Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Permanent Damage - End of Innocence (1987, Reactor Records)

When I first heard "End of Innocence" by Permanent Damage, I didn't really like it. You see, I had sought them out on the grounds that they were "Australian hardcore," which brings to my mind the grainy, muddy speediness of bands like Nailed Down, Heist and Rupture (and in a more modern sense, Extortion). This was reinforced by the ugly (but not poorly made) prison tattoo style cover art. I was wrong. A few things stuck out to me:

1) The production was really clear. This doesn't sound like it was recorded in a basement on a pocket lint budget. This worked against my assumptions, and effectively tricked me into thinking it was "overproduced."
2) This isn't super fast. It has speed, but nothing here is really that Negative FX/Siege influenced the way the Australian bands I listed before were, aside from maybe the song "Stress."
3) The lead guitarwork is refined to the point where anyone expecting the dirty, ragged playing of Rupture and the likes will be thrown through a loop.

Fast forward a few weeks. I'm jamming the Wrecking Crew LP and it finishes and I figure I might as well give this another try. By the middle of the first song, I have a realization that I had been completely wrong about this album. The "Australian" tag had thrown me off. But this transcends those arbitrary classifications: These dudes took aggressive 80's riffs and pieced them together with the precision and intent of a metal band. "Age of Quarrel" is the best point of reference - Listen to the breakdowns in "Don't Have a Say" and "Sniff Your Defeat." And the full production definitely compliments the skilled guitar work and songwriting on display here, from the change-ups to the mid-tempo stompers. For the most part, these aren't insanely complex songs... But your average shitty punk band couldn't make them sound as good as this. And that is what I think of as the true measure of a hardcore classic.

Since my vinyl ripping capabilities are impaired, I am using the rip of this album provided by SystemSabotageChaos (only the LP tracks, I don't have the 7" and will never upload music I don't personally own), but took PNGs of the crucial insert and back cover that you won't find elsewhere. When I get my hands on a scanner, these will be replaced.

Permanent Damage - End of Innocence

The best band that ever wore Crocodile Dundee hats. Definitely better than Big Audio Dynamite.

Your band is allowed to include a one sheet on your record insert if it details how your singer "had a brick cowardly thrown into his face." Permanent Damage were truly hard as fuck.

Infected - Dark Century (1989, Far Out Records)

Once again, in lieu of ripping this record myself, I am going to upload art from it that isn't detailed on the rest of the internet. The music portion I took from here and relabeled the songs so that the titles show up. As far as I know, this is the only thing Infected from Switzerland ever did. It's really tough crossover with deathy undertones (especially the vocals- shit is harsh), not unlike the Loss For Words "Prey" LP, just more menacing. Cro Mags, Sacred Reich, and Death shirts in the insert collage sum it up well. Lyrics run the usual gamut of heavy-handed political statements; What else do you expect from this cover art and song titles like "Media Control," "Conditioned Minds," and "State Oppression?" But the music stands up better than 99% of the more articulate crust bands that became prominent in the next decade.

Infected - Dark Century

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Blind Spot - All This Hate 7" (1990, Conversion)

To make up for the fact that I am using a rip previously provided on x28x, I took pictures of the insert and back cover of this record so that I could say I at least added SOMETHING to it. I know absolutely nothing about this band. In an age where people act like having a computer automatically gives you access to all knowledge ever, it's strange that something so good has gotten no write-ups as far as I can see. The only thing that comes close is some douche record collector talking about how he bought a blue copy for cheap even though he thinks the music is terrible. Well, I guess that's all subjective, but if you like Think I Care, I think you will like this. "Something to Prove" has good lyrics, too, that are still quite relevant. They did indeed evidently put out another record after this, but for some reason they sound totally different and not as good. Not gonna post it cos I don't own it and it's not good anyway.

Blind Spot - All This Hate

Sweet PHC shirt.

