Monday 28 March 2016

Jobbykrust "The Descent of Man" Lp, 1997

Lately, I have been thinking about the first half of the 00's quite a lot. To be precise, I focused on its connections and articulations with the second part of the 90's. I can understand that it does not sound like a particularly glamorous subject but my current state of unemployment allows me to actually think harder than usual about those things (Wait...who just yelled "no life!" at me?). As you would expect, HHIG and Tragedy came up. They are not really favourites of mine but I definitely played them an awful lot in the early 00's (but then everybody kind of did I think) and I have always felt they were good bands even when I couldn't relate to some of their materials. Thinking about the transition from a 90's band to a 00's one was interesting, although it always gets tricky with the benefit of hindsight and one is quick to jump at conclusions that could be irrelevant. And then it struck me, there were two other bands that I love dearly that embody the 90's-00's transition even better than HHIG and Tragedy: the formidable Jobbykrust and The Dagda.

In fact, I suppose that you could even argue that the sole Jobbykrust are one of the most accurate depiction of the evolution of punk in the 90's and that The Dagda probably released one of the very best (and I mark my word) "crusty-dark-post-hardcore-whatever" Lp of their decade (their second Lp being my favourite album of black-metal-infused crust). Yet, The Dagda's greatness did not come out of nowhere and the last two JK recordings - the split Lp with Blofeld and "The Descent of Man" - paved the way for "Threefold" not only because three members of the last JK's line-up would form The Dagda but also because an Lp like "The Descent of Man" indicated the path that was to be followed after the demise of JK, not only for these Belfast punks but for large segments of the DIY punk/hardcore scene as well. Listening to 1997's "The Descent of Man" and 2002's "Threefold" back to back is a great experience as it illustrates perfectly the best aspects of both eras and what was genuinely good about them and I would tend to think that the same can be said about HHIG and Tragedy, but it is a task better left to someone who appreciates these bands more than the underpaid staff at Terminal Sound Nuisance.

As I mentioned, Jobbykrust's existence is an accurate representation of the 90's as a whole. They formed in 1990 in a Belfast estate and after learning how to play (it almost took two years apparently) they recorded two demos, "Naivety or hope" and "Starve the starving", in 1992. Both recordings are snotty, raw and fast punk ragers that are strongly rooted in the mid/late 80's Belfast anarchopunk sound, reminiscent of DIRT, Toxic Waste or even Pink Turds In Space. This obvious 80's influence also transpired in the direct and angry lyrics about The Troubles and how it affected every aspect of Belfast social life. On a musical level, Jobbykrust's debuts were not unlike Disaffect's as both bands built on the fast and angry 80's punk sound with the inherited trade-off male/female vocals but added, unconsciously, an early 90's punk feel to it. I really like JK's demos but the real shift came when Glyn joined as the second singer and second guitar in 1994. Not only was he an intense singer but his articulate guitar playing and his sense of multilayered songwriting slowly turned JK into a complex, metallic, almost progressive anarchopunk band.

The change could be spotted on the 1994 split Ep with Blurred Vision, although Glyn didn't play the guitar on this one, as JK's sound was growing more metallic and crunchier, not unlike Fleas And Lice perhaps. But the real breakthrough came with their 1996 split Lp with Viktors Hofnarren that demonstrated a much more refined, layered, moodier, but still as angry, metallic punk side to JK that combined the old-school intensity of Anti-System with the groovy metal crunch of Dystopia and a post-hardcore progressive, slightly dissonant vibe emphasized through the solid dual guitar work. Their side of the album showed a developing intent to shape a sonic atmosphere and to rely on textures as much as on hard-hitting thrashy punk to convey meaning, when their local touring partners, Bleeding Rectum, only (albeit very effectively) relied on the latter or Disaffect perfected the 90's anarchopunk formula with added thrash but without significant breaks in the classic punk structures. Perfectly produced by Marty (from Toxic Waste/Bleeding Rectum/Pink Turds) for the genre, JK's recording, with its intense and modern blend of influences, reflected a departure from the traditional hard-hitting anarcho sound but at the same time, in a proper syncretic move, confirmed its validity through the very addition of new elements, not unlike what Hiatus did on their last records. This is possibly the most cohesive work of Jobbykrust and its appeal should have been huge.

