Reviews

MRR #29 • October 1985

7 Seconds Blasts From the Past EP

Recorded in ’83, these four tunes are all previously unreleased and all rip. Great covers of “If the Kids Are United” and “These Boots are Made for Walking.” Available only as a 7 SECONDS Fan Club promo, so send $5 to Positive Force.

A Few Chairs A Few Chairs cassette

Quite a versatile band. Almost every track sounds substantially different from the last, ranging from straight chord garage rock (great cover of “Boys”) to folk punk, to MUTANTS/X-type early punk (cool male/female trade-off vocals), noise, thrash, and more. A band to watch for.

A.K.O.B. Another Kind of Blues EP

AKOB walks a thin line between nasty, powerful thrash (“Officer Friendly Blues”) and metal punk (“Explosion Blues”), so my feelings toward this EP are ambiguous. There’s a fresh, flexible guitar sound to please everyone, plus some interesting lyrics. Still, these guys would be great if they stopped listening to those BROKEN BONES records.

Asbestos Rockpyle Hated and Despised: More Accumulations 1982-1984 cassette

A full-length tape of rantings in the truest cutting edge these guys have every mustered up. Most of the music borders on industrial, though some is thematic to the scathing verse. Their classic anti-establishment, anti-industrialist sentiments are put forward candidly, pointedly, and humorously.

Box of Fish Slap Em Round the Gills 12″

Another fine release from this great, fuzzy Aussie garage band. Although some of their stuff Is really comparable to KILLING JOKE, BIRTHDAY PARTY, and even FLIPPER, a lot of people might find them a little derivative, but I think they’re a whole mess of fun. Makes you feel dirty just slapping them on the turntable.

Olho Seco / Brigada Do Ódio split LP

The OLHO SECO side contains material culled from past releases, and their crushing HC sound must be savored if you lack these records. The flip seems to be a brace of live-in-the-studio tracks by BRIGADA DO ODIO, recorded to sound like DISORDER sped up and stepping on boxes of Rice Krispies. A very good value.

CCCP Fedeli Alla Linea Compagni, Cittadini, Fratelli, Partigiani LP picture disc

This Italian band describes themselves as “pro-Soviet,” and the LP rocks a bit more and harder than their EP, and shows a lot of diversity in the slower, mid-tempo punk songs. They seem to take a little bit more time and work to develop a sound that makes a statement that you don’t necessarily need to know Italian to understand.

Civilised Society? Who Would Have Thought… cassette

This great new English band punks forth some outrageous harmonies with nice musical compositions and crafty guitar work. Male and female vocals add nice touches with the changing paces. So much like the original INSTIGATORS, it’s uncanny. Fab stuff!!

Complete Control Bricks Blood n Guts (in 1985) LP

The first of many Oi! releases to be put out by Roddy of the OPPRESSED (a label looking to non-racist Oi! music. Incidentally, he’s looking for US Oi! bands for a UK Oi! comp LP of this nature.). Decent Oi!, and a project worth supporting.

Couch Flambeau The Day the Music Died LP

An eclectic and variety-filled debut LP with rockin’ songs, psychedelic songs, thematic styles, eerie ballads and simple but precise lyrics about American life and scorn. Reminiscent of the DESCENDENTS and CRUCIFUCKS, but with more musical variety. Recommended.

Descendents I Don’t Want to Grow Up LP

A superb second LP from the DESCENDENTS. The first thing that hits you is its schizophrenic character—side one presents more of their catchy garage punk with satirical and scatological themes (some of which are overtly sexist), whereas side two highlights a newer sound that combines irresistible pop or countrified melodies, heavy punk guitars, and sensitive, reflective lyrics. I actually prefer the latter (especially “Silly Girl” and “Good Good Things”), which seem to result from Bill Stevenson’s (ex-BLACK FLAG) influence.

Dezerter Jeszcze Żywy Człowiek cassette

This live recording documents DEZERTER at a 1984 rock festival in Jarocin, Poland before an audience of 20,000 (!) people. While the production doesn’t do justice to this first-rate outfit, the excitement comes through; 17 songs here, most of them very good, and a few really excellent.

