Sanctus Iuda


Disaffect / Sanctus Iuda Fuck All Borders split LP

To many punk veterans, this one will feel like a ’90s wet dream, like a time machine to a different—and yet not so different—DIY punk scene. I am a little too young for rose-tinted glasses since I got into anarcho-punk in the early ’00s and both DISAFFECT and SANCTUS IUDA had already split up, although I was aware of both band’s relevance and importance. DISAFFECT was quite popular in France and definitely a favourite of mine, and even though I don’t play them that often these days, I was a very happy (not to mention emotional) lad when they played in Paris this year and realized I still knew all of the words. If you have never heard the Scots, they epitomise all that was great about ’90s political punk, and if you were to illustrate what that sounds like, just introduce DISAFFECT: genre-defining fast, thrashing hardcore punk with anarchist lyrics and absolutely brilliant dual male/female vocals (Lynne’s voice is so unique). It also works with HOMOMILITIA, FLEAS AND LICE, or ANTI-PRODUCT. Of course, this new recording sounds cleaner than their old material, which makes sense as you cannot really expect people to stay exactly the same as they were 25 years earlier with the very same instruments and gear and even shirts and haircuts. DISAFFECT’s songwriting is pretty similar, maybe a little more tuneful and intricate which is a wise choice, and does not sound like a parody of itself. At times, the modern production is a bit too clean for my taste, but overall it still sounds aggressive and angry enough as the band has not lost any of their bite and politics. A solid first side. On the other side is SANCTUS IUDA, who belonged to the same generation of cracking Polish crust bands in the ’90s as the aforementioned HOMOMILITIA, SILNA WOLA, or HOSTILITY—a prolific scene and one of the genre’s major strongholds in Europe at the time. On this new recording, SANCTUS IUDA (who I incidentally also saw after they reformed) do not sound as openly anarcho-Eurocrust as in their glory days, as they lie more on the dark hardcore side of the spectrum with an ’00s epic vibe that is almost reminiscent of Spanish neocrust. You can sense the anger, but the band loses me a little with this change of direction. Don’t get me wrong, SANCTUS IUDA is still at home with the crust punk sound and aesthetics, and I enjoy the global moodiness, but I suppose I was expecting something different. Both bands have meaningful lyrics and the title of the LP, Fuck All Borders on both sides, could not be clearer. Fuck the borders indeed. Refugees welcome.

Sanctus Iuda Disco 2xLP

A 30-song semi-discography of Poland’s SANCTUS IUDA’s (“Saint Jude,” the patron saint of lost causes) recordings from 1995—1998. Their sound is grounded in thick, mid-tempo Euro-squat crust like HIATUS or FLEAS AND LICE, with oversaturated guitar distortion capped with caustic, berating vocals. The tempo occasionally quickens to speedy hardcore bursts, while their later recordings slow to a crushing churn, but the remastering here hammers a nice consistency to the variance. Sides A and B chronologically present their split EPs with the SARCASM, SHARPEVILLE, REGENERACION, and DOG ON A ROPE, along with the otherwise-unreleased material (mostly live songs and covers) from their 1996 ABC cassette. Side C has darker, sludgy unreleased demos for an aborted second LP, that treads the slower AMEBIX / NEUROSIS / GODFLESH gloom, twisting around the thrash blasting. These four tracks are pretty hot, as they edge on that late ’90s pocket of experimental, heavy bleakness, with caustic vocals raking over the top of everything. Side D is an unreleased 1996 semi-techno remix of songs from their first LP (the only recording not included here), by a member of SARCASM, that weaves in samples and deconstructs everything to interesting but only questionably essential results. While you could pick up the band’s original records for equivalent cost, this collection is packaged in a nice gatefold with tons of grainy band photos, record covers, and an extensive booklet with a Polish-language history of the band—but is oddly deficit of lyrics or other artwork that really signify to people unfamiliar with the band, or the Polish language, what they’re singing about. Polish labels have been impressively and wonderfully attentive to documenting their scene history, but sometimes as they upgrade everything from old cassettes or make an efficient package of old vinyl, they forget that not everyone has always been around to follow along, or how leaving the lyrics and meaning by the wayside works on the assumption that everyone still understands the impact of those lyrics, and subscribes to those ideas meaning—and the state of the world in 2019 underlines that the ideas still need to be hammered home.