JK's split with Viktors Hofnarren is objectively a better record than "The Descent of Man" or the split Lp with Blofeld (both of which were recorded at the same time), but it is, arguably, probably not as interesting and certainly not as relevant in my modestly analytical quest of crusty/anarcho bands going progressive. In Armed With Anger, it is revealed that the writing of the songs that would appear on JK's last records was not only time-consuming but also mind-consuming for Glyn, Trues and Tim. It is no coincidence that the three of them formed The Dagda after the official demise of Jobbykrust because, on some level, "The Descent of Man" can be seen as the premise to The Dagda's monumental music. Although, the production of the Lp is not totally adequate for what they were trying to achieve (it lacks thickness and power), the songwriting is still incredible and even ahead of its time as I can hear a lot of elements that would appear in a shape or another in the "neocrust" wave that would ignite five years later. The songs are long, multilayered and have a powerful and intricate narrative quality. The band was trying to tell their stories differently, or perhaps they were retelling the same stories but in a different form, with different feelings being at stake. The cope of "The Descent of Man" is impressive in spite of its flaws. It is an intense album with an anger and a passion that feel hardly contained, almost out of control, which I think is both its quality, as it roots the Lp in the "angry anarchopunk" camp, and its limit, as you can tell that the intended intensity gets a bit lost through a lack of focus.

This said, I absolutely love this album. There is a sincerity, a tension, a density that cannot be faked. There is a variety of paces on "The Descent of Man", from the crushing and slow, to the fast and pummeling, to the eerie and dirgy, to the heavy and mid-paced, so that it never feels redundant or predictable. The guitar parts are excellent, complementary and the layers have been well thought-out, there is a real diversity in terms of moods and textures, although the production does not make them shine enough. The bass lines are intricate and really upfront and the dual vocals are extremely intense, harsh even, almost on the verge of dementia, and confer a sense of angry desperation to the Lp that is reinforced through their polyphonic arrangement. "The Descent of Man" is imperfect, it is a bit too raw and it would have needed more time I presume. It is, however, one of the most intense and intense and original anarchopunk records of its time. It invokes a whirlwind of different emotions like anger, awe, outrage, melancholy, sadness, hopefulness or suffering in a very direct, unfiltered way, which makes it a very punk album despite the progressive songwriting. There is beauty in it. I cannot help but notice a black-metal influence running through it, probably because of the thin sound and the vocals, but there is also a Neurosis vibe at times (if a tad sloppy). The faster parts remind me of late-Sedition for the insane ferociousness and the crusty and the crunchy metal parts point to late-Nausea or Extinction of Mankind, but on the whole Jobbykrust really had their own sound at this point and if anything they were much more inventive than derivative.

The lyrics are one of the strongest points of the band, which was a common trait among the Belfast scene. They are meaningful: angry and yet uplifting. The song "Fear" is so relevant even now and could be applied to the current state of emergency that is being implemented in France in 2016, while "An end to transgressions" still makes sense in the context of austerity politics hitting the lower-classes.

"Find the rejects, social outcasts
Find the scum, you find your prey
Light the fuse of social hatred
Plant the seeds of disarray
Moral terror, indignation
Abuse the devils that we fear
Public outcry fuels the bonfire
Outlaw these people to stop the fear

Label them all, demean the few
Isolate, segregate, stigmatise them all
There for your goals, abused for your aims
Manipulate, exaggerate, there for the blame
There for the blame, there for the fall
Used as scapegoats to outrage us all
Standards are set, values are made
Panic's created to allow for change

Our horror fuels reaction
Our panic fuels the response

Reap the fear"

An end to transgressions
"We shall not submit to the laws they have created
An illusion of liberality that bureaucracy maintains
For every inch that they give we'll take a step back
and examine their concessions in light of the facts
They'll only give if they can take more back
A compromise from a position of strength
Actions designed do serve their own interests
Not those of the masses they're supposed to reflect"

This is clever and genuine punk-rock.      