Dioxina Nessuna Pietà LP

Well, maybe this is another case of wanting to like something more than you eventually do. Basically, a heavy, somber, dark thrash band with elements of metal hare and there. I don’t speak Italian, but it seems as though they’re flirting with Satanic overtones. Not incredible, but interesting.

Eden’s Rebels Bang Bang 12″

Four fairly long but extremely catchy tunes. Owing more to melodic early-’70s rock like T. REX, this is a pretty stripped-down mid-tempo rock approach with an added drum-machine sound as well as regular percussion. Fun.

Eggbert Dern That Kudzu cassette

Most or all of the dozen or so songs here would fall under the “generic thrash” cover, with predictable but enjoyable energy and an abundance of youthful enthusiasm. Pretty tight, and decent recording quality.

English Dogs Forward Into Battle LP

This album features the addition of Graham (ex-DESTRUCTORS) to guitar duties, whose work is sharp and noticeable. But when the ENGLISH DOGS changed singers and did the classic To the Ends of the Earth 12”, I expected a churning explosion of insanity on this one. Instead, I got half of that. Bummed, but trying to be fair, this has more approaches to mainstream metal than speedmetal, which is well-executed and craveable for all you fanatics. The speed stuff is great, storms with power and exertion.

Excel Personal Onslaught cassette

Storming out of Venice comes the latest speedcore rave band since SUICIDAL TENDENCIES. Fast, effective, with lots of metallic speedy chords, EXCEL is a young ensemble who sounds just too good on this second demo. They attack with a no-holds-barred lightning striking barrage of blasting vocals and great instrumentation. SUICIDAL look out—EXCEL are moving fast.

Funeral Oration Communion LP

The second tasty release from Holland’s FUNERAL ORATION. This one features guitarist extraordinaire Tos N., who adds some distinctive frills and textures to the band’s already shredding sound. Most of the material here combines HÜSKER DÜ-style instrumental density and vocals with the traditionally powerful Dutch thrash approach, and the results are stunning. Add to that a couple of plaintive ’60s-tinged cuts (like “Dayfall”), and you’ve got an LP that will be on your turntable a lot.

Funx Königs Tiger EP

Actually, this is a four-song 6” that comes in a 10” jacket. Don’t ask me why! Musically, it’s slowed-down punk and noise, somewhat like FLIPPER (garagy) but more tonal. Decent, but not exciting.

Gastunk Dead Song LP

Totally mindblowing madness here from Japan. Raging speedcore thrusts out pile-driving chaotic leads and maniac raspy vocals, whose style is unique and adds character to the GASTUNK sound. Fast, maniac slices with some interspeed variations make this one of the hottest Japanese LPs since GISM.

Gauze Fuck Heads LP

Unlike a lot of contemporary Japanese HC bands, this group delivers some very powerful HC without resorting to metal influences. Really well done recording and come distinctive touches add up to one hot release.

Gray Matter Food for Thought LP

Excellent debut, full of hard-charging rhythms and catchy melodies. The clean and punchy production really helps to sharpen up their brawny attack. You can make favorable connections with MARGINAL MAN and 76% UNCERTAIN. A nice mind-blowing punk version of the BEATLES’ “I Am the Walrus.”

H.R. It’s About Luv LP

Aha, here we have for a mere few dollars what government-supported scientists have been paid millions: conclusive evidence that prolonged use of marijuana rots the brain. All kidding aside, this record “blows it” (tee-hee). No, really, if your “bag” (ha-ha) is “fusion” music, this does it: punk, jazz, rock, reggae, horns, synth, etc., etc. “Dread”ful (ho-ho).

Iconoclast Prisoners of Existence EP

Quite a departure, at least as compared to the ICONOCLAST demo of a while back. Only one of the tunes is ripping thrash, and the other two explore more melodic/poppy and abrasive post-punk fields, which they accomplish to varying degrees. Adventurous.

Jackals Jackals LP

This is a rockabilly band playing mostly originals, and features ex-members of SADO-NATION, LOCKJAW, and the RATS. Although the production is thin, they have their rockin’ moments. Probably more fun to see live.

Klaus Flouride Cha Cha Cha With Mr. Flouride 12″

This eclectic release from the DK’s bassist combines rock and pop with a crisp, engaging experimental feel. The unassured vocals got in the way of my enjoyment, but the post-punk sound of this one is on-target: it’s upbeat, well-recorded, and quite varied from cut to cut. My fave is the instrumental, “Mochra.”

Ludichrist The Demo cassette

LUDICHRIST definitely flies for quickness on this 12-songer; has all those thrashing turbulent punches that you love to hear with similarities to great DC bands or to CAUSE FOR ALARM or ANTIDOTE. Wild, chaotic, intense, and full of different variations, LUDICHRIST charges outward with a superb sonic flailing.

Morally Bankrupt Morally Bankrupt LP

You can tell it’s a good record when it ends all too fast (or else it’s way short, but in this case you get 16 songs). Rippin’ punk/thrash/skate music with bits of funk, but all really well delivered. Theme-wise, skating and “fun” songs predominate, but there’s some serious stuff too, such as “C.I.A.A.I.D.S.,” which insinuates there’s a CIA conspiracy behind the AIDS epidemic. Hot record!

NYC Mayhem Violence cassette

Actually, I’m not sure which is the band’s name and which is the title, but this seems to be the likely set-up. Very unmelodic, short outbursts, driven by mostly snare drum (bass and bass drum aren’t audible) and fuzzy, gnarly guitar. Mixture of speed-metal and straight thrash. Very fast stuff.

Pent-Up Aggression Defining the Problem cassette

I believe this comes under the general heading of “generic thrash”—well done, fast-as-hell, pissed political lyrics, and as of yet an “undistinctive” style. Give ’em time, though, because they’ve got all the ingredients except the time to grow.

Pig Children Blood for the State 12″

Committed lyrics add a measure of punch to this five-tracker, which features high-velocity thrash with an unfortunate excess of annoying, squiggly guitar leads. Too bad the guitar wanking attenuates their appeal for me; PIG CHILDREN are potentially a powerhouse combo.

Raszebrae Cheap Happiness or Lofty Suffering LP

The first release on Spot’s new label, this all-female combo hits hard with quirky punk. There are funk influences in their post-punk rhythms, traces of PATTI SMITH, POISON GIRLS, and more illustrious predecessors. A well-executed variety pack.

Redskins Bring it Down (This Insane Thing) 12″

Those gumbie English socialist musicians think they can change social consciousness by hitting the charts. Makes one wonder how these great political intentions, evident in lyrics past and present, can possibly instigate changes by making the masses dance the night away to that big-band white-soul disco dance beat. Boring at best.

Rudi Pelastusarmeija / Hei, Hei Maailma 7″

Not to be confused with the early UK punk band, this combo is formed of ex-RATSIA and PELLE MILJOONA N.V.S. members. Both songs are in an early pop-punk style, owing more to pop than punk, with an accent of high production.

Sewer Zombies Reach Out and… LP

I think this is the band that went to Guyana to bring HC to the “natives,” but instead brought back the “natives” to us. Really, though, this is a sloppy noisefest of thrash, much like many of the European thrashers. Great lyrics, totally pissed and flailing about. Enjoyable anxiety attack.

Shoutless Out of Reach 12″

Very good neo-’60s punk, indeed—perhaps second best in the burgeoning Swedish scene. Tight, loud, and with really good influences (HAUNTED, CHOCOLATE WATCHBAND). But they are just a shade shy on pure aggression, and that’s why I give the nod to the NOMADS.

Skate Death You Break It—You Buy It LP

These zanies from Alaska have unleashed a surprise with this one. SKATE DEATH throws 20 songs at us, mostly falling into a mid-tempo punkish groove not unlike the BURNT. The lyrics are hilarious, boasting titles like “Food Is Good” and “Life Is Such a Boring Job,” but the individual tracks vary considerably in catchiness. Recommended.

Slam Welcome Home EP

A live EP of SLAM cranking out those strong rhythms with effective arrangements and variations. The vocals are extremely raw with a definite deep edge, as the band hits some fast chords, but sticks close to some creative licks. The live mix is not bad, and the energy is very high. A Swedish band with their own distinct style, and good at it.

