Agression Agression LP

This band’s long-awaited record release is here, but maybe arriving just a little too late! Bad average AGRESSION music that never really holds itself together. Heavy on the ’70s rock influence with several metal riffs that add to this record’s boredom. Not too much be happening here, but I wonder if you can still skate to it.

Battalion of Saints The Best of the Battalion of Saints: Rock in Peace LP

Dubbed as the “Best of…” album. Side A features nine previously released songs from demos and early vinyl. Side B has nine songs too, three of which are fair covers, all of which were recorded live. The quality is pretty good and does a fair job of capturing the fel of this band. Overall, if you have never heard this band’s heavy punk sound or if you’re diehard fan, then this is of interest.

Battalion of Saints Second Coming EP

These energetic San Diegans have always had a very powerful instrumental sound. And even if their metal-punk attack isn’t exactly my can of Coke, the title song here is so intense that it blows me away. That alone makes it recommendable.

Corpus Delicti The Joy of Living 12″

From the band’s name, you can probably guess that these guys are post-punkers inspired by JOY DIVISION. Actually, it’s not bad for that overused genre… sparse music, medium-tempo rhythms, decent guitar work, echoey vocals, and even a sax. Now you know what you’re getting into.

Don’t No The Real World EP

DON’T NO recalls the high-velocity antics of the better Boston outfits before they went metal, and there’s some fabulous stop-on-a-dime thrash on this one, powered by ripping drum-work. A potential classic. Get it.

Dr. Know Burn EP

Eerie, in the DR. KNOW tradition, but definitely not “death rock” by a long shot. On this 7″, the band progresses where their 12 left off; the lyrics are polished up and the guitar solos are at a minimum. All five cuts are catchy, but lack the power I hoped for. Damn good…yep, damn good.

False Confession Left to Burn EP

Billed as a mini-LP on 7 inches, this is the first of the “Nardcore” (Oxnard area) series, with plenty more to come. The idea is to beat the “high cost of albums, with these six or seven song jobs.” FALSE CONFESSION comes off on some tracks as America’s answer to the current DISCHARGE sound. On others, there’s less metal damage, and more of an amalgam of US and UK thrash. Powerful.

Flower Leperds Has Hate Been Kind Enough? EP

Now this is interesting. This band treads a line somewhere in between metal and thrash. And even though their cover of “Eighteen” is a bit pedestrian, a comparison with the ALICE COOPER BAND isn’t too far out. They’ve managed to tone down the typical LA metal sound with an edge of psychedelia. I’d like to see what they can do with a full LP.

Government Issue Live! LP

This pretty cool collection of songs contains all their hits, all of which were recorded live though 1982-85. The production varies from song to song but does a good job of re-creating the experience that this band brings across live. Worth looking into.

Government Issue Give Us Stabb or Give Us Death 12″

G.I. is flooding the market with quality DCHC. “Plain to See” is awesome, and though these live tracks vary a bit in sound quality, most are rippin’. Only minor metally digressions, as the pure punk sound predominates and dominates.

Ill Repute Oxnard: Land of No Toilets EP

Jeff was blasting this from his room the other day while I was trying to sleep. Next day I asked him what that was, cause it sounded great, even though I should have been pissed. He felt it was pretty generic, so I went back and listened to it. Generic or not, this fucking wails! Guess he needed the sleep!

Ill Repute Halloween Live EP

Yet another in the “Nardcore” series, and this one has a definite “live” garage feel to it (might be because there were about 100 kids in the studio at the time of the recording). Actually, it’s being remixed, so it may sound cleaner when it’s released, but even this version is fun. Couple of covers, too.

Ill Repute Omelette LP

A collection of the best and worst from one of Oxnard’s finest. Consisting of one track from every release that this band has ever been involved with, only two new songs appear, both of them live and the outstanding tracks of the release. Typical rough Mystic production doesn’t really help, but overall this is a good sampler of one of the once classic SoCal thrash outfits.

Ill Repute What Happens Next LP

Aaargh! ILL REPUTE may not extend the thematic or musical limits of modern thrash very far, but this album is so fucking ferocious that it doesn’t matter. The band wails, the guitar screams, the vocals are really snotty and impassioned, and the production has an edge that further accentuates all of these advantages. A wicked release that’ll motivate you to try stage diving off of your kitchen table.

