Friday, 10 August 2012

Atavistic "From within" demo tape 1986

Atavistic was probably one of the most original band of their generation. In fact, one may even argue that they were as unique as they were misunderstood, and for understandable reasons. I mean, they used harmonica on a harcore punk record! HARMONICA!!! Joking aside, Atavistic didn't really sound like any other bands, yet their music still fit perfectly with their peers. The recording I am interested in today is their first demo, recorded in may 1986 in a garden shed as the band points out in "Trapped in a scene". Reading this, I can't help wishing my parents' garden shed had been used by punk bands rather than cats pissing everywhere...

Anyway, for some strange reason, this first effort from a very young band feels much less fuzzy and chaotic than Atavistic's first two Ep's, which were almost proto-grindcore in their relentless approach. Here, there is not as much distorsion on the guitar and we are certainly closer to bands like Siege, MDC, Lärm or Heresy. The songs are really fast and aggressive, and with the distinct English accent, the comparisons with early Heresy (or even Plasmid) are relevant, especially in terms of pace and intonation, albeit in a sloppier fashion. A couple of guitar solos remind the listener that Discharge were still a reference point. The songs are obviously fairly short apart from one odd five minutes number called "Your times up" that instantly caught my attention. It is quite possibly the most obvious early Antisect tribute song I have ever heard. The riffs are straight out of "The eternal myth and paradox" and "Channel zero reality" (though the guitar sound is nowhere as powerful as "In darkness"'s, but then it is a demo), the drum section is similar as well, the structure of the song mimics those Antisect songs too with long, intense, pummelling, instrumental moments before the singers kick in with angry political prose (just for the sake of accuracy, I would say the vocals on this Atavistic song sound closer to Dirge or pre-"In darkness" Antisect's). I absolutely love this song and I would go as far as asserting that you should listen to this demo, if only for that one song (but while you are at it, give the other ones a chance as well, they are pretty good too).

Now, I have something terrible to confess for which I might deserve to be chastised. There was a massive booklet with lyrics and plenty of political writings accompanying this tape and it has unfortunately been lost. And that's a real shame, because, if Atavistic were undeniably a great band sonically, they especially stood out for the great, analytical pieces that went with their records. See the one on the place of women and the specific hardships they have to endure during wartime on the "Life during wartime"Ep. Besides, considering their writings, Atavistic appeared to be a genuine bunch who tried to think and understand by themselves, they never sound like trying to regurgitate some half-read theories. So, if anyone does have the booklet that goes with the tape, I would be eternally grateful if he or she could provide me with scans or pictures of it.

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