6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Rampaging Beast Intent On Destroying All In Its Path...,
This review is from: King of Punks (Audio CD)
The "glory" days of Hardcore Punk for the most part were dominated by EPs. The cause of this phenomenon is quite simple: economics. Many young punks found the DIY route the only feasible way of getting their message and music across and distributed to their fans. Hence the late-70's and early 80's saw an explosion of underground DIY produced EPs (many packed with as many tunes as could be fit within the time constraints of the EP format) filled with photocopied inserts/lyric sheets and killer artwork (just think of all those classic records put out by SST, Dischord, Touch & Go, and hundreds of other killer DIY label/distros who clutter our record collections and shaped our minds). POISON IDEA-"Kings of Punk" is a different sort of animal: a full-fledged LP from the supposedly waning days of hardcore 1986. POISON IDEA from Portland burst onto the scene with the truly stand-out innovative "Pick Your King" EP in 1983. I don't state this lightly, "Pick Your King" ranks along with NEGATIVE APPROACH's debut EP, BLACK FLAG's "Six Pack" EP, BAD BRAINS-ROIR Cassette, MINOR THREAT's "Filler" EP, SS DECONTROL-"Kids Will Have Their Say" 12", SOA's "No Policy" EP, YDI's "A Place In The Sun" EP, STATE's "No Illusions" EP, ANTIDOTE's "Thou Shalt Not Kill" EP, and MDC's "Multideath Corporations" EP, as a true seminal testament to the sheer power of the hardcore ethos. POISON IDEA's "Pick Your King" EP garnered much praise and was followed up with the slightly meatier "Record Collectors Are Pretentious A**holes" 12" EP in 1984.
Now according to many ignorant old scensters, by 1984 harcore was in its death throes. Let's ponder this for a second and take a look at the state of hardcore throughout the world from 1984-1989. In Massachusetts we had a then little known band called SIEGE who released a demo simply but aptly titled "Drop Dead" which would virtually set the stage for all hyper-speed grindbased hardcore to come. Outside the USA hardcore was virtually flourishing after '84 as it had in the US circa 1982. Bands from Sweden like MOB 47, SOUNDS OF DISASTER (S.O.D.), ANTI-CIMEX, and CRUDE SS brought hardcore to new levels of speed and intensity which would influence future generations of thrashcore, grind, death metal, and even black metal. In Finland the hardcore flame was kept burning post-'84 by classic bands like KAAOS, BASTARDS, RATTUS, RIISTETYT. In Japan there was a virtual explosion of hardcore thrash brilliance after 1984 with bands like SYSTEMATIC DEATH, S.O.B., GAUZE, OUTO, BRAIN DEATH, LIP CREAM, ACID, CHICKEN BOWELS, BASTARD, GOOGOL PLEX, and DEATHSIDE keeping hardcore punk alive and well while further upping the speed to at times nearly insane levels. We could go on all day with amazing contributions from the latter years of the 80's from both the US and abroad (SEPTIC DEATH, CRYPTIC SLAUGHTER, CHRIST ON PARADE, UPRIGHT CITIZENS, NEGAZIONE, ZYKLONE A, INFERNO, LARM, REPULSION, ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, PSYCHO from Boston, as well as killer UK groups like AMEBIX, RIPCORD, HERESY, ANTISYSTEM, EXTREME NOISE TERROR, the amazing Spanish group HHH and Australia's brilliant DEATH SENTENCE and CIVIL DISSIDENT). So I think I've made my point (without even touching on the brilliant early 90's hardcore of INFEST, DROPDEAD, DISRUPT, DOOM, HIATUS, CROSSED OUT, etc.) that those who keep insisting that hardcore was a phenomenon which only THEY had the luxury of partipating in and that it only lasted for a few years, are totally neglecting the thousands of hardcore kids since who've tirelessly lugged equipment to crappy shows, spent what little money they had to release DIY records when they probably really needed that money for drugs, and most importantly, continued to live the hardcore lifestyle...Believe it or not, not all of us younger hardcore fans liked grunge or gave a f*ck about MTV or whatever lame internet trend or technology is blinding the minds of today's youth masses...The same anger and angst about life, laws, and this society of sheep which made hardcore so important to youth in 1982 still burns hot in the minds of independent individuals in 2008! Don't be an ELITIST just because you were blessed to see Minor Threat in 1981! That's as lame as my parents bragging about seeing Fleetwood Mac in the 70's!!! Which brings us back to POISON IDEA. By 1985, POISON IDEA could have thrown in the towel and went for the $$$ by playing sub-par hard rock like SSD (or to a certain, but less terrible extent TSOL). Instead, POISON