Monday 21 March 2016

Πανικός / WWK "καταστρέψει την αρρώστια / Vollalarm" split Lp, 1996

I have already raved excitedly, unreasonably even, about Greek crust in the past, be it on Terminal Sound Nuisance or on the airwaves of Radio Libertaire in Paris. And why shouldn't I? I have been a sucker for Greek crust since the day I bought the Χειμερία Νάρκη album in 2003 (truth be told, I got the cd version because there was an Ep included on it as well) during my formative crust years. A lot of metal-crust records got released between 2003 and 2008 and I tracked down every single one of them, and to some extent, I still do, probably more out of habit than youthful passion, but well, I am a loyal geezer. Retrospectively, I feel that the two strongest CRUST albums of that period were Χειμερία Νάρκη's "Στη Σιωπή Της Αιώνιας Θλίψης" and Filth of Mankind's "Final chapter" (ironically both bands can be seen as 90's bands in terms of mood more than 00's ones). These were strong, intense, genuine, dark works that I always returned to, and even though the mid-00's American wave was probably sexier, it quickly and fatally withered without leaving that many great records in its tracks.

Of course, the undeniable quality of "Στη Σιωπή Της Αιώνιας Θλίψης" meant that there had to be other Greek crust bands, because if there is one thing that I learnt rapidly about punk is that it never existed in a vacuum. So I started looking for more bands from Greece, asked "old punks" about it, read old fanzines, spent hours online searching for information (my quest coincided with the steady rise of file-sharing) and little by little I managed to get a full picture of an amazing scene that I tend to see as the passionate stronghold of good, inventive crust music that has its own strong identity (you can't possibly mistake Greek crust with anything else) and yet is inherently crusty. As I said in a former post, they just get it. And now is a good a time to write about it, as the past couple of years have witnessed some well-deserved renewed interest in that Greek crust sound as some classics are being reissued regularly and old bands are starting to play and record again.

Gosh... I really am terrible with a camera...

The years 87/89 appeared to have been dramatically pivotal ones for punk in Greece that saw the formation of such bands as Χαοτική Απειλή, Ναυτία, Ξεχασμένη Προφητεία, Ρήγμα, Χαοτικό Τέλος, Αρνητική Στάση, Βιομηχανική Αυτοκτονία... and of course of Πανικός, who started playing in 1988 in Thessaloniki. What is particularly amazing about this scene is that, while the bands shared common musical elements, none of them actually sounded alike and as they grew, each of them created its own identity but always kept that distinct vibe that set them apart from other scenes. These were bands that really wrote songs, even when they deceptively sounded simple, and I think Πανικός is a very relevant example of strong, innovative song-writing applied to the crust basics. Discogs characterized the band as being "lyrically angry anarchopunk, musically street punk with hardcore elements". Now, I know Discogs should not be read as the Revealed Word, but that is probably the shittiest description I have ever read about Πανικός. Come on, Discogs, get a grip! I don't disagree about the band's lyrical content, but really? "Street punk with hardcore elements"? You make Πανικός sound like The Unseen!

