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Biohazard "1988 demo" CS

Posted on Monday, May 30th, 2005 @ 8:31am » permalink

Biohazard - 1988 DemoSo, here it is, Biohazard's infamous 1988 demo, aka "the racist demo". I have to say, finally getting the chance to check out these "controversial" songs years and years after first hearing all of the rumors about 'em, I don't see what the big deal is at all, and I find all of the "white power" allegations to be tremendously overblown. Besides the fact that it's kind of hard to swallow the notion that one of the most notable bands to have prominently fused hardcore/metal and hip-hop was at one point in time racist, not to mention the fact that one of their most prominent members (who handles 95% of the vocals on this demo) is Jewish, these songs – while immature – are very clearly exactly what the band says they are: Intended "to shock, be vague, and get your attention".

Now, the lyrics are hard as shit to understand throughout the demo, and ironically some of the most distinguishable lines are also the most contentious, but from what I can gauge the only track that could legitimately offend politically correct nerds would be "Money for the Unemployed", which could arguably contain some touchy comments about welfare. But what New York area hardcore band didn't have a song that hit on that type of subject matter back in the 80's (Agnostic Front, Antidote, etc.)? And let's not forget: These songs were recorded 17 years ago, so Biohazard was basically still a bunch of kids. Thus it's no great stretch to believe that some admittedly ridiculous and juvenile lyrical decisions were, in fact, strictly used for shock value.

Obviously a song title like "Master Race" is as easy a target as they come, and when the band says in an interview, "'Master Race' was a song about uniting all the underground kids, from punk, hardcore, metal, rap… street people – and rising up, like in 'The Warriors'," yeah, that's a bit of a copout. But at the same time, the fuckin' chorus does say, "Master race, in unity, Master race, it ought to be," which doesn't hold much weight one way or the other. And the above cited interview response does make more sense when you look at "America", easily the most controversial track on the demo due to the line, "We'll march across the world with American Nazi pride," because there's another line that states, "Come together as one, unite, the time has come for us to fight." And it's some of these other little tidbits that basically make it seem like the band was, in fact, talking about Americans – regardless of race – uniting together and being proud to be from this country or some such nonsense. So, yeah, it's extremely poor logic to try to correlate something like that with the word "Nazi", but whatever… like I said, they were kids. And hey, if they just wanted to create a stir, it worked, right?

I should point out that, yes, I am a Biohazard fan. I own all of their records and I defy anyone within my general age group to refute the fact that "Urban Discipline" is, on some level, an absolute classic. So to further my side of this argument, I'd cite that the lyrics to "Howard Beach", contrary to popular misinformation, are exactly the same on the demo as they are on the band's debut full-length: Frowning upon the way that the media manipulates information to incite racial tension when reporting events relating to urban violence – a far cry from any "white power" propaganda. And as for "Money for the Unemployed" and "Lying Coke Bitch"? I mean, come on… both songs are totally lighthearted, even bordering on coming across as somewhat hokey at times.

And that's the bottomline. Cheesy? Yes. Adolescent? Absolutely. Racist? Believe me, if I felt the evidence was there, I'd be the first one to admit it and say, "Man, that's fucked up." But I'm just not buyin' it. The entire frenzy surrounding this demo seems laughable now that I've actually been able to hear the material for myself. You make the call, but I'd have to see a complete lyric sheet to be convinced otherwise…

1. "Intro/Skinny Song"
2. "Master Race"
3. "Victory of Death"
4. "Howard Beach"
5. "Money for the Unemployed"
6. "Lying Coke Bitch"
7. "America"
8. "Panic Attack"
9. "Survival of the Fittest"
10. "Howard Beach Reprise"
11. "Outro/Skinny Song"

I might have to take some of these songs down within a couple of days to preserve my bandwidth, but I'll be sure to leave all of the otherwise unreleased tunes up for the usual 10 days or so, I just wanted to post the entire demo for those out there who are obsessive completists like myself. I also forgot to clean up the ID tags before I uploaded the mp3's, but I've only got access to dial-up right now so there's no way I'm gonna bother going through that mess again. Sorry!

