Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Summer comps not summer camps (part 4): "Punk Lives! - Let's Slam" compilation Lp, 1986

While I fully agree with the bold statement that "Punk lives!" instead of slamming, let's just talk about it for a minute. Actually, I am not completely sure about the proper meaning of the phrase "Let's slam". Does it refer to slam-dancing, which can be defined as "taking part in a form of dancing to rock music in which people deliberately collide with one another", aka good ole pogo? I suppose, although, to be fair, the deliberate collusions are usually not really consensual. In other terms, you often end up with a hairy, sweaty drunk colliding with the pint you just bought, spilling half of it on the floor (or worse, on that one good pairs of trousers you happened to have washed just the day before, you know what I mean) in the process and trying to hug you to apologize afterwards... You know the feeling. 

Punk lives! - Let's slam was a compilation Lp released in 1986 on Slam Records (I see a recurring theme here), a sublabel of Rot Records which was run by members of Riot Squad. I rarely see Rot Records mentioned in topical punk conversations which seems a bit unfair as the label not only released classic records from English Dogs (the Forward into battle Lp and the To the end of the Earth 12'', which rate as some of the best metal-punk records of all time), Varukers (the Massacred millions 12'') or the oft overlooked Picture Frame Seduction (the Hand the rider Lp) but also put out some excellent compilations with great lineups in the mid-80's that are sadly seldom discussed. Granted, they did not exactly look stunning (they did not include inserts which is such a missed opportunity in retrospect...) and often included materials that had already been released elsewhere, but still, Rot Records should, at least, be acknowledged for its promotion of international hardcore punk in the insular UK. World War Three included tracks from Crude SS, Raw Power, Rovsvett or Zyklome A and What are you going to do about that hole in your head? had Olho Seco, Puke or Inferno. As for the compilations that focused solely on UK punk, they often displayed strong lineups (No Choice, External Menace, The Enemy, Oi Polloi, English Dogs...) combined with wacky titles like A kick up the arse or Have a rotten Christmas. Quality stuff for the most part, I'd say, without mentioning that Rot Records kept going for a few years after the so-called UK82 wave died out. 

Punk lives!, despite its rather ugly look and the absence of any information about the bands, is a fine example of what the label was the best at: solid, diverse and modern punk compilation Lp. Of course, in 1986, I was just a fat three year old who was already spending too much time watching animes on the telly, so you can imagine I did not buy the record at the time. The main reason why I got this compilation a few years ago was because it included one of my favourite anarcho songs ever: Anihilated's "40 dumb animals". Which takes me to the actual content of the record.

The Lp contains twelve songs and eight bands (four bands have two of their songs included, one on each side). I think it is more practical to process one band after another so let's start with... Anihilated, form the Ipswich area. "Inferno" and the aforementioned "40 dumb animals" are on this Lp and if you have never heard these songs, you are in for a treat. Both songs first appeared on the band's second demo tape recorded in 1985 and originally entitled Shadows of fear, though it would subsequently be renamed Speedwell demo (after the name of the studio) and is nowadays largely known as such. While Speedwell marked the band's shift toward metal, their first effort, 1983's How much more, was firmly rooted in the glorious noizy anarchopunk tradition of Dirge or Disorder (the song "Book of death" was lifted from that recording). The Speedwell sessions are my favourite materials from Anihilated (with just the one "n" because it looks punkier, a spelling I totally validate). Of course, you can hear that the band was getting heavily into the then blooming thrash metal scene but the music kept that raw, urgent, angry punk sound. Charged haired punx playing fast metal. Along with early Onslaught and Concrete Sox, this Anihilated demo is my favourite thrashy metal punk recording. "Inferno" opens the Lp and starts with a super epic intro (which reminds me of over-the-top triumphant Japanese hardcore actually) before bursting into galloping, English Dogs-influenced raw metal punk. This is catchy as hell and makes me want to wear a bandana with permed hair and headbang. But for me, "40 dumb animals", Punk lives!'s last song, is the unsurpassable gem. It is a much punkier number than "Inferno" though there is some metallized riffing. The song starts deceptively like a fast thrashy one before slowing down and getting into a heavy and crunchy mid-paced beat, enhanced with a snotty delivery and half-shouted, half-spoken parts, we are in the midst of anarcho brilliance. I particularly enjoy the changes of pace in that one and how passionate the words sound and how the youthful vocal flow fits absolutely perfectly with the music. I never fail to sing into an imaginary mic when playing "40 dumb animals", especially when the singer vociferates "money-making muuurdaaaaarghhhh". It's like '83 Antisect and Icons of Filth with a thrashy metallic Legion of Parasites touch playing at an ALF benefit (the song is about the fur trade). This song is untouchable. Cracking stuff. Of course, Anihilated would go on to become even more thrash-metal afterwards (the Path to destruction 12'' is still punk enough for my liking, not so much what followed) and they have been playing again since 2010.

The second band on Punk lives! - Let's slam is Stone the Crowz, with "Suffer children" and "Friendship", well technically anyway since the songs were mistitled, the correct names being "Suffer little children" and "Friendship through profit" (both of them appearing originally on the Suffer little children 1985 demo tape). I suppose that Stone the Crowz are mostly remembered nowadays - assuming they are at all - as a pre-Axegrinder band. And indeed, they are since Trev (on vocals) and Matt (on the bass) would form Axegrinder a few years later (they also played together in Tyrants of Hate in-between). Actually, Trev's coarse, furious vocals are pretty recognizable and being a fan of his, I suppose I cannot really help but see Stone the Crowz as a punky Axegrinder, quite untrue I know, but it must come from my reptilian brain. Apparently the phrase "stone the crows" is an  old-fashioned exclamation used to express disgust and surprise and I guess that the "z" substituted the "s" because there was a Scottish blues band called Stone the Crows (though I doubt someone could  have confused both bands...). Anyway, beside Trev and Matt, the band also had Steve Beattie on the drums, at the time running Endangered Musik (the two Stone the Crowz were released on his label) and later on founder of Plastic Head Distribution and drummer for Disgust. Musically, Stone the Crowz were, to the core, an anarchopunk band. Heavy, threatening, energetic mid-tempo punk music with a direct, in your face vocal style and some Flux-like feedbacks as texture. I am especially reminded of Exit-Stance quite a bit (though they were not as tribal sounding), Icons of Filth and also of Anti-System and Antisect in their mid-paced moments. The two songs are really good and convey a genuine sense of outrage and disgust. I strongly recommend the two demos of the band (they were reissued on vinyl on Overgound Records a few years ago) if you are into pounding, heavy, almost primitive anarchopunk. Ace.