In the mid-90's, Πανικός were at the top of their game and listening to what they recorded between 1993 and 1998 gives one the impression that they could have achieved anything, that everything they touched turned into crusty gold. They were easily one of the very best crust bands of that time and I am not saying this lightly. The term "progressive crust" sounds a little ugly, as I am hardly one susceptible to be into prog-rock (although I am starting to wonder...), but in the noblest sense of the terms they can give you an idea. Πανικός did not start out as the creative monsters they would become though. Their 1990 demo, "Ο Πόλεμος Συνεχίζεται" was a raw and angry metal-punk recording that reminds me of the short-lived Χαοτική Απειλή (which makes sense since both bands shared the same guitar player), Ναυτία and Αντίδραση, and also, probably for its dark thrash elements, of Brazilian bands like Armagedom, RDP or Lobotomia. After this, the band evolved and turned into this old-school crust beast, blending heavy, mid-paced, crunchy metallic parts, fast and intense hardcore-punk bits and darkly atmospheric, progressive moments, that are almost psychedelic at times. On that level, in terms of intent, I suppose you could say that they could be compared to Bad Influence or, closer to home, to the magnificent Αρνητική Στάση, even though Πανικός always remained more amebixian than them. It is of course not a coincidence if each of these three bands had releases on Genet Records, from Belgium.


The split Lp with WWK was recorded in early 1996, almost three years after the recording session of the "Για Το Χρήμα" Ep, and I would argue that during that lapse of time, the band even further refined the progressive aspect (especially in the eerie, oriental guitar leads), but never lost sight of the crust backbone, which must have been a difficult task that required a focused vision and well thought-out songwriting. The four songs on the Πανικός side are breathtaking in their scope, their originality and their anchor. It sounds nothing like Counterblast's "Balance of pain" but it shares the same qualities. At this point the comparison challenge tends to be meaningless, because "καταστρέψει την αρρώστια" should speak for itself. Of course, I can hear some Amebix, Χαοτικό Τέλος, Dom Där or Misery in the masterful crust heaviness, some Antisect and Ξεχασμένη Προφητεία in the thick dark intensity, some Neurosis or Zygote in the gloomy progressive guitar work, but in the end Πανικός were never derivative and more than good and inventive enough to stand of their own solid feet, just like Greek crust. The production is not as heavy as on the Ep and clearer, but since the format gave the band more space to create a more sophisticated, accurate soundscape, I feel it works just fine. Aesthetically, Πανικός used and reworked pagan and traditional anarcho symbols, like on the Ep, and the drawings of planets and galaxies meaningfully conveyed the music's vibe. English translations are provided but some of the subtlety definitely got lost (how I wish I could read Greek...). The lyrics are angry metaphors about oppression, social fear and manipulation, resignation and resilience, but also about the necessity of hope and the connection with nature.

On the flip-side are WWK, from Westerwald. I must admit that I don't know much about them and that I bought the record for the Πανικός side. I doubt it was the same for the former owner though, as the WWK side has quite a few scratches and looks like it has been played to death, so I definitely apologize for the numerous skips (especially on "Nicht mit uns"...). WWK played metallic hardcore, pretty much in the crossover fashion, with a strong thrash-metal influence and a lot of changes in the songs. I guess it is well done for what it is, I can appreciate the fast and very pissed parts, but the genre is not really my cup of tea, unless you add a healthy dose of groovy crust to the blend like Acid Rain Dance. To be fair, the song "1 A Gemüse" is good, not unlike MVD meet Concrete Sox, so I suppose WWK were not bad at what they did (assuming you can hear it through the jumps and skips...) and this lot sounds very angry indeed. There must have been some strong connections between the Greek and German scenes in the 90's, since Ναυτία also had a split Lp with a German band, Graue Zellen, and that the last song of WWK ends with some traditional Greek music... This Πανικός / WWK split Lp was released on the Germans' own label, Vollalarm.

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Counterblast "Balance of pain" Lp, 1996

"Balance of pain" is probably the best Swedish metallic crust album ever recorded. Of course, Warcollapse win the title in the "heavy gruff crust" category, but even their endeavour into mid-paced old-school crust, "Crust as fuck existence", a genuinely great record, almost pales in comparison with "Balance of pain". It is hard to believe that it was released twenty years ago and listening to it now only confirms that it was indeed a monumental crust masterpiece and it has aged extremely well, although the production gives away its age (and by that I mean that it has much more spirit and consistence than most of modern crust records).

