As if I didn't rave about Divebomb Records enough last week, their latest release (which just came available for mailorder a week or so ago) is a long overdue reissue of Uncle Slam's 1988 debut, "Say Uncle". For some bizarre reason this album was never released on CD in the US back in the day, and always went for stupidly high prices on eBay, so until last week it remained the only Uncle Slam disc I was never able to get my hands on. For those unaware, Uncle Slam was a California thrash/crossover band that featured in its ranks a number of former Suicidal Tendencies members at one time or another (on this album it was ex-ST drummer Amery Smith). I generally don't give two shits for much "lightheartedness" in music, but Uncle Slam has gotta be one of the most perfect bands names ever—especially for a group like this that has a good sense of energy and just minor little touches of tactful sarcasm/humor on rare occasion.
Given the lineup ties to Suicidal Tendencies I feel like the band has often been heavily compared to ST and a lot of the other classic Venice bands like Excel, No Mercy, etc. And that's not wholly inaccurate, there's definitely some of that vibe throughout their work, but... that's not the complete picture. For one thing, Uncle Slam was always leaning a little more towards the straight metal side from day one, balancing the bursts of speedy crossover vitality with solid midpaced crunch and loads of blazing leads. That foundation is pretty firm, but they also toss in some cool diversity in the form of quirky riffing and even a few unexpected spurts of mild melody, which all works surprisingly well amidst the zippy picking patterns and killer vocal arrangements. Rounding things out, as I've now come to expect from Divebomb, the original cover art adorns the front of the package, while brief liner notes and all of the lyrics are included within. And, of course, everything has been remastered. What more do you need? I was so damn excited to read the news of this re-release taking place, and I can confidently state that this will be among the best reissues of the year. No doubt. I don't give a shit if it's only February. It's fucking Uncle Slam, man!
This one's not officially released until next week, but it's shipping now, and if you order within the next few days you'll get free shipping in the US. As mentioned before, if you like what you hear, please purchase a copy and support the phenomenal efforts of this label. I can only imagine what they'll accomplish in the future if they can keep this shit going!
If you're interested, you can still grab the band's other two albums for dirt fuckin' cheap over at Amazon.com (and probably elsewhere, too). I will say, though, that having revisited their entire discography in the last couple of weeks, "When God Dies" doesn't really hold up that well. "Will Work for Food" is definitely worth picking up, though!