best.

R.A.F. Gier R.A.F. Gier cassette

Pounding, unrelenting high-energy music made up of awkward chords intermixed with several tempo changes. The 28 songs are a good blend of studio and live recordings, all of which have strong production and loads of power. Cool stuff.

Icons of Filth The Filth & the Fury EP

Three loud crashers that for the most part live up to this band’s sound but fall short due to an obviously repetitious beat and continuously distorted guitar. The echoing vocals have problems coming across clearly and seem hidden behind the wall of the music. The artwork and written material is interesting, however.

Generic For a Free and Liberated South Africa EP

An intensely politically motivated record whose message is augmented by information on the sleeve and in the lyrics. The five songs are made up of a high-speed pounding thrash and harsh, gravel-voiced vocals. All in all, worth looking into. Shreds.

GBH Midnight Madness and Beyond LP

As expected, a lot more metalish leads and chords present here. Of the twelve songs, there are maybe only a couple that find their roots in that classic upbeat punk style that this band had years ago. Oh yeah, in case you’re wondering, the lyrics haven’t changed a bit.

Bad Beach Bad Beach cassette

Gothic punk that hails from the depths of England. Simplistic rhythms and aggressive melodies come together with a sound very close to early TSOL or the DAMNED. Definite “eerie” overtones present, resulting in a hard-edged image and making this tape nothing more than healthy entertainment.

Youth of Today Can’t Close My Eyes EP

Catchy choruses and rhythmic mosh beats combined with slurred gravel vocals make up the basic musical structures of this seven-song EP. The would-be power is kept down to a minimum due to the semi-poor production, and the lyrics stress a generic “positive” militant straight edge attitude, and if I never would’ve met them in person I’d have believed that the lyrics lacked the sincere depth which could lead them to be easily misunderstood. This band’s intentions are good, they just suffer from occasional foot-in-mouth disease—eh Ray?

Wards Armed to the Teeth cassette

Catchy guitar sounds and a straightforward beat form the backbone of this 25-song cassette, which is spliced with several tempo changes and sloppy vocals. At times, it sounds like the singer is half-asleep due to the drowned-out effect that tops his every line, but the lyrics are funny/serious and interesting.

V/A Noise Behind the Iron Dustbin cassette

A ten-band compilation made up of all Polish HC/punk bands. It’s a well-rounded mixture of live and studio tracks, most of which have never been released. All the common European hyper-noise is represented, with melodic hooks and leads thrown in for good measure. Includes DEZERTER, MOSKWA, ABADDON, and more.

V/A Composed Bananas No. 2 cassette

Pretty cool English comp featuring the likes of SLAUGHTER TRADITION, CRIMINAL JUSTICE, INFECTED, and many more under-recognized bands. A lot of catchy melodies and sing-alongs. Sound quality varies with the influences, but still very interesting.

Der Riß Der Riß cassette

Classic European punk with great late-’70s English punk influences. The music is somewhat poppy, but has a raw edge and is backed with high power melodies. The vocals switch between male and female—a nice combination. Good stuff.

Dead Swingers Nisseland cassette

This impressive Norway band expresses their musical influences through catchy melodies and raw vocals, and then turn right around and kick out some crazed power thrash in the very next song. Both live and studio tracks prove the band’s unpredictability and talent to create enjoyable music.

Coolest Retards Another Minor Classic cassette

Put members of ADRENALIN O.D. and STUPIDS in a studio together for 14 minutes, and you get no less than 22 songs full of wacky confusion, sure craziness, intense energy, and an overabundance of good humor. Very spontaneous and rough, but funny as shit.

V/A Return of Godfodder cassette

This follow-up to the previous Godfodder comp covers new ground with the exposure of more experimental bands and ones that are closely related. Some of the talents include: GLORIOUS DIN, BRAIN RUST, MORK LANE, SARCASTIC ORGASM, and the list goes on. Pretty good production and as a whole, a nice package.

