V/A Unten links: Solidarität gegen Zensur und Repression CD

Well, there’s lots to say about this here compilation. Firstly, it’s a “Soli-Sampler für Indymedia Linksunten” as the Germans would have it. Indymedia Linsunten was a website, part of the international Indymedia network, that was open access and used by a wide range of the anti-parliamentary Left to post about actions, events, and suchlike, and hence was taken down by the German state in 2017. Thusly, I’m guessing that the 29 bands contributing to this compilation would come from the more “political” (i.e. anarchist/explicitly left) end of the ol’ punk spectrum. Which makes it a fascinating snapshot of international (I’m guessing from the non-English names of the bands that at least half of them are from Germany and/or Northern Europe—y’know, all them umlauts and suchlike) more or less contemporary political punk. Several things immediately stand out. Well over half of the vocalists are women, and often where there are male vocalists there are also female. I’ve only actually heard of one of these bands before (the UK’s AUTONOMADS, whom I love dearly—and unsurprisingly, have a female vocalist—and a male one too!), though that probably says more about my knowledge of international punk than it does the “state of the scene.” And I use the term “punk” deliberately, because hardcore most of these bands certainly are not. Twenty years ago, one would safely presume that such a political compilation would be full of crusty DISCHARGE-esque bands, with perhaps the odd raging thrasher to break up the metal and grind. There’s nary a single song that would fit any of these descriptions. Indeed, the early CURE, or SISTERS OF MERCY seem to be more of an influence than RIISTETYT or BOLTHROWER. I guess with the German tradition of ’80s legends such as RAZZIA and SLIME, it’d be no surprise that driving melody is the norm here, with barely a sore throat amongst them. Other than the aforementioned AUTONOMADS, standouts for these ageing ears are SJU SVARA AR, LITOVSK and 100BLUMEN (who do the rather fine SISTERS OF MERCY impersonation), but really, the entire compilation is of a really high quality throughout. There’s not a duffer track to be found, and the cause, of course, is outstanding. Comes with a thick booklet about the German state and its nefarious actions, though all but some of the lyrics are in German. Top notch.