Following up are Rattus. Yes, Rattus. With the song "Naytelma" (which should have been spelt "Näytelmä" if I'm not mistaken) taken from the Will evil win 1985 demo. I suppose everyone is fairly familiar with Rattus, probably the most famous Finnish hardcore band with Tervet Kadet. The sound is rather raw with a metal influence creeping in (in the drumming for instance), as if the band had listened to Venom a lot before entering the studio while remaining rooted in their old hardcore sound. The riffs are actually really good (but then, Rattus always had great riffs) and I like the rather primal atmosphere of the song, but overall it may lack a little in pure energy and aggression (the vocals are sometimes monotonous) which are really traditional Finnish hardcore's forte. By no means a bad song though and that first riff is pretty much perfect. 

After Rattus, things mellow considerably with one song from the mighty Political Asylum, "Cat's eyes" (mispelt "Cats eyes"...), who have another one, "Flight of fancy", on side two. I am a big time fan of PA (as can be seen here) so, as cheesy as they might objectively sound at times, no nasty comments about the band will be allowed here. If you have never heard of them, they were an anarchopunk band from Dunfermline, Scotland, that was quite prolific, resilient (they survived the 80's after all), versatile and far more adventurous than most (trigger warning: they had progressive rock moments). If you can get past what Ian Glasper called the "fretboard heroics" of the guitar player (the expression makes me giggle but, still, brace yourselves since there are a lot of solos, too many in fact), PA's "Cat's eyes" is a wonderful melancholy song full of atmospheric melodies and emotions. Although there was such a thing as a "PA sound", the band really excelled in expressing different moods and feelings from one song to another, so that on one recording, you could have a really upbeat number, followed with an angry one, then a lengthy autumnal ballad, a gothy postpunk gem and so on. I suppose we are in the slow and mournful department with that dark, poignant song, that sounds like The Mob and New Model Army OD'ing on guitar solos. "Cat's eyes" was originally released on the great Valium for the Masses demo tape from 1984. On the other side, PA contributed one of their most famous songs (I think?) "Flight of fancy". The sound is much thinner than on the previous recording as it was recorded in the practice room with four microphones strategically placed around the room (I'm quoting here). As I mentioned, PA were good at conveying different moods and this is a perfect example. While "Cat's eyes" made you feel miserable, "Flight of fancy" is much more dynamic, energetic and, well, punkier. The trademark tunes and chorus are still there and Ramsey - while not the most gifted punk singer - still had a very recognizable voice that sometimes reminds me of protest folk singer. "Flight of fancy" has an old-school punk-rock feel to it with, again, some great guitar parts and catchy singalong parts. This version of the song was originally included on the band's third demo Walls have Ears, from 1986, but it would be rerecorded for the Someday mini Lp in 1987. A truly unique band that, whatever the style they embrace, never fail to sound fresh and interesting.

The next band is Rabid, from Leicester, one that I already touched upon four years ago here. If you remember (I assume you do not because of the the internet-induced decrease of our attention span and all that), Rabid were a rather typical but enjoyabe UK82 bands that had two records on Fallout in 1982 and that was pretty much it. I haven't been able to find details about the recording sessions of their two songs that ended up on Punk Lives but they were definitely recorded in the mid-80s since Rabid had turned metal. It was of course not unusual at the time (the other possible path being "turning new wave") but it was a tricky endeavour since, well, playing metal of the crossover thrash variety is more difficult than straight up snotty punk-rock. I suppose English Dogs have a lot to answer for considering these two songs, and I do mean A LOT. From the riffs, the vocal tones, the chorus to the song structures, everything is reminiscent of Forward into Battle, although it sounds nowhere as powerful, energetic and mean. It is not terrible, but pretty average especially when you consider that there were far better metal-punk bands at the time, I suppose from some demo recording and the band stopped after that. For some reason, "Bloody road to glory" (which was also the title of their 1982 Ep) and "Black cat" makes me want to drive a car in the desert wearing wayfarers, although I don't have my driving licence and I look like a knobhead with sunglasses.

Poison Justice also have two tracks included on Punk Lives, and really good ones too. However, I have not been able to find much information about them. Prior to this Lp, PJ appeared on a DIY mixtape called Ere Whats This? volume 2 compiled by U.K. Tapes (I suppose an enthusiastic teenager armed with a tape-to-tape machine) in 1983 in Huddersfield. There were three volumes of Ere Whats This? and, interestingly, the second one also had "songs" from Deformed, Devoid and Genocide Association, that fake hardcore band done by Dig from Earache. But anyway, the four PJ songs that appeared on the tape were rather raw but really tuneful and catchy slices of catchy political punk-rock, not unlike a low-fi version of The Instigators or Naked, the potential of which was hindered by the sound. The band returned as a different animal on the compilation Lp however, with a much clearer sound, improved musicianship and a new postpunk sound. "Rebellious city" and "Life to it's end" (the proofreader must have been on vacation) sound adequately dirgy and melancholy, with epic tribal drumming, eerie goth-like guitar parts, tuneful vocals and catchy chorus that will stick in your head for the rest of the day ("Enjoy your freedom, the future is bleak"). I can definitely picture a crowd of scruffy, gothy punks circa 1985 dancing lasciviously to these songs. The sound is lacking in thickness (not enough bass probably) but if you enjoy the postpunk side of anarchopunk like I do, it pretty much ticks all the right boxes. Somewhere between Slaughter of the Innocent, Decadent Few, Vex and Southern Death Cult. It certainly would have made for a good Ep.

The last band I am going to talk about has just the one song on side two and is called Throbs, with a song entitled "Happy but ignorent" (the record should have been called Punk Lives - Let's Misspel!). I think the band was from Surrey and they released two demo tapes in 1985 on their own Homebrew Music, respectively called Make Homebrew not War and Skatebords from Hell. I don't really know what to say about Throbs, judging from just one song. Pretty standard mid-paced UK anarchopunk, with basic tribal drumming, a fuzzy guitar sound, punk-rock bass lines and snotty tunes. Pretty decent and I suppose that they listened a lot to Flux of Pink Indians, DIRT and Anti-Pasti (which they covered live apparently). One of the members also played in the new-wave band NMBD (No More Bloody Destruction) and Throbs appeared on a couple of LOL tapes as well. What else? Oh yeah, they of course had a song called "We make homebrew not war" which is never a bad thing.

