RECORD/DEMO REVIEWS
[Originally published: Issue #5, circa 1988]
BLOOD LAKE demo

BLOOD LAKE is a hardcore band from Vista, California and features Randy on vocals, Dave on bass, Pete on guitar, and Simon on druas.

This band kicks serious butt! 13 great tunes that bridge the gap between '87 hardcore and early punk. Even though they don't include lyrics, there are some good ideas (I think) behind soae songs like "There's A Draft" and "Fight To Survive". I think this tape will appeal to anyone who's ever been into hardcore. Oh yeah, Mickey claims that they sound like the DEAD KENNEDYS around the time of "ln God We Trust Inc." [TONY]
DIRGE demos -- '87 demo, "Life Force demo

DIRGE is from the central shore area of New Jersey. Their current line-up is: Jim on bass, Jacko (ex-FATAL RAGE) on vocals, Eric (ex-F.C.C.) on guitar, and Dan (ex-F.C.C.) on drums. Contradictory to the name, most of DIRGE's music can be classified as thrash, though they prefer not to label themselves. Their lyrics range from religous and political hypocracy, greed and power, to the struggle against conformity, social order, and
narrowmindedness within the realms of society and the scene.

'86 demo: Some cool raging thrash with lyrics lamenting the probleas in the world. The vocals are shouted and a bit rough in some places, but still good and original. Thirteen songs total - 8 from the studio and 5 good-quality live songs. This isn't crossover, but it should be liked by both audiences. This 20 minute tape is available for $3.

"Life Force" demo: The second demo from the Jersey thrashers is a bit more polished. They change slightly - a little more riffing and guitar work, and the vocals blend in better with the music. This sounds good, even though it's lost some of its hardcore influence - except in the lyrics, where the same high level of awareness and intelligence is maintained. As of now, this tape is only availble to 'zines and labels, but you can write for more details. [TONY]
EXCEL "Split Image" LP

This Venice, Cal. band has been around for a while, but this is only their first LP. Ten selections of powerful hardcore with a strong metal influence. Each song has alot of music, but its not wasted on endless guitar solos, but on some cool riffing, sometimes reminiscent of early METALLICA. The vocals are cool - kind of like Mike Muir of SUICIDAL TENDENCIES who, by the way, is the executive producer of this Suicidal/Caroline Records release. The lyrics are mostly personal (lyric sheet is enclosed, thank God!). I'll admit that the first time I gave this a spin, I wasn't too crazy about it. But by the second and third time, I really started to dig it. (Suicidal/Caroline) [TONY]
INITIAL REACTION "Earth Zero" demo

INITIAL REACTION is a three man, one woman HC band from Chicago's western suburbs. They started as a garage band in Jan., 1986 and have done a number of shows in the Chicagoland area. l.R. is: Mandy Clarke - vocals, Doug Roscoe - bass, Hessel - guitar, and Matt Olsen - drums.

There seems to be a disturbing trend in the scene: people disliking fast HC thrash bands because some claim it is immature. Well, just when you thought you had grown up, this Chicago quartet kicks you in the teeth. This band plays ferocious, abrasive hardcore (of the thrash variety) with a rough edge. If you think fast and heavy music is for kids, take a listen to this hot, energy-packed tape. The music is tight and raw, yet distinctly melodic at tines, and the vocals are very enjoyable and original, in that I have never heard a female HC vocalist of this ability. The ideas seem to be OK, even though I've only seen the words to a few songs and I don't want to generalize. All together, this is a very good tape (of decent sound-quality) consisting of 20 songs. INITIAL REACTION plays HC the way we like it -powerful and energetic without being noisy or sloppy. Don't miss this one. [TONY]
M.I.S. "Donations for Broken Glass" demo

M.I.S., from Longview, Washington, formed in the summer of '86 and are Chris (20) on vocals, Tim (16) on drums, Jason (17) on bass, and Eric (15) on guitar. They don't like labels, show-offs, wanna-bes, backstabbers and liars. They like to laugh, play shows, and receive mail, so if you want to rap, drop 'em a line.

