SNOTTYNESS... Punk Rock Classic - World Contender - Worth A Listen - Average - Plastic - No Future
CRANKED UP! 'A Call For Solidarity' (Creep062) CDEP 2002
From the remnants of Violent Society (who I wasn't that much of a fan) come the way more impressive Cranked Up. They boast the cream of other local Philadelphian punk outfits in their lineup. I gotta say this 8 track CDEP delivers a good solid street punk sound. The cover art is reminiscent of mid era Angelic Upstarts and the politics also reflect that. Cranked Up give us mid-paced well played punk rock, done with style and a zest for a tune. 'Emo-tionally Challenged' is one of my faves with it's lovesick attack on the flowers and chocolates brigade. It also boasts that powerful "I don't care" chorus, and comes at ya like a lotta songs on here...with a creative style of playing. Pat Society's vocals are often strangled and rough enough to sound like he's just crawled out from under a hockey scrum. They're not truly impressive, but they work well on here especially without those shouty elements that featured in Violent Society offerings. And together with Danarchys/Andys impressive fretwork you know they're gonna make a potent force. 'Guilty Conscience' together with it's broken bottles sound effects is a finding your inner self kinda song.Now lets not get all philosophical please but it does mirror the band growing up into a very strong little outfit. The sinister overtones of the brooding anti-drug track 'Follow The Trail' is another big hit here in the Wolfs Lair. Followed closely by the big guitar buildup of 'Under Their Control'. Some of the subject matter is still pretty predictable, like on the rebellious 'Our Culture' or the antisocial 'All Fucked Up'. But what they lack in originality comes coated with panache and imagination other bands in this field ain't got. If you like your punk rock done with an early 80's slant and a today outlook, then look no further than these PA punks.I just heard they've rereleased this in Europe with an extra 5 bonus tracks, so get your mitts round that. WORTH A LISTEN!
THE MEANWELLS Demo CD 2002
The Meanwells are another new bunch of Brummies to hit the Wolf's Lair speakers within a month. And they come baring a cartoony poppy Ramones kinda take on this 6 track demo. They Introduce themselves with close connections to the previously reviewed H-8 Target, and even share some of the same band members. But the Meanwells sound totally different, thank gawd! A more fun approach makes for a way better proposition than the other slightly non-convincing angry mob. We seem to be inundated with literally 'undreds of noisy shouty hardcore merchants at the moment. Pop punk don't seem to be such a chore to listen to baring that in mind. Maybe I'm subconsciously suffering from a Pop-punk cold turkey?... but I doubt it! The Meanwells may mean well to all their loved ones, but they don't mean that much to me. This 3 piece even share the same Meanwell surname, which just don't sound as good as Ramone, now does it? This debut don't leave a lasting impression and with a name so drab you can see why. At least the sound they produce shows more potential. Best song of the bunch was the infectious mid-paced guitar on 'Crumb', which has a slightly sinister feel, and is probably the kinda song and direction they oughta aim for more. The rest are energetic but average workouts with quirky themes that'll probably go down a storm in the pages of Fracture but I'm afraid they don't get me jerking around. They end with an instrumental called 'Cat burglar' which I actually quite liked. AVERAGE! email@example.com
'The Great Satan' CD 2002
You can never underestimate the song writing prowess of Mr Marky Derita. He maybe an old '77 Santa Barbara wanker who's just got married to a young German bird, and ultimately living out some of his own hilarious song titles. But he's definitely doing something right here as he entertains us with even more wacko punk ditty's for the dispossessed! Marriage and numerous lineups certainly ain't took the edge of this bands massive catalogue. Mr Derita may have lost his lifelong sparring partner Jay Smith on this album, but he's gained a well worthy combo of reprobates to spread the evils of everything silly in punk rock and the world at large. Derita Sisters keep the quality high and deliver the goods with some speedy punchy punk rock tunes, without too many fillers in-between. Gotta say after ten years, and more albums than you can count on both hands. This band should've burned out many moons ago. But NO...they just keep on coming back and takin' the piss outta everyone