This is my shot at a guest column for Metal Inquisition and it’s gonna be about hardcore bands that “went metal” in the 80’s and early 90’s, and, well, how that was totally fuckin awesome! Now right now, people who were hardcore fans in the 80’s, their heads are exploding, because what I just said is the equivalent of a teenager today telling me, a 30 year old, that it must have been awesome to be around in the 90’s to see the emergence of Slipknot and Sevendust. I’d say, “no, I went to Tattoo the Earth Tour and it sucked” and we would just not see eye to eye. Well I don’t connect well with older hardcore fans, record collectors, and so forth. I see them as the No Fun Club. Like, if my favorite Cro-Mags album is the wrong one, forget it, I’m not even worth talking to. No accounting for personal taste with these hardcore puritans, there are good albums and bad albums and, a consensus has been reached on the matter, and I should shut up.
School of Violence, Junkyard, and Broken Bones?! It's like a who's-who of forgettable crap all in one image!
The records I’m going to mention today, by Warzone, Token Entry, and DYS, are universally hated despite musical innovation and adventurous lyrics. What the fuck? I’ll get into this right now. I’m pretty positive most Metal Inquisition readers have a general awareness of hardcore music, but I should clarify that records I’m talking about don’t sound like the metalcore bands that were all spawned by At The Gates’ Slaughter of the Soul. In fact death metal is not really a factor. Think crossover, cheese metal, funk metal, thrash.
Here is a photo of my room around 2000. I was heavily involved in some hardcore archeology at the time, digging up albums from ten years earlier. Note all the tapes. Guess what? They were cheaper than Cds. And what tapes was I finding the most in used bins? The “sellout” metal albums by punk and hardcore bands that nobody wanted. Now you are getting an idea about why I know so much about this shit.
Warzone - Self-titled
Warzone was a NYHC band, had a killer 7 inch and two great, well-produced full lengths, and then the 1989 S/T album dropped, ruining everything in a lot of people’s eyes. When I was first listening to Warzone in the mid-90’s (they were reunited and playing often) I did not even know that the album existed. I found it hard to believe, when told by friends, that some “awful” Warzone record was out there with bullet holes on the cover. I searched for years. Nothing. Finally in the early 00’s I met a friend who had received the record as a birthday present. A gag gift of course. Amazingly his copy was a promo sent to a radio station and contained a press release for Caroline Records that was, I admit, rather funny, describing their logo as “the iron cross of unity.” My heart sank when I saw that the program director of the station had written on the release, in pen, “despite their best intentions, this is a lame band.”
Almost as awesome as the old Lion's Den picture where they're on the train tracks
The record rocks, good luck finding it on mediafire. Sure it has a thin sound, the guitars sound like a series of samples for a RUN DMC record all strung together, but this whole record moves at a mid-tempo groove that will fuck you up.
Token Entry - "The Weight of the World"
On to Token Entry, a melodic straight edge band from the late 80’s who dropped Weight of the World in 1990, a kind of hard rock funk metal record that is near and dear to my heart. Here are the words of AMG “The vocalist looks ready for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the guitarist is black, the bass player was kidnapped from a hairy metal band, and the drummer looks like seventy percent of the male actors in Los Angeles.” Too much for most hardcore fans I’m sure. A photo of a band not looking right on the back of the record is enough for most fans to dismiss the album as “sellout” before putting it on the turntable. It’s like, if the record’s cover is in full color, it’s a deal-breaker. Oh well, their loss, this release is real fun and was recently re-issued.
DYS - Self-titled
Last and the best. DYS, self-titled LP. Fuck man, it kills me to see people on Amazon.com saying the discography CD is good only if you program your CD player to play the tracks from Brotherhood alone. 1984, this record is not influenced by thrash, it’s really just longer hardcore songs, with some higher-pitched vocal. In the words of the guitar player, "the most technically proficient and cleanest sounding record in the history of Hardcore." This shit is all muscle, so look out. Lyrics?
A demon trapped within all menDamn, you should listen to that stuff when working out.
Has won the battle here
And those who set the demon free
Now have cause to fear
Gone the days of loneliness
Trapped within his brain
He steps forth into darkness
And remembers all the pain
Again, I’ll tell you all, I wasn’t there when all these records dropped, but I’ve been listening to this kind of shit for years and have got pretty much 100% negative feedback from people learning about my musical tastes. I dig Mucky Pup, and M.O.D., two bands recently dismissed here at Metal Inquisition. I don’t know why I got to go against the grain. A few years ago I saw a review in the thrash zine HeartattaCK lamenting that the cover of a new 7” featured cover art in the style of the Suicidal Tendencies Join the Army record cover. “I hope that this style of art does not come back,” said the reviewer. I wondered, “what the fuck kind of crappy album covers does this person like? Blurry photos with typewriter font lower-case text?” That is the antithesis of cool. Crossover rules.