Private Jesus Detector Nobody’s Master Nobody’s Servant LP
This is one that nobody expected: a new record from Bruges’ PRIVATE JESUS DETECTOR. I have always seen the band as part of a scale that can be used to assess the degree of nerdiness of a given punk. If one is cognizant with them, you know there is some solid knowledge of the ’90s crust and D-beat scene involved, and potentially the lovely prospect of a lengthy debate over the merits of SVART PARAD. You could say PRIVATE JESUS DETECTOR are something of a cult band if you are into primitive and raw European hardcore punk influenced by the heaviest brand of UK anarcho-punk and vintage käng hardcore. It is admittedly a small cult. I am always dubious when I am faced with new material from a band that split up 30 years ago (that was even before the SPICE GIRLS’ formation), because you never really know what you are going to get—a lot of old bands reform and record stuff that they would have been ashamed to listen to back when they were still relevant. But you can also be pleasantly surprised, and this Belgian powerhouse falls in the second category. The influences haven’t changed, and PRIVATE JESUS DETECTOR still works with the same basics, namely ANTISECT and ANTI-SYSTEM getting into a school fight with CRUDE SS and DISCARD (don’t worry, they all make peace and listen to EXCREMENT OF WAR by the end), but the sound is cleaner and clearer and it reminds me of how HELLKRUSHER has evolved. The band hasn’t given up on the vintage anarcho politics either, and the song “Serpent’s Game” shows they think critically about “the scene.” On the whole, Nobody’s Master Nobody’s Servant is a pretty good album and it does have a couple of genuinely hard-hitting numbers where the dual vocals work great together (a second singer, Vrokker from CHRONIC DISEASE, has been added for the album, and I’m always a sucker for those). Hopefully it might make people want to check out the earlier material, but I know full well that the ones who will listen to this new album are the ones who are already fans anyway, some of whom will whine that it doesn’t sound like the How Evil Can One Get EP from 1994 as if the band should have been frozen in the ’90s like a punk mammoth. I wish ANTISECT’s reformation sounded something like this LP.