Wednesday 12 December 2018

Polish Tapes Not Police States (kurwa 3): Earth Movement "S/t" tape, 1997

This band takes me back to the early days of Terminal Sound Nuisance. 6 years ago, in October of 2012 to be accurate, I reviewed and posted Earth Movement's Ep, W Sprawie Ocalenia. It was a very different time, an age of innocence when I could write fourteen entries for the blog in a single month (the novelty effect made me feel unstoppable and imbued with a dignified sense of purpose, though some would call it self-importance), and yet still struggled to find my voice in this virtual jungle and offer contents I was truly pleased with. And here I am, six years later, a bit older but still in pretty good shape despite a receding hairline, still writing about forgotten punk bands with dodgy musical abilities or foggy monikers (they are not mutually exclusive obviously). So when I found the tape this summer on a distro, unjustly covered with the dust of indifference, I got a bit sentimental and instantly grabbed it, like an unexpected Proustian madeleine.    

The one thing that really has not changed is Earth Movement's status as the band seems to remain inextricably shrouded in mystery. I haven't been able to learn more about them and no one really seems to know much about this lot twenty years later. It is pretty sad that you can find easily all sorts of nonsensical frivolous bollocks on the internet (sometimes without really intending to) while relevant intel about solid Polish hardcore punk bands from the 90's are hard to come by. Unfair, yeah? I am not even completely sure about the release date on that tape. It could be 1998 (like the aforementioned Ep) for all I know, but the rawer sound made me think that it had to be a previous recording and since the label had already put out, at least, two tapes in 1997, I went for that year. But do correct me if I am mistaken.

EM were from Suwalki, in northeastern Poland, not far from the borders with Lithuania and Belarus, and were, I suppose, active in the late 90's. This self-titled tape was recorded at Salman Studio in Białystok, a recording space also used by the likes of Sanctus Iuda (who were actually from Białystok), Disgusting Lies or Piekło Kobiet as well as quite a few grindcore bands. I can definitely hear similarities in terms of sound and songwriting between EM and Sanctus Iuda actually, though the former were not as crusty. EM played powerful, energetic, fast, riff-driven anarcho hardcore punk with a crusty touch (it was the 90's after all). The eleven songs included on the tape flow and fit very well together and in spite of a raw(er) sound, the musicianship sounds pretty strong and focused. There are enough tempo changes to keep everyone interested, the vocals are passionate, pissed but with some tuneful hooks, the riffs are epic and catchy and when EM go into full on pummeling crusty hardcore mode, they sound relentless. There is even a punky reggae number, something which, in another context, would make me very dismissive (alternative reggae rock bands have been plaguing the French scene for the past three decades), but works very well here with its almost cold and moody vibe (it has to be said that reggae has been a very popular style in Poland and a lot punk bands have been toying with it, usually with admittedly good results). I can also hear a definite anarchopunk influence reminiscent of Conflict and, of course, of Włochaty and Guernica y Luno (two extremely influential bands at the time). Add a bit of the hardcore sound of Mushroom Attack and Anger of Bacterias with a crusty spoonful of Hiatus, Sanctus Iuda and Stradoom Terror (it was the 90's after all) and it made for a very promising first recording that the Ep certainly confirmed. EM had potential, were able to write good, potent, aggressive punk songs and, well, who knows what happened next. They may have got lost in the crowd of good bands at that time.

The tape was released on Qrwa Sistema (get it?) a tape label based in Slupsk that released some strong works from Silna Wola, Stracony as well as Swedish bands like Society Gang Rape or the delicate Dissober. I don't really know what EM sang about but judging from the Sedition/Oi Polloi pagan ecopunk imagery, without mentioning the abstruse name Earth Movement, I would endeavour that they were into radical ecology, nature and nudism. 

This is a great, unpretentious tape and I love it.   


  1. hi, here is the drummer of the earth movement from suwałki


  2. hi, here is the drummer of the earth movement from suwałk

    1. Hello there! Thanks for joining in. Anything to share about Earth Movement? :)