Back cover. Generic but sweet. I put the pictures in the folder with the music.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Toe Tag - Reality (1993, CherryDisc)

Here is some way overlooked Boston hardcore from the early 90's. It sounds like it, too. Mid-tempo riffs, guitar squeals, and guttural Paul Bearer soundalike vocals (which are overbearing in places). It is nothing groundbreaking, but it's solid for what it is, and aided by a thuggy undertone. Lyrically, this band was not writing dissertations on factory farming's effect on Western society or whatever. They're a little more on the blue collar slant... Especially on the second song, which combines a naive worldview (it is literally addressed to "Mr. President," UGH) with really lame Biohazard rap rock vocals. Thankfully they don't repeat that mistake. Then "Rat" asks the deep metaphysical question: "What kind of man shoots another in the face?" A good thing about this album is that none of the songs are too long. Only one is slightly over 3 minutes. The rest keep it pretty short and to the point for this style. Like with most of the stuff I post on here, whether I listen to it every day or not, it's not easy to find on the internet. In fact, I couldn't find it anywhere.

Toe Tag - Reality

Creepout - Tribe Called Hardcore (2010)

I am uploading this because it's pretty much impossible to find anywhere on the internet. Honestly, I only ordered this because it was cheap and intriguing. A Japanese band that goes so far to emulate One Life Crew and Integrity that they use one of the most fucked up racist baseball mascots in their logo? While OLC are forever soiled to me because of my aversion to racism (and I'm not talking about "Crime Ridden Society" lyrics - I am talking about the fact that they did a split with a white power band), at least this band only unintentionally embraces it. There's lots of OLC style riffage. Some minor Integrity moments. Some of that East Coast shit. It's all a solid mix, even if nothing stands out too much. The lyrics are pretty much all gold, including gems such as:

"We are Creepout from Westokyo, what's shit confuse us? Makes us mad? Tell me now!"

"Hey yo, my friend, how's it goin? I know you hate your shitty life, but don't be a fuckin' gay."

"Your motherfuckin' heaven is sucks, we don't need it / Get the fuck out, bitch!"

And when some random dude starts shouting in a staticy voice, it's not gonna be chill.

Creepout - Tribe Called Hardcore

ADDENDUM: I have just learned that Creepout did a split with WP band Empire Falls, the same band that did a split with One Life Crew. So basically, fuck this band, they really aren't that good beyond being funny, anyway, and I don't feel bad at all about putting this up for download for free besides being a little irked that I didn't know about their associations sooner (my fault). Say what you want about pissing off "PC Police," RAC music is bullshit on the most basic level. There is a lot of fascist imagery and ideas thrown around hardcore; Hell, the whole concept of adhering to a prefab lifestyle that reached its peak before I was born is suppressive enough to enable a whole host of fascist tendencies. But let's make no mistake: These dudes are so dumb they think the Nazis would have liked hardcore punk. As if Hitler, Goering, and Himmler would have looked at this and nodded in appreciation instead of retching at the sight of their ideals being bandied about so crudely by a shirtless cesspool of genetic waste. And Creepout are guilty by association. Shit, they even played on the nationalist themes of Empire Falls by naming the split "The New World and the Rising Sun." Writing some easy out shit like "fuck racism" on the inside of your CD booklet doesn't really undo that... But good job following your idiot asshole idols off a cliff.

Immoral Squad - Damned (2009, Choking Hazard Records)

This is in print and easily affordable. I just thought that maybe it should be uploaded onto the internet, cos I could not find it anywhere. Immoral Squad are like Slang in the fact that their origins lie in the late 80's. They put out a few overlooked records (even a split with Union of Uranus, who are so stylistically different that everyone who talks about that record merely notes that they don't play the Immoral Squad side) and went on a long break until 2008. I read about this CD at my job (the only place I'd ever be bored enough to read MRR). It said something about Tony Erba style vocals, which I am a sucker for. But I am pretty sure these dudes wouldn't count him as a direct influence, seeing as how it turns out they started before Face Value. Yeah, there's definitely some Boston drill Sgt style shit going on in the vocals, but it's lower register and meaner. As far as lyrical content, this might be a little "middle of the road" or "vanilla" for people who want some ambiguous poetic bullshit going on in that department. I don't mind one bit. Musically, I think they could also be compared to Slang in that their new music doesn't really sound like their old stuff. It's way heavier, way tighter, and more straight up HC influenced, as opposed to their old shit which had heavy 90's crust tinges. The East Coast style breaks and general heaviness really improve this band (except "Brotherhood," which is okay, but definitely the weakest song here). Occasionally (2 songs) some other guy does vocals but it's okay because his vocals are solid, too. It just weakens the songs because the main singer's vocals are so much better. Also, almost every band that does "vocal trade offs" sucks, but in this context it's OK, because both of the voices are deep and pissed.

Immoral Squad - Damned

Tuesday, October 26, 2010