Cyclone Temple "I Hate Therefore I Am" CD

Posted on Thursday, May 26th, 2005 @ 8:19am » permalink

Cyclone Temple - I Hate Therefore I AmRegardless of the fact that it wasn't released in the 80's, Cyclone Temple's "I Hate Therefore I Am" is without a doubt one of my top five favorite thrash metal records of all time, and I'd probably place it in the #2 position behind Forbidden's "Twisted Into Form" if I was forced to really pin it down. The Chicago act was formed from the ashes of Znowhite in the late-80's when Greg Fulton (formerly known as Ian Tafoya in the Znowhite days) took Scott Schafer and headed in a slightly different direction that achieved thrash perfection on this, the band's debut release in 1991 (their only record for the mighty Combat label). The group was fully masterminded by Fulton, the sole guitarist, who wrote and arranged every fucking note of the music and lyrics, going so far as to coach the vocalist on how to perform the vocal arrangements with the right feel. The dude was a god damn genius and this record proves it – just check out the sick galloping picking patterns, thick power chords, intriguingly dissonant phrasings, and general sense of creativity throughout. It's just a massive record that sounds unlike any other thrash band whatsoever, despite faint similarities to Znowhite since Fulton was running the show back then as well. But every track is a winner, and in contrast to most thrash bands at the time, the songs don't all sound the same, there are a lot of well balanced dynamics and tempo changes, but all with a sense of catchiness and tons of melody as well.

After "I Hate Therefore I Am" the band went on to record the "Building Errors in the Machine" EP and the "My Friend Lonely" full-length, each with different vocalists. "Building Errors…" is a waste of money since the recording is weak and they re-recorded all six tracks on "My Friend Lonely" in '94 with a few new songs to up the running time. While not as powerful as the debut, this one's worth dropping a few bucks on if you can find it, because Fulton's a hell of a songwriter and there are some definite winners to be found – "Drug of the Masses" absolutely sounds like it could've been on the first record. It's also interesting to note how similar the vocalists sound to one another, further displaying Fulton's abilities in coaching the dudes on their performances. But I have to say – Brian Troch's performance on "I Hate Therefore I Am" makes him my favorite thrash vocalist ever. Hands down. I fucking love his style, even if he was taking orders from Fulton.

After Cyclone Temple packed it in, Fulton and Shafer continued once again in Rebels Without Applause, where Fulton finally decided to cut the shit and handle the vocal duties himself (and yes, he sounds fairly similar to the three vocalists he tailored to fit his vision in Cyclone Temple). To date the band has only released an EP and a full-length in eight years, but they're still truckin' (though Fulton's longtime sidekick Schafer has left the band). As "My Friend Lonely" was to "I Hate Therefore I Am", so is Rebels Without Applause to "My Friend Lonely", to a greater degree of separation: More streamlined, a little funkier, and with a bit of a hip-hop inflection to some of the vocal patterns. I picked up their "Low End Head Stomp" record a few years back simply because Fulton's a killer songwriter and was always one of my favorite guitar players. I just love the dude's riffs, and you can still catch a taste of that Cyclone Temple playing style in this material, so… while it ain't always my thing, I support it.

Seriously, though, everyone should grab "I Hate Therefore I Am", by far one of the most criminally overlooked thrash classics in the history of life. Listen for yourself:

Cyclone Temple "Why"

If you decide to make the purchase, Century Media's European branch did a remastered reissue of the disc years ago and it sounds fuckin' great, so I recommend that edition if possible, I even retired my original pressing for it. You can find the original run for pretty cheap all over the place, though. And either way, it deserves a home in your collection…

@ The End Records
@ Amazon.com
@ Half.com

Guns 'n' Wankers "For Dancing and Listening" CD

Posted on Thursday, May 19th, 2005 @ 9:31am » permalink

Guns 'n' Wankers - For Dancing and ListeningI've gotta spread things out a bit in order to make sure that casual visitors don't think I'm only posting one specific style of music up in this shit, but if you pass on downloading these mp3's because of your own narrowminded musical tastes you're an idiot, because this is probably one of my favorite CD's in my entire collection. It's definitely in my top 25 most played CD's, I bet. Without question Guns 'n' Wankers' "For Dancing and Listening" is easily one of the best Fat Wreck Chords releases ever. It came out in 1994 and I still listen to it all the time – repeatedly, since it's so damn short! Eight tracks in just about 21 minutes, consisting of tunes from some of the band's three 7"s on Rugger Bugger Records: "Pop", "Hardcore", and "Metal". From what I can gather the Fat Wreck CD doesn't have the songs from the "Metal" 7" on it, which pisses me off, so I guess I really need to track down that EP somewhere.

