Tuesday 24 July 2012

No Frontiers compilation Ep 1989

"No Frontiers" is actually the first comp to be posted on Terminal Sound Nuisance so it is going to be a very emotional moment for all of us. This record was released by the ever excellent Loony Tunes Records, a label you can always rely on when it comes to good political punk-rock. To be fair, I have only heard of this one recently and when I saw that Debauchery and Chaotic Subversion were included on it, I rushed to buy it for a mere 5 euros. And let me tell you that "No frontiers" does not disappoint.

First, it is recommended that you get past the rather terrible artwork and the choice of colours (seriously? Green and white?). First we have the almighty Debauchery. Those Northern mad metal punks have already had their Lp (also on Loony tunes) reviewed here and let me tell you that the song included on this Ep is probably their best one ever. It's called "Code of silence" and is even more rocking than their Lp. It is a  heavy  and groovy crust number reminiscent of a bastard child between GBH, late Antisect and Hellbastard conceived while listening to Venom and English Dogs (a glamourous vision, isn't it?). The sound is terrific and the song deal with state-sponsored torture (you know, "behind closed doors"). If current bands who claim to play "metal-punk", or "motorcrust", or even "motorcharged crust" were half as good as Debauchery, I am pretty sure the world would be a better place. After such musical glory, it is hard to be as enthusiastic about the next song, by a band called Advance Warning that I had never heard of. They were also from the North of England (like Debauchery) but don't expect booze fueled crusty punk, as Advance Warning is a much more UK82 inspired outfit. Despite them being 7 years too late, the song is actually good, quite fast and snotty as it should be and there is a slight early USHC undertone to it. The Enemy meets HDQ maybe? Anyway, their song is called "Blitz" and is about living in poverty-sticken Britain in the 80's.

Now to the other side of the Ep. First is probably my least favourite band of the comp, Bad Attitude from West Germany and their song "Inner motives". It is not bad but lies far too much on the USHC side of things for my tastes. They even have baseball caps. I am not really sure what the song is about either. Well, they don't like working and being told what to do and that's good enough for me. Next are the excellent but equally obscure TWERP (meaning Terminate With Extreme Religious Propaganda). These young lads looked like a fun bunch and they remind me of Rhetoric both musically and lyrically (serious but not too serious). They played thrashy metallic punk with snotty vocals not unlike AOA's or Active Slaughter's (anarchonistic, I know) and a great dirty sound on the guitar. I wish I knew more songs from them. The next song is from a Terminal Sound Nuisance favourite, Chaotic Subversion, aka What-Sedition-sounded-like-when-they-still-sniffed-glue, and a cracking song "Deadmeat". Unsurprisingly the song is about the evil of meat-eating and butcher shops and never have Chaotic Subversion sounded more like a vintage Italian hardcore band than here. Think Eu'Arse and Wretched with a sloppier treatment. Just magic. Finally, the last song, "Care", is from a band from Canada called Neighbourhood Watch and it is pretty standard USHC to my ears with a song about... caring. To be fair, it is raw and aggressive enough and works well in the comp.


Friday 20 July 2012

Zealot - demo tape 80's

I'll be honest here and admit that I don't know much about Zealot. In fact, apart from their hometown Leicester, Zealot are complete strangers to me. Their demo was on the other side of the Dreadful demo tape and I only have the tracklists. No cover, no recording information, nothing and I couldn't find anything about Zealot on the web. Now, that's an obscure catch, isn't it?

Judging from the music it is safe to assume Zealot were from the mid-late 80's (1987 seems like a relevant guess as far as this demo is concerned) and they were rooted in the anarcho side of things (they do have an anti-hunting/animal right number and a song called "Double standards" about sexism). However, they don't really sound like your typical English band from the period. I guess they listened to a quite a bit of US hardcore and crossover. I suppose the most appropriate comparisons would include Rhetoric and early Concrete Sox but also Septic Death or even a far less metallic Energetic Krusher. It is really fast hardcore punk with distinctive mid-tempo thrashy breaks and angry vocals that remind me of Debauchery or even Deviated Instinct. The singer really sounds pissed off and threatening but the real stand-out of the tape is the addition of a female singer on a couple of songs with a great haunting voice not unlike Post-Mortem or Violators singer's. In fact, with this in mind could almost say that if The Mad Are Sane, Toxic Waste or Symbol of Freedom had gone thrash they would sounded something like Zealot. Finally, the sound is rough but you can actually hear all the instruments which is not a quality you can find on all recordings of that era (oh well, DIY or die as they say). I really wish I knew more about Zealot because I have the feeling those fellows might have been on to some other bands than this one.  

