Subhumans - Still Canít Hear The Words
Ok, let's get this sorted. I've never listened to the Subhumans. Know nothing about them. I'm not going to try and bullshit you otherwise. So why did I buy it? Some delusions of attaining belated punk credibility. no, but there are several good reasons. One is that it features a number of UK hardcore bands, and we all know that it's about unity and support and all that palava. And another reason is that amongst those bands there's plenty that I've never heard of or heard anything by. So it's a chance to take a voyage of discovery among the bands. And of course, it's a chance to take a musical voyage of discovery into the Subhumans. And finally, I bought it at the One Minute Silence gig that Stampin' Ground supported at. And it was only 6 quid there, not the 8 quid being charged in Select-a-disc. Why is it that it's only the hardcore bands and gigs that you see that. They play, have trayfuls of CDs to sell at reasonable prices. It's an element of support that the other genres could well pay heed to.
Reviewing the Dead Kennedy's tribute a few issues back, I mentioned how at unease I am with the word "tribute". In that instance it was partly because I knew the songs, and you can tell if a band fucks up in their "tribute". Here I can't tell that. But I still hate the word. And so do the Subhumans, which is why this is labelled a "covers" album. Anyway, getting over my disappointment at discovering the blatant lie on the cover, and that this CD doesn't actually have a playing time of 19 years, it's time to take a wander through the 72 minutes taken up by the 24 bands on here. (Yeah, I do know the 19 years thing, sheesh, if you've not figured out my humour by now ....)
From the musical perspective, I've got to say I'm pleasantly surprised. It's more accessible and in places, melodic than I expected. There's a sense of variation and understanding of a song that sometimes can get sorely misplaced in the punk, hardcore, metal, extreme genres. It also bears out the difference between this sort of punk and that which masquerades under the same name these days.
Highlights for me on this are Human Error doing "Itís Gonna Get Worse", see if you recognise the vocals of "Bogus Social Worker". Stand out a mile mate. Also Wat Tyler on Evolution, which is performed in such a completely different manner to everything else here. Listen and understand. You also get the likes of such UKHC luminaries like Imbalance and Knuckledust covering Rats and Everyday Life respectively. There a chance to hear Glasper in pre Stampiní Ground days with Decadence Within, Assert do their no nonsense thing to open the album with No. Thereís also the herberts from down my place, otherwise known as In The Shit and Chokehold. Plus loads more.
I canít do the album justice, as I canít compare it with the originals. What I can say is that as an album of punk music, as it used to be, this is a damn fine example. Thereís some interesting approaches to things, that highlight some of the different styles present these days, but at the end of the day, as with all of this, itís down to the music. And that stands up well. So well Iím might actually seek out a couple of the originals. So on both counts, this scores highly. As a representation of what was, and what currently is.
One problem. I canít hear all the words! Oh come on, someone had to do it!
Available on Blackfish Records.
Crackdown - Rise Up
This issueís courtesy of Vickie Recordings Inc is Italiansí Crackdown. The Italian Biohazard is what I think I mentioned in the gig review seems to be the common consensus here. Fair or not? Well, nowís the time to really find out. First thing I notice is Iím not really keen on the drum sound. Itís a bit tinny and weak to my ears. But Iíve said it before, itís the music that counts. And yes, the 10 tracks certainly do bring the Ďharzard to mind. On numerous occassions. The riffs, the little stops and changes of beat, the vocals. Itís all there. So what if their influences and their sleeve are something like best friends, ultimately itís still pretty good. Itís not going to blow things wide open for them, I mean, you could argue that Biohazard have reached their popularity peak, so if it isnít going to get bigger for them, then it wonít for Crackdown. But that matters not, the likes of ? ad ? and Pride are Brooklyn bruising bashes. And who gives a shit if itís from Italy. One for the connessieur maybe, but if Biohazard is your vintage, then Crackdown are maturing quite nicely.
My Ruin - Tainted Love
Why? Huh? What is going on with either the labels or the artists? Why does everyone feel the need to record cover songs, alternative cover songs for credibility, and then unleash them as singles. I mean, Machine Head, Orgy, and Fear Factory have gone down this road, and of course, it's absolutely compulsory for any FatWreckChords possibles wereallywannabeanamericanskapunkbandsobadly band. Time to STOP. First up, Snuff do it best. Second, they're often not very good and don't approach the original. Third, they should be kept for b-sides or live fun. Fourth, why don't the marketing people have the confidence in the bands own material. I'm still interested in hearing the new Tarrie B album, but this isn't essential. It doesn't sound as good as the original, and Tarrie almost sounds bored. I guess it's a slightly more restrained vocal style than she's done before, but it all plods. I'm sure there could've been something more representative and worthwhile to release as a first single.
New zine that reminds me of how Yaz started. A4 sheets single sided stapled together. Fortunately the content makes it worthwhile, and promises well for the future. Interviews with A, Ed from One Minute Silence showing a different side of the band to that which the lovely Kerrang! normally picks up on, and some local bands called Kertz. Thereís also a reflective piece on Far, and some humanity examples, relating the tale of yet another person on Death row in the States for a crime it appears he didnít commit. Doesnít the States scare the shit out of you sometimes? I find it nice to read to realise that others start out the way I did, and itís nice to see people finding their feet with these things. Took me until about issue 6 to get this thing together. Blindspot looks like itíll get there quite a while before. Of course, these things need your support in order for the people that create them to feel that itís worthwhile carrying on.
£1 plus SAE, or trade your zine or demo.
Duncan Wilkins, 20 Bowater St, West Bromwich, West midlands, B70 8AR
Bugger. Trust me to speak too soon. Just discovered I actually put the wrong Snub track on the CD. It was meant to have been Deadbeat not Blackout. Still wondering how I managed that. Still, all the details were correct, itís just more of an excuse for you to get their CD to find out what the real track sounds like. Or get their new one when it comes out, which is being recorded in August. Thereíll be an interview with them next time round. Bugger. Knew I had to get something wrong. Bugger (wanders off into the sunset, thankfully not buggering anything!)