Wednesday 31 July 2013

Anorexia & Anti-System live at the Manhattan Club, Bradford 12.5.88

Today will be a turning point in the life of Terminal Sound Nuisance because I am about to offer the unsuspecting punks nothing less than two unknown Anti-System songs.

Now that I have everyone's attention, let's talk a little bit about this tape. In 2006 (I think) I bought a batch of tapes from bands I either didn't know or rare recordings. I had very little knowledge of downloading at the time and I figured some old geezers copying old demos and records onto tapes was the only way to get to listen to them. In the midst of this tape-buying frenzy, I ordered a tape of Anorexia, a band that I had never heard of.

On this particular tape, you can find on one side the "Radical riot" demo that was recorded in 1986 at Ritch Bitch studio (which makes sense since Anorexia was a Brummie band), their Ep and, on the flipside, a full Anorexia live set and the first three songs (well, two and a half really, including the intro) of an Anti-System set, both recorded in Anti-System's hometown, namely sunny Bradford. At the time, I regularly listened to the A side of the tape but didn't really bother with the live part for a very obvious reason: the sound is shit. Unfortunately, it is a mono recording and the sound is buried under the hiss of the tape, but once you get used to it, it becomes quite bearable. For those of you who are not familiar with Anorexia, they were an anarchopunk band from Birmingham which coincidentally had at some point as members the two first Napalm Death drummers (Rat and Mick Harris) and Rat (from Statement this time) later on. Although undeniably politically motivated, Anorexia didn't really leave much trace in the collective punk psyche. Perhaps their brand of old-school anarchopunk at a time when hardcore and other harder and faster punk genres were emerging in Britain didn't help. There are, however, a couple of solid songs on their set list, reminiscent of Icons of Filth, Exit-Stance and Conflict. The singer sings clearly and you can actually understand what he's on about, which is good since Anorexia definitely had something to say. Though they apparently started off as a "pissed and proud" UK82 kind of band, they were, by the mid-80's, a staunch anarcho band talking - a lot - about animal liberation, sexism, pornography, standing together as one in order to fight back. Nothing new maybe but they do sound genuine. If you have never heard Anorexia, I would recommend starting with the "Radical riot" demo first and then give a go at this live recording. The demo is excellent and the vocals are much snottier and raspier (in fact, it is quite likely another singer on the live tape).

At the end of the Anorexia set, which seems to have been greeted with little enthusiasm by the underwhelmed Bradford locals, there are three songs of Anti-System. It is safe to think that the two bands shared the stage at this gig taking place at the Manhattan Club. If you are really into Anti-System, some uneasiness and uncertainty must have started to pervade your mind at the beginning of this post. Something is just not quite right but you can't really say what. And then, suddenly, it dawns on you that it just cannot be and that I got it wrong at some point: Anti-System split up in 1986 and this live recording is from 1988. Case solved. Or is it?

In "The day the country died", it is said, indeed, that Anti-System split up just after "A look at life" hit the shops (well, the distro tables I guess). However, if you have bought the recent reissues of the band's records and if you have read the many interviews that were included in the thick booklet (Antisociety did a top job on these), you will have noticed an interview from 1988, two years after they initially stopped, with a reformed Anti-System following a gig at the Manhattan Club in Bradford. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the very gig that appears on the tape. I have scanned the interview so you can all read for yourselves.

It is a slightly confusing interview. Apparently, the band had reformed as a three-piece that included Mick, Tracy and Sean - Mick being probably the only original member. They also mention a name-change several times but never actually reveal what the new name could be and they are always referred to as Anti-System throughout the interview. Otherwise, it is a pretty interesting read that shows that the band still held their political beliefs and DIY stance.

As the band itself rightfully admits, Anti-System were very influenced by Antisect. And although the prefix "anti" is actually a coincidence, the fact that Anti-System had two singers and a strange interlude on their Lp is proof enough that indeed they may have been the first band ever to be overly influenced by Antisect. If "No laughing matter" is not quite as good as "In darkness there is no choice" (but then, what album is?), it is nevertheless a crushing Lp that is among my favourite. After this first Lp, Anti-System, like Antisect and many others, went a bit metal, but contrary to their metaphorical mentors who basically pioneered crust-punk, Anti-System took on a more thrash-influenced path (they did listen to a lot of Onslaught, English Dogs and Sacrilege as it is confessed in Glasper's book). The result was "A look at life", which was very different to "Out from the void", and is possibly the perfect metallic version of Icons of Filth. When a lot of bands going metal traded openly political lyrics for dark and apocalyptic metaphors (that was in the best case scenario) or tried to write evil lyrics (that was in the worst case scenario), Anti-System retained their direct politics and I would even argue that they have never sounded as angry and radical than on their last recording.