Insolents Spit in the Mirror LP

Decent but relatively unvaried hardcore here. The songs do indeed have melody to them, but the overriding impact is from the metal-heavy rhythms, the similarity of tempos, the gruff vocals. This LP is much like their previous EP, though not quite as clear in production.

Jeff Dahl Powertrip EP

Rock and roll retard JEFF DAHL is at it again! The guy may be a jerk, but it’s hard to fault this nifty garage punk record. “Power Trip” is older-style gutter rock, while the others are real fast punk blasts in the recent ANGRY SAMOANS vein. In fact, I’ll be anything it is the SAMOANS backing him up here.

Manifest Destiny We Love Our Country—It’s the Government We Can’t Stand EP

Three of these four tracks really make it, as they are strongly laced with power. Two are slow/medium paced, but deliver a great dose of punk, musically and lyrically. “Whose Power” is a faster cut, but still maintains that depth of strength. Good job.

Manifest Destiny Soilent Warehouse 12″

This new SoCal group offers an EP full of garden-variety thrash (except for the death-rockish “In the Dark”). The main problems here are a serious lack of musical imagination and tinny production; the main advantages are a shrill guitar and sound lyrics. Overly typical.

NOFX Live Your Life EP

At times metallish thrash, at times straight-ahead. Young and undeveloped as far as individual sound goes, this is a fairly generic Mystic-type release, giving a new band a starting chance to get some attention and develop. OK.

PTL Klub 13 Commandments LP

P.T.L. KLUB have the style down pat: fast, thrashy songs, angry vocals, committed lyrics on good topics, and very occasional guitar leads. Of course, it’s been done often before, but when it’s executed well (as it is here) the music sustains power and drive. A very good record from this Massachusetts outfit.

Rich Kids on LSD It’s a Beautiful Feeling EP

Another in the “Nardcore” series (although RKL recently moved to SF) of mini-LPs, and they kick. As with many of the younger bands these days, there’s a decidedly metal guitar influence. I choose to not hear it.

Rich Kids on LSD Keep Laughing LP

Ripping! These RICH KIDS ON LSD whip out thrash with some slight metal tinges, lots of changes, and tight musicianship. The production is excellent, too, which along with the occasionally special effects really helps out matters. Great live band, too.

Scared Straight Born to Be Wild EP

Mystic’s “Nardcore” series continues with this workmanlike EP of energetic thrash by SCARED STRAIGHT. This band suffers from a common problem: they have every bit of the requisite “power” but little of the distinctiveness modern thrash outfits need in order to avoid the morass of genericness. “Typical” is the best song on this nine-tracker, and ironically, the record itself is good, but typical.

Subterfuge Who’s the Fool LP

In general, SUBTERFUGE plays mid- to fast-tempo British-style punk that’s cleanly produced and tightly delivered. The drums are way out in front of the vocals in the mix, which I think sounds good. Powerful punk with an undercurrent of humor.

The G.R.I.M. Getting Revenge in ‘Merica 12″

Living up to their name, the G.R.I.M. produce some very down and depressing stuff. Their dark outlook is projected by slowish metal-laden punk and an occasional thrasher, as well as negative-outlook lyrics. I guess they’re bummed out.

The Stain I Know the Scam LP

I ordinarily wouldn’t review this kind of music, but because it’s on a “punk” label and looks like a “punk” package, I just thought I’d mention… it ain’t punk at all, it’s metal.

The Steppes The Steppes LP

With their folk-style vocal harmonies and sedate instrumentation, this band seems to have steeped themselves too deeply in MOR ’60s pop. Too bad; the rudiments of good songwriting are evident, but the STEPPES don’t develop their melodic hooks or arrangements with much originality. “Kathy McGuire” rates as an above-average moddish ditty.

