Pro Patria Mori – Where Shadows Lie Demo Tape & Lament Of The Damned

Source: Tape
Format: FLAC
Running time (h:m:s): 00:16:58 (Where Shadows Lie) / 00:04:55 (Lament…)
Size (mb): 128
Cat. No: BRITPLOD2 (Where Shadows Lie) / none (Lament…)
Year: 1986 (Where Shadows Lie) / 1987 (Lament…)

Where Shadows Lie Side 1:
1. Where Shadows Lie
2. But A Child
3. Far Too Long
4. The Question (Chains Of Guilt)

Where Shadows Lie Side 2:
1. Intro
2. Clockwork Mind
3. Standing In The Hall Of Vanity
4. Lost In The Voices

Where Shadows Lie tape cover

If the internets died tomorrow I wouldn’t weep too many tears, for I have finally obtained my punk rock Holy Grail thanks to its myriad tentacles. The cousin of the bass player for Pro Patria Mori, the most criminally almost unheard of band in all of @-punkdom, somehow saw a post where I’d mentioned them and passed on the info to his relative. Said cousin, Paul, got in touch, we had a quick e-chat and next thing you know I’ve got my mitts on the cleanest ever rips of most of their recorded legacy (the first demo is still MIA).

The tracks on ‘Where Shadows Lie’ are nothing short of perfectly controlled fury. At a time when the metal edge was being taken on board by the @-punk crowd, PPM set a standard for others to aim for. Personally speaking, I don’t think anyone else did it quite as well. Even Antisect, for all the power hinted at in their later stuff, couldn’t quite hit the spot as sweetly or as competently as PPM did.

The ‘Lament’ track wasn’t brilliant to begin with, audio-wise – I remember Pete (guitar) having a good moan about the quality due to poor studio work. Nevertheless, once your ears adjust to it, the technical skill and lyrical strength on this track (originally intended for a comp that never happened if memory serves me right) showed a promising progression in their sound that sadly remained unfulfilled.

Paul has kindly given me permission to share these almost-unknown classics with you, and I would urge anyone passing through to grab them. Even if you’re one of the few who has/had the tapes, you’ll never have heard the tracks sounding this fucking awesome.

OP’s opinion: Five

Click here to request the link.

Finally, here’s a picture of the band playing live with a very young Old Punk (more hair, less fat) dancing around in the crowd:

PPM live with a young Old Punk

© Russ Snell

I’m the one on the far left. Some things never change.

More Misery Makes Me Happy!

Misery cover

Click for larger image

Responding to the earnest demands of aged aesthetes, veteran crusters Misery have had their recent DIY download-only release pressed on to vinyl by the good people at Inimical Records. Not any old vinyl, of course. It’s a double album, cut at 45rpm to ensure maximum heaviness, on beautiful grey splatter vinyl (limited to the first 200 who mailorder from Inimical, plain black after that), with a weighty matt card gatefold sleeve illustrated by Leffer that reflects the intricate monotones of the contents. Grey has never been so dynamic or intense.

The whole deal is only twelve Yankee bucks. Even with the postage across the pond, I got this beast for the equivalent of twenty quid. And that’s a price I’m more than happy to have paid.

OP’s opinion: Five (it gets the extra half an @ over the download for being a proper record with loads of class).

Opposition Rising – Aftermathematics LP

Opposition Rising posterThis is the first vinyl release from the rapidly-expanding Riot Ska Records collective (among others), and it’s a great start for them.

Opposition Rising hail from Boston and band members have been heavily involved with the scene for many years. Their diverse tastes are reflected in the sound they’ve produced here, a pleasant cocktail of sharp old-school hardcore and dismetal with touches of what is probably best described as ska-crust. The production job is crisp without being too clean, very well suited to what they’re doing, and everything fits nicely into place.

The band have matched the noise to some creative and intelligent lyrics, which is exactly what you’d expect from folk who’ve been around the block a few times. There’s an an uncompromising attitude that could only really come from veterans of the social war. They’ve also made some conscious positive decisions about what DIY means to them when it comes to putting out their music in this day and age. It’s nice to see the old guard (still) setting the pace in political punk rock discourse.

