Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Violent Reaction - Dead End (Quality Control HQ - 2014)

With more and more hardcore reviewed on the webzine, I just couldn't let it go any longer and not talk about the most Oi! of all the current hardcore bands. I'm of course talking about Violent Reaction, coming from the northern shores of England, involving guys playing in about a billion other bands (I'll guess we'll take about some of them sooner or later here). I'm currently waiting for the new LP to hit the european distros (if I can avoid paying like 30$ of shipping cost I'm willing to wait a couple more weeks), so I'll just deal with their 2014 7" called Dead End.
Let's see. Can you imagine a perfect mix of 80's USHC (Negative Approach/Negative FX/Last Rights/you know the score...)/UK82 (Exploited when they were not doing boring metal/Discharge...)/80's english Oi! ? If you can, then you pretty much got what Violent Reaction sounds like. Blitz worship all day everyday, just perfect ! If you don't, think mean, angry, pissed-off violent songs. Oh yeah, and think straight edge. Violent Reaction is a fucking straight edge Oi! band.

On that 7" you'll find two pure Oi! anthems ("Dead End" and "Can't Be Beat"), three fast in-your-face compromiseless hardcore songs ("Guilty", "Shut Up" and "Stand Accuse") and the last one ("Waste of Space") is kind of a mix of both. The red thread in that record being fucking anger. That I can relate to. Best songs being EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM (but more seriously "Dead End", "Shut Up" and "Can't Be Beat" are my favourites).
Plus you don't only get 6 awesome songs, but they also come in a sick package : unfold that thick paper cover to the X-shape it has (do you get more edge than this ?) and you'll get all the lyrics, band pictures, thanklist, the all thing. Though I don't know if all the versions of that record have that X-shape cover (I guess mine is a later repress of the QCHC version, got the thing on red vinyl). I love when a record comes in a great cover, that's no secret to you anymore, so I can just be pleased with what I have right now in my hands.
You can still find a few copies of that gem in US or european distros, but if I were you I would hurry the fuck up and get it, we're dealing with the last and final pressing of that record right now (if I'm not wrong). Best european hardcore band going on right now, and they could easily fight for the title of best Oi! band has well !

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The Years of Lead - An introduction to (unknown) Italian 80's Oi!

This one is gonna be a bit different than what you use to read here. I actually wrote and thought it to be an article in a paper fanzine at the very beginning, but money and time are missing, so let's not let that one rot somewhere in my computer. The format might be a bit different than what I usually post here, but nevermind. Hope you will enjoy it and learn (at least) some stuffs, discover new bands and moreover, get a new perception of the underrated scene that Italy's 80's Oi! is. Note that every band and release quoted in the article are findable/downloadable on the interwebz. 

How many times have I heard that Italy was a ”third-world country” while talking about Oi! music ? A lot of fucking times, I can assure you that. And it always pisses me of, because I love Italian Oi!, as a matter of fact, I use to say that when it comes down to 80's Oi!, Italy is the third best scene (after, of course, the UK and France). It's seems that not so much people know about what was going down down there, apart from classics like Nabat, Plastic Surgery or Klasse Kriminale. So I'll give you some clues, by talking about 5 not-so-well-known Italian bands from the 80's. Before we start, be conscious that most of the time the production of the songs is kind of bad. But if you dare to endure the poorly-recorded (but yet good) songs, give it a listen, you won't be disappointed ! Plus you can't ignore a country that is boot-shape, that's 100% absolute fucking Oi!

First thing first, there are a few things one needs to know about the transalpine scene. Italian Oi! has always talked about social matters. Sure, you'll have some songs about beer, football and street-fighting. But one important topic, that often comes back in songs, is what they call “la strada” (the street), which refers to the situation of the Italian youth back in the 80's : no jobs, no hope and no future (all that is expressed into one word, “il disagio”). So a lot of songs are actually extremely political (not in the sense that they take a stand for a side, or a political ideal, but more because they take about society and its reality). Not a big surprise when you know that under the 80's “gli Anni di Piombo” (the years of lead) where still there, with extreme politics being strong in the country (and even political terrorism, being “red” or “black”). What is funny is that pretty much every band have a song about keeping politics out of punk (“no politica” is an expression that you'll often here into songs), but they're still all pretty political, even if, once again, the band that we'll talk about predate the politicization of the scene (no R.A.C. or red music yet back in these days). So, let's cut the crap and talk about the music !

