METAL BLOG, Vol. 11 - by Steff Chirazi
IT IS hard not to be angry right now. I like a bit of zen like the next evolved person, but let’s face it, if you have a heart, if you have a brain and if you have a conscience, these are pretty tough fucking times. There are extremists on both sides and neither is helping lower international blood-pressure.
There was some talk about perhaps naming those I’m thinking of here, but as well as being a waste of oxygen, I think the space would be better used (a) not giving them an ounce more publicity and (b) sharing with you some tunes to help catapult you out of your anger and into a fit of steaming, whirling, cathartic, pogoing-jumping-arm-and-leg-flinging RAGE AT ALL THE BASTARDS!
Let me start with some vintage anarcho-punk courtesy of Conflict, the Eltham, South London based band who formed in 1981 with Colin Jerwood on vocals, Francisco ‘Paco’ Carreno on drums, Big John on bass and Steve on guitar. My housing estate mate Ant Faulkner worshipped the band, and introduced me to them when we were at school (he would use half a bar of Irish Spring soap every morning to put his hair into enormous spikes or a mega-mowhawk - all whilst wearing school uniform). Jerwood and co went where godfathers of Anarcho-punk Crass didn’t, in so much as they were not (as the name suggests) unhappy to have a ruck or start one for the right cause. Just listen to their self-titled one minute and forty-four second epic, a pogopacked firecracker, with lyrics that were both topical and prescient. Jerwood and co always saw beyond government games and media manipulation, always sought the hidden truth and encouraged their audience to challenge every stereotype they were fed (as did Crass). They also supported the Animal Liberation Front (I can assure you the crackingly feral “Berkshire Cunt” was not simply a statement), and were generally always on the side of the oppressed and downtrodden. If you don’t know this band, then you should. Start with The Ungovernable Force Standard Issue 82-87, and your way to Deploying All Means Necessary Volume Two, and don’t stop there. I would also suggest you check out the AK Press book The Day The Country Died - A History Of Anarcho-Punk 1980- 1984 by the excellent Ian Glasper. I am also delighted to say that Conflict are still going strong, check out their Facebook page for details on what they’re up to and if you get the chance to see them, consider it part of your education https://www.facebook.com/CONFLICT-28514492762/…
Not as anarchic, but absolutely seminal in terms of co-creating thrash metal and certainly political, Discharge formed in 1977 but ripped ears, hearts and minds with their blistering Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing which was a centre-piece of the UK 82 second-wave punk movement that saw the likes of Discharge and GBH take a massively loud soldering iron to punk & metal, revv it up a few notches and encapsulate a youth filled with disgust by the shennanigans of Thatcher and Reagan.
…aaaand DISCHARGE ARE RIGHT ON THE MONEY AGAIN, RIGHT NOW IN 2016, AND BOY OH BOY WHEN THEIR NEW ALBUM END OF DAYS GETS RELEASED VIA NUCLEAR BLAST IN LATE APRIL/EARLY MAY, well, listen, just consider wearing a reinforced adult diaper would you? Because this is a thing of such filthy, virulent and aggressive beauty that you will lose your shit. And you might wanna strap pillows onto you too, because you will want to throw yourself into people/walls/streets screaming with unbridled joy, getting all your current societal frustrations out as this superb album decimates all around it. I drove around with the windows down the other day blasting a couple of tunes, and in a 2 mile stretch I saw three wigs fly off, four smart cars sent spinning, a bald pensioner suddenly sprout a mohawk and a dog jump up on all fours, slap it’s owner and take him for the a walk!
I read a band statement which proclaimed that ‘regression was the name of the game’ in making End Of Days, and whilst it isn’t for me to argue with artistes, cutting to the heart of current moods and helping people express their anger by delivering what you do better than anyone else in your world is surely a form of heightened progression? In fact, I’d go as far as to say it is being brave enough to give in to your own honesty. I mean, what. Were Discharge going to start wandering into the field of prog rock and throw down a keyboard solo? Yeah. Right. See? ‘In crust we trust’ is another phrase being bandied about with regards to them, and count me in. Excellent, aural evisceration, look for it on April 29th in the EU and May 13th in the US. In the meanwhile, if this is your first seeing their name DO YOUR HOMEWORK and immediately buyHear Nothing… as well as Why? and also check out Decontrol - The Singles.Yeah. You’ll see why Metallica (among others) loved them.
I will always, always enjoy large chunks of GBH (officially Charged GBH) who continue to absolutely roar and deliver worldwide, and are a core element of the UK 82 sound. I have to laugh as I take a peek back to see when these bands formed, I mean, GBH formed in Ninteen Seventy-fucking-Eight and they could still strip the wax off boots worn by most people half their age, and furthermore do it with such deafening stealth that your knees would give way under the sonic pressure. I mean, listening to classics such as “Edge Of A Knife”, “Time Bomb” and “Race Against Time” I cannot fathom how guitars can sound so mouth-wateringly sharp and harmful, as if each riff is coated with a chainsaw blade?
A word too for The Exploited, who (like GBH) were less message-invested than the vehemently political anarcho-punks but still angry (“Maggie”) and always always delivered sheer, raw power. They actually wrote a song titled “UK 82”, fitting given as they were part of it, and others to throw on in times of anger and vent are “Law & Order”, “Fucking Liar”, the excellent “Jimmy Boyle” and “Class War”.
Finally, and I’d better stop or else I might break the site, do yourself a massive favor and remember that the USA was generating some tremendously strong and angry music of it’s own back in the day. Bad Brains were hitting it in Washington DC, Black Flag on the West Coast, The Germs, The Dicks, Minor Threat and (of course) The Dead Kennedys. To tell you about each of them would require more time than I have right now, but staying in the realm of education, allow me to suggest that you pick up a copy of the soundtrack to Steven Blush and Paul Rachman’s American Hardcore movie and book, a superb breakdown of the scene as it erupted with some sounds that’ll rip whatever bits of flesh are still hanging off your body clean OFF, including three songs which barely top out two minutes in “Boston Not LA” by The Freeze, “Straight Jacket” by Jerry’s Kids and “Boiling Point” by SS Decontrol.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to pop off and run myself a nice toasty - warm bath with big bubbles and a few candles…
…I’m kidding. I’m going to JAM MY FUCKING HEADPHONES ON MY HEAD AND LISTEN TO EVERYSINGLEBASTARDTHING I’VE WRITTEN ABOUT HERE AGAIN WHILST READING ABOUT ALL THE WORLD’S BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!!! At least I’ll have a vent…