Dropdead Live AS220 11/3/20 cassette

Lots of comedians, podcasters, and rock and/or roll musicians did live streams during the height of the pandemic, but this is the closest to feeling like a steamy hardcore show that came out of the suddenly inflated genre of live audience-less performances. In this case, if you didn’t know, you’d probably never guess this wasn’t in front of a crowd. The energy is there. The aggression is there. DROPDEAD is doing what they do best: fast, angry hardcore with a liberal sprinkling of animal rights. The first half of the set is made up of almost half of their newest album from 2020, Dropdead 2020. The rest of the set is made of a mix from the rest of their previous 30 years of existence. If you’re a newcomer, this is a perfect introduction. If you’re an old fan from way back, then you already know that you need to check this out. It’s easily in the running for best “live” release of 2021. “The Cost of an Animal,” one of their longer songs by clocking in at one minute and twelve seconds, is one of the standouts of the set. You can feel Bob Otis strangling the microphone while the rest of the band takes their instruments to their physical limits.

Dropdead Dropdead 1993 LP reissue

Holy unruliness. DROPDEAD sounds more ferocious than ever on this remastered reissue of their 1993 self-titled release. Bob Otis’s vocals are ripping through the speakers, the bass is a gruesome gritty meld of bounce and rhythm. The drums are absolutely pulverizing and the cymbals glimmer. I had a cassette of this around 1996 and I used to blast it driving around New Haven, around the first time I saw DROPDEAD at The Tune Inn, and their sincerity and raw power completely floored me. No mercy for my ears, only for all animals. It brings back very fond memories hearing this again. Compared only at the time to locals BOILING MAN, I found DROPDEAD so overwhelmingly passionate when I first heard them. Messages you could not ignore or not admit were real. If “Unjustified Murder” into “The Circle Complete” to “Clone” doesn’t move you to live responsibly, and you claim to exist in a scene that cares, I don’t know what will. Thirty-four tracks of ruthless, grinding hardcore assault. If you never had this, this is the version you need right now, for a time right now. Remastered by Brad Boatright, this is a total pummel-fest that has never sounded so full and heavy while retaining the unmistakable DROPDEAD savagery and intensity, if that is even possible.

Dropdead Dropdead 1998 LP reissue

The essential second full-length remixed and remastered for a 2020 reissue. A little less blasting than the “early” stuff, this record knocked all of us on our asses when it came out. This 1998 offering was more in line with destroyed, amped-up Swedish crust…and then they dropped tracks like “Part Two” that are just ferocity embodied. It was different, it was more…and it still is. DROPDDEAD’s approach and uncompromising politics shouldn’t need to be covered in these (digital) pages, but suffice to say that their knife edge has not dulled in their 30 year existence…and I don’t expect that to change. Remastering, regurgitating, and reissuing records that are readily available might seem like an unnecessary ploy in this modern era, but fuck these songs have never sounded this heavy, this fast, or this relevant. Still essential.


Dropdead Dropdead 2020 LP

I’m a DROPDEAD fan, but I’ll admit they’re a band with a far too big catalogue and that I have quite gladly picked and chosen the specific few records and comps I think they excel on. When I sat down to listen to Dropdead 2020, I ended up digging out and relistening to 落とす死 (which is still an absolutely stellar HC record), and I guess that was a mistake. Revealing a band in its adolescence at the cusp of their prime no doubt colours what I imagine crossover fans would call an alright crossover thrash record, if you’re into that sort of thing. Included in a write-up for this record was a statement about how they have (vocally) moved away from the “raw screaming” of previous releases, and with that I guess I’m out. Mind you, there are some catchy tracks on this and some really good drumming, it just doesn’t hold a candle to their earlier records.

Dropdead Demos 1991 LP

If you don’t know, DROPDEAD is one of the greatest fast hardcore bands of all time. They are also one of the fastest fast hardcore bands of all time. As the title suggests, the tracks here are culled from demos recorded in 1991—and I swear that “Protest” and “At The Cost Of An Animal” sound more unhinged here than on any of the subsequent vinyl releases, and everything here hits just as hard as it did when I first heard (most of) them on a third-generation cassette 27 years ago, but it all hits even harder today because these songs (and more importantly, these words) are still relevant, they are still urgent, and they are still fucking furious. And then if you’re still standing, the sound and the delivery on the second session are simply unparalleled…this is the band who are still on top of the mountain, and they just released some recordings to remind us all who built it.

Dropdead Discography Vol. 2 1995–2013 LP

Active since 1991, DROPDEAD seems to be one of the most hard-working and militant bands in punk, raising the flag for the DIY ethos and living by what they preach. Having borrowed their name from the most important proto-grindcore demo ever (from the mighty SIEGE), they sound just like a freight train of hardcore aggression running over every politician, fascist, sexist, and animal abuser in their way. This is the second installment of their discography compilations and has 42 tracks that span through the years 1995 to 2013. It includes a remixed Hostile EP, the Arms Race EP, and the splits with TOTALITÄR (the standout tracks in my opinion), UNHOLY GRAVE, LOOK BACK AND LAUGH, CONVERGE, SYSTEMATIC DEATH, RUIDOSA INMUNDICIA, and BRAINOIL, as well as other compilation tracks. A must-have for fans of unhinged fast hardcore.

Dropdead Arms Race / Give It Up 7″ flexi

This flexi features the legendary DROPDEAD covering a song each from BGK and POISON IDEA. It is a benefit for United We Dream, a youth-led community group fighting for justice for immigrants in the US. DROPDEAD is probably the most furious and raging band to ever shred. There may be faster and heavier, but something about DROPDEAD just brings the intensity to another level. Almost 30 years as a band and they can still bring it. If you’ve never heard them before, get this one and any of their other releases because they all rip, and if you already know, might as well support the cause!