who needs it. On this 20 track release they've rediscovered their clean cut, but ultra bright production with some fast paced piss takes to sneer at while the rest of the out of touch punkers brag to their mates about Good Charlotte (are they really punk?). These fuckers have the power, the tunes and the ultra catchy ability to seriously dent the youth market. But I'm afraid their age, their integrity and well dodgy lyrics won't let em through those teeny school gates without an arrest. Which is a fucking tragedy, coz impressive numbers like 'Heino Says' deserves your attention pronto. Don't ask me who Heino is? But I suspect he's well known on the Euro gig circuit, as they create yet another Buzzcocks meets the Dickies anthem. Add this together with the fast paced schoolboy humoured 'Born Without A Punk Rock Name', which gives us an A-list of punk rock alias's to inspire us for our next attack on the bourgeoisie. You'll be sniggering all the way to the dictionary playing this one. They take up a Middle Eastern theme on this record (check out the hilarious intro chant) what'll get em on an Al Quada hit list before you can say SHEEE ITTE. Even the original sleeve artwork was deemed too risky by their straight laced German record label, but we expected that didn't we? And don't play 'I don't Wanna Go To The Turkish Prison' to your nieces and nephews coz it's a fate that's worse than death!!! The already out of date 'Clash Reunion' is a fucking hilarious song, and still worth hearing just for the line "It's too late they're fat and old, Terry Chimes is on the dole!" which has surely gotta be up there for nomination in this years classic lyric department. Do yourselves a favour and check em out, they'll put a smile on yer boat race for sure. WORTH A LISTEN!
CD (PRANK056) 2002
Can't say Grimple were even remotely familiar? If you, like me are stumped by the name (I think it means having fun?) and wanna know a bit of band history, well all I can tell you is they're from the early 90's US scene and this is a large slice from their recorded repertoire. Also these energetic, dope smoking, drunk punks from the East Bay of San Francisco had the rare ability to pack out the Gilman St. punk Mecca. An accomplishment not too many bands did in those days apparently. They've also been likened to that other Gilman St. outfit, (early) Rancid. And I can see from this rabid 22 track collection why! Despite the cuddly name they certainly know how to let rip with frenzied attacks of incomprehensible lyrics, sung to lots of bass solo's and a backing track of rifferama guitars. But Rancid these ain't! A lot of their songs off their debut album sound way too samey for me. How many times can you listen to a rant machine gunned across a similar riff? This collection features a 7" EP, a 3-track demo plus their 15 track debut, affectionately titled 'Up Your Ass'. Even record label magnate Ken Prank administered the impressive sleeve artwork. Well good artwork, chunky packaging and biting lyrics is all good 'n' well, but a lot of Grimple's style is predictable for the first 15 or so tracks....fast as fuck blasts done by sore-throated punks is as common these days as UK tartan bondage worn by US punks in hot climates. How many times have we heard this combination before...I've lost count? They do have a message, all be it very Anarcho and righteous in content, considering they're out and drunks! But maybe they grew up and become PC Christians or community carers in the end? The best thing going for Grimple is definitely their energy, they absolutely radiate it from every empty beer can in their squat! A feat which is short on a miracle considering all that draw they boast about. The bass driven 'Think' was good till they jumped through that same plate glass window of speed again. Even their attempt at a musical interlude during the intro of 'Walls Of Shit' nearly fooled us, before hyperactivity once more set in. The only other standout tracks from their 1992 debut album was the skanky 'A Fucked Up Beautiful Day' in the life of Grimple or their own lifestyle signatune 'Grimple Up Your Ass'. However all is not lost, they produced a superior debut 7" EP - 'Get Me Out Of My Van I Have No Keys Phil' (tee hee) where they really start showing us a more intriguing side to their bong smoking nature. 'One More' showed a lotta suss in the song structure and with it's snotty lists of "one axe, one death" etc. and that neat use of the duel toned vocals, it worked really well. The guitar sound has a load more depth than on the albums bland thrash, and gives us something to chew on. From here on in Grimple prove why they became local legends and had "sold-out" signs at their gigs, as they take 'Rabie Punx' to the cleaners. They then outta the blue give us the demo track 'Be All You Can Be' which is easily