Rip Off

These are perhaps better known that the rest of the band that I'll be talking about, mainly because they released a split-tape with the mighty Nabat in 1982 (on Nabat's own label C.A.S. Records). They're one of my favorite band (when it comes down to the 80's in Italy), and from what I now they were promised to a bright future until they fucked up, by doing roman salutes and swearing to hang the “meridionali” (which means southern Italians) during the infamous Raduno Oi! Of 1983 in Certaldo, pretty putting an end to the golden age of the non politically extreme Italian scene. Apart from the split tape with Nabat, they (self) released another tape called Tricolore in 1983, with an even worse sound. They're most famous song is probably “Droga” (a song against the use of illegal drugs), covered by many bands later . “Anti Army”, “Io Non Voglio Polizia” or “Rivolta Oi!” are other good songs by Rip Off.


Hailing from Genoa, Gangland existed from 1983 to 1984. Pretty short-lived band, and not much material from them, only 2 songs as a matter of fact, but two classics ! “Diritto al Lavoro” (that should have been included on the marvelous Quelli che Urlano Ancora comp LP, but was excluded because of poor sound quality), claiming for work for the Italian youth, and “Sangue in Gradinata” (which only exists in the form of a rehearsal recording), a football anthem about violence on the terraces. Both songs where remastered and released on a 7” by Lanterna Records in 1996. I particularly like the bass on both songs.

Guerriglia Urbana

Formed in the early 80's around Treviso (north of Venice), they only released a tape in 1982, with a surprisingly good sound (way better quality than Rip Off and Gangland). On the ashes of the band was formed the more famous Hope & Glory in 1983. Their best song is “Guerriglia Urbana”, an hymn to revolt, but don't miss “Treviso Città Lager” (about their hometown being boring and bourgeois) which is slower, more melodic and has a nice bass line, or “Nessun Amico” which is a pretty pessimistic and nihilistic song (in the vein of Nabat's first 7”s). That last song was included, with two other songs from the '82 tape, on a bootleg 7” released in 2010 by 99 records (under the name Hope & Glory, even if the songs are from Guerriglia Urbana).


Ok, I lied when I said Rip Off would be the best-known band, these guys are probably the most famous band you'll find in the article. These one are my all-time favorite with Plastic Surgery. The band was formed in the city of Turin. They actually released the very first italian Oi! 7”, in mid 1982, called Torino è la Mia Città. Wonderful title track about the likewise wonderful city of Turin, with an ok sound on the A side, and a not-so-ok sound on the B side (with 2 more hardcore punk songs, in english, surprising enough to be said). The band changed its sound to a more reggae/dub style in the mid 80's (and eventually became less interesting) official best of the band, containing the 7” plus songs on various compilations, live material and unreleased songs (with a different singer and a pretty good sound), was released on CD in 2003 (and on vinyl in 2012) by Oi! Strike. Don't pass on the songs “No Politica” (an advocacy to keep the scene politic-free), “Borghesi” (about kicking the rich man's ass) and “Italia Skin”.


These guys are pretty much unknown, and that's a fucking disgrace. Bahnhof existed in Milan (or around Milan, I'm not totally sure on this one, but whatever) between 1982 and 1985 and released only a 4-tracks tape called February '82 (pretty good sound) and later on a song on a comp tape (in 1984, I think). Bahnhof sounds perhaps more '77 punk (they're closer to playing a style that I would compare with Bologna's The Stab, perhaps you'll know them ?), but they called themselves an Oi! band, so let's respect that. Extremely melodic music, good musicianship (if compared to the other bands of the same era) all songs are in english (with a pretty good accent, quite uncommon for an Italian band). As I said, pretty unknown band, and it's a shame, because they're brilliant !

And that's it, here you go with your introduction to the underestimated scene that is Italy. If you liked it, and want to go deeper, I can only recommend you to listen to Quelli che Urlano Ancora and Skins e Punk = T.N.T., two great comps that will give you access to more band of the era. You should also listen to both LPs by the band The 80's (with members of Colonna Infame Skinhead and Plakkaggio HC), which consist only in covers of 80's/90's Italian Oi! Songs, done in a Oi!core-ish style.

Reconquesta - Recupera El Que Et Pertany (Disco Nightmare/See You - 2015)

Last week end I had the chance to see Reconquesta (we already talked about them here, remember ?) live in Stockholm and get my hands on their newly released LP.
And well, it does not disappoint ! Still the same english/french 80's/90's inspired melodic sound, always in their own native language, even though I got little more Retaliator-like vibes on this on than on their previous single. Probably because of the sound and the solo guitar sometimes (pretty fucking well done I have to say !), especially on the intro.
So let's get down to it. Recupera El Que Et Pertany ("Take Back What is Yours") gives us eleven songs (plus the intro), one of them already being in the last 7" ("Reconquesta") and two covers : "Skinheads Catalans" -an adaptation of Skinkorps' "Skinkorps Mécanique"- and a cover of Frontpilsen's -an early 90's Barcelona Oi! band- "El Final de la Nit" ("The End of the Night"). There's also an instrumental ballad called "D.E.P." ("Rest In Peace") dedicated to an ex-band member that passed away (if I understood well ?). The rest is, as I said, melodic but angry Oi! with great rythm section, solo guitars and vocals/choirs. You'll be singing along these songs after 2 seconds, even if you don't speak catalan ! My personal favourites songs are "Hereus de la Conquesta" ("Heirs of the Conquest"), "Morint Dempeus" ("Die Standing") and "Oi! Per Catalunya".