A lovely compilation with enough standout songs to keep everyone interested. I'm still not sure about the slam thing though.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Summer comps not summer camps (part 3): "Words Worth Shouting" compilation Lp, 1985

The commencement of the blog, sometime in the late 18th century, coincided with me purchasing a derelict castle in the old French countryside. After some much needed repairs and the addition of a massive crocodile pond to repel marauders - mostly apolitical skinheads at that time - I eventually felt safe enough to move my record collection into the new premises and started to put my disorganized thoughts to paper, that is when I was not battling away against rival punk tribes (like the Street Punx for instance, who, despite their ferocious look, were too concerned about their haircut being right on to make for great opponents). But anyway, a reclusive life behind thick stone walls has made me completely unaware of the passing of seasons and the very notion of it "being sunny outside" sounds like a conceptual oddity to me.   

Which takes me to this crucial point. Summer might be officially almost over but I am still not done with my delightful compilations so here we go again with vintage compilations Lp that you would have loved to listen to while you were posing hard in Berlin or Barcelona (thankfully, my astrologist told me that there would also be a summer next year).

Today let's have a little conversation about Words Worth Shouting, a compilation released in 1985 on Radical Change, a Norwich-based label run by the Disrupters that, beside records from their own band, also put out materials from Icon AD, Destructors, Self-Abuse and the mighty Revulsion. Of course, I love the content of the compilation (if I did not I would be watching football with the lads right now instead of staring numbly at a computer screen) and I will be raving about it in due time but first I would like to draw your precious attention to how it looks. The record cover was the work of a certain Mid, then the guitar player for a young unknown Norwich band called Deviated Instinct. One might infer that the local connection with the Disrupters (the Lp was a benefit for Norwich hunt sabs) was the reason for the inclusion of Deviated Instinct on the Lp and for Mid drawing the cover. Although you could say that it is not, technically speaking, his most stunning and polished work, it is interesting to see that it already included a lot of what would become trademarks of crust aesthetics: threatening crows, reapers, grinning skulls, nuclear weapons, allegories of ecological apocalypse and so forth. This drawing was also - I think - his first contribution to a proper record (though the first DI demo must have seen the light of day a little before) and I, for one, cannot fail to be impressed by it. Protocrust art? Maybe I am putting too much significance into it but the composition is striking in its "crustness" and the variations around it have been innumerous during the 30 years that followed. And I just love the signature with the early DI heart logo. Good cheesy.

The backcover won't probably ring a bell unless you are familiar with French anarchopunk. It was drawn by Tapage, from Paris, in the very different but typical style of his (usually punx engaging in subversive activities) and if you must know, he still draws many handouts to this day and has been doing so for as long as anyone can remember. At that time he was following Haine Brigade on tour and, since they also appeared on the compilation, he told me that's how he ended up doing some artwork for it. If anything, this will tell you that old punks really never die, especially when they have a soft spot for communards.

But let's get to the text. The brilliantly named Words Worth Shouting includes 13 bands, 11 from England, 1 from France and 1 from West Germany. The opening band is Contempt, from Wolverhampton. I suppose most of you will be familiar with them because Contempt were quite active and prolific in the 90's. My first encounter with the band was through the Shouting the Odds 1997 Lp which I rate as the band's most memorable work (and even as one of the best UK anarchopunk records from the 90's). That Lp had catchy singalong tunes reminiscent of proto oi bands like Sham 69, Menace or the Rejects but with serious anarchopunk lyrics with a working-class twist. It sounded pissed and genuine and I played that Lp a lot when I bought it. Of course, the song "Take an animal's view" was recorded in 1985 with a different lineup made up of people from Vendetta, 7th Plague and Pulex Irritans (the Aristocrap Ep basically), but you actually can find a better recorded version of it on Shouting the Odds so that when I first played the compilation I instantly felt comfy and, well, at home. The sound is a little thin (it was Contempt's first appearance on a record) but the angry singalong tunes are here. The martial beat accompanying the "Smash the hunt up" shouts at the beginning always get me. This is a perfect example of solid, direct, angry old-school punk-rock enhanced with melodic singalongs, like a cross between Demob and Riot/Clone. That song will make you want to smash things with grace.

Next up are Axe Thrasher, an obscure band from Sleaford with a rather unfortunate name. I mean, just google "axe thrasher" and you'll end up watching embarrassing videos of spotty teenagers playing terrible thrash metal for the rest of your life. As for Sleaford itself, I know nothing about it but the newspapers Sleaford Today ran an article entitled "Yobs Leave Open Manhole" a few days ago so it is that kind of place apparently. As for the band, their song "Axe thrasher" (obviously) was their sole vinyl appearance and it sounds like a sloppier, fast and punky version of Onslaught or GBH. Not bad and certainly pogoable.

After these two minutes of thrashy punk-rock come Prem Nick (from the Disrupters) doing some spooky spoken words about the royal family. Typical anarcho stuff, very British and the ideal introduction to the Disrupters themselves and their song "Dead in the head". You know how much I love the band (right?) and the year 1985 saw the band at its peak when they released the great Alive in the Electric Chair (my ears tell me that "Dead in the head" was also recorded during one of these sessions). Dark, aggressive, intense mid-paced punk-rock with upfront threatening vocals and some catchy guitar leads that will make the song stick in your head for the rest of the day. Their sound was somewhere between The System, The Underdogs, Blitz and Kronstadt Uprising, both familiar and yet memorable. This is one of their best songs, to be sure. 

Euthanasie from Freiburg (not far from the French border) are up next with the song "Mord ohne Ende" (meaning "Murder without an end"). A very interesting band indeed and possibly, along with Enola Gay and Anti-Heroes, the closest example of a German take on UK anarchopunk in the 80's. I don't dislike deutschpunk but I am not crazy about it and if I do genuinely enjoy some bands that would fall under that umbrella (like Chaos Z, Vorkriegsphase, The Targets, Bluttat...), a lot of it leave me rather unimpressed (but then, I am hardly the expert so ignorance could also be a reason). However, Euthanasie were musically much closer to gothy postpunk than pogo-inducing noise, which in the country of X-Mal Deutschland makes sense. The sound is not too good but the song is actually great. Sincere anarcho postpunk with a melancholy enhanced by the use of the German language, a hopeless mood, somber guitar tunes and the obligatory spoken words in introduction. If Vex, Blood Robots and The Deformed had had a baby in Germany, it would have sounded like Euthanasie and would have been preparing for the revolution in its crib. The band released two tapes during its existence, Unsere Welt, eine andere Welt and The War to End all Wars which also included "Mord ohne Ende". Some recordings of the band were reissued on Lp in 2010 by Looney Tunes but I cannot say the record got a lot of attention (which is surprising since everyone and their mother claim to be into "postpunk"). Oh well...