V/A Make It Work EP

Some great Connecticut punk and HC can be heard on this seven-song EP which comes free with the third issue of Run It fanzine. VATICAN COMMANDOS, YOUTH OF TODAY, CHRONIC DISORDER, and SEIZURE appear—a well-rounded bunch, to say the least. Music varies from intense thrash to funnypunk. Sound quality’s a bit on the bad side, but it’s worth getting your hands on.

The Oysters Green Eggs and Ham LP

This Boston-area band is composed of members of now-defunct STRANGLEHOLD, which explains the catchy guitarwork and the overall rawness. This band’s potential falls short due to the new sound, making a firm stand in the college radio crowd. The power is put aside for a more poppy rockin’ sound, which is sad, but comes as no surprise.

Gang Green P.M.R.C. Sucks 12″

Four songs, two of which come from their first demo and fall into the great GANG GREEN tradition, the remaining two being different cover versions of TIL TUESDAY’s AM radio hit “Voices Carry.” AC/DC covers would have been more exciting. All in all, just two great songs.

Follow Fashion Monkeys Follow Fashion Monkeys LP

Surprise, surprise, surprise! Full-on melodic thrash, varying speeds, and Keith Morris-type vocals creates an interesting combination of early DC and SoCal HC. Lyrics rant, rave, and communicate thought-provoking ideas and attitudes. Both refreshing and inspiring, all packed into 16 songs. Recommended.

Faster Poison Faster Poison cassette

Straightforward, first-stage thrash that touches base with a lot of other young hardcore bands. The potential is there, and needs time to develop. With this eleven-song studio demo comes some classic stop-and-go thrash that is dominated by severing buzzsaw sound. Basic.

V/A Winterbastards Horrorshow cassette

A good mixture of high-power HC, speed-metal, and melodic mid-tempo garage thrash bands. The majority of tracks are unreleased and a few are recorded live. Standouts include: DER RISS, RAYMEN, IDIOTS, DIE MÄNNER. Something for everybody on this sampler.

V/A Uskullisen Koirawsa Cragesmuren Valcossa cassette

A new compilation made up of Finnish and English bands. The Finnish side has the likes of RATS, SANCTUARY, and DORIAN GRAY, doing mostly raw, pre-released material. On the flip, we hear a ballet-type rant by ATTILA THE STOCKBROKER, and ten great melodic thrashing cuts by the UK ICONOCLASTS, who with their catchy riffs and vocals are the standouts here.

V/A Spiegel Derzett cassette

A good German HC sampler featuring many under-exposed bands like MOTTEK, CERESIT, DIE RUSSEN, INTERSCHROTT, and many more. Sound quality varies but still the music is listenable and enjoyable.

V/A The Hardcore House cassette

Some new Aussie bands show their stuff on this new comp. Excellent effort courtesy of: GASH, FILTHY TRASH, MIMOSA TRIBE, LONERS OF STENCH, and DEPRESSION. This is one diverse thrash compilation that will keep you on the edge of your seat! Recommended.

V/A Have a Rotten Christmas, Vol. 2 LP

A compilation that features some well-established names in European punk and HC. With bands like the VARUKERS, NO CHOICE, RATTUS, and ENGLISH DOGS, you would think this would be a very powerful piece of vinyl. Well, it’s not, and most of the tracks are at the most average and leave no lasting impression. Nothing outstanding.

S.A. I Get Position 8″ flexi EP

Grungy thrash with hints of Oi, Oi, Oi choruses but not falling into the sometimes wimpy character of a lot of Oi music. The good mixture of abrasive, distorted guitar and fast speed keep this record flowing smooth. Grade “A” thrash—good stuff!

Pissed Spitzels Hönny + Die cassette

Thirteen mayhem raging tunes surface from the basement of this West German band. Vicious stop-and-go thrash compounded with several mid-tempo speed changeovers. The harsh bash/smash parts have a hard time keeping time, but the more melodic parts are quite enjoyable.

Ceresit 81 Three Gallows LP

The debut vinyl from this German band has eleven hard, tight, melodic thrashers, and a good, steady fast beat with several speed changes that give the music a memorable identity. There are some serious metal-edged guitar leads, but the songs are structured well so they’re not overpowering. Excellent production creates the impression of the music being in 3-D! Worth looking into.

The Bones In a Sick Society! EP

The EXPLOITED of Japan, believe it or not. The music has a simple marching, pounding beat and the vocals have a nice gravely flavor to them. Some of the song titles include “Insanity,” “Sex,” and “Barmy Rat.” Get the picture? Nothing too exciting that already hasn’t been done.

Admit You’re Shit Expect No Mercy… If You Cross Your Real Friends EP

Fuckin’ kick-ass English thrash with blatant early DC hardcore influences; they even do a great cover of MINOR THREAT’s “In My Eyes.” Great emotional personal/political lyrics that shed new light for a lot of English bands. Powerful as hell! Simply one hell of a record.

V/A Target You cassette

This excellent 90-minute tape will strike the fancies of the thrash speed metal, post-punk, and alternative music fanatic. The majority of the material comes from demo tapes and exposes several new bands, which makes it worth looking into. Book included.

V/A Ripping Headaches cassette

Crazed thrash attack, compliments of this 15-band international compilation. With the likes of CONCRETE SOX, SACRILEGE, WAR OF DESTRUCTION, and CRYPTIC SLAUGHTER, you might have guessed that a majority of the material is in the hard-hitting speed metal style. But also there are several great thrash moments brought to you by STUPIDS, ENTROPY, and LÄRM. If this sounds like your bag of tricks, then play it loud and I assure you that your ears will smile.

V/A Dingleberry Stew cassette

An interesting hardcore sampler put together by the folks at Ax/ction records. Every branch of the thrash family is represented: metal thrash, generic thrash, speed thrash, good thrash, and bad thrash. Most of the material comes from demo tapes and offers something for everyone. Some the standouts include: VERBAL ASSAULT, STUPIDS, DEATH SENTENCE, and PTL KLUB.

We the Living Renaissance Man cassette

A change from this band’s earlier HC thrash release. This time, the band leans toward a very melodic, underground big-beat sound much along the same lines as KILLING JOKE. Two of five songs are instrumentals and really show the band’s musical ability.

Stark Raving Mad Amerika LP

This second LP is in many respects a disappointment. Simple generic thrash with Jello-like vocals, ranting and raving about social rebellion. The music doesn’t rage and the vocals become old very quickly. A big step down from their first release.

Sewer Zombies Live It or Leave It cassette

These crazed noise-makers were caught live at Miami’s Cameo Theatre in late ’85, and this tape brings it all back. Obnoxious distorted guitar and echoing vocals amount to just about all of this entire cassette. Sound quality is poor, but in many ways this adds to the character and helps the listener get a feel for what this band is all about.

Maimed for Life What Happened to the Children Who Is Hurting Them Now? cassette

An excellent political thrash/metal crossover that’s a mixture of polished riffs, leads, and speed changes resulting in a sound like early DISCHARGE, yet still original. The production has a slightly tinny sound to it, but thoughtful lyrics give this one quality. Recommended.

Government Issue Live! LP

This pretty cool collection of songs contains all their hits, all of which were recorded live though 1982-85. The production varies from song to song but does a good job of re-creating the experience that this band brings across live. Worth looking into.

Fair Warning You Are the Scene LP

The first comparison that comes to mind is early SSD or NECROS. The music is a power-punching concrete wall-of-sound strengthened by gravelly vocals. The speed is kept under control, which creates an echoing, pounding effect on your body. Cool stuff!

EMG History of… cassette

Slow, screeching noise guitar and pounding drums become the background for chanting vocals, together there are a lot of similarities to the WITCH TRIALS and CRASS-type bands. There are 51 songs on this cassette which really shows the growth of this band, but the muffled production takes away a lot and can become the main concern when listening.

The Clyng-Onz Hey Twerp cassette

A combination of new studio and live tracks keeping with a basic, medium-paced thrash sound. The lyrics have a warped sense of humor and a predictable satirical flavor. The new vocalist adds more power, but the music could use a little more development. The covers are fun.