V/A We Got Party LP

The third in this sorta series, another monster with 41 bands, plenty of great punk, and of course, no info on any of the bands. I’m sure a lot of these tracks date back to ’83 and are by bands long gone as well as current groups like NOFX, MANIFEST DESTINY, CRINGER (who never sent in a tape and didn’t know anything about it till they saw the LP at my house!), LIFE SENTENCE, DEHUMANIZERS, CANCEROUS GROWTH, PTL KLUB, etc., and lots of vinyl virgins.

V/A Mystic Sampler #3 LP

Apparently Mystic does still consider these samplers necessary. This one includes tracks from other recent Mystic released by GOVERNMENT ISSUE, WHITE FLAG, PTL KLUB, ILL REPUTE, MENTORS, FACTION, AGRESSION and several samplers. Me, I’m unconvinced.

V/A The Savages Are Loose LP

This compilation covers a side of the greater DC scene that we rarely hear about. Other than MADHOUSE, PHLEGM, SARCASTIC ORGASM and ASBESTOS ROCKPYLE, most of these bands are new to vinyl, and deliver a variety of garage punk, thrash and grunge. Featured are MOTOR MORONS, PLATINUM SLUGS, BAD VIBES, SYBIL PURE EVIL and many others. Only problem is no insert/no info on the bands.

V/A Super Seven Sampler LP

In their never-ending series of comps, Mystic Moody presents fourteen tracks by fourteen bands. All of these tracks are taken from previous 7”-ers. Cool cover and some classic SoCal punk rock.

V/A City of Thorns LP

A terrific idea: Mystic has decided to chronicle a series of local punk scenes in a “Sound of USA Cities” LP series, this one centering on Portland, Oregon. RANCID VAT, ANATHEMA, N.R.A., and other bands share this album, which varies severely in sound and song quality. Still, an interesting document.

V/A Covers LP

Neat idea, not-so-neat results. Cover songs are a tricky business—you either gotta change and update ’em (like the MEMBRANES’ “Super Freak”), or out-energize the original (SWA’s “100 Bottles of Beer”). But most of the others, turned in by the likes of SCARED STRAIGHT, RKL, FALSE CONFESSIONS, ILL REPUTE, SADO-NATION, DON’T NO, NOFX, VOA, PLAINWRAP, G.I., etc, etc., don’t make you forget the originals. They should.

V/A Super Seven Sampler #2 7″

Yet another Mystic sampler of previously released material from the label’s former projects. Included are DR. KNOW, INSOLENTS, DOGGY STYLE, and more. Is this really necessary?

V/A Let’s Die LP

All manner of “death” rock here, from metal to SIOUXSIE-style dreariness to TSOL-type moodiness, from a host of bands known and unknown. Includes ILL REPUTE, SUBTERFUGE, WHITE PIGS, MESS, AWOL, FALSE CONFESSION, and more. This is where I usually stick in a bad pun, but in this case I’m scared to try.

V/A Clockwork Orange County LP

They snuck this stuff out from behind the Orange Curtain, the stronghold of ultra-fanatical right-wingers here in the US. And yes, even in this suburban hell, an underground exists (and an extensive one at that). The likes of D.I., DOGGY STYLE, JUST BECAUSE, EXOBIOTA, CONVICTED, BLIND HATRED, LOVE CANAL, and tons more (only notable exclusion is UNIFORM CHOICE) turn in one song each in many varied punk styles. Good comp with high sound quality.

V/A The Sound Of Hollywood: Du BEAT-e-o LP

From an underground movie that stars JOAN JETT, TEX (of the HORSEHEADS), Derf Scratch (FEAR), and El Duce (MENTORS). Includes incidental music, dialogue, and some pretty good tunes from SOCIAL DISTORTION, TEX AND THE HORSEHEADS, MENTORS, JOHANNA WENT, and a killer track from DR. KNOW. Although there are some cool tracks here, it’s not the kind of thing you’re going to slap on the turntable too often.

V/A Mystic Sampler #2 LP

The latest sampler LP from the most prolific sampler label, this one contains tracks from some previous records (GRIM, DR. KNOW, Nardcore, Slimey Valley, Party Animal, SUBTERFUGE, etc.) and some future releases (AGGRESSION, HOLLYWOOD NOISE, Let’s Die, Cop II, Return to Slimey Valley). Can anyone keep track of all this?

