Reviews

MRR #24 • April 1985

7 Seconds Walk Together, Rock Together 12″

It’s tough to follow up their exceptional LP, but 7 SECONDS have done it again. These are the tracks recorded with Ian MacKaye in DC, and you can note the influence. All the pleasant harmonies and sing-alongs are present in full form, and the well thought-out lyrics that make this band what they are. A cover of “99 Red Balloons” ought to perk you up, but the other tracks are the real steadfast melodies. As usual, great stuff; get it while you can.

Agent 86 Scary Action EP

A much-improved and thrashed-out line-up of AGENT 86 here. Mike Briggs and Co. maintain their dedication to rebellion and the scene, delivering eight ripping tunes. Thin production does detract a bit, but it’s still worth it.

Aggressive Dogs Dizzy Life 7″ flexi

This four-song Japanese release is in the mid-fast paced HC vein, and although it’s pretty heavy-handed at times, there’s plenty of hooks, too. At times, there are too many metal leads for me, but overall they’re pretty punchy.

Aki Aki 7″ flexi

Starts off slow and raunchy, but works its way up to a frenzy. Lots of controlled noise and feedback, but not “noise” at all. Excellent hardcore from Japan.

Asbestos Rockpyle Industrial Religion EP

Another diverse effort from this odd group. All of the tracks—whether garage punk, Oi, or experimental—are extremely primitive and, even better, full of scathing lyrical barbs directed against the likes of John Lydon and macho idiots. Check out this sadly appropriate couplet from “Skinhead Glory”: “Give me a reason to pick a fight / Let me prove that I ain’t bright.” Original through and through.

Beasts of Bourbon The Axeman’s Jazz LP

There’s not a band on Australia’s Big Time label I haven’t found worthwhile. As they’re really bluesy and slow-paced, these guys are a little hard to get into. Still, this is some of the coolest garage rock-blues around, and even a bit psychedelic at times. Not as psycho as SHOCKABILLY or as rockin’ as PANTHER BURNS, but still good if you’re in the right mood.

Beyond Possession Tell Tale Heart EP

Calgary’s BEYOND POSSESSION have a knack for tight stop-and-go thrash with near-virtuosic guitarwork. While this outfit is more adept at arranging than songwriting, numbers like “Where’s the Matter” and “No Religion” demonstrate a preciseness (and rebelliousness) that makes this record a well above-average effort.

Big Black Racer-X EP

I love BIG BLACK for their heavy rhythms, crystal-clear production, and storybook lyrics. This new record is no different. But as much as I love any abuse I can get from these guys, and as much as I love some of their songs here—their material is getting slightly tired. Their new stuff keeps reminding me of their other past classics. Same riffs! This may be too harsh a criticism, though, as I’d recommend this record above most others. So, I still highly recommend it.

Big Boys No Matter How Long the Line at the Cafeteria, There’s Always a Seat LP

This post-mortem (?) LP recorded in August ’84 is a potpourri of the many directions this band was heading. Sometimes, the record seems incohesive, but there’s great talent here. They do some killer raps, a HÜSKER DÜ-type pop song, partying-style wildness, great punk anthems, and dissonant jazzy stuff. Not their best as a concept, but still not to be missed.

Breaking Circus The Very Long Fuse EP

Basically, this is just a one-man band that features an ex-member of Chicago’s STRIKE UNDER. But because the sound here is so dense and cohesive, it sounds like a full band. With this release, they are a full group now with the addition of two former members of MAN SIZED ACTION. Some of the thick sound recalls the din of MISSION OF BURMA coupled with a light, dreamy pop atmosphere, but even so, there really is a definite and distinct sound here.

Broken Bones Live 100 Club LP

There’s some really hot-sounding material on this live recording—lots of excitement and energy. But the recording is such that it renders a lot of that power defused, not unlike many bootlegs. For fans.

Christ on Parade Cheap, Deformed cassette

Scorching mayhem clobbers you cold with this sonic speed screamer out of the depths of the East Bay. Featuring ex-members of TEENAGE WARNING and TREASON, the new union combines fast thrash with intense lyrical assertions that haul a lightning pace without being of the norm mold. Twin guitar flailings beef up the sound with a good, tight drum assault as Barrie’s scrawling vocals blast it all into an uproarious excitement. New and hot.

