District 9 "Schoolahardknox Revisited" CDPosted on Tuesday, April 24th, 2007 @ 7:36am » permalink
Hell yeah is it great to see a release like this put some rare District 9 shit back out there, and with loads of bonuses to boot. I dropped a fortune on the Japanese CD version of the "Schoolahardknox" 7" (which was originally released by Striving for Togetherness in 1995) many years ago, so when Dignified Bastard released "Schoolahardknox Revisited" a few months back I slept on picking it up for a bit, but finally remedied the situation last week. For those unaware, District 9 was (though they're back in action now) a diverse New York act whose lineup has had various ties to bands like Skarhead, Warzone, and Fahrenheit 451 (among others) over the years. This collection includes the "Schoolahardknox" 7" (plus another track from the 7" sessions that ended up on the "It's All Good" compilation), the 1991 demo, a live set recorded on WNYU in 1995, and a live cover of Warzone's "As One" recorded at a reunion show at CBGB's in 2006. I don't think it's a complete discography since they refer to the 1991 material as the "second demo", but it's gotta be pretty damn close to "complete", and you get the impression that they're lucky they were able to get their hands on the demo/live material at all, so… be grateful!
For the most part you could describe District 9 as a hardcore band, but there was a hell of a lot of variety tucked away in there, so it's definitely not that simple. There were some bits and pieces of metal happening, but not a whole lot aside from some hard-hitting breakdowns or note-based palm-muting riffs here and there. On the more straightforward side there are some speedy, traditionally based, old school-ish chord progressions, but they also got a little darker from time to time with some slick clean breaks and some cool uses of melody – with lots of tempo changes throughout. There are some minor instances of hip-hop inspired vocal tactics as well, but that's definitely not what's going on within the majority of the band's recorded output herein. Whatever you want to call it, they definitely had their own style going on, that's for sure. Everything herein's been remastered and sounds about like what you'd expect from recordings that are predominantly 12 years old or more, so… no big deal. The live material's understandably rough around the edges, but perfectly listenable, so… I've definitely heard a shitload of WNYU sets that sound way worse than these seven tracks, trust me. The disc's housed alongside a thick booklet that includes all of the lyrics, which is a nice touch, because while tracks like "Payback" definitely have that hardass sort of angle happening, most of the band's lyrics are actually far more introspective, occasionally even hitting on some socio-political types of themes:
Here we go again, another brother shot dead in the street. Police say it was drug-related, all in all that's what they believe. What about his mother? She's gonna live off her life in pain. See 'cause that was her only son, is this what our future brings? It was a shotgun blast, that's all we heard, so we paused and no one said a word. Then we saw people running up the block, so we ran to find that Bobby was shot. Bobby never bothered anyone, what I mean to say is he was cool. What a way to go out in life, not knowing that the next one's you. Tragedy running through my head, one minute he was here and the next he was dead…
Good stuff. And any label with a debut release like this damn sure has me curious as to what'll come next, so… pick this shit up if you missed out back in the day, and keep your eyes peeled for more: