Reviews

Schizophrenic

Absolut 2019 Demonstration EP

Double kicking, mad-blasting metal-charged käng punk from Toronto. ABSOLUT have melded their sound from an ASOCIAL or SVART PARAD delivery to more of a GISM, BOMBRAID, HAWKWIND experience. And this EP rips raw and flourishes with wild technicality. More breakdowns, more crude hissing metallic tones, less of what you’d expect from this originally hyper-echoed D-beat band.

Chronic Submission Sick of Reality LP

Hmm, I believe this is the third archival release of an ’80s Toronto-area hardcore band that I’ve reviewed this year. Not complaining. While their second cassette Empty Heads, Poison Darts (also reissued by Schizophrenic) captured the CHRON SUBS in tighter, proto-crossover form, its predecessor Sick of Reality is pure early-’80s HC—25 blasts crammed into a 45 RPM 12″. High intensity, very high trebly recording; a mainly thrash-speed attack with abbreviated Ginn-esque guitar leads offset by a few mid-tempo tracks to provide a chance to catch your breath. But really…one look at the grainy B&W photo of a pissed-looking teenage skin will probably give you a decent idea of what this sounds like, and whether or not you’ll like it or not.

Direct Action Tomorrow Is Too Late LP

Aside from its vital late ’70s and early ’80s originators, 1980s Canadian hardcore post-’83 often suffered from really difficult recording and production, while being released at or past the point where the floodgates of hardcore records had flung open worldwide, and distinction became harder to glean. A lot of the records are cool and probably resonate deeper with local fans, but the original DIRECT ACTION Trapped in a World LP from 1985 is a mixed bag of solidly good hardcore fighting with really uneven recording and mixing, mired with strange production choices tempering its delivery. By 1988, it seemed already apparent that something was lost in translation between this Toronto band’s 1984 Tomorrow Is Too Late demo and the aforementioned LP, and a nicely-mastered German collection on Bitzcore delivered a mix of recordings from both. European bootleggers served up the demo on LP, minus a track, half a decade ago, but here it is finally released, legitimately and in its entirety. Charmingly chaotic rapid-fire volleys of blistering hardcore singed with a DISCHARGE/VARUKERS/ENGLISH DOGS-style heavier guitar sound, with biting quick vocals spitting over the top. As the title suggests, there’s a real beautiful immediacy to the demo like the best of ’80s hardcore: put together a band with some friends, cop a band name off the headlines (the Squamish/Vancouver Five had just taken “Direct Action” to the actual streets in Canada in 1982), and blast out sixteen hardcore bombardments with lyrics volleying defiance against the government, the cops, and your own impending nuclear annihilation. That might make it sound simultaneous wonderful and generic, but it sheds comparison to its contemporary deluge of thrash with how unrelenting energetic it is, and how the mix floods everything into powerful blasts of mayhem. The presentation is nice with brief liner notes, but a bit sterile in organization compared to the organic explosion of the music or the included replication of the original chaotic hand drawn and cut ’n’ paste collage lyric sheet poster. Fun record.

Liquid Assets SNC Lava Lamp EP

This is a lovely little slime-filled short sharp shock of a vinyl hangover. Slurry, sloppy Oscar the G. vocals over a wonderfully technically proficient heap of musical viscosity. Slam your head in a car door several times and listen to “Let’s Fuck” by DOA, “UFO Dictator” by TAMPAX, DAYGLOW ABORTIONS and the more hardcore SPITS tunes, and it won’t sound anything close to this masterpiece. Leaves a well-defined shiny trail as it rolls down the street to pummel the next listener.

More Stupid Initials 9 Out of 10 Doctors Recommend More Stupid Initials LP

Who do we have to blame for the mass proliferation of three-initial hardcore bands in the ’80s? SSD? DOA? CCR? MRR? In any event, MSI most likely predates ATI (ANY THREE INITIALS) as the first to satirize the trend. Existing from 1986 until 1990, this band of Toronto-area youths churned out some decent meat ’n’ potatoes hardcore, and 9 Out of 10 Doctors compiles the complete 1986 and 1988 studio sessions from which their two proper EPs were selected. It should be obvious even before listening that MSI laced their musical output with a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek humor. Sure enough, the LP opens with a track called “Generic Straightedge Song,” and features covers of “Sugar Sugar” and a song from a Rankin/Bass animated TV series. However, unlike full-on joke bands like CRUCIAL YOUTH or GRUDGE, MSI were more likely just goofy teenagers. I’d imagine this lovingly assembled archival release, complete with a big booklet, would please fans of reissues by the likes of NEGATIVE ELEMENT or YOUNG REPUBLICANS. If you want something that dials the intensity up a bit higher, check out Schizophrenic’s expanded reissue of the SONS OF ISHMAEL Hayseed Hardcore EP (that band shared a member with MSI and really ripped).

Pisser Breaking Chains LP

Ferocious lowest-common-denominator crossover thrash. You’ve heard the riffs before, and you’ll love them this time too. You’ll also love flares like the half-time tempos in “Nightcrawler,” particularly the one leading into the ripping solo. The recording is cavernous and treble-heavy (think the first DESTRUCTOR 12″) and the vocal yowls land somewhere between ACID and BITCH, which is a very, very tough place to land. Choice cut: “Willing Victim.”

Sadie & the Wives Unique? EP

This….this is where I want it to go. You’ve got the modern fury—the weird kind. The stomps that lurch into unintentional D-beats and the vocals that are so treated they sound like a Sun Studio reverb room in a horror flick. But there’s also Los Angeles 1979 nihilism and effort crammed in here—and I mean “effort” like they are determined to head full-fukkn-speed straight into that wall of nihilism that is absolutely going to destroy them. Bands like this don’t typically last for more than a couple of singles, and I suggest getting on this train before it implodes. Listening to SADIE & THE WIVES sounds like you’re in on a secret, like you’re hearing something special, something dangerous. They’ve taken hardcore and made it sound like it was alive.