Concrete Sox Demo cassette

Great stuff from the UK again. Potent riffs with power and might, featuring a great distorted guitar sound that grinds with an echoing feedback. Raunched-out vocals, with a strong bass and good drum hooks, brings this effort into a fast paced charge of exciting melodies in the vein of early GBH or newer ENGLISH DOGS. With this being a four-songer, hopefully vinyl will soon follow.

Conflict This is Not Enough Stand Up and Fucking Fight 7″

CONFLICT does it again. Not only is the music sheer energy, thrusting chaotic charges of havoc, fully evident in the B-side with the DISCHARGE-style whines and wails, but CONFLICT’s undeniable power. Check out the fold-out poster and the band’s sincere critical stance, read what they have to say and how they care. Support this. Cheers to CONFLICT.

Confuse Nuclear Addicts flexi EP

A lethal brainbomb. Pack the ferocious chaotic attack of CHAOS UK and DISORDER, and plunge it headlong into the grinding speedcore of GISM, and you have CONFUSE. Hungry havoc runs amok with fast drumming and raw grinding guitar action, helps this explode into an onslaught of rapid-fire blitzkriegs. A brutal hammering that is intense and great!

Death Sentence Waldo Was Just Screwed Up on Acid… cassette

DEATH SENTENCE provides us with one side of studio demos and another of live tracks on this cassette. The studio recordings demonstrate that this band can pummel out thrash in a high-velocity DRI style, though both sides suffer from a certain muddiness in the taping. Still, keep your ears unplugged for this band—they have real potential.

Dements Tragiques 56° Etage / Europe-Salope 7″

The A-side is sort of like METAL URBAINE meets ’60s pop-punk. The flip is snappier, and both sides combine cool rhythmic, pulsating, noisy rants with neat pop guitar licks. Very good, from France.

Depression Depression LP

Finally, an LP’s worth of mayhem from this great Aussie band. 26 songs pack this platter full of straight driving power punches with shouting vocals and whining guitars. Political lyrics with raw furious music in the true hardcore attack. Some variety, but mostly medium-paced with some fast throbbers. A classic like the BGK LP.

Destructors Fast Forward to Hell cassette

One studio and one live side, this tape is better than most all this English band’s recordings. Side one has some great covers, such as “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” “Wild Thing,” “Sonic Reducer,” and “Lexicon Devil,” all done with some amazing power and clarity. Cool.

Detonators Yer Child’s War / Emergency 7″

Personally, I think these two songs (culled from their upcoming album) have much more impact than the bulk of those on their debut 12”. The production is still murky, but here it accentuates a wall-of-sound style of thrash that almost sounds European. Both cuts also have memorable choruses and good lyrics, so I’m anxiously awaiting the long-player.

Dirt Heroes Out of the Basement and Into Your Ear EP

DIRT HEROES’ sound is best characterized by very hard-driving but simple drumming and rhythms. This puts them in a V.U. vein, with occasional ripping guitar solos and chanting vocals. Good rock with punk influences.

Doc-Oi Last Punk Rockers flexi EP

A three-song job: one outright excellent thrasher, one slower Oi tune (also good), and a mid-tempo hardcore number. All are done well, though I can’t really comment on the lyrics. Good production, from Japan.

Einstürzende Neubauten Yü-Gung 12″

This is the one band you gotta keep your eye on. After their all-out noisefests, they’ve decided to hit back with their version of pop music. The title track here is a neat little marching Arabic tune very similar to early CAN, and it’s been remixed by Adrian Sherwood to give it this incredibly heavy-footed rhythm. The two songs on the other side are a creepy Exorcist-style tune and a straight version of LEE HAZELWOOD’s “Sand” that would make NICK CAVE proud.

Executive Slacks You Can’t Hum When You’re Dead LP

If you’re missing those early KILLING JOKE days, then here’s a great record for you. Side one has that hard rhythm and intensity that KILLING JOKE used to play and don’t anymore. The flip, though, is a little spoiled with whiny vocals and electronics that are OK but not as interesting as most industrial bands and not hard enough to be dub style. Recommended for side one.