Oh, and before I forget, the songs on this LP are REALLY REALLY patriotic. Fuck, these lads love Catalonia. I understand that they're fighting for their independence and all that, but I can't imagine a "non-political" (by that I mean non-RAC/WP) band doing that in Sweden ! Not that it's a problem for me, the texts are really good and powerful, it's just funny to see what is ok somewhere in the world while it's not ok somewhere else. But anyway, brilliant lyrics full of pride, glory and love for their piece of land. Once again a great record !
All that comes in a nice drawn cover, delivered with a nice poster-like lyrics sheet (the gothic font is sometimes a little hard to read, but that's just me complaining for the sake of it I guess) plus an extra white paper sheet with the lyrics translated in english (really nice initiative !). Excellent production, both musically as in terms of packaging. Plus, I'm in the thanklist (something that I didn't know, thanks guys by the way !), always nice ! Do yourself a favour and get that LP. Marvelous from the beginning to the end. Please note that a CD version is due to be out soon on Sweden's Pretty Shitty Town Records (a matter of weeks now I guess ?). Best fucking southern-european going on right now, period !

Rixe - Coups et Blessures (La Vida Es Un Mus - 2015)

Well it's been a while since i wrote something, but let's look at the bright side of life, it gave me time to get a nice bunch of new (and not so new) records, so let's cut the bullshit and start with the music right now.
And what better way to start than with the latest hype in the scene (these guys are actually good friends, so I can joke/provocate a bit can't I ?), namely Paris' latest Oi! combo Rixe. By now you'll probably already know about their debut 7" Coups et Blessures, but whatever. The band is made of nice lads from Lion's Law, The Sultans and Youth Avoiders (just to name a few, all of them are involved in like a million bands). Please note that Rixe doesn't sound like any of the band quoted in the last sentence. No melodic modern Oi! here. What we have a raw early Oi!/hardcore sounding band. Let's get done with the name-dropping, think Negative Approach, 80's french Oi! and, maybe the best influence possible, the mighty Nabat. I get kind of 90's NYOi! vibes as well (Oxblood and the likes). Straight to the point, no bullshit, dirty-sounding but yet fantastic songs is what you'll get here. They also in a way remind me of their fellow countrymen Outreau. And that bass sound, please yes !

"Razzia", "Infatigables", "Larmes de Crocodile" and "Coups et Blessures" are brilliant songs, the two last ones being my favourite, with lyrics dealing with smashing the fuck up people in the streets, hanging like wolves at night (do yourself a favour and translate the lyrics, or learn french and fuck you). Fitting pretty well with the sound and the concept of the band if you ask me. No complex shit, simple but yeat hitting you right in the face. The only think I don't like is that 4 songs are just fucking to short, I want to hear more !
Everything in that record has a authentical and vintage feeling : the thin DIY-looking cover, the big central holes and the xeroxed lyric sheet. The whole thing comes with a bunch of stickers of the band (always nice with a few goodies). The hype is well fucking deserved for that band. Once again I can't say how happy I am with this kind of going-back to the basics Oi!. More of that please !

Friday, 30 January 2015

Foreseen - Death Injection/Market Target (Self-released - 2014)

Ok, this is gonna be a strange one, but probably a funny one. I have to admit, first, that I know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about crossover (might have listened to Power Trip a few time, but not more), so don't expect any precise references, or even an accurate description of what that record sounds. But, eventually, since I have no knowledge about the genre, I don't have any "pre-maid ideas" or "vision of how it should be" about it (like I might have while talking about Oi! sometimes), so I'll just talk about what I think that record sounds like and what it makes me feel.
Lately I have been searching for a new kind of sound. Something perhaps more brutal, more violent, more compromiseless. Not that I had enough of Oi!, far from it, but the whole "bootboy rock'n'roll/glam-inspired" thing is startint to get less attractive. Seems like I've heard enough of it. I've started to get more and more interested in hardcore punk, taking a look at power violence and such things (even tried to listen to some d-beat stuffes, while I was mocking a friend who did that a few years ago. Still not my thing though), in a quest for savagery. Am I going too far ? What are these unknow shores I'm heading to (yes, I'm also a fucking poet) ?
I must say I don't really remember how I got introduced to Helsinki's Foreseen (probably by some facebook link), but what I remember is that I was kind of sceptic at the very beginning. Still to much metal-sounding for me when I first listened to it. But then a bit later I came back to the band, and I realised that it was actually the sound I was looking for at that very moment. Brutal, dark and almost creepy lyrics and sound (just take the intro of "Market Target"), negative. A perfect mix of hardcore and metal, mixing faster part with slower (perhaps mosh ?) parts, more-metalic-than-what-I-usualy-listen-to solo guitars, gang choirs and aggressive, pissed of vocals (that whole chorus on "Death Injection" is magnificent !). These two songs, "Death Injection" and "Market Target" are awesome (especially the first one, for the reason named before), as I said exactly the kind of music I'm looking for right now. And it mix good with my habitual Oi! habits, just because it's pretty far away from it.
As I said, I would probably never have listened to a band like Foreseen like a year ago, but right now I have no problem listening to the whole LP Helsinki Savagery (which I own only digitaly, but I managed to get my hands on a copy of the 7" promoting it, that's why I'm reviewing only these two songs) between two Oi! bands (let's Battle Ruins -wow what a surprise !- and Reconquesta for example).