Next up are Rotten Corpses, a band I know absolutely nothing about. The internet is quiet on the matter and there is no information about them on the inserts (unless I am missing a sheet?). With a name like that, you would expect teenagers playing some kind of metal punk hybrid or some sloppy anarchopunk but you would be wrong. The song "The promise" is quite tuneful, not exactly memorable, but it gets the feet tapping. Not far, in terms of sound, from the most melodic anarcho bands - although it is hard to be categorical from just the one song - but most of all, "The promise" sounds too much like a cheaper version of "Shuffling souls" from The Mob for its own good... But after all, why not. Referential reworking is intellectually comforting and there are worse bands to nick a riff from, right?

Freeborn follow up and it is one of the highlights of Words Worth Shouting according to your humble host. Try to get past the rather thin sound, you must be used to that by now, and enjoy "Silver lining", a genuine anarchopunk nugget that concentrates the youthful hopefulness, the idealistic politics, the motivation and the cracking tunes that define the UK anarcho wave. Freeborn were from the Norwich area, Wisbech to be accurate, and were active from 1983 to 1987. This Freeborn is not to be confused with the other anarcho band called Free-Born, that recorded the Imprisonment is the Punishment in 1983 (they could be the same band but I doubt it since the Free-Born recording is faster, snottier and more aggressive, not unlike Conflict, and the vocals are very different, but then, bands moved fast at the time). Wisbech's Freeborn apparently had a demo - though I have never heard it - and were also included on the Bloodsuckers Ep and on the fourth volume of Overground's anarcho series, Anti-Capitalism. The band was decidedly melodic with a strong '77 influence and they remind me of acts like The Pagans or Naked on that level. "Silver lining" is a rather lengthy, mid-paced number with an upfront snake-like bass line, an eerie guitar sound that displays a rather melancholy vibe and dual male/female vocals. I am reminded of Morbid Humour, Karma Sutra, Icon AD and Dominant Patri and this is an excellent thing. As I mentioned, the song is long, six minutes (!), but since it focuses on moodiness with a mournful epic vibe, I think it works better that way. A fragile but brilliant one.

Opening side two is a poem from the infamous Britanarchist Nick Toczek. Beside the cleverly impertinent political words about state violence, democracy and apathy and Northern Ireland (the poem's called "Being terrorists"), I really love the accentuation and the prosodics and how he uses them to emphasize his outrage. I would be lying if I said I could listen to a whole Lp of poems or spoken words but as an introduction to a punk record, it has an undeniable impact as it sets the tone. As for Nick himself, well, I recommend listening to "Things to do on a saturday night" at least once a week. Reports have shown that it will make your hair grow back and return your lost lovers.

The tracklist then indicates that "Country's downfall" by Death Zone is supposed to follow but it was apparently an uncorrected mistake since what you really have is "Third generation" by Protest. I do like the snotty UK82 vibe of Death Zone a lot (and the singer had the perfect voice for the genre) but Protest's song is equally good. Hailing from the sunshiny Manchester area, Protest played hard-edged UK punk reminiscent of Riot Squad, Ultraviolent and One Way System if you know what I mean. Direct rough vocals, heavy punk sound and angry singalong chorus about some "lost generation" (but then reading punk lyrics, you'd think that every generation is a lost one, which feels true when you are young and romantic when you no longer are). But anyway, "Third generation" is a strong number of anarcho UK82. Protest also appeared - as Red Alert! - on the first Bullshit Detector and on the first volume of A Country Fit for Heroes and they even had an Ep on Excentric Noise (label of Cult Maniax among other things). 

You can hold your breath for the next one since it was the first vinyl appearance of my cherished Deviated Instinct with the song "Possession" which was recorded on September, 22nd, 1985 (it was raining that day), 364 days after they played their first gig (Freeborn was also on the bill incidentally). The song is from their pre-Peaceville era so don't expect a barrage of groovy crusty metal punk. In fact, you can tell that they were still in their learning phase characterized by the Tip of the Iceberg demo, basically a rather typical UK anarchopunk sound with teenage snot, some good tunes and a bit of metal. However, the metal influence is stronger on "Possession" and although the riffing is rudimentary - as is the overall recording - you can definitely see it as a pivotal composition, though it coexisted with the punkier songs from Tip of the Iceberg. While it retains some elements of traditional anarcho music like the dual vocal structure and the vocal tones themselves (without mentioning the anarcho heart logo and the crass font), at a time when Antisect were turning into a crushing apocalyptic metal punk band, the metal influence creeping in is no coincidence (besides, the hairy letters of the song's title don't fool anyone). If DI had split up after Words Worth Shouting, it is unlikely that this version of "Possession" (as much as I am personally fond of it) would have been a benchmark in punk history. However, taken in the broader perspective of crust development, I find it fascinating. It is probably a bit too long for its own good but the anti-religious lyrics are actually well-written and you can already spot the themes of mental decay and physical alienation that would re-appear in a more articulate version later on in the band's existence. A transitional song pointing to the next step. Luv it.

Haine Brigade are next with the song "Vivre pas survivre" (meaning "To live, not to survive"). I rarely write about French punk bands on Terminal Sound Nuisance, mostly because I don't really like or even listen to French punk-rock, and never have. I am not sure why but I have always felt that the French language does not fit easily with punk music and that, more often than not, the combination of both has very awkward results. That so-called French oi has become so popular outside of France (especially among nerdy, otherwise knowledgable punx) is an endless source of wonderment to me. I guess it sounds kinda exotic? To me, it sounds like shit. But I'm not here to talk about this nonsense. Haine Brigade, from Lyon, was a good anarchopunk band with that typical upbeat French punk-rock feel and dual male/female vocals (half sung, half spoken, neither tuneful nor tuneless, but inbetween). The song is from their first 1985 demo tape and is about alienation and trying to survive in a ruthless world. Pretty raw with a strong 80's. And if you need points of comparison, imagine Icon AD jamming with UK Subs in a garage.

Next are Pax Vobiscum (it means "Peace be with you" in Latin but since it has "scum" in it, it can work as a punk name as well) from Nottingham. I don't much about them, unfortunately. They released a demo tape in 1985 (recorded in two sessions with, I think, two different singers) that was reissued by Bluurg as a split tape with Eyes On You. "Misguided sins" is a great song though and the production is good too. Mid-paced dynamic anarchopunk with gruff aggressive vocals, some bizarre synth parts and an overall deranged atmosphere somewhere between Ad-Nauseam, Disrupters and The Damned. There are some other solid tracks on the demo and I would love to know more about the band (do you?). On a side note, the drawing of Jesus on the cross is probably one of the worst I've seen. Punk, innit?