So where does that leave us? By 1988, Antisect had just split up and when listening to the Anti-System songs recorded that year, one can't help thinking that they sound A LOT like "Out from the void" era Antisect. You have an epic crusty intro with a filthy metal riff not unlike the one you can find on "Live in Leeds 1986" and the first song, "A look at life", is played with more heaviness and crunch than on the studio version and the guitar solos are not dissimilar to Lippy's. The third song is unfortunately uncomplete, unnamed and the vocals are so loud (I have no idea why the singer decided to scream like that to be honest) that you really have to focus in order to understand what's going on. The sound, like for Anorexia's, is in mono and is quite rough so it will probably be of interest only to people who are already into Anti-System. The song is good though, mid-tempo, with a real structure and dark riffs. I don't know if the band had written other new songs (but it is quite likely) or if they played other gigs in 1988. If anyone has the full set of this particular gig or any other gig of this Anti-System reformation, I would be internally grateful if he or she could share them.

Anorexic System      

Monday 22 July 2013

Anguish "Within the darkness" Ep 2008

Don't believe the filthy liars whispering that Terminal Sound Nuisance is dead and buried and the rumours that I have fucked off to Istanbul to be come a hooligan (though I admit it did cross my mind at some point). In fact, I have been working full time for two months after more than a year of being on the dole and I moved to a new flat last week so I haven't had the time to take care of the blog. I will therefore try to keep this review short and to the point.

This Ep was definitely among my favourite of 2008. It was World Funeral's first release (the label went on to release records from the crust kings Instinct of Survival, Desperat and Deathraid) I had heard the demo of Anguish, liked it but wasn't particularly overcome with awe although I did order the record. Listening to it for the first time was like witnessing the four horsemen of the apocalypse splitting the earth open  or, I guess, like wrestling with a polar bear. It is very intense and the recording is absolutely perfect: heavy, crushing and proper dark. The songs have a trance-like quality and I tend to believe that was what the band was aiming for. The vocals are guttural and rough, a bit like an evil sleep-deprived old-school death-metal singer, the drums have a thick crusty sound and are really put forward not unlike on the Hibernation Lp but even more pummelling and the guitar has a massive, filthy texture that reeks of old extreme metal. In a word: the sound is top notch.

At the time, I saw Anguish as being part of the stenchcore revival of the mid/late 00's triggered by Hellshock and widely followed in North America (bands like Sanctum, Stormcrow, After the Bombs, Stagnation...). Retrospectively, Anguish may rather have been tried to do the metal-punk thing, mixing bands like Hellhammer, Bathory and Sodom with a crusty energy (a bit like Limb From Limb and Dödsfalla maybe or, in terms of intent, Order of the Vulture and Legion 666), an hypothesis that seemed to be confirmed by their subsequent record, a split Ep with Perversion, which was much more in the old-school thrash/death/whatever worship (and possibly too much to my liking to be honest). But this Ep is an absolute scorcher. Take Sacrilege, early Bolt Thrower, Warcollapse, early Stormcrow and blend it with vintage extreme metal and you will get an idea. The lyrics are, of course, dark and quite occult but the song "Life expense" caught my attention and incidentally the song cannot be closer to the current news as it is about Detroit, Anguish's hometown. The song is a gloomy depiction of this industrial town that is now officially bankrupt  and the alienation and hopelessness it creates. Yet another sign that capitalists don't give a fuck about the people who made their fortune in the past. I guess the dark atmosphere of the bandn beside obvious musical influences, partly finds its roots in Detroit. Actually, take a look at the lyrics:

"Live in this land of industrialized waste
Hope and compassion don't exist in such a place
Miles of ghetto in a city of depsair
Millions in misery yet no one fucking cares

Life... Life expense

Empty concrete towers shadow this abuse
Broken, cracked monuments never put to use
Grey desolation, factories and empty streets
Increasing decay, no chance of peace

Life... Life expense"

If only for this one song, you should give Anguish a go. That and if you like your crust heavy, filthy hairy and metal-tinged (in other words if you like crust at all).


Sunday 7 July 2013

CulDeSac "Nebud hrdy na to, ze jsi clovek" Ep 199?

This Ep may currently be the least sought after punk record that I know of, and if one is to trust the amount of information about CulDeSac on the web, well, one might start to think that even then, no one really cared about them. Always prone to defend the underdogs (and the Underdogs as well), the aim of today's post will be to make you want to listen to this unfashionable record, a record which, despite obvious disadvantages what with them being an Eastern European band from the 90's, is actually pretty good.

I must admit that I don't know much about the Czech scene. They seem to always have an awful lot of grindcore bands (following the path of Czechcore SRK and Malignant Tumour I suppose), some good fast hardcore bands like Gride and See You In Hell and a couple of gritty and hoarse crust bands like Dread 101 and Mass Genocide Process in the early and mid 00's. Czechoslovakia also had a solid punk scene in the 80's as the great "Barikady Nové Fronty" compilation tape attests (there are some cracking songs from Radegast on it that would make any self-proclaimed raw punk fanatic weep). However, and contrary to the well-established neighbouring Polish scene, the Czech scene doesn't seem to get much credit (apart from Guided Cradle and the hard-working See You In Hell), which is a shame as there are some really good stuff going on there.

