Warzone "Don't Forget the Struggle Don't Forget the Streets/Open Your Eyes" CDPosted on Friday, February 16th, 2007 @ 8:54am » permalink
Despite having seen them live numerous times in the mid- to later-90's (hey, come on, I was like 10 when their debut LP dropped), I was never all that much of a Warzone fan. They were great live, and some of their post-peak records were alright, but I never really cared about anything beyond their early works. But what continues to blow my mind to this day is just how fucking pathetically rare that material is to this day, especially if you prefer the CD format. This particular CD collects the band's first two LP's on one disc and was released in 1994 by the now defunct Another Planet Records (who also gave this 2-on-1 treatment to the almighty Cro-Mags and Leeway, among others). "Don't Forget the Struggle Don't Forget the Streets" originally hit the streets in 1987 on Fist Records; with the lineup of former Agnostic Front drummer and core Warzone visionary Raybeez on vocals, Paul and Crazy "Jay" Skin on guitars, John "Omen" on bass, and Luke Abbey from Gorilla Biscuits on drums. It was re-released by Caroline a year later, and I believe they stayed with Caroline until hooking up with a pre-emo Victory Records a few years later – where they remained until the legendary Raybeez died (long before his time) of pneumonia on September 11, 1997 (R.I.P.). "Open Your Eyes" came out a year later in 1988 and featured the same lineup, except that Eric "E.K." Komst played drums.
As one should likely expect, even if you've never heard the band, this is 22 tracks and 52 minutes of absolutely fucking classic New York hardcore on every level. From straight-up hardcore/punk with basic power chords, moderately fast pacing, and shouted vocals; to subtle metal influences coming into the crunchier midpaced runs and soloing. Every song's a keeper, loads of the tracks are memorable as hell, and the vibe shifts seamlessly from genuinely passionate, to angry and aggravated, to lighthearted and fun. I don't even know what else to say, man. Having only heard bits and pieces of these LP's over the years, when I finally got my hands on this CD and was able to hear them in completion I was fucking blown away by how awesome this material truly is. The ripping basslines, the attitude, the diversity… it's just fuckin' great. And it really pains me that it can be so hard to expose yourself to this material these days. There's just no damn excuse. These jams are totally archetypal NYHC. What the hell, you know!?
Like an idiot, I passed on buying this disc a few times when I was younger since it just wasn't a priority, and then it became too late, as this fuckin' thing's just impossible to find for a reasonable price now. So I was extremely lucky that my man John at Live Fast was parting with his last year, so I grabbed that shit without a second thought. One look at the utterly absurd prices on Amazon.com as well as Half.com should give you an idea of how rare this collection is at this point. If you're down with vinyl, you can always check eBay, but this CD rarely pops up there. It's a true fucking crime that these classics aren't readily available anymore, but I don't even know what kind of red tape would be involved in remedying that situation. A damn shame… as this shit should definitely live on for ages to come.
Oh, and pre-Victory Records, Warzone also released their self-titled "metal" LP in 1990, but I've never heard it. It was said to have been renounced by Raybeez, but I mean, as mentioned, there are damn sure some metal-ish rhythm breaks and solos on these first two LP's, and I love that shit, so… if anyone has mp3's of that LP, please, by all means hit me up! (Edit: Got it. It blows. I'm stunned.)