I am still pretty unsure about that review. Not that I don't know if that 7" is good or not (as I said it's brilliant), but that's a whole new thing to me, seems like, after reading what I've written, that I kind of talked a lot about my musical researches and not so much about the record itself... Anyway, I'll keep navigating in these unfamiliar waters for a while, but don't worry, I'll be coming back with more Oi! soon (let's say in the next review, that Victory/The Clichés split got to be reviewed soon !). But until that (by now you'll have understand that I don't write on a daily basis, yep, I'm lazy sometimes), give Foreseen a listen. You might be, just like me, extremly surprised, in a good way !

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Fatigue - Dog Bodies tape (Self-released - 2014)

As the time goes, it seems like I'm more and more talking about hardcore punk. Well, I guess I'm going where the music is, it has been kind of quiet on the Oi! front these last times... But hopefully some good things will come later this year.
There is anyway a link between San Francisco's Fatigue and Oi!, because it's the other band of Carl, singer of the mighty Sydney Ducks. Unless you've been living under a stone for the last few years, you'll now who Sydney Ducks are, otherwhise I invit you to check their discography out. If you're lucky (and sophisticated) enough to speak french, read the reviews that we've done about them on Vengeance.
So, let's talk about Fatigue itself. No bootboy rock'n'roll here, this is pissed, angry and raw UK82-influenced hardcore punk. Raging vocals (I had a hard time believing that it was the same singer as Sydney Ducks, but it is), nicely bass driven music with a dirty sound that gives a great atmosphere to it all. Think No-Future punk (Partisans, Attak and the likes) played in a 80's punk hardcore fashion. No bullshit here, this is straight to the point, aggressive and vicious.
Five tracks on that cassette, the best ones being "Punisher" and "Outlander". 100 copies were done, but it's still findable on the internet, and you can anyway download it through the band's bandcamp ("name your price", as often). Fuck, I really need to get a working tape player... Good one, and they apparently have more coming soon !

Thursday, 15 January 2015

War Path - S/T tape (Protest, Object - 2014)

As I said earlier, 2014 was a great year in terms of releases, and it seems like it still has some surprises for me.
I stumbled pretty much randomly on War Path's band camp while searching for some fresh music, and boy, what a nice surprise it became ! I had never heard them at all before, and there's no review of their 5-tracks tape, and not much infos about them on the internet. So basically, all I know is that these guys are from Los Angeles, and some of them are ex-members of Stoic Violence (didn't knew them as well, but after listening to their stuffes, I guess "fast violent and mean punk hardcore" is a good description). Another thing I know is that these 5 songs by War Path are AWESOME. It's still pretty much punk hardcore, but not the same thing as Stoic Violence at all. We're talking here about higly UK82/Oi! music. Think Negative Approach, Blitz, maybe even Oxblood or Hammer & The Nails and Hired Goons if you'd rather have more recent references. Rough vocals, melodic guitars, dirty sound... Some kind of excellent cavemen Oi! (great expression, isn't it ?) that will make you want to go on the rampage and smash stuffes around you.
As I said, 5 songs filled with rage and anger, my favourite ones being "Bloodshed" and "Night and Fog". With titles like these, or "Try and Survive", "Alone in the Streets" and "Destroy Me" (here you go with the 5 songs), you know you're gonna get some dark and frenzied texts, and the music just consolidates that feeling. These fine gentlemens are definitely on the warpath !
So don't be fooled by that Thin Lizzy glove cover, do yourself a favour and listened to some good cavemen Oi!. If you own a tape player, you can still find physical copies on the web, otherwise you can download all the songs through the band's bandcamp, for as much money as you're willing to give. Fuck, I don't understand why nobody talked about them ! I don't know if they're very active (I found like one gig flyer with them, for their first show last june, and nothing more), but I wish I'll here more of them soon !