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Dreadful s/t demo tape 1988

What name could be more appropriate for a extremely noisy grindcore band than Dreadful? To be honest, the band deserve to be called dreadful, but inb the Terminal Sound Nuisance context, that's definitely a compliment.

Dreadful were from Glasgow, Scotland, and this is their first demo. They also appeared on a 7" compilation called "They ain't see nothing yet" which was a benefit compilation put out by Nabate in 91 for the people who had been nicked during the Poll Tax protests and riots (and what an amazing compilation this is: Hiatus, Private Jesus Detector, Mushroom Attack, Psycho Flowers and Dreadful). Here, we have eleven songs that were recorded at two different times, march (B side of the tape) and september (A side) of 1988. As I mentioned, this is some seriously noisy, chaotic and rough proto-grindcore we're dealing with here. In fact, I would argue that Dreadful were not technically a grindcore band, as the riffs, the guitar sound and the song structure have more similarities with hardcore than Napalm Death. You can hear that the band had been listening to Siege, Lärm and Heresy an awful lot. This said, while not a proper grindcore band, Dreadful were certainly as fast and the vocals as gruffy and harsh.

At times, the sound quality being so poor, the band playing so fast and the singer screaming so loud, you don't really know what's going on and you're left with the impression of a wall of noise, of a blurred outburst of fury... and I really like it! I sometimes have this same feeling when I listen to early Napalm Death, Atavistic or vintage Sore Throat. If Electro Hippies had had a grizzli bear behind the mike and had lived (and recorded) in a cave with neanderthal men into hardcore, I think something like Dreadful might have come out of it. Lyrically though, this is serious as hell and definitely in the anarchopunk tradition. Songs about animal abuse, a class war anthem about the Poll Tax ("Poll tax is a milestone, we gave them an inch, THEY TOOK A YARD", anti-nuclear and anti-war stuff as well and a threatening song about poverty and class divides in Glasgow.

This is probably the noisiest band featured on this blog and if you are into early pissed off, political grindcore, Dreadful might be your next favourite band. "A crusty sock production". Noise not music indeed.

Friday 6 July 2012

Life Cycle "The weight of tradition" 12" 1989

As you will have noticed, Terminal Sound Nuisance is all about quality rather than quantity, and again today, this powerful statement is about to be exemplified with another amazing post: the 12" of Life Cycle.

LC was a Welsh band from the late 1980's. "The weight of tradition" is their second record, the first one being an excellent Ep called "Myth & ritual", both were put out by Mad World records (in fact, they were the only productions of said label). Unfortunately, information about LC is scarce but I understand they rose from the ashes of Capital Gain, a more "traditional" anarcho-sounding band. They were supposed to be included in "Trapped in a scene" but finally weren't (late contributions maybe?). The Welsh scene had a couple of good, original bands at the time like Shrapnel (with whom they actually shared a member at some point in the late 80's), Symbol of Freedom or The Next World (who appear on LC's thank list). But back to the record. LC played a mixture of punk and metal (a popular blend at the time to be sure) but didn't really sound like any other band of the era. This is groovy, crushing, dirgy metal-punk we're dealing with here, not unlike Celtic Frost or late Deviated Instinct, in that LC picked heaviness over speed. They also remind me quite a bit of an obscure German band called Intricate. The atmosphere of the songs is very bleak and the sound is rather cold, almost industrial. There are two vocalists, a girl and a boy, which makes the songs more varied and not monotonous. The male singer's voice has a Hellbastard undertone to it while the female one is much clearer, more powerful, more shouted than screamt, akin to the classic anarchopunk vocal style probably.

Thematically, this 12" is centered around the issue of feminism and the weight of tradition imposed on women. The cover is divided into two parts, on the left is a drawing of a naked woman in a rather suggestive pose whose face is hidden, while on the righ is a drawing of a carcass in a slaughterhouse. The fact that both drawings have the same shape creates a parallel between the female body as seen by the male eye and dead flesh, meat. Quite clever, right? The lyrics are metaphorical and reflects the feeling of alienation and social suffocation. It's pretty dark on the whole and quite short as well, which, along with the circularity of the music itself, illustrates well this sense of desperation and helplessness. Favourite lyrics have to be "Demolition" as they deal with gender relations and contain this great line "We crack ourselves open, Martyrs to social codes". Marie, the bass player/singer, wrote a text about gender issues and conventions that you can find at the bottom of the back-cover. Interesting stuff that can make a good introduction to such issues.