Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Kids of the 90's (part 9): No Prejudice / Dischord "Uma Guerra Entre Classes Pela Paz Entre Os Povos" split Lp, 1998

Believe or not, I always have to prepare mentally and physically before the start of the actual listening process when I work on a series for Terminal Sound Nuisance. Sometimes, I feel like an astronaut getting ready for his future journey into space, only I do not need as much cool technology and my journey is much less boring (I never got why people would even want to spend time in space, it looks like a snoozefest up there) although probably not as telegenic. As I prepped for Kids of the 90's, I realized that you could actually recognize and identify a lot of 90's punk records just by the looks of them. Of course, it is perfectly sensible if you take into consideration the evolution of trends and the aesthetic commonalities linked with a contextualized timeframe. But what I mean does not only have to do with covers, fonts or themes, but also with means of production. Technological advances certainly led to better, cleaner-looking productions in the following decades (even when some tried to look "vintage" and "authentic") but what really struck me is how amateurish, simple and even cheap a lot of 90's DIY punk records looked and felt. A mere sheet of paper printed on both sides and folded correctly was often good enough for the cover of an Ep. It was not all like that as you also had records with massive booklets with amazing drawings and lovely posters and everything, but for labels and bands with limited finances and logistics, you had to make do with what you had at your disposal in terms of material means. That's passion and dedication. This, in turn, resulted in a record that accurately reflected its conception and fabrication, as if the way it had been made and the efforts it took to do it were as visible and tangible as the object itself. Or maybe I have just had too much coffee this morning. Who knows. 

This 1998 split Lp reeks of this proper DIY spirit from the 90's, both in form and content. Despite its rather unsophisticated look, you can tell - even before actually listening to it - that much passion and a strong faith in the core values of punk-rock were involved in its making. If you have some kind of hippie gift and can feel vibrations, energies and whatnot, just place your hands above the cover, close your eyes, concentrate and you'll get my point. No Prejudice and Dischord were two Brazilian bands, from São Roque, in the state of São Paulo. Now, if you claim to be into punk and hardcore, sport the whole studded uniform and yet are unaware of the significance of São Paulo punk-rock, not only on a national level, and not even just on a continental one, but in the history of punk-rock as a whole, then do yourself a favour, get off instagram for a second and research some SP hardcore right now. If you can't be arsed, please leave your membership card on my desk before the end of the week. 

I cannot claim to be an expert in Brazilian punk, that would be far-fetched, but an incredible amount of bands, past and present, points to the direction of São Paulo, a monstrous industrial city that birthed Brazilian hardcore which I mean here as a genuine genre. No Prejudice and Dischord were not from SP itself, but from a nearby town, so I suspect they played in the big city quite often and the São Roque punk scene must have developed thanks to the impulse it provided. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there were hundreds of active punk bands (of all kinds) in the SP area during the 90's and to this day the punk dynamics inherent to the city are quite overwhelming. But let's get to the record, shall we? In fact, a mate of mine recommended this Lp to me arguing that it was "absolutely glorious and sloppy grindcore and crust recorded in a cave" so I obviously took the bait.

On the first side are No Prejudice. They were active during the late 90's and, all things considered, I think this first recording of theirs - from April, 1998 - rates as one of the sloppiest crust/grind records from the 90's that I own, which is no mean feat. In fact, I am not even sure the lads tuned up together or that they even cared to. It is all over the place, messy and sometimes you can tell that they play the wrong chords, if not the wrong songs, and I can imagine them looking at each other in bewilderment during a session that they must have rushed through for financial reasons. As for the production, the guitar is trebly and buried, the vocals and drums are too loud but the level of the bass is alright I guess. If you are wondering what NP sound like, just imagine an energetic and inept blend of vintage Rot, Agathocles and the great Discarga Violenta with over-the-top undecipherable vocals. And it is amazing! I bloody love it. Of course, I would not advise to play it to someone who is getting into punk or even into grindcore since the 19 songs are rough as a badger's arse and quite obnoxiously so. But NP is exactly my kind of primitive grindcore, very punky and hasty, with ridiculous dual vocals and a sense of urgency that is very similar to traditional Brazilian, Italian or Finnish hardcore. I realize that bands like NP will probably appeal to the punk, rather than the metal, side of the grindcore crowd and there were quite a lot of raw and primal grind bands like them in the 90's. Urgency and impact are two words that characterize well Brazilian hardcore so it should come as no surprise that there are still bands like this today in São Paulo (alright, maybe not as overtly messy but still). This is chaotically glorious and when I need to play some genuinely raw and disorderly fast punk music, I'd rather play NP than most of the current pseudo "raw punk" bands. It is to be noted that playing NP's side can also allow you to kick someone out of your flat without actually having to ask. Works all the time.

For all the stylistic sloppiness, NP were a very serious band and, although I am not sure the singers actually utter the words, the lyrics are political, short, honestly angry bursts against patriotism, police repression and scene elitism, and really that's exactly what I want from my grindcore. Following this split Lp, 1999 was a busy year for the band since NP appeared on a compilation Ep with three other fast Brazilian bands (Septicemia, Provocazione and Contraste Bizarro) and shared a split tape with Parental Advisory and an Ep with the mighty Rot on Absurd Records (the label of Rot's singer Marcelo).        

On the other side of the split are a band I am more familiar with, Dischord. If you expect any similarity with Dischord Records then be prepared to be sorely disappointed because the Brazilian Dischord were one of the few national bands standing for a punk genre crucial to the 90's: crust. I have no reasonable explanations for this surprising discrepancy, especially when one considers the vitality of the Brazilian punk scene and how attracted to fast aggressive music it has always been. So why so few crust bands? There were loads of noisy grindcore, fast thrash ones or metal-punk bands but very few all-out crust ones, no real Hiatus-y bands (let's just use them as a crust measuring stick for the sake of argument) and if Extreme Noise Terror and Disrupt can be said to have had a noticeable influence on 90's Brazilian hardcore, it was only to the extent that the borrowed elements fitted the grindcore caveat. Very good bands like Abuso Sonoro, Execradores or Amor, Protesto y Odio did have some crust-infused moments, but the only bands I can think of that went for gruff crust savagery were early Under Threat (that I have already raved about here) and Dischord. 

Dischord were a rather prolific São Roque band active between 1996 and 2002. Their first offerings were the rather rough '96 split tape with Rotten Sound (back when they were great) and '97 4-way split tape with Agathocles, Grossmember from Poland and the oddly-named Orchestral Pit's Cannibals from Russia on the quaint Oral Diarrhoea Records. Their side of the split Lp with NP was recorded during two sessions, one in April and the other in October of 1998, which accounts for some songs sounding crunchier and more powerful. Dischord played typically fast, pummeling dual vocal 90's cavemen crust (though Marcelo did all the "singing" parts on this recording) reminiscent of Hiatus, Disrupt and Amen. The production is raw but fits the genre perfectly, conferring the instruments a spontaneous, organic tone that I crave. For all I know, the band could have been working on the clock because there is a definite feel of urgency in the songs, in a "race against time" kind of way that reminds me of Namland at times. I like how aggressively upfront the vocals sound, a common trait in Brazilian hardcore, and how simple yet effective the songwriting is. The song "Dead nature" uses some spoken words done over the cavemen crust savagery and is a lovely nod toward Doom's "Means to an end". This is classic hyperbolic 90's crust done with a lot of heart and conviction.

The lyrics are in English on this record but Dischord mostly sang in Portuguese on their subsequent productions. If the genre they embraced can be thought to be raw and schematic (something I have no qualms about), the band certainly had a lot to say and were more political than most. The foldout includes a text from them which explains how their lyrics connect with each other and tackle subjects that are linked with one another shaping a global resistance to oppression. "Uma Guerra Entre Classes Pela Paz Entre Os Povos". Revolutionary crustcore for ya.

Following the Lp, Dischord relevantly did a split Ep with Under Threat and a split Lp with fellow gruff crusties Lies & Distrust from Czech in 1999. I suppose they made some meaningful contacts there because they went to record a full Ep, Fuck Copyrights, in 2000 for Insane Society Records and a split Ep with Čad in 2002.

This punk as fuck split Lp was released on Shit Records (you cannot make that up), which was Dischord's guitar player's label.

Weird choice for the labels... The pressing plant's? 


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