A few people mentioned that they'd like to hear about what records have stood the test of time for both Tim and me. While my time in hardcore is less than Tim's, it's still been 15 years of evaluating and re-evaluating countless records and my accompanying feelings on them.
I came up with three that run the gamut of my tastes in hardcore, in no order. On the whole though, I have to say that the vast majority of classic punk and hardcore records I heard when I was a pre-pubescent pre-teen still remain classics. Perhaps some things from the nineties haven't held up, but it's not like Rock For Light has bummed me out as I've gotten older or anything.
These three have special places in my heart, and I think I actually love them more and more each time I listen to them. I've dissected every aspect of them, and feel like I'm as true a fan as any. I'd love to pose and cite some rare stuff from '79, but at the end of the day, I come back to these. - Gordo DCXX
CRO-MAGS "Age Of Quarrel" - 1986
Total no brainer. Still the eptiome of the perfect fusion of blazing hardcore, punk, and metal created by urban dudes who stockpiled notes from the best and put everything they witnessed first hand coming up into one band that was so potent they had no choice but to self-destruct. When I first heard Age Of Quarrel, it sounded like a wrecking ball of fire being played by grown ass men who knew all about the harsh truth of reality, had mastered their instruments, and could easily hurt me.
Many years later, I have grown up, spent countless hours honing 'musician' skills of my own, and have attempted to build some type of imposing physical presence...and yet I listen to this record and I'm instantly a scared little boy again...a weak amateur...a lightweight. I still can't play all of Mackie's beats, I can't fully grasp the desperation of the lyrics, and I can't pretend to relate to the war zone of a place where this came from - and I don't think that will ever change. In reality, this record describes a world that I am merely visiting as a tourist from the suburbs. But fuck, I can't help it...when We Gotta Know kicks in, all of a sudden I have a full dragon tattoo on my chest, it's 3am, and I'm carrying a cinder block on Avenue D looking for a guy named "Scrillo" who just robbed my boy Chris. You see what I'm saying?
Some prefer the demo rawness. I'll take the LP any day. Everything about this record sounds perfect, flows perfect, and simply is perfect. Hail the Cro-Mags.
YOUTH OF TODAY "Break Down The Walls" - 1987
In terms of Straight Edge Hardcore, this to me is in many respects, the genre at its pinnacle, love or hate it. It's short Italian guys who took SSD, DYS, The Abused, Negative Approach, and Minor Threat, and said "let's do it as best we can...straight edge and in your face, without any apologies." Nobody ever said it was entirely original, but I'm saying it's absolute perfection.
Every YOT record stands the test of time for me, and I easily could have swapped We're Not In The Alone in place of Break Down The Walls. But the rawness of Break Down The Walls - Ray's bombastic growling, Porcell's guitar tone, Drew's spastic but relatively clocked-in drumming, the presence of Richie's attack, Craig's bass lines - it really seems like it's YOT at their most aggressive, their most honest, and their most compelled.
It is X'd fists in the air, Champion sweatshirts with the hoods up, Air Jordan Is, jumping off the drum riser, diving into the crowd, trying to change the world...just a band in top gear with a full tank of gas, eager to build an entire SEHC scene from city to city. This record is the soundtrack to that. I'm the first to admit there are cheesy SEHC records that came from bands after Break Down The Walls...but I can never fault this one.
DANZIG "DANZIG I" - 1988
Ahh yes, the evil B side to the boy scout goodness of the YOT A side. I'll get some shit for this, but I don't care.
To me, the first Danzig LP took the spirit of The Misfits and the heart of Samhain, mixed it with eerie, early Black Sabbath and the darker side of Led Zeppelin and repackaged it with heavy, stark imagery. The recording is plainly ferocious, demanding, and polished, and yet it's also stripped down to a point where it sounds like there's hardly any trickery or excess involved. It's a Rubin-perfected Glenn Danzig with his best vocal performance ever, crooning high-in-the-mix over Christ's sinister, sex-drenched crusher blues riffs, Eerie Von's dark and creepy bass lines, and Chuck Biscuits playing drums while almost standing up, bashing away with raw precision and never-ending power on a minimalist's drumset that sounds ten times bigger than it really is.
I didn't totally "get it" when I was 12. Now I couldn't possibly "get it" any more. In a lot of ways, you could put this record at the center of my own personal music spectrum as the middle point. Punk, hardcore, classic hard rock, early rock 'n roll, blues, metal...Danzig mixes it here so seemlessly and naturally in a way that was/is impossible for others to emulate. And in terms of power, I simply can't listen to it without wanting to bang my head into oblivion.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Posted by DOUBLE CROSS at 7:44 PM