Finally, Words Worth Shouting closes with a song from the cruelly overlooked Revulsion from Norwich. I am a massive Revulsion fan and I truly enjoy everything they did, from their über snotty punk beginnings to the elegant and emotional punk-rock of the early 90's. The compilation Lp being from 1985, the song "There is no need" still fits in the band's "snotty punk" era (the songwriting would become more refined and original on their 1987 records) embodied in their Ever Get the Feeling of Utter... Revulsion 12'' recorded about six months, in February, 1985, and also released on Radical Change (there was a former Disrupters member in Revulsion). You could say that "There is no need" is the logical follow-up to the 12''. The music is fast, catchy and energetic, reminiscent of the speedier UK82 bands like Varukers, Instant Agony or Social Disease, with a dash of Conflict and Legion of Parasites, and although the recipe is fairly simple, some moments (like the brilliant change of guitar riff in the middle of the song) clearly point toward early European hardcore-punk. Revulsion never were an all-out thrash band, the sound is pretty clear overall - they certainly knew how to play - but the anger and the clever hooks turned their songs into intense, memorable singalong anthems. The vocals are pissed but not forceful and despite the shouted snotty delivery, there is always a tunefulness in them, as if always trying to grab the listener's ear. Spiky anarchopunk at its very best. "There is no need" is about animal abuse and exploitation, which makes sense for a hunt sab benefit Lp. I wish punk sounded this good more often.    


Monday, 20 August 2018

Summer comps not summer camps (part 2): "Who? What? Why? When? Where?" compilation Lp, 1984

As one Steve Lake once put it, you can't cheat karma. 

Last week I received my copy of the Instinct of Survival/Asocial Terror Fabrication split Lp, a hot new record I had been dreaming about for months (so much so in fact that I was checking the website of Doomed to Extinction pretty much on a daily basis, just to be sure I would not miss it). My hands were shaking slightly with anticipation when I put the record on the turntable and pressed the button. I was expecting, or rather I was begging to be blown away by a healthy slice of proper old-school crust, I wanted this record to be a crunchy and solid work in and of itself as well as a prime example of smart referentiality, of crust reflexivity. And this record might very well do that but I would not know... The sad truth is that when I pressed the "on" button on my turntable, it did not turn at all. After thirty minutes of grumblings and mutterings (the national sport in France), I came to the realization that my faithful turntable was broken and momentarily useless. The irony that it ceased to work precisely when I was on the verge of playing a record I had been waiting for months did not escape me and I am still hopelessly wondering why the gods of punk would do that to such a reliable servant as myself. 

That my turntable is on its arse also impacts Terminal Sound Nuisance since I will not be able to complete this series of compilation in due time, and let's face it the joke does not work as well with "winter camps" (the images it conjures up are a bit grimmer...). Unfortunately, I did not think of ripping all the compilations before. However, the second part was ready so that is what you get for today. And summer is almost over anyway. Maybe I will work on some 90's tapes until I get the turntable repaired but only time will tell. It would be also be wise to sacrifice an unplayed Discharge record to appease the gods of punk and restore balance.

That I would one day eventually write about a Mortarhate compilation was, not unlike the apocalypse in every crust song, inevitable. People can gossip about Conflict and their doings all they like, the fact is that the band's labels, Mortarhate and Fight Back, released some crucial anarchopunk records between 1983 and 1986 at a time when the UK punk-rock scene as a whole was starting to recede. Of course, the popularity of Conflict at the time certainly helped the bands that Mortarhate also put out as much as it may have overshadowed them (some great bands like Icons of Filth or Exit-Stance remain to this day tagged as "Conflict's touring partners"). I first came across the Mortarhate roster through the Compilation of Deleted Dialogues double cd that included 14 of the early Ep's of the label. It was a great introduction and a mate of mine had an original copy of Who? What? Why? When? Where? which he bought for a fiver in the early 00's. He often played the Lp when we drank at his place so that it has become a bit of an iconic record for me. I guess that I feel two levels of appreciation for this Lp. One that is very naive and spontaneous and youthful, reminiscent of a time when we did not have many records or information about punk bands but the ones we did have, we knew by heart and listened to constantly, and when I casually listen to the comp now, I have recollections of these days and how we related to music. The other appreciation is much more analytical and argumentative and tied to how I listen to punk music now and how I look at bands, in this case bands I know very well and can easily contextualize. I sometimes miss the much more direct and instant approach I once had, but knowledge and habit curve and polish one's enthusiasm and turns it into meaningful passion. Right?

Who? What? Why? When? Where? was released in March, 1984 and I have no idea if the title was a nod toward The Weirdos from LA (it would be a stretch but why not after all) whose first album from 1979 bore the same name. It was Mortarhate's fourth vinyl record (only preceded by Conflict, Lost Cherrees and Hagar the Womb's) and first compilation, and along with the subsequent ones, We won't Be your Fucking Poor and We don't Want your Fucking War!, it rates as one of the best anarcho compilations ever released. This is a blunt statement but even a quick look at the lineup confirms it with a balanced mix of classic bands like Poison Girls, Conflict or Icons of Filth (although it must be pointed out that the latter as well as many other "classic bands" on the Lp were still in their infancy at the time and not yet canonized), lesser known gems like Vex or The Mad Are Sane and obscure bands that no one knows anything about like Know the Drill or Stigma. And that is exactly what I love about old compilations, that blend of established bands and anecdotal ones that made sense at that time, in that place. Who? What? Why? When? Where? is pretty much an "all killers, no fillers" and it is a rather diverse listen highlighting different paces, moods and intents and maybe the ideal introduction to someone who is clueless about anarchopunk. Of course, it is an 80's UK punk compilation with all that entails in terms of style and sound but it is also undeniably more varied than Riot City or No Future compilations. There are 18 bands on the Lp, some of them not really needing an introduction so let's get to it.

Conflict open the record with one of the most powerful song "Cruise". Someone once told me that when they formed, Conflict wanted to take Discharge ferocity and infuse it with the aggression of Crass (or the other way round, it also works). I suppose that this song can be summarized as such. Think what you like about Conflict, but in 1984 they sounded unstoppable and were penning one anthem after another. The way "Cruise" kicks in still sends shivers down my spine and the strong narrative quality of the songwriting is visible in just two minutes. Urgent, outraged and even emotional punk. What we gonna be doin now it's 1984? 