The Reel Bodeans Bodeans cassette

A change of pace from the typical thrash syndrome with the new 12-song demo from this Grand Rapids outfit. Overall, a PROLETARIAT comparison comes to my mind, but this band keeps a stronger guitar-oriented sound. The vocals sing right along with every beat, which after a couple of songs becomes annoying. The speed is fast but still falls short of a lasting impression.

V/A Vieillesse Délinquante, Vol. I

A compilation of nine pop-punk/thrash bands from France. The music is split in half. 50% is average background, entertaining pop that at times becomes annoying. The remaining music consists of some really hard thrash, French style. For the most part, enjoyable and well worth looking into.

V/A Symphonies for the Disaffected cassette

An excellent comp which features some of the more popular politically conscious bands involved in the scene such as CONFLICT, OI POLLOI, ANTI-SYSTEM, STALAG 17, ICONS OF FILTH, and the list goes on. All the songs were recorded live at England’s infamous Station Club. Good sound quality. Recommended.

V/A Relying on Us EP

An intense power-thrash compilation which features OI POLLOI, H.D.Q., CRIMINAL JUSTICE, DEPRAVED—all who blast out incredibly loud, ranting, politically conscious songs. A powerful comp in which all the songs shred and will have a satisfying effect with each listening. My only complaint—no lyrics sheet.

V/A Jarocin’ 85 cassette

An hour tape containing nineteen Polish punk bands recorded live at the Jarocin music festival. With this compilation, the average music enthusiast can get ahold of the kind of punk Poland has to offer. The production and sound quality are really good considering the situation and conditions. Recommended.

Ripcord In Search of a Future cassette

Stop-and-go thrash at its finest. Nine tight tunes blast forward with such a strong amount of energy, your ears will be left in amazement. In many ways, the music might come off as very basic, but if you’re a crash and bang fan, this tape will not leave you disappointed.

Nebenwirkung / D.B.F. split LP

This record definitely falls into the category of great foreign crash and bang thrash. DBF offers a bit more originality and diversity which seems to keep the songs from sounding the same, a problem that the flip has. Both bands support simple, pissed-off rebellious lyrics, half of which are translated. Check it out!

Disorder Gi Faen I Nasjonalitenten Din LP

A collection of DISORDER’s most popular material, all of which is recorded live. The production is very rough and the music supports the band’s ability to turn out some of the best loud, noisy, raunchy thrash. Definitely a potent and raw release.

White Flag WFO LP

This special German pressing features six new tracks and thirteen previously released on their Third Strike LP. If you haven’t heard the band, the closest comparison would be a punk version of KISS influenced by the GERMS! I’ll leave it at that but I must comment on the cover…what a “unique” concept.

V/A Steve Compilation cassette

A raw dosage of noise thrash fronted by eight Florida bands. Speeding, blaring, and clashing seem to be the common themes among the musical styles, and some bands are tight while others are sloppy, which only adds to the character of this comp. The ear-catcher here has to be the songs by JEHOVAH’S SICKNESS.

V/A Cultural Compost Pit cassette

Another blazing international comp featuring 35 bands from 17 countries. SOLUCIÓN MORTAL, NEGAZIONE, NO LIP, DEATH SENTENCE, MOB 47, FINAL BLAST, and INDIREKT are just some of the fine thrash bands that you will find on this recommendable cassette. A very tasty sampler.

V/A Bathroom Sounds cassette

This comp put together by the fanzine of the same name features bands from the Milwaukee and Chicago area. It exposes some great new thrash/punk bands, most of which possess a lot of potential. Notables include SELF GRATIFUCKATION, POLITICAL JUSTICE, OUT OF ORDER, and CRUSTIES. Good diversity keeps the listener’s attention. Booklet included.

Roadside Petz Take Two cassette

Fun mid-tempo thrash joined together with silly lyrics resulting in a sound much like a raw version of the VANDALS. Seven tight, rockin’ songs with clever hooks and catchy choruses, so good that it would seem more appropriate for this material to be on vinyl rather than tape.