Flux of Pink Indians Taking a Liberty 7″

Nice book-type sleeve full of beliefs, lyrics, and art. The musical direction is a weird criss-cross of early FLUX and CRASS sounds, combined with dance-type rhythms, all this shoved into a wild arrangement. Has so much going on, you miss some. Very crazy sound-wise, very intelligent lyric-wise. Overall, a unique release.

Frosted Flaykes Waste Your Time / Rockin’ Rhythms 7″

A heavy dose of YARDBIRDS-style R’n’B fun almost works on “Waste Your Time,” which lacks in melody what it offers in rockin’ power. On the other hand, the flip is a down-and-dirty instrumental that recalls the “rave-up” spirit admirably. Not earthshaking, but altogether decent.

Gai Extermination flexi EP

Unrelenting fury lashes out some speedy Japanese speedcore with overly gruff vocals. Wild, intense, and full of moving rhythms, GAI pushes the limits of foreceful power in the VARUKERS or DISCHARGE vein, yet the vocalist growls the flesh right off his throat. Great stuff to brainbeat to.

Gastunk Devil EP

Thrash your brains out with this exceptional Japanese speedcore release. Full of ultrasonic quickness and metallic whines, GASTUNK rivets out three heavy barrages of good rhythms that are powerful and exciting. Featuring ex-EXECUTE singer Baki, GASTUNK does resemble a sound close to the EXECUTE, yet more metal guitar pieces. Really good stuff.

Ghoul Carry Out Fucking EP

Raspy larynx shouting with a demonic flavor rises with heavy bass lines mixed high in this exceptional Japanese speedcore release. GHOUL mix speed, power, and continuous drum wallops to give a sound reminiscent of GISM, yet with a different drive of aggression. One of the better of the new Japanese vinyl blasters. Get it while you can—they don’t last long.

Gogol and Mau Maus Les Affres De L’Angoisse LP

Sometimes sounding like BIRTHDAY PARTY, sometimes CRAMPS-ish, sometimes like early punk, sometimes all the above at one—they can be interesting and annoying. The vocals are too “clean” for me, and the band’s restraint is frustrating, but those into less crazed stuff may appreciate them. (Not to be confused with the UK MAU MAUS.)

Headache Headache flexi 8″

This Japanese quartet starts off from almost a ’77 punk base, but sometimes gets a bit more adventurous, adding in discordant bits and gruffer vocals. All of it is pretty well-done, though—even the standard punk tunes.

Heimat-Los Schlag! EP

Oui, oui! This blasts and terrorizes in every form, a blitzkreig of maniac rhythms powering an assault of skillful mayhem. From France, HEIMAT-LOS combine a familiar French punk sound with a blizzard of thrash havoc, all worked extremely well and enjoyably pleasant. Sharp instrumentation, with a good mix. If you liked KIDNAP, you’ll crave HEIMAT-LOS.

Indigesti Sguardo Realtà cassette

One of the hardest thrashing Italian combos are highlighted here, with tons of raging songs. The sound quality is good, and if you aren’t yet familiar with INDIGESTI’s material, don’t pass up the opportunity.

Kadavas Kadavas cassette

Two incarnations of the same band are represented on this 12-song tape, which plumbs a mid-tempo punk style in both live and studio recordings. Truthfully, I didn’t feel the excitement on this one, but the music’s OK.

Kansanturvamusiikkikomissio 666 LP

One of the least mono-dimensional Finnish releases of late. KANSANTURVAMUSIIKKIKOMISSIO plays everything from gravelly punk à la MAHO NEITSYT (“Pääni” and “Työlaisen Aurinko”) to post-punk (“Valaistu Risti”) to full-tilt thrash (“Kalinka” and “666”) to a host of annoying discordant numbers that don’t have any hooks (like “Meksiko”). The latter material unfortunately predominates, and the album is uneven, but there’s some fine stuff herein.

Kina Irreale Realtà LP

Hot Italian buzzbomb laced with metallic thrash-paced guitar whines and changes in tempo running to and fro. High-speed stuff that doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, with swift vocals, yet musically it offers a variance like HÜSKER DÜ. Overall production is low, but the music delivers potential goods. KINA are quick and effective, with enough pops to grow into big stuff.