the best track of the whole bunch. It's got a fucking splendid scuzzy guitar riff I can't get enough of! This track brings to mind a classic snotty punk calling card most bands strive for, but not many achieve...Grimple even with Pat V's strangled vocal at the helm get it first time! I'd have been happy to just hear this practice session in full on CD coz It's got possibly their best stuff.After a dodgy start WORTH A LISTEN. I hear there's even more planned Grimple product from the Vaults about to hit the fan later this year. And they'll be sharing a split can with Logical Nonsense also out on Prank Records. So look out for that! www.prankrecords.com
CD (PRANK050) 2002
Ken Prank has got a lot to answer for. He's single handedly corrupted me into terrain I'd never had trodden but for this release. I don't know what it is about the brutal urrrrrrggggghhhh yeeeeeeaaaargghhhh genre of crust/hardcore that turns me off so much? Maybe it's the vocals or the cloned machine gun style? I do know that this wing of punk has never turned me on musically or sonically before. That was until I met Kylesa. Kylesa who have risen from the bowels of Savannahs pioneering outfit Damad, are the first band from this neverworld who have more to offer cunts like me, than their far less worthy legions. I demanded more and I certainly got it on this release. This is more than crustcore/hardcore or the death metal bollocks they're branded with. This annonymous collection is grotesque, looming axe attacks on a majestic scale, I fuckin love it! And despite the presence of some of those over the top growls and urrrghs in the vocal mix, Kylesa manage to keep em on a semi-human level that stays well clear from the brutalised rants that are prominent amongst the other dross. Kylesa's biggest attribute is their abillity to create monster soundscapes armed with giant chords, that roam wantonly around your speakers with impending doom. The duel guitars alone are collossal, giving em a cinematic score. This collection could quite easily be a soundtrack to 'Lords Of The Rings' if only Peter Jackson had heard of em in time! No bullshit, these are that good. They conjure up the stench of running battle scenes with ease, and the production is on an epic scale. Of the 8 tracks on offer you don't go home feelin cheated, they give you big textures of guitar sound that really fills your tomb. And on particularly 'The Scrab' with it's unassuming tinkling guitar sound that soon gets surrounded by that BIG hideous noise. Kylesa are a band who know how to harness power without ripping off into a mad blur of blind rants. Progressive buildups are the order of the day, with some very clever arrangements. They have the abillity to drop out to a basic solitarly seering guitar sound and bass run, before returning with thick lashes of guitar slabs and rythym. This is a journey into some dark underbelly for the listener, and you know what, it's pretty fucking exciting! As you slowly descend even further into the gloomy scenario they've created it never gets depressing. There's enough going on here amongst the tracks to keep you listening again and again and again. For 32 minutes your in a concept album, travelling into the dark mines of Mordor in search of... only Kylesa knows? Maybe it does sound a little contrived in print and the lyrics are like passages from Tolkein, but just listen and you'll get what I mean. Whatever the concept is, it's fucking addictive. Kylesa can create atmosphere, and that's what this albums all about, black, mettallic vibes that'll make you beg for more. Favourirte track is a fuckin killer called 'Descend Within' which reminds me of those Warcraft backing tracks, especially with that simple drum sound, compelling lead bass and those chugging guitars. We follow blkindly as Kylesa lead us perilously into the murky depth of the abyss, while more beefy riffs keep hammering home the feeling of suppressed violence lurking in the shadows...fucking great stuff! If like me your a fan of huge heavy guitars then you'll fuckin love this.This band maybe peace punks by nature and inspiration but the message they give out via sound is universal in large doses, and not a lot of bands can do that these days.... good fuckling stuff.
I believe bassplayer Brian Duke (29) has sadly died from an epileptic seizure since the making of this album, so this album is a very fitting epitaph to his memory. USA CONTENDER!