Loud and angry hardcore thrash with enough electricity to light all the houses on the block. The ultra-fast parts get a little sloppy, but the slower stuff is powerful, as the songs "Anti-Reagan" and "War No More" amply prove. This demo is an exercise in cut-throat HC - it's really worth your while. 10 tracks, with lyrics. [TONY]
MASS CORRUPTION "This Means War" '87 demo

MASS CORRUPTION is a skinhead band from Minnesota. Their line-up is Rick Bassat on vocals, Ed Wolbank on guitar, Dan Higgins on drums, and Sean Mason on bass.

Skinhead thrash with throaty vocals and AGNOSTIC FRONT-type music. Nine tracks with some pretty heavy guitar work and good production. Highly recommended if you're into being a skin, and worth a try even if you have hair. Seriously, give it a listen. [TONY]
NUM SKULL "Nuke The World" tape

Even though this is an independent tape, I chose not to put it in with the demos because of its high production quality and packaging. This Chicago based band (Eric Seiller on guitar, Dave Fuller on bass, Tom Brandner on guitar, Skip McGullam on vocals, and Jeff McGullam on drums) plays EXODUS-like thrash with hints of slower, power metal. Nothing of lyrical value - same old gore and death nonsense (horror lyrics CAN be done well, just ask the SERIAL KILLERS). But the music is played quite well. If you're into thrash metal, this is for you. 8 songs (35 minutes) with lyrics. [TONY]
PSYCHIC VIOLENTS "Walk On Water" demo

PSYCHIC VIOLENTS is a five-piece band from Florida with Sam on guitar, Jorge on bass, Bill on drums, and Charles on vocals.

This tape was truly a pleasant surprise. Each song I has a different sound to it. Some thrashy, some melodic, some psychedelic, and some mixing all of these elements. The lyrics are cool too - most are personal, while others address topics such as racism ("Mayberry") and animal cruelty ("Animal Aushcwitz"). This band is very innovative - for instance, in "Embrace", instead of the usual transition from thrash to slow-mosh parts, they go from fast and heavy to slow and more mellow. All in all, 28 songs (including a few instrumentals that can only be clasified as country- psyche) in 60 minutes. Comes with lyrics and a mini-comic book. Great sound quality on most of the tracks. This tape is a must. [TONY]
IGNITION "Sinker" EP

Buy it. It's great. Three tunes that kick butt. Period. (Sammich Records) [MICKEY]
JUSTICE LEAGUE "Reach Out" EP

JUSTICE LEAGUE, one of my favorite bands, kicks out another 12" (their second). A little old-HUSKER DUish sounding now, they are getting much more powerful and mature in their sound. They're very nice guys, who really know how to rock hard. A great band who should now finally gain the recognition which they've earned. But guys, you are walking the HUSKER DU thin line. Don't whimp out, OK? (Positive Force) [MICKEY]
NEGATIVE YOUTH "Life Is Like... A Drunken Orgy in Hell" demo

NEGATIVE YOUTH is an anti-straight-edge band (in a humorous way) from New Jersey. The line-up features Richie Intoxication on vocals, Eric Delusion on bass, Tom Herb on guitar, and Troy Err Herr on drums.

The music on this tape is good, but it's tough to look past the "negative" lyrics. The songs deal with beer and sex and sex and beer and beer and sex (did I mention the beer?). I guess the lyrics are kind of orginal, after all, how many bands have a song called "Anti-Straight-Edge and Proud"? I think you can enjoy this tape if you don't take your music (or life) too seriously. Hey, somebody send a copy to Ian, Kevin, and Gloria Steinem. [TONY]
REASON TO BELIEVE demo

[Originally published: Issue #5, circa 1988]

REASON T0 BELIEVE is: Jon B. on vocals, Chris E. on guitar, Raidy K. on bass, and Rodney on drums. They have "action-wear" t-shirts for $7.

REASON TO BELIEVE, from sunny California, is a young band with a great sound. They reaind me of early 7 SECONDS with their sing-along lyrics and early DC bands with their pure, raw energy, which must translate into a good show live. Seven songs are on this tape, all of which seem to rock hard! Their message is one to be admired -- they seem to be a very dedicated bunch. [MICKEY]
VAN GOGH'S EAR demo

VAN GOGH'S EAR is a Philly band that has been playing out live for about a year and a half. They are self-produced and managed and are about to go into the studio to make a better quality tape of another album's worth of material. Of course, they want to release an album, but they don't have the funds - isn't that everyone's problem these days? They are considered a great band to see live due to Aruna's {vocals) energy and inability to stand still.