Being a vinyl nut, I scooped up the limited edition swamp green version from Riot Ska. The other labels involved – Active Rebellion (UK), Crash Assailant Records (US), Pirates Press Records (US), Rodent Popsicle (US) and Tankcrimes Records (US) – have each got their own limited colour pressings too (and they’re all really nice). There are (not-so-limited) black copies available from the band’s own label, Opposition Records, and all of the above.

You may also be able to track down the free CD version or, if not, you can download it for absolutely nothing from the Bandcamp page.

For people who also like: Varukers, Toxic Narcotic, Mouth Sewn Shut

OP’s opinion: Four half

Opposition Rising website
Buy from the labels or from Iron Column Records (black version).

NB: the band also appear on a 4-way split 7″ with Embrace The Kill, In Defence and Hellmouth, which is also available from ICR.

A Year In My Ears 2011

Although I don’t think I’ve spent so much on new music this year when compared to last, what I have bought has been immensely satisfying. These ten releases have ended up doing multiple revolutions on various stereophonic devices around my house, and have definitely earned their keep.

Amebix – Sonic Mass LP (Easy Action Records). An album that was more than two decades in the making, and one that surpassed every expectation. There were some who didn’t ‘get’ this release, but I wasn’t one of them. Awesome on every level.

The Rebel Spell – It’s A Beautiful Future CD* (Rebel Time Records). Rebel Time have turned me on to some mighty fine noise coming out from the land of lumberjacks, and The Rebel Spell have continued that trend. Brilliantly tuneful and full of energy.

The Astronauts – Survivors LP (La Vida Es Un Mus). While the tracks on this release (a collection of their first 2 EPs and their side of a rare split) may be thirty years old, Paco at LVEUM has given them a new lease of life on this album. Off-the-wall kinda-folk-flavoured tunes for those willing to go on a punk rock adventure.

Burnt Cross – Break The Law, Not The Poor EP* (various labels). Two brothers with a mic, a guitar and a portastudio give Conflict a run for their money. When you want your punk rock old-school, no-nonsense and full-on, the Marriott boys should be near the top of your list. Like here.

Spanner – Crisis LP* (Iron Column Records / various labels). Disclaimer 1 – I have a financial and emotional interest in this. Disclaimer 2 – I can’t be held responsible for any outbreaks of crazy dancing and/or revolutionary activity that may result from hearing it.

ATU / Oi Polloi split EP* (Profane Existence / Nikt Nic Nie Wie). The 7″ single has never been so dangerous! A handful of blitzkreig attack tracks from two of the hardest-working and most genuine bands in the scene, ripping into a range of very legitimate targets. Saw both bands this year and they rocked!

Defcon Zero – Music For Gluesniffers, Terrorists And The Mentally Ill CD* (Pumpkin Records). This would get a place for the title alone. As it happens, it’s also a cracking disc. No-frills rapidfire punk rock delivered with just the right balance of venom and humour.

Misery – From Where The Sun Never Shines DL (self-released on Bandcamp). This took almost 6 years to put together in a punk’s basement, in true DIY style. It was worth the time, for this is a mighty beast that sums up the band perfectly. Soon-to-be available on double-LP vinyl from Inimical Records (limited pressing on grey wax for mail order).

The Freebooters – Ordinary Level Oi! CD* (Distro-y Records). Every time I play this, I end up singing along at the top of my voice and smiling like a loon. Grade 1 Oi! for grade 1 haircuts.

VA – Prisoner Of War Benefit CD (no label). Released initially to raise funds for JJ (Active Slaughter’s guitarist who did time for animal lib activities), this CD is now carrying on the good work for anti-fascist prisoners. A great punk pick ‘n’ mix of tunes by a load of bands who haven’t forgotten what it’s really all about.

Not bad at all, eh?

* available to buy from Iron Column Records

Mixing It Up For The Indonesian Punks!