Anyway, Guns 'n' Wankers was a shortlived trio from England that formed after the breakup of Snuff in 1991. Snuff was pretty good in their early days (I ought to pick up more of their stuff), but when they reformed in 1994 I couldn't really hang once they started bringing in horns and keyboards and stuff, though they still had some true keepers on hand. I'd give anything to have had Guns 'n' Wankers continue on instead, because every second of every song on this CD is a keeper. It's pop-punk to a degree, but it's really thick, ultra catchy, and still sounds sincere and legitimate. It's not pop-punk by today's standards, nor is it generic pop-punk that has too much in common with what Fat Wreck and Epitaph were dealing with in the mid-90's when this material was released. Don't be fooled by the shoddy cover art or the sarcastic band name – there's definitely a fun-loving sense of humor lingering about, but the music delivers, and only one or two of the songs come remotely close to hitting on those types of angles.

Guns 'n' Wankers "Help"
Guns 'n' Wankers "Skin Deep"

The disc is still in print (and dirt cheap at $8 brand spankin' new from the label), so you should damn well snag it if you dig these tunes:

@ Fat Wreck Chords

Merauder "1998 demo"

Posted on Monday, May 16th, 2005 @ 11:49am » permalink

Huge thanks to the kind and generous Dan Sullivan for acting fast and sending me these mp3's on Friday afternoon! So here it is, Merauder's 1998 demo with Eddie Sutton from Leeway on vocals. Obviously they recorded these versions during the brief stint when Jorge Rosado left the band, and there are bootleg videos of Sutton doing some live performances with Merauder from this time period floating around as well. I fucking adore Leeway, so I'm psyched to finally be able to hear these tracks. It's interesting because it almost sounds like the direction where Leeway probably should've headed post-"Desperate Measures". Musically it's more melodic than Merauder's earlier work, and thus more melodic than the first couple of Leeway records, with Sutton's performance flirting with the more rocked out stylings exhibited on Leeway's "Adult Crash" and "Open Mouth Kiss" (notably during the clean break in "Find My Way" and the overall catchier "We Are the Ones"). But where "Adult Crash" and "Open Mouth Kiss" were pretty damn rocked out on a musical level, obviously these tracks are way heavier, not so unlike the almighty "Desperate Measures" in overall tone. So it strikes a pretty cool balance, if you ask me. It's for the better of the record (which happens to be my favorite from Merauder's catalog) that Jorge returned to the band in the end, but I've gotta say… I'm really liking what I hear on this thing. God damn, I miss Leeway.

1. "Five Deadly Venoms"
2. "Find My Way"
3. "We Are the Ones"
4. "Save My Soul"

Here are a couple of updates.

Posted on Friday, May 13th, 2005 @ 11:15am » permalink

• Aaron Melnick himself shot me an email a few weeks ago. It seems that those In Cold Blood tracks are so obscure that even he didn't have a copy of 'em!? You can check out some of what he's up to now at the Non-Commercial Records website. He's currently playing guitar in the Wolfdowners and drumming in Brainwashed Youth, though it also seems that a few of his older punk related projects like Cider and the Inmates are still kicking around to some degree as well. You can check out new and/or rare mp3's from all of these bands and then some right here.

• 3/4 of the former members of Chinchilla emailed me right quick. They've all been involved with little projects here and there, but nothing too "official", as far as being core members in new bands or what have you. They've all three contributed to various outings from Maquiladora in some form or another, and the website has several mp3's, so that's worth a curious listen.

