Sunday, 29 April 2012

Debauchery "The Ice" Lp, 1988

I got this one totally by chance in a distro a few years ago. The bloke was basically getting rid of records he didn't really enjoy anymore and the Debauchery Lp was one of them. I had heard of Debauchery and knew that they were part of the late 80's UK crust scene but that was pretty much it, just one of many crucial side-notes in my punk brain. At that time, the current "metal-punk" trend hadn't started yet and neither had the "Metal Punk Death Squad" non-sense. Today, quite a few bands try to mix punk and metal with varying degree of success, but I would argue that none sound quite like Debauchery on this Lp. In the late 80's, blending punk and metal was quite common, but when compared to their crusty counterparts, Debauchery had a slightly different take on the matter. They did not favour dark heaviness, like Hellbastard for instance, so much as rocking heaviness.

I would be lying if I didn't tell you that the cover is slightly... off-putting. Well, unless you love cheesily shitty drawings of fish, polar bears, crabs and beach-goers all getting mental at the very sight of an ice-cream. To be honest, I find it quite funny in retrospect, especially when you compare it with all the very dark record covers of crusty bands at the time. Back when they were a mere name to me, I expected them to have that sort of typical apocalyptic imagery that has always been a part of the crust canon and not goofy cartoons. Well, at least Debauchery seemed to have been made up of a merry bunch of lads who liked a drink and a laugh! That this Lp was put out by Loony Tunes Records, Active Minds' label, is both a bit surprising since AM have always been dead serious about things, and completely sensible since the label released some brilliant UK hardcore records and seemed to have a good Northern connection as they also put out stuff from Mortal Terror or Generic.

However, don't take Debauchery for a Toy Dolls cover band, apart from the two songs that close each side, we are definitely in crust territory in terms of lyrics. Songs about the pointlessness and the horror of World War One, against religious indoctrination, about alienation in the industrial wasteland that is the North of England (the band was from Gateshead, near Newcastle and Hellbastard). Musically, this is excellent, rocking and heavy metal-punk music between bands like Onslaught, GBH (for the vocals) or English Dogs, early stenchcore stuff like Antisect, Nausea (anachronistically) or Hellbastard and proper metal bands like Venom or Warfare. The sound is powerful but remains rooted in punk territory, no mean feat considering that the line is thin and tricky indeed.

A fun fact about this record that you can use in a punk trivia is the presence of a Hellbastard cover, "Dark side", which can also be found on Hellkrusher's "Wasteland" Lp (Hellkrusher and Debauchery actually have the same drummer). A brilliant, if slightly depressing, song. On the whole, this is a great record, rather well-produced, and a must-have if you are into the mid-late 80's English punk sound and if you have enough sense of humour to go past the cover (I do!). For more information about Debauchery, I suggest reading their chapter in Trapped in a Scene.

Top notch!


  1. tiens, quelqu'un qui aime ce Lp!! Perso, mis a part un titre qui etait pas trop mal, j'ai toujours trouvé le reste a chier. faudra quand meme que je le fasse tourné un des ces jours pour voir si je n'ai toujours pas changé d'avis...
    heuresement que je l'ai payé 3 fois rien, ca m'aurait gonfler haha
    d'ailleur leur demo est bien mieux que l'album il me semble

    1. Haha, mais oui j'aime beaucoup ce Lp, clairement un des meilleurs du style et de la période, la progéniture parfaite de GBH et Hellbastard. En fait je l'ai chopé pour 5 euros il y a fort longtemps à quelqu'un qui voulait s'en débarrasser. Heureusement je me suis fié au label et pas à la pochette...

      J'ai la demo en cassette mais elle n'est pas formidable, c'est juste 4 titres du Lp en plus bordélique. Je pourrais peut-être la poster un jour d'ailleurs.