THE FALL 'Totally Wired - The Rough Trade anthology' CD (CMDDD461) July 2002
A massive 31 tracks here of prime time Fall, circa 80/83. Consisting of tracks nicked from albums, singles, live cuts and other obscurities. These Northern oiks may have lost their sinister thread/threat these days, but this anthology is well worthy of inclusion in any punks collection. Some classics are on show here in this double CD dose of white crap that talks back. From the title track of 'Totally Wired' to the finale of 'Kicker Conspiracy' we get some of the most original sounding Mancunian antagonism were likely to hear this side of the millennium. Totally catchy northern prole statements and observations, run wild over a dislocated DIY landscape. From the rolling tongue of Mark E. Smith the scene is set. Smith a contender for the ugliest man in pop, but a fuckin' wizard with words is well on form...errrrr! He's accompanied by some very simple but highly addictive tunes that run with the words and give em texture. You don't have to be weird to be wired to dig 'New Face In Hell', that greets us with the imaginative use of a 35p kazoo, just to give it that all expense paid for feel. And it ain't just the barren council estate etiquette that makes this a must hear, coz songs like 'Fit And Working Again' boasts a splendid shard of guitar that'll hit you every time. Once you've got used to the minimal arrangements of Woolworth's guitar, drums, bass plus the odd kiddy organ extract or a milk bottle getting rattled, you'll be playing this along side your Motorhead if you've got a real sense of adventure. This is testament to how varied the punk umbrella can be, and they really did produce so many great tracks looking back. There's even a live version of 'Rowche Rumble' the pre 'E' pill head classic, followed closely by one of their all time faves 'How I Wrote Elastic Man'. We have to remember Smith is in total control, but would be lost musically without the trashy backdrops that feed his twisted Lancastrian brogue to the max. The Dickensian 'City Hobgoblins' which should've got em in the top 20 brings this to full effect. 'English Scheme' is fucking bang on in its view of the real English Class system, so fuck all the historians and those University educated social workers, check this out for the real deal. 'The Man Whose Head Expanded' brings into the fray that tiny casiotone synthesizer as the Mancunians explore anal retentiveness and technological loathing. Smith's the sole survivor from '77, and goes through more lineup changes than a Wednesday afternoon in Bilston St. Police station. But the quaint vibe of this band is retained throughout. The Fall bring in a bit of glamour to their duffle coat outlook with the introduction of Brix Smith. She became Mr Smiths new American wife before the divorce, and takes lead vocal on the violin clad 'Hotel Bloedel' . However we soon re-enter the very bleak English 'Winter', that was in actual fact recorded in the home of Elvis P. The quirky 'Eat Y'self Fitter' only condones the fact that these may not be to everyone's taste, but I couldn't really find any tracks on here that don't own some unique trait and this selection don't even cover the 'Witch Trial' period. So be a devil and hear it for y'self. UK CONTENDER
'The Band That Time Forgot' LP
Yet another artifact from depths of the Belfast punk scene and arguably one of the best punk bands never to have made it to a wider audience. Rudi in case you didn't already know, were always something special. Even cunts like me could suss that out from only hearing their all-time classic 'Big Time'. On this track alone they managed to create and spread their name to mainland Britain and further afield. Which for a Belfast band was no mean feat in it's day. So when this collection arrived at the Wolf's lair (cheers Joe), I started licking my lips with anticipatio. This is all those long lost sessions and demos. I love the way they can produce addictive punk rock with tunes. And they don't do it in the namby pamby poppy way were accustomed to in today's poppunk scene. No these fuckers are lethal as they sell us their addictive Class A punk. Take the slow bass burning turn on o,f 'Radio On' with a great raunchy guitar riff that feedbacks infrequently above that simple tune. Lead singer Brian Young has one of those neat punk vocals. He can hold your attention, and alongside Jake Burns sawdust bite or Greg Cowans yob howl, makes for a much needed medium. 'Claws And Clutches' has one of those horrible disco guitar runs in it like what the Black Arabs done to 'Pretty Vacant', but like the Arabs version it works so well. Considering it's 1979 this was still prototype punk. The demo of 'Mission Impossible' is another class track with those catchy "ahhhhhh aaaaaahhhs" that must've sent the girls running to the toilets in the Harp bar. Rudi are probably the main punk band from Belfast with natural sex appeal and just enough of it to cross over into the big divide, but sadly that wasn't to be on a label like Good Vibrations. 'Murder On The Second Floor' is another strong track even with this two track recording (can yer believe?), the quality just shines though. Rudi are a band who know how to make an impact with just the bare necessities, we don't get highly produced ego trips or massive big thrash outs on this set, in fact I doubt there's one in the whole back catalogue, but what we do get is style. Rudi don't need to speed things up to hit home, and they don't need petrol bombs for inspiration either. They sing about werewolves, murders and big let downs everyday stuff with the only exception it's written by a very talented bunch of Belfast punks. If you wanna comparison they're like early Undertones crossed with the Outcasts now there's a damning collaboration if ever I heard one. As this set progresses into their more mainstream era like on the thick coated guitar run of 'Crimson' from a 1981 John Peel session, they really go for the poppier market. But don't get put-off coz unlike others who trail blaze this path Rudi had an uncanny knack of making it count. 'Tigerland' follows with less glitz and more glam as Gordy Blair's bass runs along with sporadic guitar flashes make their presence felt. 'Where I was Dead' reminds me of that other Belfast band made good...the Starjets, with it's arrangement and vocal harmonies. From the same session they up the pace a notch for 'Excitement', that's got some good slashing guitars. I like the quirky 'Toytown' a lot, with some precission guitar picking and a crisp 'n' clear production from another Radio one session. But with the inclusion of synths on this session it don't add much more to what they already got so was pretty uncalled for. They seem to be experimenting with the sound and even have a major Skids feel about some of these tracks. This period showcases Rudi at a crossroads, they've burnt out the punk era and are looking for something new, just a pity some major backing never showed coz these boys despite getting lost in no mans land towards the end could've made a far greater impact!