• An old friend of Steve Post's, Realm's afuckingmazing bassist, let me know that he's currently in a band called Zebulon Pike, and judging from the mp3 samples on the site their CD is fucking excellent. I haven't ordered it yet, but I'm gonna get my hands on it soon enough! They call themselves "instrumental prog-doom metal", and that's about right. I'm blown away that I haven't heard anything about them yet, to be quite honest. Check that shit out. There's also a currently succint Realm website being run by the band, so hopefully they'll throw some cool tidbits up in the future.

• I got the Black Noise Cannon CD in the mail yesterday. I'm not going to review it on the main site because contrary to what the label's website insinuated the CD came out back in 2003, but I can definitely state that Christdriver fans should look into it. (Edit: The band contacted me to let me know that the CD was dated 2003 since it was actually completed in demo form at that time, but the CD release itself was in fact a recent occurence in 2005, so I'm going to give it a proper review soon.) The songs are more drawn out and repetitious than Christdriver, not to mention dealing more with lengthy experimental noise passages. Good stuff, though.

To my absolutely crippling dismay (though no surprise), no one was able to utter a peep about either Struggle Within or the Rainmen, so… fuck, if anyone has any clue about those bands… please hit me the fuck up! I'm dying to know! Oh, and if anyone has a copy of the Merauder demo with Eddie Sutton doing the vocals for some of the "Five Deadly Venoms" songs, you need to hit me the fuck up as well. Same goes for anyone that has Biohazard's infamous debut demo. I'm not payin' $30+ bucks for that shit on eBay, but if I can get my hands on any of this stuff I can post it here for others to enjoy as well. So come on, help a brother out!

Fury of Five "Convicted and Condemned" 7"

Posted on Thursday, May 12th, 2005 @ 11:06am » permalink

Fury of Five - Convicted and CondemnedAlright, like it or not (and I know a lot of you won't), here's the ultra rare debut 7" from New Jersey's hardest: Fury of Five, "Convicted and Condemned". The songs were recorded in 1994 and originally appeared on one of the band's early demos, and this EP was released in 1996 by Just in Case Records. I'm not sure how many copies were pressed but I got this fucker on eBay five or six years ago for like $12 or something, so I was psyched since neither of these songs were ever re-recorded. Say what you will, but despite their rough patches there's something about this band that you just can't deny. Call it a guilty pleasure, call it an affinity for hardasses with bad attitudes who can back up every word, or call it a love for the brutal mosh part… I don't care, I definitely miss this band.

Speaking of which, what the hell are these cats up to now? I haven't kept up, but I assume Chris Rage is still in Shattered Realm? And what about Boxcutter? Are they still doing anything? If not, is Ismean doing something else? So where the hell did Jay Fury disappear to? If anyone knows the answer to any of these questions let me fucking know, I'd appreciate it.

There are a couple of annoying pops and clicks throughout these songs but I didn't have time to clean up but so much of the stuff, so I only clipped out a few that were really intrusive to the listening experience. That's life, kids. Anyway, dig in…

1. "Rising"
2. "A Life for a Life"

Malevolent Creation "Retribution" CD

Posted on Thursday, May 5th, 2005 @ 9:05am » permalink

Malevolent Creation - RetributionI'd like to believe that everyone reading this is already familiar with this record since Malevolent Creation is far from an obscure band, but "Retribution" always seemed a little underrated to me. For my money, this is the best death metal record of all time. No joke. I know that most people totally disagree with me, but I'm not messing around. It came out early enough in the 90's (1992, to be precise) to where it retained the perfect amount of thrash influences combined with the more aggressive direction of death metal, so the riffs are totally badass, the songwriting gets straight to the point and is based totally on sheer force and feel rather than trying too hard to be super fast or brutal, and every fucking track is a keeper. Nine tracks, 34 minutes: Complete brilliance. I don't really follow the band these days, but I saw them live a few years ago on what I believe was their final tour with Brett Hoffmann on vocals, and I went apeshit when they played "Coronation of Our Domain". That song is flat out perfect – no questions asked.

Malevolent Creation "Coronation of Our Domain"
Malevolent Creation "Mindlock"

Of course, leave it to Roadrunner to let an absolute gem like this go out of print within 10 years or so, but it's still easy to find used and the prices are moderate, so you shouldn't have to pay $20 or anything:

@ Amazon.com
@ Half.com