This is the second round of re-issues from Southern Lord (TKO Records on vinyl) of this seminal hardcore band. It follows hot on the heels of the Darby Crash Rides Again release, and chronicles the band’s early years, when they decided to form their own record company and put their stuff out themselves. So, included on this collection are the Pick Your King EP, as well as the Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes, plus some compilation tracks and ripping live recording that they did in 1983 at the Met in Portland. Some of these tracks are available elsewhere, but Southern Lord does a great job with the remaster job and the liner notes, which includes a incisive essay by Jerry A., so you’ll want to pick this up. Plus, they manage to cram 45 tracks of pure hardcore bliss onto one CD.
This is an important release because it showcases the band at the height of their hardcore phase. The two EPs and the live set on this are essential slabs of hardcore at its loudest and fastest. This is the pure stuff, that people can easily point to as being representative of the music of the day. It’s great stuff, but during the compilation tracks you can hear the band moving away from just straight up hardcore, mixing it with metal and hard rock. Of course, this mixture of styles and sounds would be perfected on their all-time classic Feel The Darkness record many years later (also scheduled to be reissued soon).
So for any fan of punk rock, this one is a no-brainer. Hopefully, you’ll be like me and appreciate a lot of the twists and turns the band made during their career. They are one of the groups that is crucial in bridging the gaps between punk and metal. But all that would mean nothing if the record didn’t slay, and this definitely does the trick.
(Southern Lord Recordings, PO Box 291967, Los Angeles, CA 90029)