No Empathy Strange Celebration cassette

A mid-tempo, pounding, angry, rebellious sound comes from this Chicago-based band. No direct thrash influences, but these songs support some of the same qualities. Like the PROLETARIAT with smooth power that creates catchy riffs and flowing vocals. Very enjoyable tape.

The Morlocks Emerge LP

Although I am not a big fan of the ’80s garage rehash scene, I must give credit to this band for capturing a very hard-edged, raw sound much like the classic ’60s punk sound. The screams and distortion put a lot of the pop garage bands to shame, but then again, this was recorded over a year ago; the band has gone through changes and has currently lost much of that rawness. The low point here is the neglect of giving credit on cover songs.

Misfits Legacy of Brutality LP

Thirteen previously unreleased tracks including first time on vinyl or different versions of prior releases. Among the classic MISFITS songs that even stretch musical boundaries for the band, “American Nightmare” shows some country and folk roots. If you’re an avid MISFITS fiend or just looking for a sampler, this is your disc.

M.I.A. Notes From the Underground LP

Sad but true, a once great band has drifted towards the wimp side. Ten glamor-pop-punk songs are drastically different from any of the band’s previous material. I hate to say it, but this album is a real let-down!! It would be interesting to see how the band would pull these cheesy songs off live. No longer “Music In Action”—now it’s music in limbo!

Last Stand Violent Solution 12″

An average pop-punk release by this Boston outfit. At times reminiscent of STIFF LITTLE FINGERS, but in many ways is no comparison. LAST STAND takes a more American, roots-rock approach with a repetitious beat in the simplest and most basic form.

Ill Repute Omelette LP

A collection of the best and worst from one of Oxnard’s finest. Consisting of one track from every release that this band has ever been involved with, only two new songs appear, both of them live and the outstanding tracks of the release. Typical rough Mystic production doesn’t really help, but overall this is a good sampler of one of the once classic SoCal thrash outfits.

Earthside Too Far cassette

A catchy 14-song tape produced by this Milwaukee outfit. Several blatant metal leads are weaved into medium-paced melodic thrash, both of which are topped off with strange, echoing vocals. Lyrically, a bit on the basic side, but it doesn’t detract too much from this tape as a whole.

Decry Japanese LP

Another one bites the dust and bites it hard. Amazingly poor ’70s power rock much in the AEROSMITH vein. At times, the songs become comedy pieces with the “Oh, baby” and “Let’s rock” lines. One or two songs find their roots in early punk, but these still aren’t enough to help this drowning puppy.

Dead Aim Blood is Sweat cassette

DEAD AIM’s sound is a vigorous, coarse, grinding one with influences ranging from C.O.C. to AGNOSTIC FRONT. The metal licks are kept to a minimum and the cool vocals really hold the songs together. The lyrics, on the other hand, are the weak point and really do subtract from their potential.

Agression Agression LP

This band’s long-awaited record release is here, but maybe arriving just a little too late! Bad average AGRESSION music that never really holds itself together. Heavy on the ’70s rock influence with several metal riffs that add to this record’s boredom. Not too much be happening here, but I wonder if you can still skate to it.

V/A S.N.I.S.H. cassette

Another comp that will satisfy the tastes of all international HC fans and could possibly create some. Bands from eight countries, all of whom represent a unique sound. There are the “one-two-crash-bang “ bands and the melodic, sing-along ones. Definitely something for everybody and worth looking into. Booklet included.

V/A Now Is the Time to Act cassette

A well thought out and executed compilation that features not only politically conscious bands, music, and lyrics but also editorials, essays, pamphlets, contact lists, and much more! The music’s on two 90-minute tapes and features 35 groups from 14 countries. The profits go towards Greenpeace and Rape Crisis. I hope more comps lean toward this direction in the future. Recommended!

