This is the last cheap compilation Ep of the series and I do hope you all took notes. Whether you are looking for a last minute present for that annoyingly ungrateful nephew of yours, trying to reconstruct some sort of decent collection after you had to sell all your records for food and booze after the Covid pandemic or just intending to save some money for the upcoming baby but still have some punk credibility to show your 13 followers on social media, these five Ep's will work miracles. Tested and approved by the Guardians of Punk! Humanitarian mission! If you are a cheese-paring yet sharp busybody, you might be able to bargain your way into an even better deal and negotiate the five records for just £20, assuming you hassle the unwary merch person at a gig enough. Who knows, if you prove to be enough of a stingy bellend, he or she might let you leave with the whole record bin for free just to get rid of you. As young and inspiring successful business owners often say, there are no small victories and if it takes wearing down the poor fool stuck behind the table and thus unable to flee, then so be it. At least, it will be this less records to load back in the van for the band and they had been gathering dust in the distro since Clinton's second term anyway.
The last decade saw, from my eagle-like perspective anyway, a sharp decrease in compilations in general and physical compilation Ep's in particular. Many bands are not so keen on being part of a comp or a split record since it has become technically much easier, not to mention more rewarding, to have your own proper record. I personally greatly enjoy such compilations as they display acts of collaboration between bands and labels, of curation and of both intentional and unintentional representation of a certain time, place, friendship or common purpose. They are fascinating pieces of punk history and, for all the inevita
ble fillers, shit recordings and plain incongruous and yet still strangely relevant songs, they remain significant artifacts of our collective history and wonderful storytellers.
The last compilation will be Why Must We Die for Your Palate? released in 1999 on Dire/Action records. As you probably understand - unless you only stumbled on Terminal Sound Nuisance by chance, attracted by the smell of cheap, easily obtainable (sub)cultural products - and as the cover stressed openly, the purpose of this Ep was to expose the truth about animal exploitation and promote animal rights and welfare and encourage people to boycott the industry and go vegan. By 1999, this was certainly not something new. British anarchopunk bands had been fighting for animal liberation and meat-free lifestyle, supporting hunt sabbing and demonstrating and taking part in actions against animal experimentation since the early 80's with bands like Conflict, Exit-Stance, Active Minds or Riot/Clone being particularly vehement on the subject. The pro-animal stand quickly spread throughout the world and, under the influence of anarchopunk, the political hardcore scene in the U$A quickly developed a similar stance and commitment on those issues with numerous bands flying the animal rights banner, notably in the Californian peacepunk scene with bands like Resist and Exist, Atrocity or Iconoclast while in New York Nausea and Jesus Chrust were also spreading the gospel and let's not forget the highly influential Antischism. It feels a little redundant to point it out but vegan, animal rights-oriented punk bands have existed from the 90's on pretty much in every places where there is a punk who owns a Conflict patch (that's always the clue).
Following the idealism of anarchopunk in the 80's especially about this topic, some bands took a contradictory stance and claimed that animal rights and songs about them were just a fashion to follow, a box to check, a part of preconstructed template in order to be seen as a righteous anarcho band instead of "free thinkers". Although such criticism often derived from rather reactionary perspectives - the same argument was often made about feminism or pacifism - it is difficult to pretend that having a song about animals did not feel like a compulsory button to push, not unlike some sort of Commandment to abide by or a Herculean labour to perform, only with Moses and Hercules wearing charged hair or the infamous dreadlock mullet, a haircut that was as common for punks as it was for 90's wrestlers. For all the tiresome, redundant clichés that many songs about animal rights carried, I feel that the subject mattered and still does, a lot, and I will take naive idealism and outrage over jaded stale cynicism any day. At least they cared or tried to. Oddly and sadly, although animal rights have entered the mainstream and become a legitimate burning issue in many countries, the subject does not seem to be as popular today as it used to be which, on the surface, would seem to confirm to some extent that the 80's and 90's vegan/vegetarian punk propaganda obeyed to a passing trend and fashion rather than analysis, reason and a love for animals. Still this discrepancy is difficult to explain since punks have been at the forefront of the struggle for a long time and ecological collapse is quite literally and not just dischargily just around the corner. Maybe it is just the usual reaction to the mainstream and that, now that Insta twats have glamourized and depoliticized veganism, it feels useless and not as edgy to rehash the old message of To a Nation of Animal Lovers, though it still stands as a valid and urgent one. It would not be punks' first contradictions.
As a credible vegan punk - I own a dozen of Antisect shirts - I have always loved animal rights songs, even the sloppy cheesy ones, because I identify with the message and, love it or not, they have belonged to punk history and tradition for 40 years. I have to confess that I don't even like animals. The neighbour's cat is an alright fellow and watching him being a useless bastard is inspiring indeed, however I have no trust whatsoever in sheep, cows and goats, while horses and ponies are dangerous feral beasts and geese are evil entities. Why Must we Die for Your Palate? belonged to the category of serious, documented and educational animal rights record. It was meant to make you think, convince you and eventually recruit you into the preachy tofu-eating army. Join the fight comrade! There is a comprehensive booklet highlighting the validity and benefits of plant based diets and the necessity of ending animal abuse and industrial farming for the sake of ethics and the environment. If you are already familiar with the issues, it will not be anything new but the firm sense of political purpose and dedication conveying by the Ep is meaningful and typical - in a good way - of the anarcho and crusty 90's scene that disliked soap, even vegan ones, as much as they loved a vegan stew and dumpster diving, which became an important discipline of the Crust Olympics around that time.
