Nottingham Old Angel
October 31 1999
Another no show from the support bands. Maybe they were out scaring people for Halloween instead. It's left to Assert to do the business, with Britt apologising from the start that we had to see just their ugly faces. Hey his words, don't hit me.
Assert are a band that look and sound like they play "old school hardcore punk." They don't need the label that so many bands have to give themselves, it's there purely in the music and the attitude. Sounding like a Lemmy fronted punk band, they draw heavily tonight on material from the new Left Opposition CD which I bought afterwards, with tracks such as Time To Seize, Falsification, ATV, Reds Wipe Out The Blue and more. The thing with the music is that despite their appearance "do I scare you" asked Britt at the start of the set. Well, to be honest, yeah, he does, but despite this fearsome appearance, there's hints of melody in the songs, the riffs aren't all the same and it's a lot more tuneful than many bands who act as their peers. "Who's a punker?" asks Britt, "who's into heavy hardcore? ... It's just heavy metal music" he counters. And in this instance you can actually tell the difference, unlike many hardcore bands who really are heavy metal with short hair. Personally it doesn't bother me either way. Some are good, some are bad, just don't get restricted by a label. There's some old stuff as well such as Mizerly in Rizzerly, and their best song A Collective Force. It's confrontational in a light hearted sense, plenty of joking and a self deprecating sense of humour. If they return, they'll make sure there are support bands. Hope there's a few more people there to witness them as well. Mind you, on the down side, there's no end of whinging about the sound going on. I thought it was punk? I mean, yeah, bands want to sound their best. But it happens all the time in venues, the band complains about the monitor sound. Ok, if you know it's going to be a problem, why not just play with no monitors, like Catharsis did the other night. Just feels a little bit lame sometimes y'know.
Assert - Left Opposition.Household Name Records
Bought this after the gig of the same name. Waited until the gig cos I had a feeling it would be cheaper, and it was. Only 7 quid. Mind, some would say that with a 30 minute running time, it shouldnít cost more.
So, what about it. Well, I like it, thatís the first thing. Itís pretty raw, but all the ingrediants are there. And every now and again they pull something a bit good out of the fire. On the debut it was ? Here the title track is somewhat disappointing and predictable, both musically and lyrically. But then the second track Time To Seize is an example of where they just do something that although not revolutionary (sorry!) is just a little different in this genre. A little squeal in this case to accompany the verse. Little things. Plus they know about choruses and chantalongs. Falsification and A.T.V both have them in abundance, and one thing that the band have over a number of the contemporary hardcore acts is that you really can differentiate between songs and work out whatís being said. Which may sound like an old fart talking, and maybe I am. But sometimes just being hit by something that is completely indistinguishable gets boring. Remember melody - itís here in the likes of Insight (into the situation) proving you can have a message and be "an individual" outraging the public without having to sound like a total prat.
Lyrically, well itís up to you on your political allegiance, because politics play a major part in this. Time to Seize starts with "Pendulum of power swings our way, Chant this every day, Harness anger and rage, With dialectical change - Time to seize kick start a nation". Which is still a bit soundbitey to me. But thatís just me. Revolution appears to be being called for, after all there is a track called Revolution "Iím a fucking revolutionary - stand with me", and thereís a lot of apparent pessimism about society, such as tackled on A.T.V. dealing with the problem of TV and its subliminal influence by the corporate mainstream. Or something. Reds Wipe Out The Blues I thought was going to be about Liverpool beating Everton, but apparently not. Still, itís got a cracking little chanty chorus and Statement of Intent has a little bit which just brings to mind another politically charged and important punk / hardcore band - The Dead Kennedys. The whole album from a lyrical perspective is a situation where well you either just take music for what it is - entertainment sometimes with a message about which you reason and make your own decision, or you take a moral crusading high horse and ignore it all. Shame about the rather crass ending of K.R.T.D merging back into the opening track Left Opposition. Come full cricle maybe, but itís still a little crass.
Ultimately itís uncompromising and fairly brutal, but if you are someone who claims to like old school hardcore or punk and really mean it, then you ought to know about and check out Assert. Those that are in the scene to be seen probably wonít. But then, isnít that just missing the point anyway.