Saturday, April 14, 2007

Suburban Voice blog #37

There are times lately I’ve been suffering from horrible writers’ block, especially when it comes to the reviews. It seems as though I constantly use the same phrases and descriptions and reach for a new and unique way to describe these records, CDs and tapes. Even now, I’m trying to come up with an effective way to convey my frustration. The idea has always been to give the reader an idea of the band’s sound, influences and where it lies along the spectrum of greatness to garbage. Most releases fall in the middle but why dismiss something when it catches my ear, even momentarily? As much as these records, for the most part, aren’t really breaking new ground, many have a spirited, energetic (a word I use way too much) approach to their music and those elements make their recordings worthwhile.

On a more positive note, it looks as though there will be quite a few killer, kick-ass bands on tour throughout the spring and summer. In the coming months, there will be tours from Total Fury (with Reagan SS and The Jury), Look Back and Laugh, Pisschrist (from Australia) and, just this week, Out With A Bang from Italy, Brutal Knights from Toronto, The Vicious from Sweden and The Horror from the UK.

Speaking of overseas bands, I saw I Adapt play at the Museum of Fine Arts school in Boston on 4/10. The show happened in the lobby of the building and, even with the high ceilings, the sound wasn’t that bad. They’re the first band I’ve seen from Iceland and I resisted the urge to make Bjork jokes. Their sound is in the heavy, angst-filled/melodic style of a band like Modern Life Is War and that’s not always something I’m too enamored with but these guys have a killer live thing. The played with Coctopus, Blake and Phil from Bones Brigade’s new hard rock/wah-wah-oriented band and the hammering doom ‘n grind of Backstabbers Inc., make a rare local appearance. I didn’t stick around for The Body but, as I was walking back to my car, I could hear them from a quarter mile away. That’s how loud they were.



So the label sent one of those lousy packages without the lyric booklet… just a cardboard sleeve with the cover art and one paragraph hyping the album on the backside. I generally refuse to review these kind of packages. I’m only reviewing it this time to point out the fact that it does the band a disservice in that their work doesn’t get a complete representation. Hell, I can’t even play it in my computer or use it on my MP3 player. Actually, I CAN but I’m taking the fifth on telling you how I did it. In any case, heavy, sorta stoner-ish rock with stentorian vocals from new mouth Kyle Thomas. His gruff pipes tend to overpower things, actually—maybe if they were subsumed in the mix a bit more. Good strong riffage and boogie chops, though—it’s retro without completely having that ambiance. While the more melodic elements detract slightly from the crunch and there are times some cheesiness sets in, it still rocks. That’s all you need to know. (

ANNIHILATION TIME-Cosmic Unconsciousness EP (Tankcrimes, 7” EP)
A five minute rock ‘n roll epic on the a-side (“Reality”) and the flip has two older songs originally done with their first vocalist. The rock ‘n roll meet Flag/Bl’ast-ish tendencies remain in place, especially in the guitar riffs and the sound is as fired-up as ever. In fact, these songs are better than just about anything on the band’s second album. The very psychedelic artwork, by Marcello Crescnenzi, is an eye-catching visual complement to this decidedly non-psychedelic band. Unless you’re talking about one bad motherfuckin’ trip. (PO Box 3495, Oakland, CA 94609,

BEAR PROOF SUIT-Science Is Dead (Criminal IQ, 7” EP)
Bear Proof Suit have one of my favorite song titles so far in this fairly young year—“Prosecutors Will Be Violated” and it’s not just about the title. Furious punk with a Scandi-core guitar signature on that song.. There’s a convincing aggressiveness throughout, especially for the title track. “Sans Equity” offers a tad more complexity and sneaks in a coda of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Before The Kiss (A Redcap)” at the end. And it takes brass ones to cover the legendary Wipers and the band is up to the task with their version of “Up Front.” (3501 N. Southport, Chicago, IL 60657,

BRODY’S MILITIA-All Bridges Burned (Brickwoods Butcher, demo)
This cuddly band are back to bash your skull in. Six songs, which will all appear on various splits, except for the Nun Slaughter cover, “Slut Burner” (lovely) that is slotted for a tribute album to that band. Nasty, raw thrash and punk that occasionally hits grind-like levels of velocity. “Same Shit, Different Dress Code” stands out, with its street punk meets rock ‘n roll style. “Won’t Change A Thing” is also in more of a rockin’ vein and it comes as no surprise it’ll be on a split with Antiseen. Definitely not for the weak. (PO Box 377, Mount Orab, OH 45154,

St. Looie, um, St. Louis has produced some pretty good hardcore bands in the past few years and Civic Crisis are among them. Full-bore, speedy hardcore punk with old school power, pushed along by pissed-off vocals and raw guitar. Civic Progress aren’t going to win any poetry awards for their lyrics—still, there’s something enjoyable about hearing someone yell the words to “Ignorant Fucking Assholes” and “Kill The President” Extra kudos for their song “Crimethinc Is A Joke,” where they’re called out for the “privileged idiots” they are. I like the angry attitude and the music complements it. (5216 Morganford Rd., St. Louis, MO 63116,

