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