R Radical

Condemned to Death Diary of a Love Monster LP

C2D are mostly down to a three-piece (new singer only takes part on a couple of numbers), but still scorching out those banzai power chords. This LP sheers away the flesh with metallic HC, fast with effective grinds, raw thumping rhythms, and whining with blood thirsty guitar leads. If you craved more of their EP, quench yourself on this 12-song gem. And where do they get those song titles??—”Hair Spray Randy,” “Bang Your Maiden Head,” and “Lost Tweekend,” to name a few.

Dicks Peace? EP

Here are three ditties that rouse all the “protest and survive” sentiments you might need. “No Fuckin’ War” is a slow, grueling masterpiece that’s simple but powerful, and will have you singing along before the end. The other songs are short, quickly delivered minor chord headbangers in the best of the new DICKS style. I especially like “I Hope You Get Drafted,” an unrelenting anti-stupidity song directed at “apolitical” punks, which I’d like to see being sung in the streets, busses, and homes all over the world. Somebody finally had the guts to come right out and say it.

DRI Violent Pacification EP

By now, everyone should know that DRI is one of the fastest, tightest, and most powerful thrash bands in history, and their new EP is a total killer. The title cut is a bit slow for them in parts, but the rest are faster than the speed of sound. If these guys aren’t intense enough for you, try pulling your teeth out with a pair of pliers. Awesome.

MDC Millions of Dead Cops LP

MDC, formerly the Texas STAINS, are one of the most politically-aware punk bands around today, and this record has enough food for thought to gorge the average listener with ideas. The music is exceptionally fast but much more complex than the typical thrash attack, a combination that can be disorienting until the material becomes more familiar. My one complaint is that the mix emphasizes the vocals at the expense of the guitars, but this is still one of the year’s best albums.

MDC Multi-Death Corporations EP

Four new songs that come enclosed in a well-researched and informative fold-out sleeve. The music is in MDC’s intense, complex, stop-on-a-dime thrash style, but the vocals have developed into an amalgam of rap and hardcore phrasings. This latest assault by one of the world’s leading political bands, in terms of both beliefs and commitment, is strengthened by excellent production.

MDC Chicken Squawk EP

MDC deliver a funnypunk classic in “Chicken Squawk,” an uproarious C&W thrash tune which belies a more serious argument for vegetarianism—it even has banjo lead breaks! On the flip, “Kleptomaniac” rates as a strong, catchy thrasher, although “Death of a Nun” suffers from lackluster performance and production values. A mandatory EP, however, and the foldout sleeve is extremely interesting and informative.

MDC Smoke Signals LP

The long-awaited MDC LP is an interesting release. Thematically, they cover South Africa, cops, food, bullies in the pit, soup kitchens, nukes, skateboards—the gamut of HC themes. The mix isn’t quite as full or noisy as it could’ve been, but a cover of “Big Picture” (Canada’s SUBHUMANS) is a treat, and the rest of the material is pretty much thrash, though country, R’n’B, jazz-metal, and even rap influences sneak right in. Dave’s voice seems a bit straight at times, but that may have been intentional to make the vocals clearer.

MDC This Blood’s for You LP

A very well-rounded, powerful, humorous yet political release, much improved over the last one. Dave is really out there, and his character really comes across here, Experimentation usually works on this release, the lyrics are sharp, the cover art is a treat. Side Two lags at times, but I think the guts and sentiments come across really well. MDC is one of the few HC bands to really cut across time and cultures.

Offenders We Must Rebel LP

The spirited thrash attack on this album recalls the work of the very best Texas bands, and reveals lyric concerns which mine a blend of youthful outrage and rebellion. “Fight Back” and the LP’s title song rate as my favorites, but the entire record demonstrates remarkable consistency—a factor in no small part due to the wild, raucous production. An exciting and distinctive release.

Reagan Youth Youth Anthems for the New Order 12″

The long-awaited REAGAN YOUTH record is finally out, and it’s well worth the wait. They’ve produced an ultra-primitive, trashy attack with an amazingly raw guitar sound that reminds me of Florida’s F. Add to that a social consciousness willing to confront both reaction and apathy, and it’s impossible to fail. Their anthemic theme song “Reagan Youth” brilliantly captures the mindless idolatry of today’s young Republicans, and the other tracks are almost equally appealing. A must.

V/A P.E.A.C.E. 2xLP

A compilation of Finnish hardcore on Germany’s Rock-O-Rama label. The music is generally strong (though some is overly generic), but there is a problem raised by this album—the appearance of so many tracks that have already been released on earlier Finnish (or even German) records. Although it’s great to witness the “internationalization” of the punk scene on vinyl, I wish that the organizers of these projects would try harder to get only unreleased cuts or songs on records that are out-of-print or otherwise impossible to get ahold of. Here, the ratio of easily-available material is close to 50%, and that’s too much.