Some zine reviews:
Ok, before I review these, can I just ask a question? Well, it's my zine, so, "yeah Dave, you can ask a question." Thanks. Ok, why is it, that I can buy these American zines here in the UK in some (albeit good) record shops. Yet I can hardly ever find a UK zine on sale or being given away in them?
But see, maybe that ties in with the next point. When does something cease to be a zine, and instead a full blown magazine. I mean, a number of people have said some very nice things about Yaz. And hopefully some have also said some disparaging things as well. But when I put it up against these two zines, Punk Planet and Shredding Paper, that I recently bought in Selectadisc, it pales. They're both A4 in size, and weigh in at a hefty ??? pages respectively. Much like Maximum Rock'n'Roll, the ads involved as well make them look and feel like full blown magazines. But maybe they're still zines cos they're punk, and therefore we know that they can have no interest in commerical gain or success and retain fiercly the notion of independance. Next to the barcodes. See, there's nothing wrong with these being on sale in the UK. Just wish we could actually get a few more decent UK zines up and running like this. Fracture is doing it, but they've reverted to the DIY technique of distribution. Why do these not require that?
Shredding Paper #1
Anyway, firstly we have Shredding Paper. Judging by the #1 on the cover, then this is the first issue! Those tell tale signs. The glossy cover belies the more standard inside, whereby you get the obligatory shitload than is reasonably permissable number of record reviews, and interviews with Jawbreaker and Jets To Brazil, which tends to confirm my suspicion of a band who would rather let the music do the talking. Itís all clearly laid out, though the record reviews tend to dominate just a little more than Iíd like. Itís ok having loads of CDs to pick and choose, but Iíd like maybe some more interviews and opinions. Still, what do I know. Yeah, itís got potential in that "bigger than thou" kind of way.
Shredding Paper, PO Box 2271, san Rafael, CA 94912 USA. $2.95 per ish.
Next up is Punk Planet. I must say I'd never heard of it until I received a letter from Paul from Three Little Babies who happened to mention it. I was in town that morning, and guess what I saw hanging from the wall in Selectadisc? It had probably been there a while, but the connection had not made it to my brain. So, I paid my £2.25 and ran clutching my copy tightly to my chest. Ok, I didn't. It got put in the bag with the Skarhead CD.
And it is punk. Punk in that it also features a number of lengthy articles on various pieces, including death. It's the kind of thing whereby it often seems that Punk and Hardcore try to extol the concept of being a "lifestye" by examining things other than the music, including a lengthy feature on the Murder of Iraq. Which is good (the feature I mean, not the actual topic). And bad cos it further increases that notion that you have to be a paid up member to enter this society. And I donít want to have to subscribe to any society to be a part of it, be it "normal" society or "punk" society. I just want to fit in by being who I am. Personally, I was more interested in the Today Is The Day interview. But then, I'm just a neanderthal who loves music. Lots of album reviews, and zine reviews including a very punk review of some zine which apparently featured the tragic moments of metal bands pretending to be hardcore and instead being nothing other than bad 90s metal. Those bands? Fear Factory, Anthrax, Sepultura, Earth Crisis etc. So, the reviewer is going to wait until heavy stuff runs its course again and "hardcore once more becomes real". Barf. If youíre a paid up member, you may love this, if youíre just visiting for the day, a safety hat is recommended.
Punk Planet, PO Box 464, Chicago, IL 60690, USA. $3.50 per ish.
And in the UK corner, we have Fracture #6. If you've seen it by now, you know what to expect. This issue sees some interesting readers poll results. You always take poll results with a pinch of salt (and a beechams powder is also recommended). It's interesting that the best thing about the UK scene is the Unity, and the worst thing is the backstabbing.
Interviews this time round include Spy versus Spy, Imbalance, Pop Unknown and more.
It takes forever to go through all the little bits and pieces, the columns and reviews. The rather political nature of the American zines is avoided, though the numerous contributed columns can often touch on politics from the individual contributorsí perspective. Itís an approach that I prefer given my lack of interest in most political matters. Having said that, it winds me up a lot, especially with some of the reviews which I can have an opinion on, and is quite often different to theirs. But I think thatís a good thing. Way boring if everyone agrees on the same thing.
Personally, I think the UK has the winner in this particular round.
Fracture PO Box 623, Cardiff, CF3 9ZA. Free, or £5 for 10 issues. (Well, hey, free is nice, but they could do with donations. 5 quid ainít a lot).
Well, the gig review is elsewhere. Time for the demo now.
The problem live, seemed to lie squarely in the vocal department. And though you can be mislead somewhat in the live setting, I was a bit dubious as this slipped into the stereo. So, letís concentrate on that part first. On this 4 track demo the vocals definitely work better, no question. Whereas live there seemed to be an attempt at a hardcore element, here they lie in the Robb Flynn school Still not outstanding, but at least better. The problem is, this music lives and dies on the live performance, and so in that respect, itís an area that needs to be examined.
The first track Dislocate is full of the squeals of Machine Head, but it's on All that the influence really strikes home. The intro uses the Davidian blueprint. You know, play a chord and sustain it, repeat, throw in the double bass drums all building to that BANG sort of thing. Nowt wrong with that, because Davidian is an awesome and classic opening riff, and Machine Head themselves haven't bettered it, though they, and many others have tried.
Third track Soul Sacrifice continues the trend, with a bit of Max Cavalera style phrasing going on in the vocals, which are somewhat reminiscent, and isn't necessarily a compliment on my behalf, cos I think Cavalera is a bit overrated, especially in the "open the gob and holler" stakes. And there's a nice choppy guitar riff in there. It's actually sounding very thrash like, not stuck in the 80s, but the classic sound the likes of Metallica and Anthrax used to get. Great sounds. Soiled finishes things off, but it doesnít grab me too much.
But the music deserves better than the vocals supply. You can tidy things up in the studio, but then it's only just acceptable. But this is live music, and in that setting they just didn't cut it.
Stop le Press:
Ah well, thatís what happens isnít it. The band has undergone a bit of a change. The singer is out, so is the drummer, theyíve got new people in their place (always handy), and gone and changed the name to Salt:Burn. Apparently thereís a slight change in musical direction as well, but as Iíve not heard anything yet, I canít really tell you what thatís like. Or whether the demo is still available, though I suspect it is.
Contact: Tony Gergory, 73 Palmerston St, Westwood, Nottingham, NG16.