Counterblast have often been compared to Neurosis, more precisely to their 1992 Lp "Souls at zero". It is a sound, legitimate parallel because the Neurosis influence is obvious in Counterblast's music, but it can be a tricky one too because "Neurosis-influenced music" (is there even an adequate term for it? Post-crust? Post-hardcore? Post-metal? Post-critical thinking?) has become a genre of itself throughout the years, with its own set of references, rules and expectations, but Counterblast cannot be said to fall in that category. Well, the "Impassivity" album from 2002 might to some extent but "Balance of pain" certainly does not. So my point is that, while Counterblast were influenced by "Souls at zero" and "Enemy of the sun", I don't see them as a "Neurosis-type band". Now that this has been cleared up, let's get to it.

After the demise of the mighty G-Anx in 1991, two members, Steve and Hoccy, formed Counterblast. It is often said that late G-Anx shared meaningful similarities with early Counterblast and not without reason, especially when one considers that G-Anx recorded their last Ep, "Out of reach", after they had split up, while Counterblast were already playing (or rehearsing at least). Of course, G-Anx were never as heavy and gloomy as Counterblast would turn out to be. They relied primarily on relentless speed and hardcore intensity and their sound was essentially hardcore in texture. However, listening to late songs like "In harmony" or "The beast within" from the "Out of reach" Ep or even "Life?" from 1990's "Masterpeace" Ep, with their slow, dark synth-driven introductions, it was obvious that the band was going for a more ambient, atmospheric mood, perhaps as a means to emphasize the velocity and aggression of their fast as fuck hardcore parts. Some of these G-Anx tunes, in terms of composition alone, can be found in early Counterblast, although the sound and the textures are completely different.

The first CB record was the "Prospects" Ep in 1994 and it was much more than a mere confirmation of the direction that late G-Anx pointed to. "Prospects" is a heavy record building on the G-Anx legacy, infusing it with the atmospheric heaviness of early 90's Neurosis and an old-school apocalyptic crust vibe. Had the band only released this Ep, it would have still been the perfect link between Neurosis and Axegrinder, but compared with "Balance of pain", I tend to see "Prospects" in hindsight as a brilliant introduction to the monster that was to follow. That's subjectivity for ya. The Ep paved the way for "Balance of pain" and CB refined and expanded its best elements for the Lp. Arguably, the album format is best for dark atmospheric crust because it allows you to tell a good story (assuming you can write a good one in the first place) and create a proper soundscape and I feel CB used brilliantly all the advantages that a full album can give you in order to create something that is both completely unique (I can't think of any other crust records sounding like "Balance of pain") and yet familiarly crusty.

Counterblast had the excellent idea, from the start, to have a member (Palle) dealing only with keyboards and samplers in order to create an actually multilayered music. This allowed the band to have someone specially focusing and refining this aspect, in the studio and live, and this configuration can be found on "Prospects". For "Balance of pain", the band saw much bigger as three members of Sanctum, a local ambient/industrial/darkwave band that Palle was also part of, worked with them on the recording of the album. Thus Sanctum's singer (Lena), cello player (Marika) and engineer (Jan) took part in the creation of the Lp. Needless to say that it revealed Counterblast's intent to focus on textures and meaningful sonic background and that a lot of these elements echo throughout "Balance of pain", not unlike "Souls at zero" of course. I would argue however that Counterblast only used some of Neurosis' conceptual ideas and readapted them to fit a genuinely, albeit more sophisticated, crust sound. As I mentioned earlier, there is also a strong Axegrinder influence going, especially in the some of the heavy, synth-driven riffing, quite a few Sacrilege moments as well in the way they wrote the transitions from mid-paced to fast-paced crust and a definite Misery (the band that turns everything it touches into crust) vibe in the angry vocals and the filthy, crunchy breaks. Still, these influences are all reworked through the atmospheric, industrial, incantatory, tribal prism of "Souls at zero" so that they appear in a totally different way. Never have the interactions between the Neurosis-influenced sound and the old-school crust one worked so well: from eerie and creepy insanity-driven riffs, crushing and pummeling Scandicore parts, industrial interludes, mid-tempo stenchcore charges to absolutely epic, darkly synth-driven bouncy slower moments, "Balance of pain" is an awe-inspiring metallic monument that is both quite complex and yet very easy to relate to.