WORTH A LISTEN
THE INCITORS 'Still No Future'
CD DEMO 2002
Brand new band here (to the Wolf's Lair at least), from the wilds of Norwich, UK. The Incitors were highly recommended by Jake from Active Slaughter, and you know what he's dead right! They're a fucking very unhealthy snotty addition to the current tame UK punk scene. And on this 5 track demo release alone, prove we are still capable of dishing out the dirt now and again. Talking of which, they kick of with an anthemic Dirt sounding duel male/female vocal attack, called 'Mummy Said'. But unlike Dirt, the Incitors possess a really big beefy guitar sound to add fuel to their very snotty salvos. And if you've heard Dirt that makes all the difference. Even the camp comic intros before each song are very well chosen too. This is a band with a lotta shit to to kick, as well as a dry sensa yuma hidden beneath the rage. Now if like me you were a champion of that classic early Discharge guitar sound, you'll fuckin love these, as they mix big riffs with big digs of Anarcho protest, so you get the best of both worlds. This really comes to the front on 'Live On CNN'. See even the song titles conjure up interest. The snotty male vocal sounds like a very pissed off Malcolm Owen (The Ruts) in places and takes precedence as they chug into their best track of the bunch, the really impressive 'Sadist'. Were dragged like a piece of shit through an animals viewpoint of the torture they dish out in these vivisection labs. It's got a fucking great catchy chorus of "Sadistic Sadistic Sadistic Scientist", that'll have ya singing along to before you've even lit the petrol bomb outside H.L.S. The Incitors are a band who hate coppers too, which won't lose em any brownie points in this neck of the system. But what I like best about em is their heavy style. They can incite a tune as well as a riot, and that ability together makes for a very lethal cocktail on record. As the high pitched female vocal swaps tales of CCTV invasion of privacy and high profile policing on our streets, the male vocals spits out very fittingly "they're gonna get'cha!" They close proceedings with a frantic cover of the Partisans 'Police Story', just to show they got pedigree too. Impressive debut and a band to look out for. Got no bands details or address?, but I'm sure a web presence is only a matter of time! WORTH A LISTEN
'The Complete Singles Collection' LP
Now here's a collection to savour. This record captures Rudi from their snottier energetic early late 70's development, right up to their synthesized last 45 and eventual demise in the early 1980's. Rudi can't fail eh, well on this collection they don't, but it begs the question why they're the one band that got criminally ignored by the deaf A&R departments of the late 70's, while all around em bands were getting snapped up? Anyway forget what couldve been and concentrate on a timeless classic in the shape of Rudi's most famous track the addictive 'Big Time'.'Big Time' kicks off this album and is a song that conjures up so much to all who hear it. It's all about the spoiled kid in the neighbourhood or the band who had it all, and how having everything on a plate can mean fuck all in reality. Great observations, sarcy lyrics and that fucking great guitar break with a raw wobbly lone note, makes this flawed masterpiece classic. This song is still fresh and stlll relevant today, so if you ain't heard this track yet don't miss out nick it, steal it or bootleg it coz it's that good! There's something very alluring about the early crop of Belfast punk bands. Maybe it was the warzone they were living in, or coz they were truly hungry for a change? Well whatever it was they had a great gift for the attitude of punk that was aped by so many and meant by so few. The follow up single 'I-spy' shows a definite improvement in confidence as their playing gets a lot more adventurous. Lots of guitar licks round this one off, great stuff. The slow but atmospheric intro to 'Genuine Reply' shows what the band are really capable of even at this early punk stage. It's just a glimpse before they jump back up a gear into a more frisky ending. The clever echo on Brian Young's lead vocal gives him a distinct 50's crooner feel. Which sounds strange in print reviewing a punk record but it works so well. And that's another string to Rudi's bow, they had original arrangements. Also I suspect Brian Young's roots in music were showing through as he's now fronts Belfasts only rockabilly outfit Sabrejets. Again taking no emphasis from his band mates, co guitarist - Ronnie Mathews and the rhythm section of Gordy Blair on bass and Graham Marshall on drums al contribute to distinctive Rudi sound. 