DESTRUCKTIONS-Complete Destructions (Hardcore Holocaust, LP)
Vintage Finnish hardcore from the early 80s and this LP discography includes demo tracks, in addition to songs previously released on vinyl. Destrucktions kept to the blueprint of thumping bass and drums, distort-stun guitar and ranty vocals in a higher register. There’s sonic similarities to Disorder but they didn’t push the envelope as far into unhinged territory as a band like Kaaos. Still, this is some primo blitz and very nicely packaged with a gatefold sleeve and liner notes in both English and Finnish written by the band’s guitarist, Poko. (

DOA-Punk Rock Singles 1978-99 (Sudden Death, CD)
Another addition to the DOA catalog series or whatever you call it. In any case, it’s pretty awesome to have a collection of their rare early EPs in one place. And while the later stuff i.e. most of the recordings after 1983, aren’t quite as choice, they still come up a good track every so often, such as their cover of “Marijuana Motherfucker,” a reworking of a couple of David Peel songs. Still, the attraction are such miscreantic (?) treats as “Disco Sucks,” the first song and introduced with Joey Shithead’s bellowing of the title. If I’d heard this in 1978, I would have had my fist raised in anti-disco solidarity. Ask me about my less-than-enjoyable Senior Prom/Saturday Night Fever torture night, sometime. Some of the band’s best-known songs are here—some of which were re-recorded for “Something Better Change.” That includes “The Prisoner,” “13,” “Woke Up Screaming” and “World War 3.” DOA’s forte was always combining snotty punk energy and an inescapable catchiness. Also, DOA stuck to their punk rock guns during a time when there seemed to be a bit of a lull between the original ’77 era bands and the rise of hardcore. A devil-may-care attitude and punk rock defiance—always a good tandem and it’s good to see Joey (or Joe, these days) hang onto it as he’s hit his 50s. (Cascades PO, Box 43001, Burnaby, BC, CANADA V5G 3H0,

HAPPY BASTARDS-Box Of Hard Knocks (Profane Existence, CD)
Punk that defies expectations. The first song, “Nacimento,” is a quiet, Zoundz-like instrumental, a deceptive prelude to what follows. Rampaging punk tempered with melody and vocals that are sung, not growled or shouted. In all honesty, that was something of an acquired taste at first, but Christy Chatfield avoids excessive over-emoting. “Neither Here Nor There,” coming in the middle of the album, is a knockout. It begins with the speedy attack and alters the speed to a medium tempo, with Christy’s lead vocal complemented by a backing vocal carrying the melody. There’s definitely a subtle UK anarcho feeling here, especially the more tuneful passages but it doesn’t dissipate the impact at all. If anything, it enhances it. (PO Box 8722, Minneapolis, MN 55408,

REPERCUSSIONS-11 Songs EP (540, 12” EP)
Strong hardcore punk from Texas and the guitar player is Stan from Signal Lost/Deathreat/Balance of Terror and there are also people from Pedestrians, Army of Jesus and other bands. A combination of US style hardcore, particularly Poison Idea, along with Scandinavian influences. And, to quote the rotund Oregonians, there’s plenty of pure hate expressed here, particularly on the topic of religion. “Bomb The Pulpit,” “On Your Knees” and “Body Of Blood” make that point rather succinctly. “Breeding Contempt,” meanwhile, lament “breeders,” stating “Do we really need more of us? (Timmy Hefner, 1012 Brodie St., Austin, TX 78704,

SACRED SHOCK-s/t (tape)
Three former members of Army of Jesus, along with a new vocalist, Alex from Iron Age, among other bands. Good surging hardcore punk, a bit more melodic than AOJ but it’s still not radically different. Also, the tuneful qualities don’t overwhelm things—the aggressiveness is still at the fore. That comes out full-tilt for “Bridge Burner” and “Best Interest.” I hope to see some vinyl in the not-too-distant future. They’re ready. (

SOCIALICIDE-Sick Of The Pressure (tape)
Rippin’ fast hardcore punk. They’ve got it down, with tightness and rage and it blows by without let-up. Standard themes of alienation, confusion, etc. Goddamn, I remember those days. They’re still going on, actually. No complaints, here. (816 Nugent Dr., Chesapeake, VA 23322,

WARCRY-Deprogram (Feral Ward, LP)
There isn’t one ounce of originality on this record, Warcry’s second album. Nada. This is a formula. A set method. Basic, crusty hardcore punk with a Dis-inclination, although it’s not really straight D-beat fodder. And, you know what? I fucking love it. Whether fast or at a more moderate pace, all the right buttons are punched. The identities are hidden but Todd Burdette from Tragedy/Deathreat/et al is the vocalist and this is clearly a loving indulgence of the style. Hoarse vocals, shredding guitar riffs and cool bass runs and the latter is a highlight on “One Last Warning.” When this style is played the right way, it’s a joy to hear. (

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