As mentioned a couple of days ago, I’ve put together a mix for my punk friends in Indonesia. It’s not much, but I hope that someone who’s had a bit of a shit time at the rough end of this theocratic fascism ends up with a smile on their face after listening to it. Same goes for you lot too.

1. Blaggers ITA – Emergency
2. Extinction Of Mankind – Fourth Reich Religion
3. Rudimentary Peni – Teenage Time Killer
4. Inner Terrestrials – 1066
5. Burnt Cross – Mob Violence*
6. PAIN – Propaganda And Information Network
7. Appalachian Terror Unit – Judgemental, Ignorant, Stupid And Blind*
8. Doom – Reasonable Force
9. Bender – People’s Army
10. Oi Polloi – Bash The Fash
11. Restarts, The – Bolloxology
12. Warprayer – White Over Red
13. Jesus Bruiser – Oh Really
14. Propagandhi – Technocracy
15. Autonomads, The – Cloud Song
16. Hellbastard – Massacre
17. SubHumAns – This Year’s War
18. Division’s Ruin – Resist And Occupy
19. Spanner – Quiet Life*

*these are available from Iron Column Records

All in FLAC format. Once you’ve unzipped them, you’ll find that it’ll all fit perfectly onto a CD-R. There are a couple of skips, a few pops and the occasional bit of background noise in places. This is because some of the vinyl is old, not all of it was particularly well-treated in the past, and / or I didn’t have time to give it a deep clean before ripping. Nor could I be arsed with cleaning up the rips afterwards. Keeps it real though, eh?

Some notes about each song (and a bit of showing off):

1. Taken from the ‘Blaggamuffin’ mini-LP, Words Of Warning WOWLP19, 1991
2. Taken from the ‘Northern Scum’ LP, Profane Existence Vinyl Retentive Series VR001, limited edition of 200, split red / black wax, 2007
3. Taken from ‘Rudimentary Peni’ 7″ EP, Outer Mongolian Records BOOBOO1, 1981
4. Taken from the ‘Enter The Dragon’ 10″ EP, Maloka MAL017, 2001
5. Taken from the ‘Break The Law, Not The Poor’ 7″ EP, Tadpole Records tadpole030, Lukket Avdeling Records LAR-014, Loud Punk Records LOUD23, Opiate Records Opiate15, Rawby Records RAWBY008, Active Rebellion ACT021, Arripurri Records (none), Schizo Zine (none), Höhnie Records (none), Rusty Knife Records (none), 2011
6. Taken from the ‘Our Universe Commences Here’ LP, Iron Man Records IMB6003, 2001
7. Taken from the untitled split 7″ EP with Oi Polloi, Profane Existence Exist120, 2011
8. Taken from the untitled 2011 US tour EP, marbled wax, Black Cloud Records (none), 2011
9. Taken from the ‘People’s Army’ 7″ EP, Words Of Warning WOW39, limited edition of 500, clear red wax, 1994
10. Taken from the ‘Guilty 7″ EP, Ruptured Ambitions RA01, 1994
11. Taken from the ‘Outsider LP’, Rodent Popsicle Records RPR105, limited edition of 500, split red / white wax, 2007
12. Taken from the untitled split LP with Morne, Alerta Antifascista AA53, limited edition of 400, white wax, 2009
13. Taken from the ‘A Political Treatise In Six Parts’ 10″ EP, La Société Pue Prod, limited edition of 300, 2009
14. Taken from the untitled split 7″ EP with Sacrifice, War On Music WOM017, 1st pressing of 1000 copies, 2010
15. Taken from the ‘No Mans Land’ LP, Ruin Nation Records BOLLOX024, Mass Productions MASS124, Pumpkin Records PUM022, 2010
16. Taken from the untitled split 7″ EP with Dissent, Torture Garden Picture Company TG-39.0, limited edition of 500, purple splatter, 2010
17. Taken from the ‘Internal Riot’ LP, Bluurg Records FISH50, 2007
18. Taken from the untitled split LP with Easpa Measa, Contraszt! Records #18, Suburban Mayhem 003, Holy Shit Records (none), Distro-Y Records DY05, 2010
19. Taken from the ‘Crisis’ LP, Iron Column Records ICR1, limited edition of 100, split red / black wax, 2011

Click here to request the download link.

