The following is the March 1988 installment of Puszone
Thanks to Scott Slimm for the article.
The rain smashed on the rooftop with ever changing force as the wind
blew about wildly, splattering water against the huge bay windows of the
loft. It was a dark night, a vicious storm, a moment to listen to the
sounds of Mother Nature thrashing about the architectural jungle. The
electricity had gone out fourty-five minutes earlier. Candles flickered
throughout the loft-offering light and a tad bit of heat. maybe it was
a spooky affair, watching the shadows from the glow of the fiery wax dance
upon the walls, or perhaps, it was just the imagination that let the fear
creep in, that created illusions and made me sit there, paralyzed by fright.
A chill passed through the open room. A battery-operated clock ticked in
the distance. Little hairs stood to attention on the shivering flesh and
the tension grew. It was here. it filled the loft. It was out of control.
It watched with eerie intensity. A sharp piercing sound split the air, like
a high pitched synthesizer note at full volume. It knew. It slithered in
the dark corner. It was the keeper. The darkness became black, a shade so
deep it engulfed everything in its presence. Chattering teeth rung out a high
paced beat that ricochetd madly throughout the loft. It smiled. Suddenly the
electricity zoomed back into the room, bringing back to life the much needed
light, the blast of the television and the roar of the refrigerator. It was
gone. It nevr really existed. it was only a horror in the back of the mind.
It was only a moment of fear. It was a product of being alone in the darkness
of the loft. The tension died down, the body relaxed. The rain continued its
downpour. Then it tapped me on the shoulder.
Is laughter in order or is it a dark rainy night at your house? With the start
of the Puszone, maybe the eye of that storm is winking at you.
There have been alot of new sounds coming out of that once infamous Washington
D.C. hardcore scene. Whether this new direction will be as influential as the
first remains to be seen. A band by the name of Ignition has released two
seven-inch Eps. Ignition, consisting of ex-members of The Faith and Iron Cross,
puts out some of those hardcore roots combined with a raw garagey sound. Some
would say a sixty-ish and much slower, deeper pace. On the first Ep, Sinker
Chris Bald's chordy guitar work twangs at the forefront, striking some crafty,
catchy notes in a heavy manner. Alec MacKaye's vocals are not quick bursts of
screaming anger, but they are coarse, sometimes abrasive and uptempo. He talks/
sings some interesting emotional lyrics that show a personal frustration,
especially in songs such as "Rebuilding." On the second EP, a joint Ignition/
Dischord venture, Ignition comes out a bit stronger with two tracks. "Anger
Means" and "Proven Hollow" raise the energy and the tempo, showing a lot of
strength in the guitar work as well as the drums. Alec's vocals on "Anger
Means" are reminiscent of his brother's projects, but the music of Ignition
is a bit more powerful in song construction and lyrical depth. It is still
the beginning for Ignition and this new, tamer sound from D.C. But there is a
force, thought and a drive that could just come alive, even bigger than they
expect. If it does, watch for Ignition to be at the forefront.
North from D.C., perhaps lost in New Jersey, is the madcap humor of the comic-
straight-edge-hardcore unit Crucial Youth. Only from the land of Adrenalin O.D.
could a band pull off this combination so hilariously. Crucial Youth seem to
draw from the early DC/NYHC sound and focus on popular DC values in their
lyrics-all in a humorous vein. The music is mediocre thrash, and the vocalist
is trying desperately to sound like Ian MacKaye. It's the lyrics from the nine
songs presented here that bring on the gut ache and tears to the eyes. From
"Four Rules" (be straight, don't be late, bench your weight, don't masterbate...)
to "Positive Dental outlook" (brush away, brush away, brush three times a day,
brush!...I've got a positive dental outlook.) Crucial Youth's songs poke fun at
the straight/positive scene, and if any of those scenesters take offense at
Crucial Youth, then I guess the joke's on them. With tracks like, "Be Just Like
Me and Mr. T,""Those Who Curse","Shave Clean","wake Up and Lift", and the amusing
wit of "Be Kind, Rewind" (when you go to the video store, don't forget to do this
simple chore, because if can be such a bore, do it before you go out the door.