L’Infanterie Sauvage Chansons A Boire EP

L’INFANTERIE SAUVAGE combines elements of pop-punk (in the restrained guitar work and sing-along vocal choruses) and Oi (in the chants that punctuate this EP) on the four-and-a-half songs here. This record’s distinctiveness feels good on the way down, but this band hasn’t quite developed the knack for writing songs that stick to the ribs.

Laughin’ Nose Get the Glory / I Can’t Trust a Woman 7″

This band should rule the world. They let other idiots do it, and LAUGHIN’ NOSE are much funnier. This band make the TOY DOLLS seem like the merry-go-round compared to the intense coaster. LAUGHIN’ NOSE is jovial, funny, and the lyrics will keep you rolling. Both these songs were on the Hardcore Unlawful Assembly comp LP, yet are still classics and worthy of any collection. No, this isn’t thrash, but hilarious antics in the DICKIES’ vein. Great!

Liberté? Racism in America 6″ flexi

The second flexi put out by this group of challenging folks. This is a rap vocal accompanied by a funk rhythm and punk fuzz guitar. It comes with an informational book and lyrics—another excellent job from committed punks.

Man’s Hate 2nd Demo: Love Me and Retrospective 82-84 cassette

Quite melodic and catchy folk punk (guitar and drums) that reminds me of the pleasing simplicity of NEWTOWN NEUROTICS. And like NEWTOWN NEUROTICS, Andy T. presents material (new on side one, retro on side two) that is intelligent and caring.

Meat Puppets Up on the Sun LP

Album number three from the PUPPIES has them pretty much mining the same territory as their second LP. This should alienate the shit out of the punk rockers and make college radio writhe in ecstasy. All of this doesn’t negate the fact that this is an outstanding record with great playing. Not real fast, but curling-up-on-the-porch-after-a-long-hard-day LP.

Minutemen Tour-Spiel EP

This one is pretty simple. Boon and the boys cut loose in the studio with four covers recorded “live” in front of maybe 15 people. These are the songs that floated in and out of their set on their last tour. You get so-so versions of VAN HALEN and BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, but real good versions of CCR’s “Green River” and the MEAT PUPPETS’ “Lost.”

MJB In Not Much We Trust cassette

Sometimes jazzy, sometimes experimental, sometimes straight-ahead, this punk band presents very intelligent lyrics out front so you can hear them. The music is almost secondary, but not quite, as the band does add some drama and is far from incompetent. Good debut.

Mobs Diabolism EP

Japanese speedcore with a low-end recording. Scratchy growls are ever-present, with whiny guitars and deep bass plucks. MOBS’ style of thrash is in the GISM/ZOUO form, really spits out the distortion of the prominent sound. Fast, gritty, and abrasively intense, this six-song EP really charges the chaotic crunch. Another of the monster vocal hits.

Negazione Tutti Pazzi EP

NEGAZIONE musters up one of the most ferocious Italian EPs I heard in a long, long time. Crisp production adds an edge to frenetic thrash that reminds me of the great INDIGESTI, but with a more biting vocal attack. One would be well advised to get this record immediately.

Nip Drivers Oh Blessed Freak Show LP

NIP DRIVERS are as fun, crazy, and rockin’ as ever. This new LP shows better compositions and recording than the last, and there’s a good variety of material that’s embellished with their traditional tidbits of vocal and musical comedy. “Bone Spider,” my fave, is a great neo-psychedelic number. Recommended.

Onslaught Power From Hell LP

Yeeeoww! Definitely the ultimate hardcore/metal crossover, ONSLAUGHT charge with a hard-hitting assault of ferocious rhythms that melt the hair off your scalp. Heavy and fast, this UK sledgehammer barrage pushes an awesome guitar grind with great vocals and continuous action. Intense black speed torpedoes that rifle headlong into severe untamed abrasive vigor. Incredible stuff on COR.

Permanent Damage I’m Not Spoiled EP

A three-song effort that’s really impressive. Really tight, assured hardcore with lots of tempo changes, but which doesn’t detract from the impact. Even the guitar solo is OK. Driving stuff—great thrash from Australia.

Plasticland Plasticland LP

Ah yes, more of that seductive psych sound. While it’s usually on the quieter side of things, the jangly guitars and great tunes remind me a lot of the legendary BIG STAR. Some repeats from earlier releases, but a great album overall.

