Offenders - Endless Struggle/We Must Rebel/I Hate Myself [Southern Lord - 2014]Southern Lord offers up another classic hardcore reissue. A label known for exploring the darkest regions of extreme music, Southern Lord has also been reacquainting the world with some classic hardcore acts. Over the last couple years they’ve released some deluxe reissues by B’last! and now have given a similar treatment to Texas’ Offenders. In this case, we are presented all of the Offenders’ recordings: Endless Struggle, We Must Rebel, & I Hate Myself as a 2XLP in a beautifully constructed gatefold cover. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t at all familiar with Offenders, but as hardcore aficionado I was excited to give this album a spin. Offenders ruled the early 80’s Texas punk scene alongside fellow travellers M.D.C, The Big Boys, D.R.I. and the Dicks. Sadly, two of the founding members: Anthony Johnson and Mikey Offender have passed away in recent years, making this reissue a fitting tribute to the legacy of this furious quartet.
Endless Struggle/We Must Rebel/I Hate Myself offers 25 tracks of pissed as fuck, stripped down hardcore/punk, but not without melodic flourishes, rockish moments, and even some guitar solos. It’s almost primitive sounding by today’s standards, but I say that in the most complimentary way possible. So much that passes for hardcore these days just sounds slick, overproduced, with no sense of urgency. Offenders are the real deal! It’s hard to listen to these tracks and not draw some obvious comparisons to some of their fellow Texans, but I also hear some B’last!, Youth Brigade, and even some Ian Mackayesque vocals at times. Each track is a swift kick in the pants, with most tracks staying well under the 2 minute mark. The only track I could’ve lived without is their cover of “Keep Me Hanging On,” but that’s neither here nor there. With track titles like “You Got a Right,” “Get Mad,” and “Fight Back,” you get the picture.
I’ve really been enjoying the hardcore reissues Southern Lord has been producing with Offenders being another solid entry. They may not have been the most recognized band to come out of the Reaganomics era, but Offenders were much more than a footnote to the 80’s punk underground. They were a force to be reckoned with Classic jams!