The musicianship on "Balance of pain" is absolutely perfect (the drumming is remarkable) and the songwriting is stellar, and it needed to be for the album to actually make sense as a cohesive unit and not just a set of good songs. The production is incredible, very heavy, intense and cold (like steel more than ice arguably) but still organic and gritty, you can hear how the different layers are articulated and give meaning to one another. Someone once pointed out to me that "Balance of pain" was a black-metal production (not of the thin, trebly or fuzzy kind, obviously) applied to crust music and it is actually a rather relevant comment. I am not a knowledgeable person at all when it comes to black-metal (I could never relate to either the aesthetics or the mood) but given the genre's obsession with atmosphere, it might make sense and I can hear where the argument is coming from in the way the drums are recorded and in the guitar's texture. The album was produced by Mats Siltberg who also worked on the late G-Anx Ep's and on Rövsvett records but I cannot say if there was indeed a conscious intent to give it a black-metal feel.

Lyrically, "Balance of pain" is as anguished and demented as it is angry and determined. Songs about depression, alienation and pain but also about capitalism, alcoholism as a means of social control or the ruling-class. This is probably the true balance of pain: the physical and mental effects of oppression. The Lp was a joint release between Skuld Releases, Profane Existence and Elderberry Records. Following "Balance of pain", Counterblast recorded the "Impassivity" album in 2002, a rather good work but that still lacked the intensity and inspiration of its predecessor.  

Friday 11 March 2016

Contropotere "Il seme della devianza" Lp, 1991

I often tend to see Contropotere in the same light as Bad Influence. Not that the bands sound similar (they do not) but because they are both unique anarchopunk bands with a creative sound of their own and a peculiar approach to both punk and anarchism, bringing relevant outside influences to the table. I love both bands an awful lot, sensibly and intellectually, although I do not necessarily overplay them at home (their music requires me to be in a certain mood actually). Contropotere and Bad Influence are powerful, meaningful and genuine and that is quite uncommon. Of course, both of them are incredibly difficult to review and aptly describe, and the second Contropotere album is quite possibly the hardest record I have ever dealt with on Terminal Sound Nuisance. Am I becoming a masochist?

I don't think you can love Contropotere's "Il seme della devianza" on the first listen. Of course, it does depend a lot on your own musical background, and if you have been listening to freakish music for years, they might make sense more rapidly. I remember that I just could not listen to it at first. It sounded tortuous, unfocused, disparate, like a set of unbound elements that did not create meaning. The first Lp sounded much more accessible and familiar (it still does in fact), despite an incredibly original dramatic atmosphere that was new to me at the time. As a weird protocrust band, Contropotere were unbelievable in the 80's and "Nessuna speranza, nessuna paura" remains one of my favourite Italian punk albums. It bridged the gap between the fury of classic Italian hardcore, mid/late 80's metal-punk and oriental/eastern music (as unlikely as it reads, I know...). No one sounded like them then and no one has since, despite decades of musical experimentation in the punk scene. In retrospect, it was only logical for the next album to be even more innovative, bohemian, eccentric and just plain strange. I think I just needed more easily palatable music when I first heard "Il seme della devianza" but the Lp does make more sense to me today. Does it mean I really get it? Maybe. Let's say I have come to terms with it but it is not really something you can play while chatting with your mates.