Poisonous Cross Gibbet Last Sheet Live flexi 7″

Both sides of this flexi contain songs from a live show, with no separating grooves, and a fade-out on one side and fade-in on the other. It’s frantically-paced thrash here, which comes across OK “live,” but would be more cohesive in the studio. From Japan.

R4 Tell Him Take 2 / Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer 7″

The A-side is a new-wavey cover of the EXCITERS’ hit of the early ’60s, and the B is a ska cover. Not really happening, unfortunately, as this band helps their local scene a lot.

Raw Power Live in the USA 1984 cassette

Six shows from RAW POWER’s first US tour last year. Needless to say, it’s another excellent representation of this powerful Italian metal/thrash outfit. Watch for ’em on tour again.

RPA Shoot the Pope / Bonecrusher 7″

A new Seattle outfit with Brad, an original member of the LEWD. Both songs here are fast punkers with a distorted guitar and some of the meanest vocals I’ve heard since those of Blaine from the FARTZ. An added bonus is this classic line from the A-side: “Shoot the Pope, shoot the Pope, just another Polish joke.” Pick it up today.

Samhain Unholy Passion 12″

This one’s kinda frustrating. Danzig and crew still manage to put that wonderful frantic MISFIT yelp on “All Hell” and “Hungry End.” But it seems like they’re too comfortable. I’d really like to see them hook up with a new producer who would give them more of a challenge in the studio. Still great, but the possibilities make you want more.

Scared Straight Born to Be Wild EP

Mystic’s “Nardcore” series continues with this workmanlike EP of energetic thrash by SCARED STRAIGHT. This band suffers from a common problem: they have every bit of the requisite “power” but little of the distinctiveness modern thrash outfits need in order to avoid the morass of genericness. “Typical” is the best song on this nine-tracker, and ironically, the record itself is good, but typical.

Scraping Foetus Off the Wheel Hole LP

FOETUS has done a lot of bizarre material in the past, but this LP is a classic. As always, this is all written and performed by lone FOETUS, and combines his morbid, poignant, biting poetry and an upbeat, precise musical inventiveness with out-and-out aggressiveness and recording skill. He is many steps beyond CREME & GODLEY, MARK STEWART, or NICK CAVE, although the comparisons are obvious. I can’t scrape it off my turntable.

Soldier Dolls A Taste of Blood EP

The SOLDIER DOLLS invest these recordings with vocal zeal, yet the instrumentals miss the passion and drive this band seems to be aiming for. Still, “Victims,” a slower ’77-style number, provides a measure of catchiness to save this well-intentioned EP from its uneventfulness. The two thrashers haven’t the punch they need.

Sperma Please Love Me Tonight / Love Sniper 7″

The female singer of SPERMA has quite a sex-bomb reputation, but her singing doesn’t come across that way. She sounds like a weaker Poly Styrene, and even the band sounds a bit like X-RAY SPEX (minus the sax). Good older-style punk from Japan.

State of Confusion State of Confusion cassette

Although largely generic thrash, there are moments when STATE OF CONFUSION show that if they stick with it, they could develop their own sound. This is not to say that this tape isn’t tight or powerful (which it is), but it’ll take awhile for such a young band to develop their “personality.” (This applies to 90% of today’s new HC bands.) Overall, a good start.

Swans Young God 12″

Tried listening to this while depressed—I broke into hysterical laughter. Tried listening while in a good mood—I whipped off the needle. But it’s “hip” to like this kind of painfully slow, “wrenching” post-punk noise, right? Guess I’m uncool.

Systeme D Another Day EP

SYSTEME D address their output to a mid-tempo pop-punk style that, with an added “something,” could be really special. “Loser” weds catchiness to a punky rawness of energy, but most of this has been done more convincingly elsewhere by fellow countrymen like KIDNAP, COLLABOS, REICH ORGASM, etc. An OK record.

The Exploited Horror Epics LP

Another hot-sounding release from the EXPLOITED (most all their records have gotten good reviews in MRR—can’t say the same about Wattle’s mentality), with both thrash and slightly post-punk rhythmic tracks really ripping. Oh, and thanks, EXPLOITED, for the “fuck off” on the back cover; coming from you, it’s a real compliment.