'The Pressures On' is probably my second favourite track after 'Big time', with it's powerchord intro and those Stuart Adamson (Skids) dual guitar riffs that creat a fucking highly compact song to play at the local pop punkers. They keep up the momentum with the punkier sounding 'Who's Who' that owns one of those snotty riffs you've heard everywhere over the 25 years. Like the Clash, Rudi made great use of the dropout to bass 'n' drums in a lot of their songs which is great when bands can pull it off, and Rudi certainly can. '14 Steps' which appears late on in their career adopts a neat synth run but nothing too extravagant, and works well alongside the regular duel guitar's. They end with their final swan song 'Love Is Electric' which never seen the light of day till now, and is a long way down the line from 'Big Time', but is still capable of worming its way into your brain as they go for that early 80's electronic feel but with just enough guitars to make it work. My only fault with Rudi and possibly one of the reasons they never made it to a bigger audience is some of their songs are way too obscure lyrically to carry the payload of the tunes. Pop bands today can sing throwaway rubbish and get hits but this band who had so much more just don't have the knack to pull the trigger as often as they should've. But even so, they still del;iver the goods more than most. If I had to choose I'd go for this collection of the definitive Rudi as it's more compact, picks the superior mixes and should be heard by all walks of punk life. In the words of the song... this is a Genuine Replay. ULSTER CONTENDER
'All Snowy On The Pond' CD
(GAB02) Feb. 2003
The latest offering from these Midland punk rock 'n' rollers, who've been pretty quiet of late. This is a sneak preview of their forthcoming album release on the new French label Acrude Records. It looks set to be another showcase for the glossys, but I dunno if the punk buying public will take to it this time around as it's still pretty tame for the hardcore crowd? But despite that god awful name, Pigfish manage to let the music do the talking a lot more on this outing. Kicking off with a powerful rocker called 'U.R.A.C.' which can only mean one thing in Wolverhampton...cunt! They still give us that mix 'n' match sound of pop punk, smooth hardcore and prickly rock, which is ok by me but for every good track there's an average one lurking beneath the ice. 'Creosote The Baby' is a tune where Pigfish excel, it's a rampant instrumental from their debut album bought back to life, which nicely warms us up for the introduction to their best track of the new stuff....the juicy rifferama of 'Can U Afford It'. I love that big riff this song is built on, and I'd be quite happy if Pigfish stuck to instrumentals coz they got some neat chunky fuckers in their duel guiitar tool box. I still find those dual vocals a hindrance, but thankfully the Russ Frame blocked up nasal drone of their earlier stuff has been removed for a more powerful delivery. We now only have to contend with those poppy high pitched back ups that grate an awful lot! 'Anal Critter' is probably the best track where the vocals work together well, especially with that solid riff and chiming guitar solo. They totally change tack on 'Bulsara' with it's accoustic intro and off the wall lyrics, before going head first into a basic sphaghetti westernised romper. The cryptic '1 six 8' has a heads down feel, with a neat guitar running in background. More changes are afoot in the Pogueish 'Drinking With Danny', which adds a new side to their quadrupal personality. I always get a feeling from hearing Pigfish that they are still looking for an identity in their music and style. They've got 25 years to choose from but don't seem comfortable with any so far? They close on the zany 'Goose Scales' which despite the humour was one of the most important tracks on here, with that ultra dumb addictive rifferama and scary ending. We also get 9 bonus tracks from their debut album 'Creosote The Baby'. Best of which were the band anthem 'P.i.g.f.i.s.h.' and it's fast paced sinister riff, this is the kinda road they oughta travel down more often. Also the jerky stomper of 'Volt Jolt' with it's jumpstart buzz and addictive chorus, deserved an accolade. However these are all paled into insignificence by the bands crowning glory, the highly impressive 'Turkish Delight' with that giant riff, humoured tale and compulsive beat. All 20 tracks come with a good production, pity the identity crisis is still looming though. AVERAGE!