Contropotere was not really a band. They defined themselves as a collective, a family or even as a tribe. Music was an artistic means of expression but they were not a "rock'n'roll band". On that level, the parallel with Crass is not without relevance. Often seen as a Naples band, Contropotere originally came into existence in the Venice area but, as I understand it, the members came from different parts of the country. After a stay in Bologna, the collective settled and increased its activities in Naples after the release of the first album. Although their music grew to defy genres, Contropotere's origins were rooted in the 80's Italian hardcore scene. Some members played in Link Larm (who released a rather good demo in 1984) and in Elettrokrazia (a band I have never heard), the Lp was released on Attack Punk Records (the label's last record), and, as I mentioned, the early recordings of Contropotere were strongly reminiscent of the local brand of hardcore for their intensity and their desperate anger (think Rappresaglia). Undeniably, a band like Franti - with their Crass-like multivocal anarchopunk weirdness, their sense of atmosphere and their distinct theatrical vibe - must have been a strong influence. I would also venture that the propensity to innovation of the UK anarchopunk scene (especially on the All The Madmen side of things) and the heavy, ominous, pagan sound of Amebix may have been inspirations as well.

By the time "Il seme della devianza" was released in 1991, Contropotere had toured Europe and left strong impression on everyone, with their strong stage performance and their dramatic, atmospheric and yet tense, ominously aggressive music. But if Contropotere's nature had as much to do with drama than with music, how do you translate that multifaceted identity into an Lp? A near impossible task which explains the flaws of an album that is ultimately successful thanks to its narrative quality and its drama structure. I would argue that "Il seme della devianza" is as much an Lp as it craves to be a play. I am not saying Contropotere pulled that one through, but the fact they tried to confer their album a drama quality, with what sound like acts and a dramatic structure, points to such an endeavour. Thats is also why it is such a difficult Lp to listen to, it is not just a collection of songs, it must be dealt with as a modern play, a performance and therefore as an interconnected narrative whole. It is probably not as refined as it should be, and the production is by far "Il seme della devianza"'s biggest problem, but it is a fascinating work nevertheless and very few bands could have done an anarchopunk play as well as Contropotere did.

There is a lot going on musically. The songs (but are they really songs?) are usually long and convulsive, dark and fueled by tension, cold, heavy and almost sinister, especially with the anguished vocals of the female singer, but with an organic quality (perhaps one that has more to do with endless agony than sheer vibrance, but you get my point). They are almost never linear, the structures have been mostly dismantled, and sometimes have an incantatory feel, a ritualistic element that the sometimes mystic, pagan lyrics tend to complement (not being really a mystic person myself, I can only infer that they were summoning furious anti-capitalist spirits or something). I cannot really tell you what Contropotere sound like on this Lp. There are thrash metal elements (some parts remind me of their contemporaries and label mates Anarcrust actually, especially with the frenetic, epileptic vibe of the Lp), Nausea-like heavy crust bits, long industrial moments, some goth-like parts, some fast hardcore ones but also experimental punk sonorities (think late Crass, The Ex or Dog-Faced Hermans)... This is an intricately heavy, twisted, labyrinthine, anguished, exhausting album from start to finish that is close to impossible to render in words.

There is a massive, beautiful booklet with the Lp with English (and German) translations so that you can get what Contropotere were all about: liberation, empowerment, subversion and deviance. "For the power that everyone possesses as a potential for transformation. Against all kinds of imposed power". The band used metaphors of dreams, nightmares, occult visions or time to make their point and fight mediocrity and resignation in the face of modern alienation. Strong, passionate words that are vividly illustrated through the music and you can hear that the band spent time thinking about the complicated relationship between form and content (and let's get real, all great punk records blend the boundaries between form and content). "Il seme della devianza" was the second release of Skuld Releases and certainly one of the label's most challenging. After this Lp, Contropotere did another record for Skuld, the "Solo selvaggi" Ep in 1992, and released a work of electronic music in 1994 as CP/01 (which I have never dared to listen to...but hopefully I will one day find the courage to do so) entitled "Cyborg 100%".