The Faction Dark Room 12″

Slowing down the pace, five of the six tracks here are mid-tempo punk. While they maintain their overall California HC sound despite the change of pace, the FACTION do throw in bits of funk, etc., too. Personal-type lyrics.

The Lime Spiders Slave Girl 12″

This is a comp of their first two 7” EPs released by a new LA affiliate of this cool Australian label. In my opinion, they’re one of the hottest R’n’B, rock ’n’ roll, neo-’60s, psych-pop bands in the world (next to the NOMADS)…and the best from Australia since RADIO BIRDMAN, whose influence is felt here. It’s hard to pick a fave track, but “Can’t Wait Too Long” and “Slave Girl” are hot with great hooks.

The Queen Annes I Thought of You / This is That 7″

Respectable, hard-hitting, and melodic. Sort of an updated version of the early WHO sound (say, around Magic Bus). This clean recording helps out with the match-up of distorted guitar lines and good harmonica work. Flip is more melodic, Mersey-style. Pebbles No. 32 stuff.

The Sexual The Last Days flexi EP

This Japanese trio wails. The strong bass playing, tight drumming, and powerful guitar pull together into a hardcore experience that’s quite noteworthy. On both fast and slow songs, they grab your attention.

The Slickee Boys Uh Oh… No Breaks LP

This album reminds me of a tug-of-war between ’60s psych and late-’70s power-pop, the latter victorious by a respectable margin. My favorite cuts, “Gotta Tell Me Why” and “Glendora,” were previously released in better versions, and the studied pop leanings on this album don’t succeed as often as on their last LP. Pleasant listening, but not the special effort I expected from the SLICKEE BOYS.

The Sonics Full Force LP

This album represents the best of a great band—the SONICS, who boomed out the hottest garage punk of their day. Out of the Northwest, these guys cranked out classics like “Psycho,” “Strychnine,” “He’s Waiting,” and “Witch”—tunes that bands like the CRAMPS, NOMADS, etc. revere today. Awesome.

The Stupids Violent Nun EP

Incredible thrash from the UK, without even a trace of the traditional UK sound. Sonic mayhem, quick and vibrant with great vocals and split second attacks, enough to be one of the best HC releases in ages. Packs the punches like the original Dischord releases did—it’s that insanely good. Stick on side A, “Elephant Man” scorches down the eight-song attack. Excellent!

The Tell-Tale Hearts The Tell-Tale Hearts LP

The TELL-TALE HEARTS use an invigorating R’n’B-style as an inroad to their brand of psychedelia, replete with cheesy organ and harmonica. “Crawling Back to Me” employs a biting ’60s punk sound with good results, but I also enjoyed the moody “Dirty Liar” the most of their slower material. A very good effort.

The Varukers Live in Holland LP

This limited edition (1500 copies) disc contains 16 songs recorded in a board mix with good sound quality. The vocals are up-front, with the drums and guitars vying in the background for your attention—not an ideal state of affairs—but the VARUKERS’ material saves this from being “just another live album.” Adequate.

The Vibes The Inner Wardrobes of Your Mind 12″

The inner wardrobe of the VIBES’ minds must contain a lot of the CRAMPS’ clothes, given the deep mutant rockabilly/psych influence on this record. At least they’ve chosen their mentors well, because this band has good material (though not as invigorating as the CRAMPS’) and perform it with verve (but without the CRAMPS’ personality). “I’m in Pittsburgh” is a killer.

U.B.R. Corpus Delicti EP

This Yugoslavian thrash outfit sustains the requisite speed and aggro for a credible effort, but little of the distinctiveness their geographic origins might suggest. This is churning, repetitious hardcore which, oddly, sounds somewhat Italian—until you realize it was pressed in Bologna. Fine booklet sleeve.

Ugly Squaws Trozor Möte Med Älg cassette

Although the guitars are blazing fast, the rhythm tends to be slower, creating a mid/fast-tempo punk sound with aspects of thrash and even metal (especially on the ultra-gruff vocals and some guitar licks). Powerful overall, but that dichotomy creates a weird feeling.

