Articles of Faith


Articles of Faith What We Want Is Free EP reissue

The explosion of hardcore in the USA in 1981 occurred at just the right time in a socio-cultural context to recruit to its ranks a legion of incredibly talented and creative people. When we review the canon of the first few years of hardcore in America, we are astonished at how much truly great, empowering, and influential music was created in a short period of time. Like the original explosion of punk in the UK, it was just the right place and right time. Here were a lot of very talented and energetic young people who were just waiting for some creative window to open that they could jump through. ARTICLES OF FAITH were one of many of those first wave of hardcore bands. Their first two 7″s captured them at a perfect point where the raw energy of hardcore was bursting forth, and before their creative talents lead them to more complex compositions and explorations. Their later material draws in a lot of influence from GANG OF FOUR and other post-punk types, but on What We Want is Free, we have that raw enthusiasm of a band’s first release, charging hard out of the gate with no such pretensions. The recording is lo-fi, the layout is cut-and-paste, but the energy and zeal radiate from the record like blazing bonfire. Musically, this is straight-ahead ’82 hardcore, but played with some chop and panache that reveals a greater underlying musicianship, not unlike their then labelmates DIE KREUZEN, or perhaps New Strings For Old Puppets-era REALLY RED. Vic Bondi wrote some great lyrics; he had a way of capturing complex social or economic issues and condensing them into a “less is more” lyrical delivery. That is to say, you can read a lot into what he is trying to say with very few words. “What we Want is Free,” “Bad Attitude,” and “My Father’s Dreams” focus on the yearning to be free from the constraints of a preordained conformist career in the capitalist system. “Everyday” is the same message of the bleak dehumanized reality that awaits those who do conform and get stuck in society’s rat race. The second 7″ Wait was also reissued; that one is a real masterpiece musically and lyrically. Taken together they are a testament to the enduring power of the genre.

Articles of Faith Wait EP reissue

One of the best and at the time most inventive USHC 7″s gets the reissue it deserves, had Alternative Tentacles not already compiled all of AOF’s material onto Complete Volumes 1 & 2 in 2002. Is this a necessary move? I’m leaning towards yes. The ferocity of “I’ve Got Mine” and “Buy This War” can’t be understated and probably warrant the reissue in order to teach new-age bootleg shirt kids, egg punks, and chopped and screwed enthusiasts what hardcore is supposed to sound like. The album art comes across simple, almost completely inept until you open the meticulously made insert containing the lyrics to “Wait.” Bondi may have said some of the worst no-no words in the American Hardcore doc but he’s got some of the most brilliant lyrics of the era on show here.

Articles of Faith In This Life LP

Finally out, this second and final LP by this defunct Chicago outfit. Recorded over two years ago, this is what HÜSKER DÜ and especially SOUL ASYLUM sounded like at their best. Personal lyrics delivered with plenty of emotion. Thumbs up, dude.

Articles of Faith Give Thanks LP

Although their compositions are longer than those of most contemporary thrash outfits, ARTICLES OF FAITH employ a fine sense of drama to create extraordinary tension within their songs. A screaming guitar sound, impassioned vocals, and their sheer velocity make for some great moments of noise and music, particularly on the pile-driver “American Dreams.” Of course, this is mandatory.

Articles of Faith Wait EP

This new EP showcases A.O.F.’s musical versatility. “I’ve Got Mine” is a relatively slow CLASH-influenced song with great dynamics and a quasi-psychedelic guitar that sporadically breaks into full-tilt thrash; “Wait” and “Buy This War” are intense, distinctive thrashers with innovative guitar interaction. A big step forward.