Sorex Portrait of a Prisoner EP

Aggressiveness and a knack for original power riffs buoy the three songs on this EP over some of their competition. SOREX utilize a mid- to fast-tempo thrash formula, and while the song structures are somewhat longer than the norm, the band sustains the energy well. A solid and promising debut.

Sound of Disaster Besides My Head EP

Frantically awesome, this six-songer is a chunky, zooming speed-fest, featuring such a raunched out vocal beset (“Mom Grab Those Little Ones Off the Street…”) continues to sweep the senses as the Swedish mayhem goes totally apeshit. Raw, abrasive, intense, energetic, full-blown torching action will make this a new fave. Great!

Speed Queens I Wish I Had a Big Cock Just Like Iggy Pop EP

Hot garage punk record from the Bay Area. Rumor had it that these guys were glam-rock revivalists, but glam rock never sounded this raunchy. The SPEED QUEENS offer a slower lament to the platform geeks of yore (“All the Young Dudes Are Dead”), a fast punker (“I Wish I Had a Big Cock Like Iggy Pop”), and a blasting two-guitar mld-tempo number à la HEARTBREAKERS (“Underground Music Queen”). With ridiculous and humorous themes like these, they should open for GG ALLIN or, for that matter, serve as his back-up band.

SS-20 The Wealth of Nations EP

Eight ripping, catchy thrashers—tight, powerful, and melodic thrash ’n’ punk. Yep, it’s yet another class act on the scene. God, it makes me mad how little exposure or credit bands like this get.

Tension Pericolo di Morte EP

Somehow this unknown HC hand from Buffalo, NY made its way to Italy and released a five-song 7” (I believe it will come out in the US eventually). And I’m glad they did, cuz the results are hot! High-quality production and top-flight melodic all-out thrash with excellent lyrics to boot. Get it.

Th’Inbred Reproduction EP

There’s a bunch of rip-roaring, stripped-down thrash here, powerful as hell and with great lyrics! Then, too, there’s more to this band as they display a fair amount of experimentation on a couple of tracks, and don’t lose a bit in the process. TH’INBRED are a band to watch.

The Bottle Ups Boppalina Goes West and 3 Others EP

All four tracks here are instrumentals, as I assume all the tracks are on their LP as well. If you’re into ’50s rockin’ tracks like “Tomahawk, “Rumble,” etc., you’ll jump for this. Modern spaghetti western rock ’n’ roll from Sweden.

The Cynics Painted My Heart / Sweet Young Thing 7″

Live tapes of this group shows their affection for grungy CHOCOLATE WATCHBAND-style music, showing how hard and tight they can be. Instead, their first 45 pushes the more melodic and weaving guitar-pop side of their sound. Lots of cool playing, and their cover sounds like a cross between THEM and the STONES.

The Damned Idiot Box / You Know 7″

“This one is for TOM VERLAINE… We hate him!” Geddit…? “Idiot Box”…? Never mind, what we have here are a couple of mid-period DAMNED live tracks that have fairly good production and performance. On the flip, they announce their musical progression, due to the fact that they use more than three chords. Great sleeve.

The Mekons Fear and Whiskey LP

Eccentric folk/blues punk? The YOUNGBLOODS meet the FALL? Whatever, the MEKONS are back, expanded to about seven or so people of all ages and descriptions, and their music certainly reflects that variety.

The Mel-o-Tones Melonheaded 12″

Most of the material here is psych-wanking in a BEEFHEART meets BIRTHDAY PARTY vein; post-punk inanity. But one of the two versions of “Happy Hour” that appear on the disc really cuts loose, with a great CRAMPS-like rock-out. The rest leaves me cold.

The Nomads From Zero Down LP

First off, this is not the Swedish NOMADS, but a US garage band from the ’60s. Secondly, it’d have to be an awesomely great band to warrant a whole LP’s worth of rough demos, and this combo from North Carolina is not of that calibre. Lots of covers, but the title track is hot.

The Triffids You Don’t Miss Your Water Till Your Well Runs Dry 12″

The cover might fool you into thinking this is ’60s-punk-oriented (it did me), but forget it. Unless you’re into EAGLES drivel, pass this sucker up. Australian country crap.

The Vibes What’s Inside? LP

Decent neo-’60s punk, at times attention-grabbing though ultimately unmemorable. More towards CRAMPS than METEORS. There are a few covers, the most unusual being the SMALL FACES’ “Whatcha Gonna Do About It?”