"Pop with an edge" is the way my roommate described these guys. And that's the best way their sound can be described. This tape of incredibly high quality shows us a band with enomous talent and promise. Their mainstream melodious sound should appeal to many - but they're defirately not hardcore and they're far from punk, too. They're ... well, pop with an edge. And they've put out the best demo that I (Mickey) have heard yet! [MICKEY]
VISUAL DIFFERENCE "This Is The Time" demo

VISUAL DIFFERENCE is a positive hardcore band from Arizona, with Steve Toledo on vocals, Dave Payne on guitar, Eric Oxbolow on bass, and Steve Baily on druas.

Man, there must be some decent shows happening in Arizona, what with bands like LAST OPTION, DESECRATION, and now, VISUAL DIFFERENCE. I really liked this tape, and that's not just because I'm a big fan of positive mosh-type stuff, but because this band is really tight and powerful, and have a good attitude, as reflected in their lyrics. 12 songs, lyrics included. By the way, they're not straight-edge, just positive. [TONY]
WHITE FLAG "Wild Frontier" LP

[Originally published: Issue #5, circa 1988]

WHITE FLAG'S first LP on Positive Force is definitely their best release to date. Great new track (especially "Suicide King") are there, along with re-recorded older tunes ("Instant Breakfast" and "Face Down" for example). This band has always been very good, and deserves a greater audience. Hopefully, they will get it with this LP. (Positive Force) [MICKEY]
EMBRACE LP

EMBRACE was one of the greatest bands to have come out of DC (along with MINOR THREAT and DAG NASTY) in my opinion. This is another Dischord posthumous release showing how amazing this band really was. The music isn't typical DC-sounding. EMBRACE consisted of incredibly talented musicians who made their slower, very melodious sound more powerful than a dual-guitar crossover band. This is seen on its fourteen excellent tracks, the best of which are "Do Not Consider Yourself Free" and "1 Wish 1". EMBRACE has a sound that doesn't seem to take any influences from other bands - they developed a very unique sound. The lyrics are great, too, perfectly done by Ian MacKaye; his singing/yelling voice has found a place where it fits perfectly. Good messages are there, too, in tunes like "Said Gun Said Knife" and "Money." EMBRACE is one of my favorite bands ever. If you have any concept of taste, you'll like this LP. Get it and see. (Dischord) [MICKEY]
BEEFEATER "House Burning Down" LP

Yet another Dischord LP released after the band has broken up. In this case, it's BEEFEATER who really shows off their great sound. It's almost an all-star album, with cameos from artists connected with Dischord or Washington D.C. But they help only a little to make BEEFEATER'S final album a screaming success. Their funky, jazzy hardcore sound with drowning, off-sounding choruses is unmistakingly BEEFEATER very adventurous (weird?) and off-beat (bizarre?). The lyrics are very vague, but somehow almost inspiring once you find out what they mean to you. Another thing I like is that each meaber gets his own tracks where he can show off his solo stuff. (Each is very bizarre, as you could probably guess, but very interesting.) I can't say I'd reccommend it to everyone, as it is off-beat (but not alien - the hardcore hard-edge is still there), but it is still very good to me. (Dischord) [MICKEY]
Copyright 2007 ThreateningSociety.com/PhillyPunkRock.com
FEARLESS IRANIANS FROM HELL EP

Exotic "punk and roll" from this Texas band. Gruff vocals from a singer who I read really is Iranian. All 4 tracks are interesting, and some of them really rock. A very good EP - hopefully their new full length album will be just as good - we'll see. (Boner Records) [TONY]
GENERAL CONCERN rehearsal

GENERAL CONCERN is a positive, semi-straight hardcore band from way over in Longview, Washington. The line-up is as follows: Jay (18) on vocals, Paul (18) on guitar, Rick (16) on bass, and Keith (17) on drums. They will soon be going into a studio to record a demo.

This is some raw, pounding HC that, thankfully, is not short on melody. G.C. packs a powerful punch - actually, crunch is a better word. Heavy, grinding fast parts and really great mid-tempo stuff, plus good lyrics (mainly positive, some political). The only problem is that the sound quality, as on all rehersals, takes away from what is otherwise a fantastic tape. This band has great potential - I can't wait to hear the demo! In the meantime, you should really check out this rehearsal. [TONY]
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