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Crucial Records #4 : Discharge – Why ?

By Tieuma

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
Why ?

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by | February 6, 2015 · 3:42 pm

Crucial Records #2 : The Proletariat – Indifference

By Tieuma

Welcome back dear readers. For the second issue of our endless journey, I picked a records at the last moments because my original choice been kicked off so hard, I couldn’t do anything. Not it is better or something, I’m not doing some sort of strange list right here. That’s not the point. I’d have done this review anyway, but I didn’t expect to be urged by myself to do it that quick.

I was listenning to the This Is Boston Not L.A. comp and here comes The Proletariat’s songs, now I’m writing this, it just blew me.

But, I have to say this is really weird, this compilation. The songs of the concerned band are stuck between some The F.U’s, Gang Green and you know the drill (if not, listen to this compilation, it’s a damn blast), like it has nothing to do here. I’m saying this because the first thousands times I listened to it (not less, I swear) I couldn’t understand it, I was thinking it was a glitch on the vinyl, or maybe they were shorts on bands and picked some of their friends project. You know, for me it didn’t sound like my definition of hardcore punk at the time, before  I discover Embrace or Fugazi. And clearly, this band is still highly discussed, even nowaday, if it’s a Punk Rock band or a Hardcore Punk. I found it a pretty useless debate, and if this review lays down here, you know which side I picked up.

Now, why did I choose to review this LP and not Soma Holiday, which many people I discussed with prefered ? I asked myself this question and it came by to be really simple : Where Soma Holiday did good, Indifference did way better. At least musically wise, because the lyrics are greats on both records, believe me. Well you have to be a little bit a PC-Marxist fanatic like me.

The 1985 LP is for me the step between the raw, angry and powerful of the early eighties and the progressive, emotive and intelligent of the early nineties. I mean, over the mid tempo ultra-elaborated-but-not-so-much-riffs, there’s still this youthfull rage, because it doesn’t get boring or too much of a performence show off. It’s just raw feelings transposed on another scale (yeah yeah there’s a play word) compared to the Boston scene of that time. Or the hardcore scene in general. Some added metal in their jam, The Proletariat added progressive/pop. Songs like The Guns Are Winning, Better Man or Pride are just pure gold mine of beautiful riffs, but yet still so aggressive.

Leading the way for many bands on this genre, the piano or the xylophone on the songs are … weird the first ten times, but becomes interesting when you get into it and just shape this records, already full of melodies and thoughts. I used to think it was too much, but it couldn’t have been this good without it. Also notice prehistoric signs of this late nineties “emo” feels on songs like Homeland, mixed with piano and the melodic whatnot, you have the avant-garde of any bands labeled on the late category.

And the voice. Even though it sounds a bit like a punkier version of Morrissey’s, it just put a way too deep dimension to the music, like it’s blaming you for all the pain of the world. When I really started to like this band, I’ve been hypnotized by this voice, especially on this records, as its so raging and pissed, yet staid and mastered.

I still think it’s a little bit overproduced though, or at least for the time, it’s too clean.

Now, let’s focus on my favorite part of this piece : Richard Brown’s lyrics !

There’s a lot to say about it, but I’ll try to make it short, not for it to become too over zealous, but damn, it’s beautiful, it just give this record its most beautiful side. I do believe for the time, and even for nowadays, it was categorized as too politiced or too intellectual, but for me, it’s where poetry meet politics, and this is a hard task not to sing militant leaflet or too obscure scientifical lampoon or even just too sentimental impossible to understand lyrics. The words are as the songs writting, deep, intelligent but still intellegible. And it talks to anybody, about our lives. It talks about unemployement as much as racism or sexism, only cold facts, no negative or positive notes, no “humanity is fucked” or “the world is driven by stupid shitheads but it’s cool let’s mosh”. No, it’s just your everyday life, being exploited by the rich for their own good, where you have to be the best at everything. It criticize our world the way I like it.

I’m curious to know what the Lower East Side crew thought about those lyrics, wearing Skrewdriver merch and crediting nazi US skinheads. Maybe the boston/new york war started this way. Or not, forget that.

“home of the free, land of the brave
if only i could remember the refrain
and this is our national anthem
this is our homeland
where the meek may inherit
but only the strong will reign “

Living in France with all this nationalist bullshit happening, those lyrics are just actual to me, and echoes a lot in my everyday life, even taken out of their context. And a lot of great records do have weird lyrics out of their context, but not those one.

“on production lines
is it pride or is it fear
that produce the best results”

I’m still curious if the song Sins talks about specism or not, as it can be against war also, but I naively think it’s about sepcism because this records have to be nearly perfect. Nearly because it lacks a song about the Straight Edge. No just kidding.

I don’t have letdown about this part of the records though, and for me, those lyrics can hardly get better.

Some questions are left unsolved. Why on Homestead Records ?  What is this weird website they got, was it made by them ? How did they ended up in the Boston Not L.A Comp ? It’s almost christmas and my birthday, who would be kind enough to offer it to me ?

Anyway, this is a crucial records, musically wise as much as lyrically wise. Countless bands can thanks them for their prehistoric emotive riffs, even Fugazi, and I mean that. This records deals with a highly rejected side of the scene, the progressive and melodic sounding hardcore punk, full of thoughts and experimentations, and also a not hidden love for marxism/socialism which emphasise what punks means to me : a rebellion against society and its crimes. It’s full of passion, of rage and calls for freedom. This how you do over-politicized-progressive-hardcore-punk.

N.B : As long as I don’t have this records phisycally, I can hardly find pictures of the piece of the internet, so if anyone wants to buy to me this records just got some pictures, I’m taking it.

“why are you a better man
than I?”



1 Comment

by | December 5, 2014 · 11:47 pm

Abolition 2008-2013

By Tieuma

Damn, since I don’t have a proper internet connection at my place anymore, everytime I can connect and there’s something popping out, I’m losing attention on what I’m actually doing like a puppy.

It happened today, again, with this short footage about London’s Abolition.

Bands with a strong political message are my favorites, and especially when they’re playing this 90’s chug-chug hardcore vibe. And Abolition were doing it perfectly. Even though I only caught them live once during 2012’s London Edge Day, I had the pleasure to spend a little time with Nicholas and Charlie (and Katie, who was or still is living with them.) who gave me two t-shirts of the band, told me about the whatnot of the london scene and damn, gave me a place to crash when I needed it. All in all, it was super quality time, with great people playing great music.

For me they left a mark on the european scene, as much as their pals Unveil, from Switzerland, when it comes to 90’s metallic hardcore and politically fueled hardcore more largely.


Thanks to the people who did and uploaded the video.

The Straight Edge

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by | November 22, 2014 · 2:01 pm