If you are the copyright owner and want us to take down your music, just click here and let us know. We’re really not trying to piss anyone off.

Misery – From Where The Sun Never Shines DL

Misery - FWTSNS coverBack with a bang after too many years, heavy crusters Misery return to show the young pups how it’s done.

Embracing the new audio world order, this is a download-only release. But that doesn’t mean getting lumbered with crappy bitrate mp3s. No, this one’s available in full studio glory FLAC. Burn it to CD and you’ve got exactly the same thing the boys heard at the mixdown.

And this really needs to be heard uncompressed. It’s a monster of a recording, made even more impressive by the fact that “the whole lot was recorded in the HOM [House Of Misery – OP] basement over a five year period by some pissheaded bastard that is far from a pro producer” (in the words of Jon Misery, who does himself a massive disservice). IMHO, it sets a new milestone in DIY and delivers an album that nicely expresses what the band are about and how they want to say it.

As you’d expect, there’s a clear Amebix influence on many of the tracks. But it’s no clone. Misery have taken the sound and then mutated it into their own creature. There are also clear nods to the early UK anarcho scene throughout, some gothy touches, and even a flavour of Blitz-style Oi! (albeit with added gravel) in parts.

Bass riffs are hammered home while the chugging and riffage are all-encompassing. The strings are fleshed out with some smart use of effects. For the most part, the drumming is pleasingly heavy, although I found the cymbals and hats to be a little too crashy and dominant at times. But that’s just me, I know that many others love that crasher percussion. Overall, the end result is a cavernously big sound that embraces the senses.

The apocalyptic lyrics are well-written and stand out from the over-simplified ‘war/oil/man bad, nature good’ style that’s overly common in this scene. They ask heavy questions and pose challenges to us all, but there are glimmers of hope within them, a recognition that we can take the power away from the fools and find it within ourselves too. The shared vocal delivery leaves no room to hide and makes sure the message is received loud and clear.

It’s nice to see them have a bit of fun too, with their own takes on New Model Army’s ‘The Hunt’ and Amebix’s ‘ICBM’. They do a top job on ’em.

This is a quality piece of work and, for only five quid ($8), should definitely find its way on to your hard drive at some point.

For people who also like: Bolt Thrower, Aus-Rotten, Instinct Of Survival

OP’s opinion: Four and a half

Download sample track – Autonomy (FLAC)
Misery website
Buy from the band

Amebix – Knights Of The Black Sun 12″

Amebix - Knights of the Black Sun sleeve

My oh my. This truly is a work of art, from the outside in.

Let’s start with the sleeve. Ethereal tones of grey and blue swirl through each other to suggest a sense of freedom in what first appears to be a very foreboding landscape confined by the blackest of shadows. Immerse yourself in it for a minute and you’ll see the shafts of a brighter dawn on the horizon, the sharp silhouette of a barbed wire fence trodden down by those brave enough to have stepped outside the prison, the feather laying on the ground a symbol of sacrifices made in order to escape the bonds, sacrifices that will soon be forgotten in the exhilaration of the liberation found beyond.

Turning to the contents, ignore the five or so minutes of groove on one side for now and flip the ultra-heavy 180g vinyl over (unless you’ve taken it out of its sleeve groove down). You’ll behold a beautifully interpreted laser etching of ol’ Splathead him/her/itself, a reflection of the hidden recesses of your mind staring back from an ebony mirror. But look more closely and you’ll see yourself reflected too, a reminder of the power that lies within.

If you’re anything like me, the artwork is heavy stuff. If you’re not, you can just admire the lovingly executed design and imagery.

Anyway, on to the words and noise.