SAD SOCIETY 6-track demo
I picked up this, the latest 6 track set from singer Deek whilst witnessing Sad Society live on stage in Brum last month (see gig reviews). It's great to say they live up to the songs both on stage and on record. Sad Society are a class punk act in the old tradition of tunes and big beefy guitars. However it's a sad fact of our punk society that they are still criminally unknown outside a small but growing Scottish fanbase. This set of demos brings us yet another 6 reasons to tempt some record company into putting their stuff out instead of the production line of crap a lot em flog us these days. This band need a bigger audience coz they just keep getting better and better. The 75% totally new line-up apart from original founder member Deek on vocals is by far the best one yet! Sad Society have been given a new lease of life, the new members have added new impetus and I hope it pays off for em. 'No Flowers' with a BIG guitar riffed intro builds up into a mid-paced monster that'll have you hooked from the opening salvos. It's clean hard power and tension at it's best especially when the guitars fully rip in. 'No-One' comes in with poweful drum rolls and more guitar bursts that move up a gear and comes over as pretty fast 'n' intense punk fayre till those machine gun drum rolls move into the grand finale of "No-One!" 'Weird' is where Deek's Edinburgh accent makes me think of Wattie Buchan! There are similarities in delivery I never noticed before and they're from the same city, but that's where the similarities end, coz Deek has a bit more suss I reckon. This also comes with a sinister laugh to keep you on the edge of your seat. 'Crucify' takes things on a more upbeat slant with some of the best arrangements, particularly the feedbacking last verse and neat guitar work. Deeks voice and the guitar and bassdriven roar are well in tune and it gives the band a new more powerful dimension. 'Phophesy' is more dealings with the future and what it holds, which seems to be the main influence on these set of songs... whats gonna happen next? Last track and my fave of the lot is a slow burning anthem called 'Suicide Party' that has a really nasty habit of kicking in full blast with it's anthemic "Invite...to Suicide...Suicide Party" fucking great stuff. Ain't it great to hear a punk band in this day 'n' age who are able to capture power, suspence and tension without a barrage of gurgled screams and hardcore ARRRRGGHSSS to spoil it all. These geezers have a definite simmering angst about em but it's bought out with suss and it's real coz they're REAL!
SCOTTISH CONTENDER Write to Deek Wilson 29 Durar Drive, Clermiston, Edinburgh, EH4 7HW, Scotland UK
'Too Old To Live, Too Young To Die' CDEP (HBRO17) 2002
"Were the middle children of history man, no purpose, no place. We have no great war, no great depression. Our great war is a spiritual war, our great depression is our lives"....welcome to Weekly Carouse, who despite their drunken name are melodic German hardcore, crossed with a solid core of tunes. This 6-track CDEP is a lot better than I was anticipating. It's a definite improvement from my first sample of the band on the Derita Sisters live tour CD (reviewed elsewhere on this page). Weekly Carouse in the studio are way more superior. They create a fair share of melody, which is backed with a crystal clear powerful sound. They still sing about their 'Friends', but the feel ain't half as contrived as it sounds live. Frank the singer/guitarist tells me he's highly influenced by bands from the California scene, like Social Distortion and Social Unrest. Both good benchmarks and bands with tunes and turmoil in their make-up, that pretty much sums up what Weekly Carouse is all about. They can play their gear too, having been around the German scene for over a decade now. But they sometimes come over as perfectionists, which has a habit of giveing some of their tracks a clinical feel. And for uncultured swines like meself utter perfection is a drawback in punk. I was hoping they'd just let rip for a number or two, and capture the rawness from their live performance, along with their ultra smooth studio technique. All the songs are sung in perfect English because they sound better sung that way, apparently. They leave us well impressed with their last and best number, the epic sounding 'Who Are You?'. A track which is the standout number in their back catalogue, and translates well from the live track into the studio. This brooding number deserves your attention at the very least, and if they build up on tracks like this they gotta very bright future on the piss. WORTH A LISTEN!
