Kina Irreale Realtà LP reissue
Hailing from the far northwestern corner of Italy, Aosta’s KINA formed in 1982 inside the blast radius of the first Italian hardcore wave, but began releasing records close enough to the mid-’80s HÜSKER DÜ/SST/ARTICLES OF FAITH/RITES OF SPRING-styled bending of the confines of strict hardcore rules that the raw energy and unpredictable creativity of Italian hardcore combines with a wide, untamed flange guitar sound and complex musical arrangements that here only hint at the expansive incorporation of influences of folk music and unexpected instrumentation that would later mark their fifteen year career. Irreale Realtà (“Unreal Reality”), this three-piece’s fifteen-song debut LP, was originally self-released in 1985, and hung around a melodic core, but was and is very much a savage hardcore record with pummeling, speedy thrash that sparks and rages like the best moments of early Italian hardcore. Caustic vocals shouted in Italian hurl angry missives towards authority and power, but the lyrics are also inwardly reflective, personal, and thoughtful. This reissue reprints the original Italian inserts, but sadly not the English translations from the original export editions. It also comes in a much thicker (and less ringwear ready!) cover compared to the original, with clearer, slightly larger reproductions of the artwork, and has a more balanced remastering where the music levels out with the vocals and has a bit more depth and clarity. This makes it sound “better” overall, but also a little less sloppy and unhinged, as the extreme vocals less forcefully dominate the recording, but everything balances a bit more. It’s a good place to start if you’ve either never heard the band, or a refreshing enough update that it’s worth a visit even if you already own the original. The last two tracks on each side are live in Berlin in 1984, and shed some of the sheen that the flange guitar gives the studio recording for wild effluence of melody, shouted vocals, and high energy blasting. Though the replacement of Kina’s Blu Bus label’s classic slogan, “self-production and self-management as tools for communication and antagonistic experiences” (an idea that I think KINA tried to live by as much as promote other people to do) by a barcode underlines a reality of late 2010’s punk rock. But an otherwise well-done and great reissue!