Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Sarcasm "Brave new world" Ep 1998
In my opinion, Sarcasm was one of the finest and noisiest English band of the 90's. Their music was brutal, distorted and about as subtle as the mating call of a moose. "Brave new world" was their last offering to the world and although I must admit I prefer "The lowest form of wit", this Ep still epitomizes how fuzzy crust punk should sound like.
As "Trapped in a scene" informs us, there were two Sarcasm incarnations. The first one existed during the mid 80's and never recorded anything but from what I can gather, it was all about the noisiest brand of European (Mob 47, Total Kaoz, Confuse, Wretched...) and Bristolian harcore (Chaos UK and Disorder), as well as Dirge and the gloriously inept Skum Dribblurzzz (unfortunately I have never heard anything of the first Sarcasm era so I can only guess what they must have sounded like). Their second time around saw a crustier sound develop with 3 ep's and 2 split ep's. "Brave new world" was recorded in 1995 but released three years later on a Parisian label called "Chaos Extraordinaire". It includes seven songs of raw, distorted, blistering, fuzzy crusty punk with aggressive and snarly vocals that sound just brilliant and are the closest to what a zombie would sound like if it tried to bark. The pace is mostly really fast and chaotic but there a couple of groovier, dischargy-paced songs as well. On the whole I suppose it could be compared to early ENT, Warfear, Sore Throat, Private Jesus Detector for the bear-like heavy gruffiness as well as some Japanese bands like Confuse, Gai or Kuro for the added fuzziness in the guitar sound. It is pretty obvious Sarcasm were into the Japanese sound as the record center on the A side depicts a spoof version of the Gauze logo.
This said, Sarcasm clearly lies on the anarcho side of things when it comes to the lyrics and there are even some spoken parts that only confirm this tendency. The first song, entitled "Brave new world", is an articulate rant about social control and how the authorities keep us all in line with alienating means like television and enforce their vision of life and domestic conformity on us. The hopeless and angry tone of the vocals really help get the point across on this one. "When I look" is about alienation and contradictory feelings of hunger and self-hatred; "Winter" is the obscure one as I am not really sure what it is about, it has some poetic value, almost like a haiku. On the B side, "Nationalism" is the other winner of the record with a diatribe against nationalism (you don't say!) and the glorious line "Nationalistic fool, shove your flag up your dirty fuckin' ringhole" (sometimes simplicity is really the best); "Watching" is about the orwelian nightmare that England was starting to become in the 90's; "Ghouls" tackles our own apathy towards the destruction of the planet and "Halt" is a call to stop and think before we self-destruct with booze and drugs (the lyrics do wisely remind that Sarcasm were not "conceited naive straight-edge prick[s]" though I am not sure many people doubted that).
I know that everyone is being bombarded with bands who supposedly play "distorted, noisy, raw punk" or whatever, but believe me, Sarcasm are the real deal and to my ears they sit perfectly between Extreme Noise Terror and distorsion-fuelled Japanese punk while really having something worthwhile to say. A discography called "Noise bastards volume one" has been released recently on a Peruvian label and I really recommend it as the three ep's are excellent. Otherwise, Sarcasm is hardly a hyped band anyway so their records can still be found for pretty cheap.