V/A We Got Power: Party or Go Home LP

This Party Animal follow-up is not quite as overpowering as the initial installment, but it’s still an excellent sampler. You get 41 bands from all over the US, with SoCal being predominant. Too many bands to even begin to list (see ad this issue), but there are lots of debuts here, as well as other recently recorded up-and-comers. And, there are grooves between the songs this time!

V/A Nardcore LP

Yet another Mystic compilation album! And again, it’s a hotly produced disc featuring material that ranges from the inspiring (RKL) to the uninspired, though most is good. This one features relative oldsters like ILL REPUTE, AGGRESSION, DR. KNOW, and STALAG 13, as well as newcomers such as SCARED STRAIGHT, RAT PACK, HABEAS CORPUS, FALSE CONFESSIONS, and AFU. There’s somewhat more punk (vis-Á -vis thrash and speed metal) on Nardcore, but the most noteworthy developments are the apparent strength of the “straight edge” philosophy in the Oxnard area and the reappearance of the sublimely inane ROTTERS. Good show, Doug!

V/A Mystic Sampler #1 LP

A highly varied selection of tunes, all from records already or soon-to-be released. Ultra-demented tracks by the likes of VOX POP and the MENTORS may not appeal to everyone’s tastes, but I was delighted by the compositions from the MINUTEMEN, SIN 34, and the hysterical reworking of “I Am Woman” by ACIDHEAD. Enjoyable, by and large.

V/A The Sound of Hollywood: Copulation LP

A tremendous compilation of songs about the police, mainly consisting of Southern California bands that ought to know (except for the ostriches in WHITE FLAG). There are tracks from lesser-recorded groups like DR. KNOW, S.V.D.B., AMERICA’S HARDCORE, the GRIM, and NEW REGIME, as well as veterans like BLACK FLAG, G.I., and SADO-NATION.

V/A The Sound of Hollywood: Destroy LA LP

This is the long-anticipated Destroy LA compilation, but well nigh half of it is virtually unlistenable. Much of it consists of folk, metal, and regular rock ’n’ roll; the saving graces are S.V.D.B., RED SCARE, and two or three tracks by other bands. I guess if you’re really eclectic, you could relate to this. Personally, I think the F.B.I. ought to investigate this. (Just a joke!)

V/A The Sound of Hollywood: Girls LP

As the title indicates, this album consists of bands from greater LA with a prominent female component. Musically, it’s a mixed bag of styles ranging from punk (SIN 34, DE DE TROIT) to garage (I.U.D.) to various forms of pop (the L.A. GIRLS, TOXIC FUMES, the SKIRTS, HOT FOOD TO GO) to warpo country (the SCREAMIN’ SIRENS) to awful hard rock and heavy metal (BUTCH, HELLION, BITCH, SOLOMAN KANE). No one will like it all; the question is whether you’ll like enough of it to make it worth buying.

V/A We Got Power: Party or Go Home LP

Fuck! What can you say about this 40-band compilation organized by the editor of LA fanzine We Got Power? It has a bit of everything—intelligent bands, stupid bands, great bands, mediocre bands, unknown bands, well-known bands, bands from all over the US and Canada—but it’s great because all the songs are so short that even the few lame ones don’t have time to get boring. And most of them thrash to the max. It’s hard to pick faves, but I think WHITE CROSS, MECHT MENSCH, the ATHEISTS, JACK SHIT, the DAYGLOW ABORTIONS, and—dare I admit it?—WHITE FLAG have the standout tracks. All future comps should maintain a similar 1:00 limit in songs to keep things zipping along, but this platter unfortunately lacks both info on the bands and visible grooves between cuts—a DJ’s nightmare.

V/A You Can’t Argue With Sucksess LP

Another LA compilation with a lot of unrecorded bands and a few who’ve already released vinyl (like NO CRISIS, MAD SOCIETY, and the CONSERVATIVES). The first efforts by F-TROOP, RED BERET, the CREWD, SECRET HATE, NUCLEAR BABY FOOD, and New York’s EVEN WORSE are good. Most of them play unique thrash, and a number of the songs are quite memorable. The production is also decent, even on the live tracks. A fine effort off of the LA mainstream.