Abaddon Jarocin ’84 LP
With authoritarianism and fascism surging across the globe, we probably have more to learn from the Soviet Bloc-era punk bands now than at any point since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Captured live at the one state-sponsored rock festival of the year in the Polish People’s Republic, this recording captures the band in their nascent stage, nearly a year before their first cassette release and two before their definitive Wet Za Wet LP (many songs from that album appear here, including standouts like “Apartheid” and “Kukly”). The elements that made them great are all on clear display here: the charismatic vocals, the martial rhythms, the heady and diverse songwriting that careens from reggae/ska to fluid blues-rock solos to driving hardcore. As the recording is sourced from a nearly 40-year-old tape there is a bit of occasional warble and some very minor dropouts but given those circumstances the mastering job is really impressive and on the whole it sounds fucking great. As there’s no crowd noise at all, this could easily be passed off as a live in studio session, a plus for those who would usually avoid live recordings. All the text is presented in Polish, but the beautiful gatefold features tons of photos from the festival and even the typed lyrics that had to be submitted to the censors in order for the band to be able to perform (a chilling glimpse of a potential future to be?). Warsaw Pact are doing amazing work, this and all the label’s other reissues are well worth your time and support.