Monday, 14 April 2014
Desobediencia Civil "No hay libertad sin desobediencia" cd 2001
Most of the time, I focus on posting rare or obscure on Terminal Sound Nuisance. There are two reasons for this. First, I feel that the sharing of music and knowledge is what punk is all about. Although I alway try to give my own critical view of a band, a genre or a scene, I feel that it is our collective role to ensure that punk history doesn't get lost and that it is important to promote a sort of punk sensibility (for lack of a better term) through an accessible analysis of the punk-listening experience. Second, I am an opinionated bastard with an ego problem who likes to boast. But now is not the time for nerdy posturing, because today's post will be about one of the most crucial Latino anarchopunk bands ever: Desobediencia Civil.
In my (definitely not) humble opinion, DC is an unjustly underrated band that, had they not been from Mexico, would have its name on thousands of punk jackets across the world. I would even argue that they were easily one of the very best 90's anarcho bands worldwide. DC formed in Mexico City and started playing in 1993. From what I gathered, the people involved were all originally part of animal liberation and political collectives and felt the need to do something against the "chaos punk" apathy that prevailed then in the city. DC's discography is far from being massive as they only released one Ep and one album as well as a couple of live demos. I would venture that the band was more interested in getting their message across and touring than in recording twice a year and having coloured vinyls out. Although they weren't the first anarchist punk band in Mexico or indeed in Latin America, they may have been the first to call themselves anarchopunks (possibly along with Coprofilia, Empirismo and Regeneracion) and to merge the canonical anarchopunk sound and aesthetics with the aggression and the rabia of classical Mexican hardcore punk, thus creating a proper Mexican anarchopunk sound in the process. DC's first Ep, "Cuanto tiempo mas", though it already incorporated visual elements from the anarchopunk, still sounded very much like a traditional raw Mexican hardcore punk records and was closer to Massacre 68, MELI or Xenofobia (and my faithful readers already know that I love my Mexicore to death) than Antisect, Doom or Conflict. It is only with their Lp, "No hay libertad sin desobediencia" that the band managed to merge both worlds, seamlessly, effortlessly and with an honesty, a genuine anger that cannot be faked and that I wish I heard more often.
On this recording, DC kept the snotty, desperate anger and chaotic edge of late 80's Mexican hardcore but infused it with the classic UK anarchopunk sound of Antisect, Legion of Parasites or Potential Threat (especially with the addition of the female vocalist), with early Doom (whom they cover), Early Hiatus and early Extreme Noise Terror and finally, I would argue, with a bit of Swedish hardcore like Crude SS or No Security. The dual vocals work to perfection, the bloke having that raspy, raucous, threatening and just so bloody pissed off voice, while the girl shouts in a clearer, warmer tone, not unlike Potential Threat, Homomilitia or Antiproduct. The drumming is reminiscent of Stick (from Doom)'s early bands (Doom or more precisely Excrement of War come to mind): it beats the D but you still get some Disorder/Chaos UK changes and a couple of blast beats. The guitar sound is thick and crunchy, just what you need to get the crust in "crust-punk". The music is just incredibly energetic, catchy, angry AND catchy, as a lot of the chorus will stay with you. There is enough variety in terms of tunes and tempo hooks to make this album a fantastic listen from beginning to end and a real anarchopunk classic.
To say that DC was a serious band would be an understatement and in that respect they really remind me of the best of the US anarcho scene of that decade, bands like Aus-Rotten, Antiproduct, Mankind? but they remind me more especially of Resist And Exist, a band that was outspokenly revolutionary like DC. Bands like Disaffect, Sanctus Iuda, Homomilitia or Paragraf 119 could also be relevant comparisons. Lyrically, you will find a whole lot of issues covered by the band, ranging from feminism, animal rights, the wage-slave system, class antagonism, social conformity, the corrupt political system to imperialism or being anarkopunks.
The influence of DC on the political punk scene both in Mexico and in the rest of Latin America cannot be underestimated and I see them in the same light as 90's bands like Abuso Sonoro or Execradores in Brazil or Apatia-No in Venezuela, that had relevant anarchist politics and merged the anarchopunk spirit with that South-American urgency and anger. DC split up quite soon after the release of that album, in 2002, because some of the members migrated to the U$ for economic reasons but I read that they reformed briefly in 2008 in order to play a couple of benefit shows in the States. I suppose you could say Mexican bands like Fallas del Sistema or Crimenes de Guerra are (or were?) the real legacy of DC in the 00's. "No hay libertad sin desobediencia" was released on the ever reliable Cryptas Records and I'm pretty sure it can still be found on decent distros everywhere.