Next are Anthrax with "It'll be alright on the night". Now, I love Anthrax and their insane tempo changes, fast riffs and vocals that sound both tuneful and yet super snotty. But I remember disliking the introduction of the song when I first heard it, deeming it "too melodic". How wrong I was. One of their best songs for sure, like The Clash, 2 Minute War and Flux of Pink Indians on speed. 

Karma Sutra, from Luton, are a bit sloppier than the first two but their sense of a good tune does show and I challenge you not to sing along "It's our world too" after listening to their song. Starting out with a postpunk vibe, the song is a mid-paced punk song with the usual tribal beats. Top chorus, of course. Who would have thought that Karma Sutra would record one of the most interesting  and original anarcho Lp's three years after in the shape of the situationist inspired The Daydreams of a Production Line Worker?

Moet the Poet... What can I say? I used to hate that low-fi pop song because it sounded so cheesy. It still does, I guess but I kinda enjoy it now. I know nothing about Moet, do you?   

Sub Squad was another mysterious band that only released that one song... It starts off with a strong tribal beat and a good bass line before turning into a classic UK82 number with a snotty and catchy singalong chorus about London Town. 

Chaos didn't exactly pick the most original name for a punk band. In fact, they arguably picked the least original one possible. From London, Chaos actually existed from 1980 to 1986 which is quite honourable. I must admit that I was only aware of the rather good Mortarhate Ep Tribal Warfare and one demo before an unsuspected discography Lp of the band saw the light of day last year (to be honest, it is not all good and the band was versatile). "Hey you" is a great song though. Simplistic but strangely compelling aggressive punk song with direct vocals and an ace pogo beat. Very punky. 

Like Sub Squad, Stigma did not leave much of a trace on the anarcho scene at the time and their only other contribution was on another compilation, Fight Back's We don't Want your Fucking War (a sublabel of Mortarhate). However, they were quite heavy and potentially powerful and I wish they recorded more (is there a hidden demo somewhere?). Dark and hard-hitting, chaotic anarchopunk that reminds me of Exit-Stance, Stone the Crowz or Icons of Filth. Angry stuff about animal rights and a very neat skull logo to boot. 

Toxic Shock was probably the band I liked the least on Who? What? Why? When? Where? back when I first heard it. A jazzy and dissonant number with no drums and a four minute length! I was just not ready for it. But being older and wiser and more verse in the artier side of the anarchopunk scene, I now understand and even enjoy Toxic Shock, though I don't think I could listen to a double Lp from them. Influenced by Poison Girls, they were an anarcho feminist duo with former members of Sanction and Day Five with a lot of songs tackling sexism and militarism. They did not technically play punk-rock and were more into experimental, hypnotic avantgarde music with a saxophone (an instrument I cannot stomach for some reason). Great smart lyrics (and drawings) about the hypocrisy and casual machismo of male punks. Still relevant (sadly).

Vex are - especially from a retrospective point of view with the so-called postpunk revival of the past few years that saw all the punks trade their crust pants for peacoats and profess their love for Sisters of Mercy and The Cure - the hidden gem of the Lp. I'm not sure what we thought about that song 15 years ago. Probably that it sounded like goth music. Which is true I suppose. Dark and heavy moody punk music with morose vocals and potent tribal drums. A bit like early Amebix, Killing Joke with some Southern Death Cult and UK Decay. What I really love about Vex is that the emotionality that permeates their songwriting goes hand in hand with their punk intensity. Anarcho goth-punk? Whatever tag you want to impose on them, Vex crafted some of the most poignant dark punk songs of the early 80's and their Sanctuary 12'' comes highly recommended.

Exit-Stance opens fire on the second side of the Lp with the song "Operation successful" that was recorded before their first Ep. You can tell that the band was still young and the sound is not quite as heavy and punishing as it would eventually become but the basis are already there. Fierce, mid-paced punk with angry and threatening vocals and hard-hitting riffs and beats. Exit-Stance conveyed a sense of anger that is hard to describe and even harder to replicate. Punk foaming with rage, punk that can spit. 

The amazing Poison Girls follow and what is there to say? The band was in full pop mode by 1984 but the lyrics were as articulate and clever as ever. "The offending article" is about male sexual predation, domestication, exploitation and how feminism can be linked with the struggle for animal rights. I must confess that it took me a long time to really enjoy Poison Girls but I have become a real sucker for their early years. I don't engage as much with later material musically but the words are always a pleasure. 

Know the Drill were two things: a one-hit wonder and a bizarre name for a band. To my knowledge, this is the only song they recorded but I could be wrong. Apparently hailing from the Manchester area, Know the Drill were what you would call nowadays an "anarcho postpunk" band, with a dark, moody, catchy music and an anarchopunk perspective on things. They remind me of Political Asylum - without the prog rock influence -, Blood Robots and Vex. Great song with a beautiful riff that is simple and yet so morose. I cannot believe such a top band only recorded the one song so be a dear and enlighten me, will you? 

You won't find a more UK82-ish band than Death Zone, from Newcastle, on Who? What? Why? When? Where? and it fits perfectly after some grim dark punk. A bit of a curious bunch Death Zone since they recorded a full Lp in 1989, a long time after that kind of sound had faded. They had a few thoroughly enjoyable demos in the early 80's and the song "The youth are to blame" can be considered as their anthem (with a name like that, it'd better be). Typical UK82 sound in the noblest sense of the term with snotty vocals, a catchy chorus, basic drumming and a memorable riff. Amazingly simple and simply amazing. I love that song.

Next is probably my favourite Lost Cherrees song, "The wait", at the height of the band's inspiration. I have always been a goofy fan of the band's bittersweet but highly tuneful brand of anarchopunk and capacity for expressing a wide variety of emotions (from sadness to anger, melancholy or joy) while always maintaining that rather upbeat Lost Cherrees sound that transpires in the melodies and the polyphonic female vocals (at that time, the band had three female vocalists). The keyboards bits are just a bonus here and this is powerful, sincere punk-rock with cracking tunes and energy. C'mon, let's all sing "His love is our blood" merrily!

16 Guns from London follow, right there with Death Zone in terms of effective and direct UK82 punk-rock with a good tune. I don't know much about the band (but they apparently reformed recently) but their early demo was pretty good if you are into pogo inducing UK punk-rock (and who isn't these days?).   