Split CDEP (PRANK046) 2002
The latest 9-track release from the raging Prank label outta San Francisco comes with an equally raging duo from the Extreme Hardcore wing of the punk arena. Both pioneering bands in their field so I'm led to believe? Well you can call me an old timer if you like but I'd say Discharge are written all over these pair, despite Ken Prank's claim of Siege being the instigators. Well whoever forged the first ring in the extreme noise sulphur pits Rhode Islands DropDead are totally new to me sonically speaking. I've spotted their name in print over the last decade in various hardcore zines like Hell & Damnation, and know they have a reputation worldwide amongst the hordes of extreme noise orks. However that rep. don't hold up to much on these tracks. This session sounds fast and extreme but predictable thrash. It's like they gotta be manic for manics sake, leaving a trail of blurred irritation in their wake. Maybe that's the point? This is a band who's drummer needs an award for flailing in an extreme environment. I don't predict a drummers life span in a thrash band is gonna be very long at all? And Dropdead is a suitable name as far a beating the drums goes, coz the whole band don't change pace for the entire 6 tracks. Which ain't no bad thing if it was a diverse attack, but sadly diversity is something Dropdead have yet to conquer. We have to sit through a very samey set whilst the screeching snarl supplied from Bob the singer, is just adding salt to our wounds. I was hoping they'd just for one song try and break the mould or change down a gear. They nearly did it on 'Emipre Of Bone' with that sinister intro that lasted all of 18 seconds, before it was soon back to the heads down and "fastest to the drummers funeral gets a Discore badge!" attitude. From this session alone, I'd say Dropdead are way overrated, but maybe as Ken suggests they're a lot better in a live situation, we live in hope. Totalitar who are Sweden's raging godfathers of classic political thrash, give us 3 snotty blasts in a less predicable fashion. Great snarly vocals are a bonus, backed with an impressive raw dose of thrash emanating from their amps. Despite the Swedish delivery getting lost on the translated lyric sheet (do we really need to know what bands of this ilk are singing about?) we are left to make up our own minds on what motivates goblins to pick up guitars and microphones? For bands like Totalitar you go solely with the mood of the songs, and these have a knack of creating one with subtle diversions in their style. Even a little chord change makes a big difference in the overall blitz. I think these would also suffer from over exposure on maybe an album, but the 3 tracks supplied here are just enough to impail you. Their best track was left till last and 'Ou Ar Status Qu' all about status in your own subterranean ghetto, has a great dirty Discharge riff we can all feel coming outta of a ripped up Marshall stack...good stuff! For an introduction not bad, but I still demand more from my punk rock than just heads down speed to get me charged. AVERAGE!
'Tattered And Torn' 45
New UK outfit here from the deep South with a well worn name! They come out the traps blazin with loads of energy and bags of speed, but not a lot else on offer I'm afraid. 'Tattered And Torn' I presume is their debut 45 so there's plenty of scope for improvement as plummit through 4 tracks of self-penned guitar driven punk. The throwaway lyrics are fun but unmemorable and this kinda happy D.I.Y. punk is great in theory or for a warm up at a punks picnic only. To make a bigger impact they need a lot more character in the delivery, a dose of snot in the vocal or a big lick of power on the sound. The best tracks are up first with 'Elmore Jones' and their "whoah whoah whoah" chorus followed by the slightly less erratic 'Legendary Gravedigger' which is done in the same vein. The production is thinly coated with biscuit tin drums, but most likely how the band wanna sound. For me it was throwaway punk for a disposable generation and a 45 that you'll forget very easily by the time you load up your next record.PLASTIC!