Welcome back dear readers ! By this cold month of February, I thought reviewing a lovely and joyful records would have been a great idea. But it’s not what will happen actually, because today we’ll talk about Discharge own’s “Why ?”, one of the best thing to come out from england after the Marmite and Oï.
This time, there was a lot of records I wanted to review, and this one wasn’t part of the bill at first but my co-autor xtjx sent me a mixtape, including a Discharge song and hit me up instantaneously, I go to review something from this band. It’s not like there is a whole genre nammed after their name.
And first of all, why “Why ?” ? Of course, a little bit for the pun, which I’m not sorry for. But it’s a legit question since this band got a damn huge discography, with things better than others, but relevant nonetheless. Still, I won’t lie to you, I only hesitated between this LP or Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing one, because the heavy metal turn is cool, but don’t speak to me as much also I only heard the previous EPs not that long ago and I consider this LP to be more a keystone to me.
Released on Clay Records, repressed and bootleged a certain amount of time, you can find it on LP version or CD version (with songs from the EP added). The item itself is classic and simple, true to the DIY ethic of the band, or the fact they probably didn’t care at all about it, so we won’t extend ourselves on that issue. I just find the whole Discharge aestethic pretty ugly but hey, considering which band it is, it’s not even something to think about.
But the music everyone; how better can it get ? To be honest, the first time I listened to this records I was affraid, like for real. Because I was young the first time I heard “WHY ?” and I was still listening to level entry super clean sounding metal, and from this kind of sound to Discharge, there’s a rough gap. But it’s this rough gap that define how good is this record. From the intro you get it, it’s gloomy and pissed, so pissed it enrages you, and that’s why this record is way better than the rest, its way more aggressive and angry than the other of their released, and I think the way they played their instrument is a huge factor in how aggressive does this sounds. I don’t know if they couldn’t do better or didn’t want to, but they just found how to write violent yet simple riffs and turn their shitty sound into something crucial. Not only the D-beat is crucial, because let’s face it, it’s the touch of the band and of course it have to be there, it’s a part of the whole scheme you can’t change, but also this distorted bass or this noisy guitar and pissed voice, it just goes so well all together. I think they were a band always searching to improve their sound, to grow up, but for me this is the best era, and they didn’t have to do more than that.
This whole noise is giving weird feeling, a disturbing atmosphere, like if humanity is doomed and they wrote down an anthem for it. And it goes so fast, there’s no moments of peace, no rest, you take your 14 minutes of lesson on how everything is fucked up and get by. The strange thing is I can’t find any filler in those 10 songs, and I don’t know if it’s because the sound is so fucked up I can’t recognize if something is here on purpose or not or if it’s because, yes, everything is suppose to be there. Even the solos don’t bother me. I mean, I love my solos, but some bands don’t need any, and it could be the case for Discharge but without them, it wouldn’t be that weird and intense.
Of course, as above mentioned, let’s not forget “Cal”‘s vocals, which just fits the music perfectly as he just shouted in the mic without even thinking about how to do it. This guy is angry and he is telling you this on every tracks. Because I believe he is still angry and however, you can listen to those song a thousand times, it will still be as angry as the first time you heard it.
His lyrics are also really important. It’s basic anarchist/pacifist thoughts, like war sucks and capitalism failed us all, it’s not well written and is at the same level as the music : aggressive and straight to the point but at least it doesn’t talk about being drunk and fucked up all day long, or racist bullshit (you know, in england and at this time it’s more or less a tradition) and some may say it’s idiotic, I rather read this than anything else some american bands were putting out at the time. Disclaimer : I love those american bands, don’t take criticism for what it’s not.
I appreciate the fact he just don’t say “humanity suck’s/humans are worthless”. He point out the horror of some parts of humans, but don”t put everyone in the same room and blame all. I’m not sure this guy have any hope for us to become better, but at least is not looking at everyone as the last blood thirsty monster and it feels good, because it’s a trend in the hardcore scene that sometime I find really boring and for me, Discharge did with this album what Peter Watkins did with his movies (minus the talent and the means), showing the flaws of some humans, for us to think on our condition, without considering us as just simply doomed.
So, it’s far from perfect, and the production is shitty as fuck, but I can’t tell something I don’t like about this, because it doesn’t grow old, or boring, and I can listen to it multiple times without any problems. For the time of it was released and how much it still influence people now, this LP is far from being forgotten and it’s still a milestone in hardcore punk, even though you can’t cope with the sounds, the lyrics, whatever, it’s an important release for everything it gave to the futur generations, and I’m still digging this LP every time I’m listening to it and there’s not much records with the same influence as “WHY ?” on both Punk and Metal. Fortunatly you can still find it at a fair price on the internet, so if you don’t got it, go pick up one copy and spin it, either you like or not, you got to at least one time.
Her loved one’s just another piece of meat
On the battlefields