The magnificent Icons of Filth are next with an early song, "Stupid", that reflects what the band did best in their early years: angry punk-rock with direct lyrics and ominous riffs. Stig's vocals were one of a kind and his singing style - half-shouted and half-spoken - remains totally unique to this day and contributes to the "in your face" effect of the songwriting. This is classic Icons of Filth, heavy with a thick punky sound and energetic changes of pace. A crucial band that, for their threatening grooviness, probably had a strong influence on the emerging UK hardcore scene at the time (more about them here).

The Mad Are Sane have already been covered at length on Terminal Sound Nuisance a few years ago (here) so I am not going to repeat myself like a senile punk. They recorded a fantastic demo from which the song "Animal crimes" is taken and played heavy anarchopunk with pummeling tribal drums and mean, hoarse male vocals and shouted female ones. Top shelf recording to be stored with Exit-Stance and Stone the Crowz.

Finally the wonderful Hagar the Womb conclude the compilation Lp. I had no idea what the name of the band meant the first time I heard them (I suck at biblical references) and, pronounced with a French accent, "Hagar the Womb" sounds very funny... Anyway, I love the band of course, tuneful anarchopunk with dual female vocals and healthy pop tunes. "For the ferryman" is a low-fi but lovable poppy punk song with a hypnotic, almost psychedelic quality but keeping the punk spontaneity (and musicianship), between Lost Cherrees and Androids of Mu. Super catchy and a lovely way to close the record. 

A strong compilation that acts as a relevant and meaningful snapshot of the anarchopunk scene of the early-mid 80's, especially the interconnected Conflict galaxy. I cannot think of many other compilations that offered such a wide spectrum of the different genres and moods present in the anarchopunk scene of the time. Even Moet the Poet sounds alright now. Well, almost. 

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Summer comps not summer camps (part 1): "Daffodils to the Daffodils Here's the Daffodils" compilation LP, 1984

As you may know (depending on where you live), a sadistic heatwave with a grudge is currently hitting Paris and other parts of Europe pretty hard right now. Parisians are already prone to complain constantly about anything and everything, so you can easily imagine the endless angry mumblings and exasperated sighs on the streets at the time of writing (the fact that France won the world cup a few weeks ago hardly alleviates the irritation). And that's precisely the time I chose to get Terminal Sound Nuisance going again, like the mythical phoenix, with my bum sticking to the chair, soaked armpits and the distracting buzzing of flies... I'm still unsure if it is out of uncrushable dedication or a glorified sense of sacrifice. But who cares! 

Let's talk about 80's punk compilations today, in a casual but smart fashion that will - hopefully - make you dust off and re-explore some old records. If you are familiar with my useless ravings, you already know that I am a sucker for good compilations, first, because I feel they capture the vibe and essence of a specific time and place and second, because I fell in love with punk-rock through compilations (proper or homemade ones done by mates). So they are a good way to reconnect, have a good time and enjoy a few beers. They are the punk equivalent of doing a cleanse or taking some time off to travel in South East Asia in order to "find yourself", only they require much less efforts or money. 

Where you will learn more about the finances of the label as well as the owner's vision of and for the punk scene

The first album of the Summer comps not summer camps series (my love for silly puns is unfortunately not getting any weaker) is Daffodils to the Daffodils Here's the Daffodils, released on Pax Records in 1984. During its rather short run as an independent punk label, Marcus Featherby's Pax put out some pretty crucial records from bands like Mau Maus, Anti-System and even The Exploited (their third and rather good 1983 Lp Let's Start a War) but I think that, some 35 years later, the label is mostly remembered for its top compilations. The Wargasm Lp, from 1982, was probably the most famous and sold very well thanks to its solid diverse lineup (Poison Girls, Dead Kennedys, Angelic Upstarts...) and its relevant antiwar message and I guess that most punk old-timers will spontaneously say "Wargasm" if you ask them what Pax Records reminds them of (I actually had to abduct several older punks to conduct this experiment so I know what I'm talking about). In my case, Pax makes me think primarily of two things: Anti-System and the trilogy of great punk as fuck compilations Lp with goofy titles and mischievous punks on the cover. With names such as Punk Dead - Nah Mate the Smell is Jus Summink in Yer Underpants Innit and Bollox to the Gonads - Here's the Testicles and covers depicting punx having a laugh, they certainly captivated my youthful imagination and exposed me to some fantastic bands. Daffodils was the part of the trilogy (and actually the last proper release of Pax) and its rather strange name referred to the anti-Bushell title of the previous compilation (which triggered some controversy, some shops refusing to carry it because it was deemed impolite). Apparently, the idea of the daffodils title came from an ironical gentleman comment from John Peel who suggested to replace naughty words with flowers. Actually, the record was originally going to be called One Man's Wombat Piss is Another Man's Real Ale (is it disastrous, hilarious or both? It does make me giggle, I admit).

The strength of Pax compilations lied in their variety, at a time when the punk scene was becoming more and more divided, and in the inclusion of foreign punk bands (Bollox to the Gonads notably had Crude SS, Canal Terror, Savage Circle and Subversion), something that was certainly not to be taken for granted in the early 80's in the UK scene. Maybe because of the insular nature of Britain, mentalities seemed to have been quite close-minded to "foreign punk-rock" at that time in some quarters of the punk scene. As Featherby wrote it himself in the liner notes to Swedish band Noncens: "Whenever you think of "foreign" punk groups, the reaction is usually negative - but there are some bloody good ones about." That this even needed to be said in 1984 is revealing and even awkwardly funny in retrospect (the same thing can be said about Featherby urging locals to read MRR). The hardcore explosion of the following years thankfully changed a lot of things for the better but I sometimes wonder if this kind of chauvinistic attitude has completely vanished from "the scene" when I hear people claiming in all seriousness that "real hardcore is American". Oh well. 

But let's get to the actual record. Daffodils is my favourite compilation out of the three because it has the most diversity and versatility with nine bands and twenty songs displaying different shades of 80's punk music. And because it includes Onslaught. Some bands offered several tracks to the record but they were disseminated and not placed in a row so that it does not sound redundant (I guess) and makes for a more pleasant, less mechanical listen with a genuine comp feel.

The opening song is "Facts of war" from the mighty Mau Maus, which is taken from their strongest record, the Facts of War Ep, also released on Pax like the band's first two Ep's (the label and band were both from sunny Sheffield). I know some people love the music but dislike the vocals of Mau Maus, and although I can see why, I love them precisely for the very upfront, threatening, gritty, almost Oi-esque vocals that made them sound so intense. Mau Maus was one of the first UK bands to play fast and aggro-oriented thrashy hardcore punk with political lyrics, like a cross between Discharge, Riot Squad and US hardcore. A classic band that I never get tired of. 