V/A The Final Solution cassette

Yet another concept compilation. This time the concept is “baldness”! This one features skin/Oi bands from around the world. The majority of the songs are really enjoyable, but then, the majority of the lyrics are not transcribed! One can only hope they don’t fall into the skinhead stereotype. Booklet included.

V/A Došao Je Kraj cassette

Twelve Yugoslavian HC outfits prove their stuff on this compilation. All ranges of speed and extremely raw production, with manic thrash (Yugoslav style) add to the character of this tape, although I do feel only International HC fans will really enjoy it.

Laughin’ Nose Never Trust Women EP

The Japanese version of the TOY DOLLS? This band puts forth four long, repetitious pop-punk fun songs. Almost too cute and too fun, the songs just seem to go on forever and really lack that extra punch. The exception is “No More War”—which is harsher and stronger (and also the only serious song here).

Conflict The Battle Continues 7″

One of England’s most powerful bands release two new songs very much in the true CONFLICT tradition. Shouting loud guitars, and pounding…all backed by excellent production. My only complaint is that no lyrics are included; from a band that in the past has had so much to say, this is something of a let-down.

Cobra Stand the Pressure LP

Catchy sing-along choruses backed by clean, simple thrash, topped off by clever hooks. At times, close in comparison to certain types of English pop-oriented Oi. In fact, this band has a song titled “Oi Tonight.” Not earth-shattering, but still worth looking into. Enjoyable. Flexi included.

Bedboys L’Indifferenza Uccide EP

A politically conscious band that breaks new ground for Italian HC. The music is reminiscent of early CRASS, and at times ANTI-SECT comes to mind. Accompanying the music is a fold-out cover covered from top to bottom with lyrics and editorials. Powerful, intelligent, graphic, and thought-provoking.

V/A War Between the States: North & South cassettes

A great sampler of some of the States’ “up and coming” or “already there” bands. 40 bands produce countless numbers of songs and touch on several different musical influences. Two 90-minute cassettes, one with bands originating from the Northern states, and one with bands from down South. Overall, a really good package. Booklet included.

V/A Just an American Band cassette

This comp has something for everyone: thrash, metal, underground pop are all here. Nineteen bands from across the US (hence the title), each kicking out several songs ranging on production and influences.

V/A Illusions of Beauty cassette

A compilation put together by the people at Bullsheet fanzine, which features 12 bands from around the US. Again, the material coming from previously released demo tapes, etc., also a great sampler of up-and-coming bands. Some of the standouts include V.O.A., VERBAL ASSAULT, KNOCKABOUTS, and NO RESPONSE. Booklet included.

VOA / Butt Acne Voice of Authority / Butt-Core split cassette

VOA kick out 17 songs that at times come off as simplistic and, in certain degrees, immature—musically. But you cannot ignore the promise of this band, as they expand into different influences resulting in several catchy tunes. BUTT ACNE on the other hand are yet another noise-joke band and nothing else needs be said.

Unity You Are One EP

Seven intense, gutsy thrash tunes all with a clever uniqueness and strength. Sing-alongs and shouting vocals seem only to add to the power. The lyrics are on the serious “positive” side and stress this message with great sincerity and emotion. I can only hope that these feelings carry true in person. Worth looking into.

NRK Live cassette

Eleven songs recorded live at the band’s last show in August ’84. Reminds me a bit of SHATTERED FAITH and other early LA punk bands. An occasional spaz-out input of speed thrash, but quickly fades into average, raw, and melodic songs. Lacking that extra kick of originality. Good production.

Knucklehead Knucklehead I LP

Distorted guitar supplies the background rhythms to a hearty bunch of medium-paced melodic thrashers. In some ways, it reminds me of a new version of late-’70s English punk played extremely raw, minus the poppy riffs and choruses. Songs do start slipping into the “sounding the same” syndrome but overall a good effort.

Faith No More We Care a Lot LP

Take the necessary ingredients to produce hard-hitting raps in the vein of RUN DMC, add slow, flowing keyboards, and you will have a good idea of what this band has struck upon. The title track is by far the standout, and I see no reason why the remaining tunes wouldn’t become popular with a lot of the underground dance clubs.