Underground Soldier Fun Before Profit 12″

This band hits with both well-performed older style punk and with thrash, and hits hard. The band is tight and powerful, and while not extraordinary, they are better than most. The female singer, Helen, reminds me of De De Troit a bit, or maybe SIN 34 or LEGAL WEAPON (thanks Martin). Good sound.

Upset Noise Disperazione Nevrotica EP

Like most Italian HC bands, UPSET NOISE is stronger on manic attack and noise than they are on melody (although this doesn’t hold true on all eight tracks). Lots of speed riffs, raging vocals, and ultra-fast snare drumming. They live up to their name.

V/A Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Vol. 15 LP

Somehow omitting Vol. 14, this series of ’60s obscurities lurches on to Wisconsin, Part 2. While mainly on the softer, poppier folk-rock side, many of these tunes are pretty cool, with lots of vocal harmonies and an occasional freakout. Decent.

V/A Covers LP

Neat idea, not-so-neat results. Cover songs are a tricky business—you either gotta change and update ’em (like the MEMBRANES’ “Super Freak”), or out-energize the original (SWA’s “100 Bottles of Beer”). But most of the others, turned in by the likes of SCARED STRAIGHT, RKL, FALSE CONFESSIONS, ILL REPUTE, SADO-NATION, DON’T NO, NOFX, VOA, PLAINWRAP, G.I., etc, etc., don’t make you forget the originals. They should.

V/A Dial-a-Trance cassette

A Chicago-area comp, this features CERTAIN DEATH, GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS, TORPEDOS, SPRAY PAINT, UNINVITED, RING 13, NO MORE WARS, BLATANT DISSENT, and GARAGE BODIES. Quite good sound quality, and varied but strong material. Good.

V/A Godfodder cassette

Some names on this comp you’ll immediately recognize as quality acts, like HOMO PICNIC, CHRONIC DISORDER, DEAD MILKMEN, DROOLING IDIOTS, CANCEROUS GROWTH, ASBESTOS ROCKPYLE, etc. And many others are relative newies, such as STATE OF THE UNION, PUBLIC ENEMA, etc. Lots of variety of punk sounds, and lots of intelligent lyrics.

V/A Mystic Sampler #2 LP

The latest sampler LP from the most prolific sampler label, this one contains tracks from some previous records (GRIM, DR. KNOW, Nardcore, Slimey Valley, Party Animal, SUBTERFUGE, etc.) and some future releases (AGGRESSION, HOLLYWOOD NOISE, Let’s Die, Cop II, Return to Slimey Valley). Can anyone keep track of all this?

V/A Not Yet Decided cassette

An international compilation cassette put out by Brian Walsby. Such luminaries as C.O.C., NO POLICY, UGLY AMERICANS, SLUGGO, ACCÜSED, UNIFORM CHOICE, VICIOUS CIRCLE, SCARED STRAIGHT, UNACCEPTED, etc. present anywhere from one to seven songs each, and there’s lots of raving thrash.

V/A Speed Trials LP

A nifty little live compilation that features the musical side of a five-day art festival held last year in New York. Lotsa homeboys on this one, like LIVE SKULL, SONIC YOUTH, SWANS, and the BEASTIE BOYS. Also includes two tracks from the FALL.

V/A Terminal! Flexidisk No. 2 8″

I’ll skip the one track each by EXPERIMENTAL PRODUCTS (funky weirdness) and TIMI (reggae), and flip to side two, which contains a track each by RAT AT RAT R and LIVE SKULL. The former delivers a brutal blow of semi-noise music, NY art style. LIVE SKULL take that genre a bit further, less noisy but more depressing.

V/A Underground Bullshit, Vol. 1 cassette

A garagy and nifty area collection of some of SoCal’s thrashing young outfits. There are tracks by FATAL ERROR, MAD PARADE, CHAOTIC NOISE, S.O.S., ARTISTIC DECLINE, BAD INFLUENCE, MOX NIX, BLACK LABEL, PLAIN WRAP, LOVE CANAL…22 groups in all. Put out by FFF fanzine, and comes with mag insert.

V/A Another Crummy Comp cassette

The title of this comp isn’t strictly accurate, nor could it be with the likes of AVSKUM, XPOZEZ, SCAPEGOATS, and 15 other international bands. In fact, the song quality is quite good, with a political backbone braced with sincerity and honesty. Sound quality’s fine, too.