I wish I could give you a bit of background information about CulDeSac, but unfortunately I cannot. This Ep, the title of which translates as "Do not be proud to be a man", is their sole record and the recording dates are not even provided. Judging from the ever-important "thanks list", "Nebud hrdy na to, ze jsi clovek" can be thought to have been released in the mid-90's, probably 1996 (after the Dog On A Rope and Selfish tours in Eastern Europe anyway). The band also thanks the 1in12 Club so it is not unlikely that they played there at some point as well. CulDeSac, which means "one-way street" in French, were a fairly typical 90's anarchopunk band with male/female vocals. The songs are fast and to the point and, depending on how you like your punk-rock, the sloppy playing and the genuinely raw quality of the sound will either attract or distract you. The guitar sound is quite thin and distorted but I am not sure the band was trying to ape Chaos UK on this one as it sounds unintentional. There is however no question that CulDeSac were serious and meant what they said with their heart and soul. There is an unfakable energy and sense of urgency ot the songs. Clearly, the priority was given to the politics and to the expression of anger here. But if you still need points of comparisons: a sloppier Antiproduct with more d-beat, a less crusty but equally raging Silna Wola or Homomilitia, the very first rehearsal of Paragraf 119 or Väning 5 or, why not, a less tuneful anarcho version of Radegast. Anyway, as unpretentious as this record is, it can easily please the lovers of 90's anarchopunk but also the aforementioned raw punk geeks (after all the drumming is sufficiently all over the place yet pummelling that it doesn't make CulDeSac too far from Besthöven).

There are three texts in this record that are translated in English. Unfortunately, and I certainly don't blame the band for that, the meaning is a bit lost at times, which is a shame since it is obvious that much thought has been put in writing them. The first one is about the overwhelming power of the system and those who defend it and how we should be careful not to compromise our political movements with their rules and ways of thinking and acting. Otherwise we become toothless tigers, or rather, really old cats that have lost both claws and teeth. Kill the system inside you! The two other texts have been written by the female singer, Lylith. There is one about gender roles and how they permeate our lives and one about child abuse and its deep roots in society. At times, some arguments are a little awkward and some of them are lost in translation, but I enjoy reading them nevertheless as they are clearly result from a personal thinking process about political issues and they come out as sincere. Angry but not pessimistic.

The lyrics of the six songs relate to these three texts and also have English translations. "Valka v risku" is about the need to act and resist now in order to build a classles society; "Clovek je vinen" is a song about our apathy before human and animal abuse; "Vestra" is about children abuse and how too many of them are condemned to live in poverty and misery; "Odmitni system" is the "fuck the system" number and "Tvé tèlo - tva volba" is a pro-choice song. The artwork also reflects the central themes of the record and on the whole it is a very nice-looking Ep. It was released on Malarie Records, which, along with Insane Society Records, is the most famous Czech anarchopunk (and related) DIY label. I have had troubles finding a chronological discography of Malarie but not only have they released new records from bands like Agathocles, Warcollapse, Genital Deformities, Homomiltia, Extinction of Mankind, See You In Hell, Diskonto or Trottel but they also did tape (and vinyl later on) versions aimed at the Eastern European punks of records from Nausea (their "Extinction" tape might actually be Malarie's first release), Disorder, Detestation, State of Fear or the Restarts. A very prolific label that has been around since 1990 and one that has a special place in my heart since I actually bought quite a few of their tapes (Trujaca Fala and NNNW's as well) when we were lucky enough to have a distro from Eastern Europe at a gig.

Do not be proud to be a man!                

Monday 1 July 2013

Krigskade / Peur Panique "live in Paris" split cdr 2012

I was in a relatively good mood this morning since I didn't have to wake up at 5:30 am to fuck off to work ("running arooouuuuund like a blue-arsed fly"). And then I saw these bloody awful ads on Terminal Sound Nuisance and let me tell you that my joyful spirit didn't last long... It appears that all the blogspots have been affected, or rather infected, during the night. It probably isn't enough that we are being bombarded with advertisement all day, everyday, everywhere, they had to throw in a few more on blogs just to make sure that you spend your money and make some bastards richer.

As a consequence, in order to fight this atrocity back, I chose to post this rough and ready split live demos with two Parisian bands that you already know if you are a regular reader since I posted their demo tapes a couple of months ago. Of course, because these are live recordings, the sound won't be as good and polished but you will be able to feel the intensity of their performances. Since Krigskade and Peur Panique play very often in Paris currently, it is almost as if you were attending a squat gig in the city of light and dogshit (and yes that includes the smell). For the wretched beings who haven't the chance to listen to these local bands, Peur Panique play blistering and (really) fast hardcore while Krigskade are Heratys fanboys with a US hardcore feel to them and lyrics in Danish.

The cover was made by your truly and as you will see, my talents don't stop with writing top notch reviews, my accurate musical ear and my sophisticated tastes. I am also a remarkable graphic artist as the drawing on the cover will attest. And I am pretty good cook too.

EDIT: I got a bit carried away as it appears that the fucking ads everywhere were the result of my computer getting an adware or something like that. I do however stand by my words about the world of advertising. :)