Thursday, 18 June 2015

State Poison "S/t" demo cdr, 2007

For the most part, the recent noisepunk trend gets lost on me. Even though I do give a chance to the latest records from bands claiming to take the Confuse worship to the next level, I usually end up being politely disappointed and quickly forget what I have just listened to. Since 2008 or so, there has been a steady amount of self-proclaimed noisepunk or raw punk bands from all over doing the "drenched in distortion and reverb" thing. And why not? If 2010's noisepunk is the 90's D-beat, which is not so far-fetched a claim actually, I am afraid most of the records that stand for the genre nowadays will not make it to posterity, but then of course that has never been the point either. 

Before I was even aware that it was supposed to be called "noisepunk", back when the punk internet was still in its infancy, the genre appeared to be really quite obscure and even extreme, if not conceptual. Atrocious Madness was a totally unique band then, with brilliant aesthetics and a real identity while I saw Gloom as these crusty Japanese old-timers trying to keep the flaming noise of Confuse, Gai and Kuro alive. It was all pretty epic in my mind to be fair. Chaos UK and Disorder were never "noisepunk" to me - it would be as irrelevant as calling Discharge fucking "D-Beat" - they just embodied this distorted brand of second-wave UK punk that generated UK hardcore and crust, and as for early Japanese bands I saw them as taking the Bristol sound to create their own style, but not exactly a genre. While I certainly made the connection between Bristol and Japan sound-wise, I never thought of isolating the specifics of the sound (the distortedness, the drum-rolls, the snotty vocal delivery and so on) in order to systematize a proper genre. But the internet age makes a genre of everything and anything and tends to create punk music that is, I feel, too calculated and too referential for its own good. 

But anyway, State Poison played noisepunk back when there wasn't yet hundreds of bands having a go at it. They were from Saint-Etienne, started in 2006 (I think) and toured with noise-heroes The Wankys. Even then, it was not exactly a teenagers' band either since the drummer had played in Vömit For Breakfast and Chaos ZZZ, the American singer also played in The Holy Mountain and my good mate Alex on bass had had the honour to be part of such legendary bands as SkitYouthArmy, Expulsion and Grippe Aviaire Terror. This was their first recording from 2007, an unfashionable cdr demo (it would have come out on the much fancier and more exclusive tape format today) with 10 songs and pen writing on the cover for added punk points. Sonically, this is everything you are entitled to expect from the noisepunk agenda: it is highly energetic, fast, aggressive and punk as fuck. The drumming is really dynamic and the obligatory rolls are played and located wisely in the song-writing, the guitar is distorted but not too fuzzy, meaning you can still spot the riffs, the bass leads the way and gives substance to the songs while the vocals sound suitably pissed off and are more akin to Japcore or US Hardcore than "traditional" noisepunk, which works fine in this case. It reminds me of mid-80's Chaos UK and of Assfort. 

The lyrics are in English and in broken French as it was Brett, the singer, who wrote them which makes them the equivalent of the broken English you find in Japanese bands. A smart and geeky move! Songs about war, colonialism, armaments, chemicals and the social death-cult. Following this demo, State Poison released one lovely Ep in the same vein before taking a more Burning Spirit turn for their subsequent 2010 Lp (the year when they played in Japan, no less!) and 2013 Ep.

Punk is aaaaarrrggghhhhh                    

No comments:

Post a Comment