Upright Citizens Open Eyes, Open Ears, Brains to Think & A Mouth to Speak LP

If you’re unfamiliar with the UPRIGHT CITIZENS, this domestic release is a collection of some of this German band’s finest stuff. Newly recorded, it exhibits the umph and stamina of a well-rehearsed band with exuberant rhythms and strong medium-paced melodies. A good dose of excellent stuff in the BYO tradition.

V/A Crabtowne cassette

Although sometimes of garage production standards, there’s more than enough hot material to warrant this Annapolis-area comp. SPASTIC RATS, FIT OF RAGE, STRICTLY PROHIBITED, CHRIST ON A CRUTCH, SICK CHILDREN, HATED, PURGATORY, ROADSIDE PETZ, and the RUDE thrash their way into your geographical memory.

V/A Welcome to Venice LP

Did somebody slip a GBH record inside this jacket? Metalcore to the max by SUICIDAL TENDENCIES and their homeboy buddies BEOWULF, LOS CYCOS, NO MERCY, and EXCEL. Somehow, between the metal sound, song titles, and artwork, I don’t think this project goes too far in convincing me that Mike Muir really is down on the macho, violent gang mentality he professed in MRR.

V/A Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Vols. 18-22 LPs

The ’60s reissues continue to pour out: #18 is Colorado, a mixed bag but with cool stuff from MOONRAKERS. #19 covers Michigan (Pt. 3), with a pre-STOOGES track of Iggy with the IGUANAS. #20 is LA (Pt. 4), and might well be the best of the new lot with classics from the MUGWUMPS, LAST WORDS, and others. #21 covers Ohio (Pt. 2) with average material. Finally, #22, and the South (Pt. 2), with a lot of folk rock stuff and a classic by DICK WATSON 5 extolling the virtues of intellectualism!

V/A Flight to Lowlands Paradise, Vol. 2 LP

The follow-up to Pebbles #15? This Part 2 contains mostly punk with lots of fuzz, a few covers, and at least average material and bands. Pretty cool raves from the TYKES and VIKINKS. Most material is from 1966-’67.

V/A Dementia 5 cassette

This unusual comp accompanies Hide zine #5. And unusual it is, in that all of side one features all-female bands (FIFTH COLUMN, ASF, UNWARRANTED TRUST, WORD OF MOUTH, CURSE, BETTYS, GIRL WAR III), an effort to “make women an integral force in punk once again.” Side two features women and men together, such as MYDOLLS, RAGGED BAGS, and many more. Varying degrees of sound and competency.

V/A Kloak Mix 3 cassette

A benefit tape for Greenpeace, and, in a word, awesome. Incredibly tight and powerful yet melodic Swedish thrash from S.O.D. (get their EP) RAPED TEENAGERS, ASTA KASK, ASOCIAL, DISTRUST, HERRAIDS, and MOB 47.

V/A A Message From Camp Sunshine cassette

An international comp tape inspired by Chris of BCT. This effort covers a bit of Spain, England, Canada, Germany, Sweden, and Holland. Represented are ANTI-DOGMATIKSS, MANIACS, CHRONIC SUBMISSION, RÖVSVETT, CERESIT 81, POST-MORTEM, BLACK VAMPIRE, ANTI-HEROES, AD NAUSEUM, FIEND, and BLUTTAT. Good sound quality. More comps to come.

V/A T.T.T. cassette

There are three German guys from AJZ Youth Center (where many of the tracks here were recorded live) peering over my shoulder, making sure I give this tape a good review. Like most live tapes, I think charm is there only if you’re really into or friends with the band, so these guys love it. There are German bands like NUCLEAR, RAZZIA, BLUTTAT, NIKOTEENS, etc., as well as foreigners like TOXIC REASONS, MOB 47, KANGRENA, BGK, JERRY’S KIDS, etc…

Vaurio A Shout From the Night LP

Smooth, predictable melodic hardcore. The tunes are all tight and powerfully done, but lack a specialness or rawness to make them stand out. Titles are translated in English, but I’m sure understanding the lyrics would make this form of Finnish HC more exciting.