Next are the mighty Onslaught, from Bristol, with their ultimate hit "Black horse of famine" and "Shadow of death" on the other side. I originally got a cdr version of Daffodils precisely because I wanted to listen to them since I had read in a fanzine somewhere that they sounded like a primitive, metallic Discharge. Though I quite enjoy Power From Hell, I much prefer the earlier recordings of Onslaught (as the old adage "the demos were better" is actually true here) when they sounded like a dischargy hardcore punk bands trying to play metal and had charged hair and studs. It is feral, dark, aggressive, clearly metal but super punky at the same time. Like the ideal first date between Discharge and Venom. The sound is perfect here (sadly the previous demos are rough) and I so wish they had recorded an Lp with that sound and songwriting. "Black horse of famine" is one of the finest and meanest examples of greatness-inducing simplicity. Ace.

You will also find two songs of the magnificent Destrucktions on Daffodils, taken from their hardcore masterpiece Vox Populi. Hailing from Ulvila, Finland, they had Peikko from Kaaos on the guitar and played typical Propaganda hardcore (you saw that coming, right?) with the typical youthful energy and aggressive snottiness inherent in the style. The threatening teenage vocals are by the book, the bass is thick, the riffs simple but great and the chaotic power genre-defining. Their mid-paced "Trade union" is the definitive winner and your best introduction to the do's and don't's of Finnish hardcore. The title of the songs are in English but they sing in Suomi, as you would expect if you are at all familiar with the genre. Their sole Lp (that has not been reissued yet and is therefore highly expensive) was released on Rock-O-Rama, great hardcore punk label turned RAC around 1984. How do you go from Riistetyt to Skrewdriver? It still beats me.

Unjust from the Bronx, New York City, contributed four songs of direct and fast punk music to the compilation that are reminiscent of the early days of US hardcore with its distinct prosodics. Very energetic and quite tuneful. Unjust would appear one year later on the Big City's One Big Crowd compilation Lp that a lot of tough American hardcore bands and even Sheer Terror (not my cuppa but you can picture where they were coming from).

With three tracks on Daffodils, Noncens from Helsingborg, Sweden, demonstrated how pervasive the influence of the second wave of British punk-rock with songs that would have fitted perfectly on Riot City or No Future. In fact, you could even argue that Noncens gave the cream of the crop of UK82 bands a serious run for their money. The three songs are stellar, "The battlefield" and "Black and white" being fast and well-crafted snotty punk numbers somewhere between Varukers, Picture Frame Seduction or Mayhem, absolute top-shelf UK82 punk. "Give us a future" is a mid-paced gem that starts with a super epic vibe before turning into a postpunk-flavoured snotty cold war anthem, like The Enemy jamming with UK Decay. Amazing song that contains everything that was good about early 80's punk. Noncens also had an Ep in 1983 with a much more straigh-forward, rawer punk sound and a more distinctive Swedish vibe (especially in the Asta Kask-like chorus). Really good band that I know little about. Swedish punk nerds, now is the time to school me.

A second band from NYC contributed songs to this Pax piece of wax: No Control. To say that Featherby was excited about the band would be an understatement as he literally raves about them. I don't know much about them and apparently they did not really achieve what was predicted. No Control played hard-hitting punk with upfront female vocals and an early hardcore feel (there are some textbook riffs). Pretty good indeed especially at their fastest. The band also included members of The Psychos and Sheer Terror.

What would an '84 compilation Lp be without some danceable goth-tinged postpunk? For that, Leitmotiv had two songs on Daffodils displaying not only rather mature songwriting abilities but musicianship superior to the other bands. Coming from Bradford, the band was originally called Science (which was kind of a shite name) and had ties with the punk scene. Leitmotiv were far from derivative or generic and played dark, but not sinister, and powerful postpunk with a trance-like quality, a strong drum section and hypnotically catchy synthwave moments. They are quite difficult to compare (for me anyway) but I can see them share the stage with fellow Bradfordians New Model Army or Southern Death Cult, or with Arch Criminals and UK Decay, although they don't sound like them. Old-school punky goth music with some Northern grit. The two songs "(Living in a) tin" and "Silent run" also appeared on an Ep.

The inclusion of Demob's "No room for you" can be seen as surprising. After all, the No Room for You Ep was released three years prior to Daffodils, in 1981. So why then? Well, simply because it was Featherby's favourite punk song! And let's face it, "No room for you" is indeed one of the best punk-rock numbers ever written. Seriously. It has everything. Teenage angst, tunes to die for, lyrics you can relate to easily, melancholy, frustration, a feeling of togetherness... It has been in my "Top 5 songs to sing in the shower" for years. If you've never given it a listen, I actually envy you. It still gives me the chills. Basically the best of what the '77 wave had to offer reworked in an '82 framework. What a song... 

Finally, Morbid Humour, from Bradford, offered two songs to this wonderful compilation (well technically three, but "Oh my God" is basically one song cut in half and it makes more sense to see it as a cohesive whole) and, along with Onslaught, they were the main reason why I originally wanted to listen to Daffodils so bad and why I finally bought a physical copy. I had read that MH was a short-lived anarchopunk band that had members from Anti-System (Nogsy, Phil and Varik), so of course I just had to check them out, knowing that there was a high possibility I was going to love them and, if not, I could still use the Anti-System connection as a piece of trivia in order to show off. It was a win-win situation. Still, I did not expect MH to be THAT good and I completely relate to the words "the intensity caused me to have shivers down my spine" from the liner notes. Nogsy was the first singer of Anti-System and I really appreciate his vocal tone, snotty but emotional and it fitted MH's sound maybe even better than it did A-S. Although the term has been so overused in recent years that it has almost lost its real substance, MH played dark and passionate mid-paced anarchopunk. Eerie and morose, intense and outraged, bellicose and melancholy, the band managed to conjure up all these emotions into their songs, despite having only recorded a demo. The two songs on the compilation are precious and I do not know why they did not garner more attention at the time (they did not play much apparently and were said to be mysterious... whatever that entails). The dual vocals certainly add more energy and depth to the songs and the complementarity is heartfelt. Their genuine achievement however lies in their balanced songwriting, somewhere between angry, tuneful punk-rock and darker, melancholy postpunk, a vehicle for raw emotions. Take the best of The System, Flux of Pink Indians and Reality Control and infuses it with Peni, Naked and Zounds and you'll be close. Moody anarchopunk doesn't get much better. Just listen to the transitional riff between the two parts of "Oh my God". Wonderful. 

Enjoy the compilation. Fuck the heat. I'm done.