V/A Beware of the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing LP

An incredible comp from Holland featuring seven bands with a good selection of several songs each. Lots of good Dutch thrash from NO PIGS, who continue the madness evident on their blasting EP, sheer havoc from S.C.A., power and energy of NOG WATT, the split second attack from GEPØPEL, the sonic thrust of DEADLOCK, and good tracks from HIROSHIMA NOODUITGANG and INDIREKT. In the tradition of Dutch samplers like Als Je Haar… this is a fine release.

V/A Hardcore Power Music Part 2

A storming German sampler with all your faves and some new faces. Lots of different attacks with creative approaches, it’s a good slap of Deutsch hardcore. With the incredible INFERNO whose track “Ein Tag im Schatten” really shows their intensity, plus some classic tracks from the MANIACS, MOTTEK, TIN CAN ARMY, and RAZZIA. And new entries by the IDIOTS, LUSTFINGER, KSF, AUSBRUCH, and SCHLUCKSPECHTE. Well done musically, but why do these German labels always rip off Wrightson for cover art? Thanx Winni!

V/A Never Mind ’77… & …This is ’84 cassettes

This altogether surprising duo of cassette compilations features well-known outfits like FRITES MODERN, PEGGIO PUNX, MOTTEK, and OLHO SECO—plus a variety of cuts from a clutch of promising new bands. The breadth of punk and hardcore styles represented on these two tapes, in addition to the general quality of the music, helps make these cassettes highly recommended additions to your collection. Intelligent and well-conceived.

V/A Broken Frontiers / Broken Chains cassette

A European sampler featuring XPOZEZ, ANTI-DOGMATIKKS, KINA, WRETCHED, VARUKERS, UPRIGHT CITIZENS, MG 15, NEGAZIONE, and more. Sometimes rough sound quality, but comes with a neat magazine.

V/A I Thrash, Therefore I Am cassette

Most of the bands here are from Scandinavia, with a smattering from the UK, Germany, and Belgium. There are anywhere from one to nine tracks each by such manic luminaries as MOB 47, EXISTENZ, ANTI-CIMEX, MODERAT LIKVIDATION, MOTTEK, ENOLA GAY, AKUTT INNLEGGELSE, and several more.

V/A Winnipeg 1965-66: The Best of Eagle Records LP

Nothing especially mandatory here, although it’s not a poor collection either, with tracks from the QUID, SHAG, SATAN & THE D-MEN, and others. In 20 years, will Greg Shaw be documenting the current punk scenes as methodically? Will kids in 2005 even care what’s happening now?

Vicious Circle Search for the Solution EP

Ramcharging cranks of aggressive power from Australia, sounding a lot like DEPRESSION or PORNO PATROL or STRETCH MARKS. Beefy vocals with active musical compositions, fast- to medium-paced, with a live studio-sounding recording. This band will soon tour the US, so watch out for this burst of energy.

Voodoo Idols Temptation LP

This album witnesses the fruition of the VOODOO IDOLS’ songwriting skills, and their admixture of rootsy rock and punk (with a hearty infusion of sax for good measure) makes a better impression with each listening. The vocals seem way too manic for the music, but VOODOO IDOLS get a definite thumbs-up for improvement and distinctiveness.

War of Destruction De Dødes Hvisken LP

The savage thrash of WAR OF DESTRUCTION blends a harsh vocal blast with an overall quick-paced ensemble of drum splashings and that unique barking guitar wail, which makes this the best release to come out of Denmark in a long time. Good production gives a fluid bolting feel, as the beginning track “Outro” starts the fire burining! Has a funny version of “Birthday” which is a complete offshoot from the rest of this scorcher! Great stuff.

Wrath Who Rules Our Lives? cassette

Some classic thrash, stop-and-go variety, done well and powerfully, although the overall impact is diminished a bit by songs that are almost too fast for maximum effect, and by the limitations of production. Excellent lyrics.

Yo Charm World LP

This is the second record by this trio, and it mixes acoustic guitars, bagpipes, mandolin, and sax with great spartan-style punk. These guys could even make it hip to listen to folk music again. Overall, their singing and playing has improved dramatically to showcase their mix of folk, Gaelic, punk, and psychedelic.