When I got a bit of cash from my mum at Xmas, there was nothing I really wanted or needed at the time, so I decided to wait a bit for the right moment for it to play its part in the capitalist mode of exchange.
That moment came in late February, when I was perusing the fine wares available at Profane Existence. I’d forgotten that they had decided to produce a ‘Vinyl Retentive’ series featuring special limited edition albums by some of their finest bands. There are five records in this first series, each one limited to 200 copies (50 for the bands and 150 for Joe / Josephine Punk). Each release comes with various unique features compared to the standard edition, whether that’s being pressed from coloured vinyl, wrapped in a new sleeve, or adorned with some other lovingly crafted addition. And, like always, I just couldn’t help myself.
To date, three albums have been put out – Extinction Of Mankind’s ‘Northern Scum’ , Mouth Sewn Shut’s ‘Doomed Future Today’ and Warcollapse’s ‘Defy!’. All three capture perfectly everything that PE is about, with the added bonus of having had even more lavish care and attention bestowed upon them than normal (and normal from PE means they’ve been loved to bits already). And a couple of hours ago, they all turned up on my doorstep. Ahh, I love the smell of vinyl in the morning. Needless to say, chez Old Punk has been rather exuberant ever since.
Now, some people might think that wanting to own a bit of petro-chemical product with some fancy trimmings is a bit weird (especially when you’re a man with as many years under the belt as yours truly). I don’t deny it. This is but one of my traits that many people would think weird, and long may it be so. But I’m not getting these for the sake of just owning something that few others have. Like I’ve said before, I find the whole vinyl thing very aesthetically pleasurable, even more so when it’s this good. I handle them, admire the artwork, read every last liner note and lyric and, most importantly, play them.
That’s probably the thing that separates me most from the vinyl ‘collector’. You won’t find my vinyl tucked away out of sight, only brought out once in a blue moon by some schmuck who won’t even take them out of their protective plastic sleeves. No, mine run free around the living room screaming ‘play me, play me!’, until I tuck them up safely at night just like the doting mother duck I am. For sure, I handle and care for ’em with the delicate touch of a museum curator fondling his ancient artifacts (fnarr fnarr), but art is meant to be enjoyed and experienced at its full potential. Creating a slab o’ vinyl is as valid an expression of artistic virtuosity as any painter bringing their world to life with colour on canvas (even if you don’t like the end result). The least I can do is show my appreciation for their efforts as fully as I can.
And appreciate these three I most certainly do. Extinction Of Mankind’s offering gets my vote as the best of the bunch for being everything that a crust classic should be – in-yer-face intensity from all of the instruments married with vocals from the depths of hell (and lyrics to match). And that red n’ black vinyl is simply to die for.
But the other two are only a hair’s breadth behind and won’t be treated any less favourably here. Mouth Sewn Shut add an unexpected ska-reggae twist to their offerings, albeit with all the crust trimmings. And Warcollapse splice the D-beat destruction of Discharge so loved by the Scandies to the brutal onslaught of ENT’s earslaughter to create a bastard child far, far harder than its parents. God knows what sort of teenager it’ll grow up to be with that kind of heritage.
All stand out from each other very clearly, but it’s obvious that they’re also closely-related cousins who carry all the good genetic traits from careful inter-breeding and not the ones you get when familial intimacy gets just a little too affectionate.
Even if you don’t want to indulge in the guilty pleasures that I find so attractive, you can buy standard CD or vinyl releases of these records (and many others) at very good prices in PE’s shop. They’re particularly wallet-friendly at the moment if you’re on this side of the pond, what with the English Pound being worth two of Uncle Sam’s greenbacks right now. Roughly translated, that means that each of these sexy records has cost me about fifteen quid including airmail. I can happily live with that.
Extinction Of Mankind –
Mouth Sewn Shut –
Download sample tracks – folder contains:
Extinction Of Mankind – Fourth Reich Religion
Mouth Sewn Shut – Flavor Of The Weak
Warcollapse – Cold War Remains