Discharge Noise Not Music 3xLP box set

F.O.A.D. has a reputation for doing great retrospective releases with lavish packaging and lots of unreleased material. They pulled out all the stops for this most important of bands: three LPs, a bonus 7″, a hardbound book (in the size and shape of an LP, to fit in the box) and a poster. The first live LP features a shockingly good audience recording of a 1980 London gig. This was previously bootlegged as the First Ever London Show LP but this version sounds cleaner and captures the band’s early fire and energy. I really enjoyed this recording as it’s all the early 7″ material, played with great verve and gusto. You can tell these guys are young and fired up with a new sound and message. A rare documentation of music history in the making. The second LP is a soundboard recording from Detroit from 1982. I don’t think this recording has surfaced before, except perhaps among tape traders. The third live LP is a soundboard recording from the 100 Club from 1983 and features more of the Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing-era material. It captures the band’s progression into a more metallic realm, but still comes across as pure hardcore, just with the added high-pitched scream or lead here and there. The highlight of this release, though, is the book. There are lots of flyers, photos and press clippings, many never before seen. Rich “Militia” Walker does an entertaining job of retelling how much DISCHARGE was reviled by the music press while at the same time inspiring a diehard following of devoted fans. He is pretty fair and balanced, is in a good position to measure the band’s worldwide impact on music, and I think he was a good choice to handle this important task. The DISCHARGE story related here ends abruptly in 1983 with Price of Silence. Notably omitted is the second US tour with BATTALION OF SAINTS; however, some flyers from those gigs are featured and one of the live LPs is from this era. Not told is the story of DISCHARGE’s later years and the third US tour, perhaps for the better. Absent from the proceedings is Cal, so we don’t get his voice on the early days or the band’s message. But this doesn’t detract too much from the overall package—and what a package it is. We may take a moment to contrast the lavish nature of a triple-LP box set and hardbound book to the raw and urgent 7″ singles of the early days. I do enjoy F.O.A.D.’s deluxe reissues and the care that goes into them. At times it seems far from the roots of hardcore, but as diehard fan, I appreciate the attention to quality and detail. Is this release essential? No. Is it a rare treat for diehard DISCHARGE fans? Yes. If it’s in your budget and you love DISCHARGE, it’s certainly worth picking up for the book and graphics alone, even if you don’t care for live albums.

Discharge Grave New World LP

Too horrible for words, this aggregation of the once-great DISCHARGE goes full-on metal sounding like LED ZEP (15 minute songs to boot!). No traces of punk at all, even to the point that the drummer Gary has covered over his CRASS tattoo with some metallish tattoo. Last DISCHARGE release we’ll be reviewing. (Unless we decide to ridicule them further. —Ed.)

Discharge Ignorance / No Compromise 7″

The A-side is a pretty catchy, almost MOTÖRHEAD-type rockin’ metalish number with excellent lyrics. The flip is too plodding for my tastes, but again with good lyrics. While I don’t enjoy this brand of DISCHARGE as much as their earlier incarnation, at least the integrity of the thoughts is maintained.

Discharge The More I See / Protest and Survive 7″

Yecch! “The More I See” of DISCHARGE, the more nauseous I become. That song is unbelievably pathetic—both the music and the vocals have a full-out metal sound. The B-side, taken from one of their earlier 12″s, demonstrates just how much they’ve declined over the years. A complete waste of vinyl.

Discharge The Price of Silence / Born to Die in the Gutter 7″

DISCHARGE’s patented wall-of-noise guitar sound seems inextricably entwined with severe heavy metal influences on this single, which admittedly has its moments of power. But those tasteless lead breaks, combined with utterly lame heavy metal vocals, help make these two medium speed offerings as disappointing as their recent 12″ effort. Adequate lyrics, but they can’t save the show.

Discharge Warning: Her Majesty’s Government Can Seriously Damage Your Health 12″

More 24-track mundanity from DISCHARGE. They’re getting slower and more metallish these days; “Anger Burning” is hardly more than a standard rock song. It’s OK for a band to change styles, but why follow the same boring route that so many others select? Give me DISORDER any day.

Discharge State Violence State Control / Doomsday 7″

Surprise, surprise! This record sounds just like DISCHARGE. Actually, only “Doomsday” does; the flip is much slower, but structurally the same. You either like DISCHARGE and can’t get enough of them, or you say “never again.” They sound a lot better on record than they do live.

Discharge Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing LP

Doom with a very fast beat. Don’t say that these guys didn’t warn us if someone drops the big one, because this is the second LP (they also have four 7″ers) that hammers away without mercy at the potential hell of nuclear holocaust. The songs here tend to be a bit similar (repetitive riffs and some heavy metal guitar), but the delivery is so powerful, the words so convincingly committed, that it’s a winner. Much like watching a huge fire—horrifying, but riveting at the same time.