The compilation Ep includes four American bands: Detestation, End Result, Depressor and Idi Amin. I realize I have directly written about Detestation only once, when I reviewed the Punk Riot compilation Lp (that was in 2012... fuck me), a gap that might strike the punk on the street as a bit odd. Detestation were a pillar of the U$ d-beat/anarcho/crust 90's scene, a parallel dimension that I have touched upon on more than one occasion. Though the band did not play for that long - between 1995 and 1998 - they left a lasting impression on the punk world, maybe not unlike another crucial female-fronted hardcore band, Health Hazard. Detestation is one of these bands that everybody has heard and judging from the high concentration of Detestation appurtenances at festivals, they have remained something of a classic throughout the years. Reasons for this enduring popularity was that the members had already played in quite a few bands before so that they knew what they were doing creatively and had all the right networks, that the band was very prolific indeed but more critically Saira's vocals were one of the most recognizable of the 90's - and arguably beyond - so that they gained an iconic glow that is here to stay. I already wrote about the PDX DIY hardcore punk scene of the 90's and how it grew to be an early example of a nerdier trend of referential punk and it was no coincidence that the name "Detestation" came from GISM's first album and "Masskontroll" from a No Security song for instance. The song "Not fucking funny" was recorded in 1996 and dealt with hypocrisy, pretense and dodgy behaviours in the punk scene. Ty and Adam from Starved and Delirious - and Resist for Ty - appeared on that recording although the lineup at the time of release, or rather at the time they contributed their bit of artwork, had Bryan from S&D and Dominic, beside Kelly from Resist and Defiance and of course Saira. As for the music, well you've heard it all before, yeah? Fast and thrashing scandicore with political lyrics and mean, compelling, insane-sounding and pissed high-pitched female vocals that sound like you're being yelled at after being caught smoking at the window for the first time by your mom. But that might memory talking. Imagine a fight on speed between Crude SS, Pink Turds In Space, Riistetyt and Potential Threat. Class and classic.
Next up are the much less famous End Result from Lexington. I guess the name comes from the Crass song but I cannot be sure. This lot were by no means the first to come up with the End Result moniker, as there were, at least, three other bands who had the same linguistical idea: an early 80's punk-rock band made up of English 12 year-old, a Chicago based 80's now-wave band and an excellent mid-80's old-school anarchopunk from Australia. But then, Discogs was not around in the 90's so no harm done really. I don't know much about this End Result to be honest. The song "Control", about the objectification of women's bodies and the sexual politics of meat, is your typical 90's blasting fastcore number with a raw sound (it was recorded in a garage) and two vocalists. Not bad and I like the lyrics but not really my cuppa.
On the other side, hostilities resume with Idi Amin, another band I am not really familiar with. That's what I have always enjoyed with such compilations, you always got to discover bands you had never heard about - sometimes for good reasons, let's get real - thus increasing your punk knowledge. I doubt conversations about Idi Amin abound in 2021 but it might come handy one day. Contrary to the obscure End Result, this Roanoke bunch released four Ep's between 1996 and 2001, one of which was with Unholy Grave which helps one locate where Idi Amin stood on the spectrum of punk. With that mind, "Confutation..." (that's a word I did not know so thanks for that Idi Amin) unsuprisingly sounds like a blast fast U$ hardcore thrash with two singers and a powerviolence influence. Again the sound is raw and rough and the band was not the kind to arse around as the song lasts 54 seconds. The lyrics deal with animal experimentaton and there is a nasty picture of a tortured rabbit on their sheet, a common, if not traditional, visual meant to shock that bands have often used when addressing the topic.
Finally, you are presented with a song from the mighty and totally unique Depressor, which I have already raved about here at a time when I was still a bit shy and not the egregious braggart I have become. Oh well. Depressor was a San Fransisco musical project started by Chris in 1992, a strange beast that mutated throughout the years, evolving from indus crust to occult hardcore, with inhuman anguish as the binding threat. A bit of an unclassable and cruelly underrated band really. "Filth" was recorded in 1995, a period when Depressor was at the apex of its heavy and hammering industrial old-school metal crust power, and originally appeared on the Burn the Illusion demo tape, recorded on four tracks which accounts for the raw primitive cavecore sound and the smouldering mechanical inhuman urgency of the music. One of the band's crucial early numbers. Imagine Sonic Violence, Godflesh, Saw Throat and Axegrinder working and plotting the revolution on the same alienating assembly line. "Filth" deals with male ego and insecurity and how it relates to animal abuse and the rape culture. A lovely song that would enjoy a boisterously enthusiastic response at your cousin Lee's wedding reception. If you love being crushed by oppressive indus crust, the label Fuck Yoga from Macedonia recently released two Lp's, 1995 and Filth/Grace, that contain Depressor's early material. Essential and compulsory listens for the crust students yearning for crushing enlightenment.
Why Must We Die for Your Palate? was released on Dire/Action, a label based in Lexington, so I am guessing that it had some connection with End Result, that also put out the Charger Ep, a band involving Chris from Depressor, as well as a second animal rights compilation Ep, Why Must We Die for Your Science that had a strong lineup made up of Resist and Exist, React, Act of Heresy and A//Political. As one can expect, revolting - but somehow banal even if stemming from a well-meaning intention to induce a reaction - pictures of animal abuse adorn the foldout. This Ep looks like a typical DIY record from this era, simple and realized with little means but a big heart.
So why must they die for your palate then?