Doggy Style Side by Side LP

This goofy SoCal band presents twelve rockin’ tunes, four previously released and eight brand new ones, which prove the strength that this band has to communicate a message, have lots of fun, and get away with being as goofy as possible. Music ranges from speed thrash to funk to bomping rock’n’roll, and the songs for the most part have catchy riffs and sing-alongs that stick in your head.

The Not Kids Survive 12″

Mid-tempo pop combined with a rockin’ garage sound gives this record a very unique melodic style. The band’s curiosity to experiment with different musical influences can be heard throughout all six songs. A lot of diversity and talent result in a very catchy record. Great job.

NRG Suicide Song EP

Catchy harmonized vocals accompanied by a very clean, crisp, polished sound make up this three-song EP. “Corporate Toy” is the farthest from being background music; the other two songs almost lose it by the lack of power that they fail to offer. One out of three—not too bad.

Beefeater Plays for Lovers LP

A band made up of musicians who know their instruments and how to make them create a new sound. Influences include funk, blues, and thrash. The vocals are rough, emotional, and from the heart! By far the most experimental band coming from Dischord, but it’s an album that definitely grows on you. Recommended.

Stalag 17 / Toxic Waste From Belfast With Blood / The Truth Will Be Heard split LP

A split-LP by two great Irish bands. STALAG 17 puts forth two harsh, loud songs very much in the CONFLICT vein. Speed plus the changeover between male and female vocals makes the three songs by TOXIC WASTE interesting, too. Both bands have serious, hard-hitting lyrics which center on political unrest in Northern Ireland. Recommended.

V/A There’s More Than Male Voice Choirs in Wales cassette

This comp features 12 Welsh bands that represent a great sampling of talent from the area. Most of the songs are medium-paced, and the stand-outs include SLAUGHTERED TRADITION, NO CHOICE, and SOLDIER DOLLS. All in all, worth looking into. Booklet included.

Toy Dolls James Bond (Lives Down Our Street) / Olga…I Cannot! 7″

Again this English trio puts forth their great sense of humor and their ability to produce some incredible music. With this effort, we get two songs that just don’t want to leave the turntable. The A-side is a happy upbeat tune in the ever-so-familiar TOY DOLLS style, while the flipside is a bit slower and drags on at times, yet still comes off entertaining. The record will definitely put a smile on your face.

Poison Doku flexi EP

Two slower thrashy noise songs with slurring vocals that at times can be more annoying than enjoyable. The third song, musicwise, is a 180º change from the previous ones. It resorts more to a pop sound, but again the slurring vocals come spewing out. Nothing really special here.

Bill of Rights Surf, Skate, Ski, and Skank cassette

This reminds me of early raw, mid-tempo punk mixed with traditional garage rock ’n’ roll. The second side does offer a faster speed with most of the songs, but still…well, it’s been done before. The band does rip on the surf tunes, which makes this tape more exciting. Overall, not too bad.

V/A Innocent Victims cassette

From Texas comes this compilation which features bands from across the country, with the exception of Italy’s RAW POWER. The majority of the material is in the thrash vein and comes from previously released demos or vinyl. Some standouts include MORAL DISGUST, AGNOSTIC FRONT, CHRONIC DISORDER, VERBAL ASSAULT, and ILL REPUTE.

Ugly Americans Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed LP

This one took me by quick surprise. A vast improvement over their previous vinyl. The band has discovered a new crossover between musical styles and seem to be taking it in the right direction, with not as much of a metal influence as I expected. There’s more of a chaotic, awkward, complicated power pounding sound. The lyrics are creative and slightly twisted, but only add to the record’s sound. Hard to classify, but I like it!

Spastic Rats Rodentia EP

Where has this band been hiding? Definitely a well-kept secret, at least until now. This Maryland-based four-piece has unleashed six unruly, loud, pounding thrash tunes. The power is at an extreme and is the main factor in making this EP addicting. Watch out for these guys.