It's just one easy step, be kind, rewind!!), Crucial Youth hit the funny bone in
the smae manner the Ramones once did. This Straight and Loud EP is a classic
piece, and no hardcore should be without it. Give the gift of music in a Crucial
Youth assault. On Faith Records.
Snarecore:Bands that rely heavily on continual snare drum blasts and whacks to
add headbanging fury without using the full of the drum kit or any of it at all;
usually high in the final mix and irritating to the utmost degree. This seems to
be the latest trend in hardcore or metal that is just going overboard. For the
most part, Concrete Sox's new LP, Whoops, Sorry Vicar suffers from snarecore.
It's even hard to tell if this is the same Concrete Sox that did their last Lp.
A grungey, metallic onslaught with a high level of distortion is the main feature
here; it has some punk roots in the disorderly fashion and the lyrical content, but
for the most part this is a crossover band that crossed over. Side B's opening track
"Think Now" starts off well. The build-up is good, but when the fire is hot, it's
just the same as the rest of the LP-originality was lost before the game began. A
band like Concrete Sox had steaming potential, but with this LP, it seems lost.
Perhaps, though, they'll stop chasing a money-making trend and get back to the total
blast they are capable of setting off, and surprise the heck out of the trendsetters.
But for now, this LP sounds like everything else. On Manic Ears Records.
Raw, feverous gut-crunching power attacks with the anger-driven chaos that builds
up so crazily. Malicious Grind hauls with a wicked barrage that detonates the
depth charges of ear devastation. This nine-song demo rages with the ferocity
of a vicious mad man rampaging in his padded cell. This is definitely a hardcore
explosion with some metallic influences and the notty, no holds barred approach of
punk. Malicious Grind packs those punches, quick, forceful and staggering. Each song
fires a rapid net of mayhem around your cranium, squeezing hard with loud, blasting
guitars, tongue twisting vocals and spastic drumming. The compositions are well
tormented for this three-piece outfit. This LP is a thrilling adventure into a
chaotic realm. Imagine a live gig with Slayer, Poison Idea and Malicious Grind-
the crowd would never now what hit them. Some of the better sounds to scream out
of the speakers!
Thick, deep vocals with a gruff tone highlight the musical strike from Out of Order,
the Chicago-based outfit that carries on the excitement following such faves as
Effigies,Zoetrope and Life Sentence, though I'm sure Out of Order has been around
just as long. On their debut LP, Paradise Lost, Out of Orderthrusts out some
vigorous kicks with a hard edged sound that rocks fast and carries a poent melody
that is harmonious with the inner workings of the compositions. Sixteen tracks
including "No Reason", "Green Eyed Monster," The Ripper," "Suicide Lullaby" and
a great rendition of the Batman theme "Gotham City", prove the strength and stamina
of this powerful Chicago band. Out of Order grabs your attention with catchy rhythms
that set your brain pace and hypnotise your insides to move with the gritty flow. The
guitar work is sure fire, to the point, roaring with a "Sound the charge!" efficency,
while the bellow of Devon's vocals outward in barely controlled, growling ferocity.
Exceptional stuff that is aggressive and tight. The press kit describes this
band as speedcore but I'd say far from it; it's more like straight-forward hardcore
punk that would appeal to all rockers. Inventive and dynamic. On Walk Thru Fire
Salt Lake City. Not a town you hear frequently when the subject is hardcore bands,
but there's always the infamous Raunch record store, reknowned for its unusual
stock. Now Raunch has decided to get into the record label business. Their
first release is by S.L.C.'s The Stench. The Stench have the rocky hardcore sound
that is similar to recent Gang Green but quicker. Vocalist/guitarist Terrance croons
in a high pitch that soothes the ear over the instrumentation of this three-piece unit.
"Fast Flag" is catchy and has an upbeat garage feel, which gets the mood going for
this six-track EP. It's an over-all unusual sound from this S.L.C. band that, perhaps
with the help of Raunch will get some recognition.
Do everyday threads make your skin fall off? Are today's fashions as scary to you as
your most disgusting nightmares? Does the thought of slipping on a nice polyester
blend give you a rash? Do yourself and get your own Puszone 100% cotton T-shirt.