IDEA began work on their first full-length LP "Kings of Punk". With an audacious album title like that they obviously were setting the bar quite high for themselves and one need only glance at the LP cover (featuring a chest with POISON IDEA freshly carved into it with a razor blade-blood dripping) to quickly realize this band meant business. From the moment the needle drops you realize this ain't no run of the mill thrash album. Very few hardcore bands (who are NOT metal crossover) can be described as being HEAVY. From the opening riffs of "Lifestyles" the production is crushingly heavy while still operating at high thrash speed. I would venture to say that there really are only a handful of punk/hardcore albums which achieve this balance of speed and heaviness. DISCHARGE's-"Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing" LP from 1982 is one, AMEBIX-"Arise!" is another. SSD's "Get It Away" LP from '83 has a similar weighty production feel to it as well with totally crushing guitars. Rather than the often thin, rickety, noisy, and treble dominant mixes of most early hardcore records, "Kings of Punk" sounds like a MOTORHEAD album played by hardcore vets (which by 1986 POISON IDEA were, having played many shows and been in the studio several times). Pig Champion's (R.I.P.) guitar sound is huge (especially for hardcore) and his riffs are totally ear destroying but always with a sense of melody (just check out "Made To Be Broken" or "One By One"). The bass of this LP is bludgeoning, and the drums manage to capture that classic fast hardcore thrash sound without sounding weak or over-produced. In my opinion, "Kings of Punk" has one of the most flawless productions of any harcore LP. But the best is yet to come! Jerry A. delivers possibly the most authentic and enraged vocal performance in US hardcore history (matched only by John Brannon of NEGATIVE APPROACH, Jackal of YDI, and Dave Dictor of MDC). There is a special place in my mind/heart for this album and for Jerry's pissed vocals especially. As a 16 year old outcast, albums like "Kings of Punk" totally allowed me to express the rage I felt inside towards society, myself, and everyone who makes and enforces the rules. In the end, thrashing along to bands like POISON IDEA, NEGATIVE APPROACH, BLACK FLAG, SUBHUMANS, MDC, F.U.'s, TOXIC REASONS, MOB 47, RAW POWER, and hundreds of others probably saved my life. Without them and the outlet they provided (simply knowing that I could express my own emotions via music rather than violence or suicide) I certainly would be imprisoned and probably even not be alive today. If you wish to understand what the appeal of hardcore is and why it has NEVER died or even faded away (as some old blowhards who you never see at shows constantly say) then pick up POISON IDEA-"Kings Of Punk" or Taang's The Best of Poison Idea which collects the "Kings of Punk" LP, "Pick Your King" EP, "Record Collectors..." 12", and '98's "Learning To Scream" EP all on a single disc. This review is dedicated to the large living memory of Tom "Pig Champion" Roberts. May we meet someday in hardcore heaven....
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Initial post: Nov 11, 2008 10:06:44 PM PST
Bryan Lokison says:
i don't know how old you are. but when someone speaks truth, I gladly acknowledge it. Don't forget.. Most Amerikkanners are "ONLY" concerned about what pops up in their own country. And well, that simply proves the willful ignorances of Amerikkan fanboys. Now, I growed up in san francisco, and was a lucky youngin' to have witnessed sooooo much great music, yeppers, even seeing bands like Black Flag before the US Hardcore scene sorta petered out due to eMpTyV and oversaturation of mullet-rock, and having the PMRC running independant's out of business didn't hurt, either. However, in Europe and asia, things kept going, and evolving. Listening to foreign Hardcore just goes to show all of us how influential Poison Idea IS. these guys are one of the FEW groups in which one silly label of a sound simply does NOT suffice. So much power, so close to the "classic" thrash metal sound of the late 80's-early 90's sound. They have NEVER produced a bad record, and how 5 junkies can stay so fat cornfuses this 33 year old man.I am glad they've kept going, and even happier to still witness them on tour. I wish more old farts would, or could read your review. Eitism chafes my bacon, too. Yes it was a good time, but its even better when you can share your memories with those yet to be enlightened. Save them from the HORROR of modern media's hoisting of pop music, save them.
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