The lyrical symbolism is incredibly strong and rates as some of their most spellbinding to date. The years have given Rob the time to hone his wordcraft to absolute precision, evoking the great battles between dark and light that we all must face if we really seek our liberty. It’s classic Amebix territory taken up a notch, steeped in poetical traditions but without losing anything of Rob’s distinctive perspective, his ability to find that spark of hope in even the bleakest of times.

Musically, it’s crisp, clean and crushing as fuck, layers of finely-balanced and interconnected riffs and rhythms, starting out as sparse as the best of Joy Division before building to a monstrously intense peak, accented and tail-ended with the most delicate of ambient atmospheres, subtle notes of piano and the faintest of strings, and all without vanishing up its own arse. This is noise of epic proportions that will engulf you completely.

Knowing that this is the last track on the forthcoming album makes perfect sense. It’s a point of closure and a point of departure, the end of one journey and the start of the next. If everything that precedes it matches this finale, then The Amebix will undoubtedly have come of age.

As an added bonus, you get a download card (possibly pre-orders only, check with the labels) for an HD-quality CGI animation for the track by Andy ‘Leffer’ Lefton, also part of Minneapolis crust-punk combo War//Plague. You’ll probably either love it or hate it depending on how you feel about CGI. Me, I love it. Given the constraints he worked under, having to hit a tight deadline using his own spare time, he’s done genuine justice to the audio storyline.

The overall message here is clear – freedom begins within. It’s up to you to smash your own chains and break on through to the other side. And you can do it, no matter how daunting things may first seem. Now that’s a fucking slick thing to achieve with nothing more than a few words, noises and pictures.

If you’re looking for The Amebix of yesteryear, you may end up quite badly disappointed. Personally, I think it’s inspiring that the boys have each allowed their own internal (r)evolutions to be reflected in the sounds they’re now creating.

Some are going to say it’s pretentious bollocks (maybe both the record and what I’ve just written), a waste of good plastic. I say that, in this case, each part’s an essential element of the whole. The aesthete in me approves most fully. And I love playing with words to try and capture how something makes me feel. From where I’m sat, that’s the point and beauty of art. So bollocks to yer bollocks, and bollocks to mine too.

OP’s opinion: Five

Listen to the song and watch the vid on YouTube
Amebix website
Buy from Profane Existence / Easy Action

Expendable Youth – The Exposing Of The Immortal Person LP

Expendable YouthI love it when I take a bit of a punt and end up with another slice of perfectly turned out coloured vinyl (black-splattered beer) and accompanying noise (blood-splattered ears). Such is the case with EY’s ‘The Exposing Of The Immortal Person’ LP, put out (at least in part) by the eternally-friendly Alex of Distro-y Records. I’m still a bit of an amateur when it comes to this ‘neo / melodic crust’ thing but, as Alex has made wholesome comparisons with a couple of the prime movers and shakers of the style, I thought ‘why not?’. I’ve got to say it’s one of the best instinctive moves I’ve made in a fair while.

Chugging riffage à la Metallica in their heyday but embellished with well-crafted crust twiddles, sharp breakdowns that kill the pace but not the power, a skinbasher who appears to have eight arms and legs in faultless syncronicity, bass licks that aren’t afraid to hold centre-stage without forgetting their main job of fleshing out the bones, and all topped by the voices of the righteously angry – you get the impression that they would turn themselves inside out if they screamed any harder against the injustice and oppression that pervades our lives. The spot-on production job gives space to every member while drawing out the collective dynamics perfectly. If this is what the kids are listening to and creating these days, count me in.

Overall, it’s a melodic, heavy, tight and shining example of punk evolution in practice.

For people who also like: Ekkaia, Remains Of The Day (apparently)

OP’s opinion: Five

Download sample track – Rising From The Right (320k mp3)
Expendable Youth Myspace
Buy from Distro-y (EU), Sysdumb (US) or Shaman (US)

Right now this is on sale at Distro-y for the absolute bargain price of €5 plus shipping, but hurry up – only 500 have been pressed across the world and stocks are limited.