Saturday, 18 August 2012
Heavy Discipline "Liberation of economics" Ep 1987
Someone once mentioned on a message board that he saw Atavistic and Heavy Discipline in the same light: two under-estimated, articulate political punk bands. While the Peaceville connection somehow helped Atavistic being at least remembered, it seems Heavy Discipline sank in obscurity. I am sure you will be forever grateful to Terminal Sound Nuisance for unearthing the one and only record Heavy Discipline did. They also had a couple of demo tapes, notably the excellent "Extreme Mutilation Increases" tape that will eventually appear on this blog one day or another. I actually got a copy of the tape for 2 euros and I then proceeded to find the record, and let me tell you that it does not disappoint.
Like The Next World, whose Ep was posted here a few months ago, Heavy Discipline were from Kettering and yes, they chose the name because of the GBH song so that is a first indication as to what they sound like. This Ep was released by Real World records, a short-lived label that also did the Disturbed Ep (small world since it has also been posted here). Like many productions of this time, the sound is a bit thin but doesn't affect the energy of the songs and even confers a sense of urgency. Heavy Discipline played fast hardcore punk with a twist as they include some more melodic guitar lines in the mix. Actually there is a classical music tune hidden on "What's next?" but since I know fuck all about classical music, I have no idea what it is, I just know I have heard it before. But don't let that scare you, because it surprisingly fits very well, giving the song an atmosphere of edginess and dementia (I am not sure I have made it less scary here!). The pace is fast on the whole apart from a mid-tempo song, the guitar has a slight but distinct thrashing sound, the vocals are aggressive and raspy and there are some great bass lines here and there as well that remind us that we are dealing with bass-driven punk-rock here. GBH, The Disturbed, early Onslaught and Anihilated or even a lighter Anti-System do come to mind but the guitar leads and the bouncy bass lines make the songs stand out and give Heavy Discipline a real sound of their own.
Lyrically, HD was also a different animal. Contrary to a lot of bands of that era who had chosen more metaphorical images to express their anger, their feeling of alienation or socio-political views, HD chose straight radical anti-capitalist rhetorics. The song "Corporate compassion" is an angry protest song against the Apartheid regime; "Complete anihilation" is your usual "nuclear devastation" song and "Extreme Mutilation Increases" is a rant against EMI and the arm trade they were involved in (this was a major argument against EMI and other major companies at the time and boycotting them was not only a matter of "not selling out"). Where HD strikes hard is with the song "What's next?" and the two texts included in the record. "What's next?" is an anti-capitalist tirade tackling the privatisation of the national industry, the notion of private ownership that the rich instill in the poor so that they have a little something to lose in times of revolution, but also the notion of nationalisation, as the song ends with a call for workers' self-management. "We can start to build a society, based on freedom, equality, get up of our knees and cease to crawl". The artwork accompanying the lyrics is called "Liberation of economics" and shows a clenched fist tearing through a factory. Following this, a long text with the same title serves as a revolutionary anarchist critique of the capitalist system, including short definitions of all the parties involved (the management, the trade-unions, the work-force) and of the problems inherent in this system and it also offers some insight on self-management and anarcho-syndicalism. It is quite well done and it manages to avoid the too technical theoretical terms. I suppose the point of this is to get the young punk's attention give him or her some basic information about anarchism and maybe get him or her to look further into it, all this while providing great hardcore punk.
The second text is an article illustrating of the ills of capitalism in Latin America with proper numbers and data about the repartition of wealth and land (taken from a book called "Profits out of poverty"), interesting, if a little out-dated, stuff.
As a conclusion, don't let the rather psychedelic cover fool you. You won't need acid to enjoy this one and if you haven't started to organize for the general strike yet, here is a record that might quicken the process.