29 April 2016

Discharge - End Of Days


Yay, Discharge are back with a  new album! Time to get some proper punk going again, instead of that day-glo shit from across the pond, the type of stuff that invariably ends up on the soundtracks of teen 'gross out' comedies that try and emulate the likes of  Animal House, Porky's and Revenge Of The Nerds but fails. Proper punk should not have songs about dick jokes.

Discharge were formed in Stoke-On-Trent, UK in 1977. Influenced by the likes of The Sex Pistols,  they played a few gigs before ending up creating a new sound which was far removed from the punk sounds of the time. Yes, The Sex Pistols had an abrasive sound and were all about the filth and the fury, but it wasn't too far removed from old-type rock 'n' roll (besides, they were also nothing more than a gimmick so Malcolm McLaren could promote his clothes shop - called 'Sex' - as well as make a bit of money from the music industry but that's a story for another time). Discharge were different - they'd go on to create a whole subgenre of punk called 'D-Beat' which was based around a distinctive drum pattern as well as three-chord progessions in the songs. Melody was extremely scarce. Vocals were more along the lines of shouting slogans as opposed to actual song lyrical structures. Whilst it's said that Discharge may have got the basic elements of D-Beat from other bands- most notably Motorhead, they inspired others to do it, hence the slew of "Dis-" bands all across the globe who follow this blueprint right down to the minimalist, black and white cover art too. There are too many to list right here, but go look them up. I first heard Discharge at the age of 20 when I picked up a double-CD of their most well known tracks. The second disc only got played the once as it was material from their shit period when they decided to go glam and heavy metal. The first disc had their early stuff which got a few spins. Then I picked up a copy of 'Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing' and that was it, I was a convert from that moment on. So much so that most of the songs I wrote for the band I was in at the time would follow the D-Beat format! The blog creator - Eddie Carter - will no doubt testify to that as he was the vocalist for said band. Anyhow, let's see if this album is any good. First impressions are that it's back to the aesthetic of the early stuff, even down to the inlay which is all black and white and minimalist. Looks like they've totally ignored the shit phase when they went glam...whilst there is nothing wrong with glam, it is NOT a genre that Discharge suited. The closest modern comparison I can think of is when Machine Head dropped the groove-metal in favour of nu-metal. Totally abandoning everything that made them great so they can pander to a genre that's in trend at that time.

1) New World Order - An intro that gives me itchy feet before breaking into something that's likely to get an awesome circle-pit going. Vocals are handled by Jeff Janiak who is admirable. Shame Cal isn't here but I guess we've all got to move on at some point. Canny song but something feels slightly amiss...

2) Raped And  Pillaged - I think I've worked out what it is. The production. It's meticulous but I kind of miss the old-school production where it sounded harsh as fuck. It's like that's what Discharge are best for. Still, this song is another good pit song.

3) End Of Days - Get in, they've got a sample of the guy who used to read those "Protect And Survive" public service ads from the early 80's. To the uninitiated, there was a big risk of nuclear war during the early 80's so the government released pamphlets and ads (Protect And Survive) which gave tips on how to survive a nuclear war. It was all a load of bollocks but it kept the public sane, I guess. As for the song, it's fucking great! More prime D-Beat cuts!

4) The Broken Law - It's official. They're back. Music that sounds like a fucking war-zone. Great stuff. I'm bopping my head whilst listening to this and my three-year-old daughter is jumping on me like a stage-diver. Gonna have to put her to bed soon. But I'm giving this song another listen...

5) False Flag Entertainment - GO ON, SON!!! Quite an auspicious intro which steams into typical Discharge. IT'S FALSE FLAG ENTERTAINMENT!!! Headbanging like a motherfucker here. The band sound awesome so far, the best they've sounded in years.

6) Meet Your Maker - Pretty much the same as above. But it's all fuckin' gravy!!!

7) Hatebomb - Change of pace for this one. Not a frantic as the others but still heavy as fucking shit. JJ's vocals are reminding me of Lou Koller from Sick Of It All. Does this mean the band are paying attention to those they've influenced in the past? If so, then long may they continue to use what they hear as part of their arsenal.

8) It Can't Happen Here - Another prime slice of what Discharge do best. Another ripper of a track. Frantic as fuck and extremely heavy. It's exactly what you'd want from Discharge.

9) Infected - We've got a slightly mid-paced number here which sounds excellent. Probably get a bit of stomping done whilst in the pit. Some formidable drumming by Dave (that's who it says it is in the booklet). The guitar-work has been great as well, provided by the legend that is Bones.

10) Killing Yourself To Live - A great riff opens the song up before we go into a chugging rhythm. Hey, it doesn't always have to be hyper-fast all of the time. Another great song, seems we've got a strong contender for album of the year already.

11) Looking At Pictures Of Genocide - Fucking hell, another good one! It's very rare that an album has such a coherent run of quality songs but we've got it right here.

12) Hung, Drawn And Quartered - I'm running out of things to say except that this is another great song which follows the Discharge blueprint excellently.

13) Population Control - Another awesome blaster with creepy samples about the bankers controlling all the money. So at least they're keeping up with current events. Governments are still shady but the threat of nuclear war is at a minimum. Well, it's kind of still there but not quite as ominous as the 80's. These days, it's more likely to be a uranium-enhanced bomb as opposed to warheads and shit.

14) The Terror Alert - More great D-Beat. JJ is on top form here and is a worthy vocalist for the band. One more song to go and then we'll have heard the best album from the band in a long time.

15) Accessories By  Molotov pt 2 - And what better way to end an album by just tearing shit up in your usual style? This fucking goes for it from the off, just as you'd expect. Quite frankly, a fitting way to finish up the album.

Apologies for the short blog and short synopsis of each track, but for this one, there was no way to explain it beyond the terms I've used. Discharge are not a band whose songs are going to be left-field with many intricate layers and complex melodies and complex time changers. You're going to get some straight-up fucking hardcore punk that sounds like the apocalypse. As mentioned, the way punk SHOULD be played, none of this day-glo bollocks. The production worked out well after all, totally suiting the band's style. Despite there being the awesome D-Beat sound, it appears that a slightly metallic sound has entered the mix too, so that's also good. I cannot think of a bad thing to say about this album, other than it's very limited in variety but that's no surprise given the blueprint it follows. It might not be for everyone but anyone who likes their punk short, fast, to the point and actually having something to say would like it.

10 - This is proof there is a God.

Top Track: False Flag Entertainment.

Chris J.

This album is available on iTunes.

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