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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Discharge - 1980-85 [Cherry Red /Captain Oi! - 2018]

Discharge are one of the most controversial & confrontational bands to appear out of the UK Punk genre. The Stoke-On-Trent band formed at the height of the genre in 1977, and offered up a stark, battering, and speedy mix of distorted guitar work, shouty blunt vocals, and grim lyrical content. The band went onto give birth to the hardcore Punk genre, & influenced trash & other extreme metal genres- with their no-nonsense & no-hope brand of rapid metallic tinged punk.

The height of both the band's influence & their attack occurred in the early to mid-1980ís, and this recent four-CD box set on Cherry Red sub-label Captain Oi! brings together the bands most important & influential work.  Featured here is pretty much everything the band put out between the years 1980 & 1985- taking in singles, eps, albums, compilations, and a live album.

The set comes in a hard card flip side box which features mood fittingly black, white & red color theme. Each of the four discs come in their own mini cardboard sleeves, reproducing the monochrome & stark artwork of the original releases. We also get 18-page inlay booklet- taking in a brief history of the band, press clippings & reviews, single artwork & stark-yet- brutal live pictures.

The box set is laid out in a fairly chronological fashion- on disc one first we get the nine tracks from the bands 1981 EP Why, this is followed by tracks from their early 1980 & 81 Ep releases Realities of War & Fight Back.  The second CD takes in the band infamous debut album 1982ís Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing, as well as a selection of single tracks from 81 & 82. The third disc takes in the bands 1984 compilation  Never Again- this features remixed versions of tracks, and lesser known tracks- this disc is topped off with another four bonus tracks. And lastly we  have The Nightmare ContinuesÖwhich was released in 1990, and featured a live set recording from 1983 that featured the band tearing through 16 tracks.

Itís fair to say that Discharges sonic output was far from varied, or really changed stylistically through the 80ís. So you canít really break down & analyze the bands sound & itís progression like a band like Crass. Also, this boxset does feature quite a few repeated material- but if you take the set in four punchy CD shots, to be played separately-  it works fine.

The pinnacle  of both this box set, and the bands out put, in general, is  seen as 1982ís Hear Nothing  See Nothing Say Nothing. The album offers up fourteen shots of punchy, urgent & angry punk- thatís both very rapid, bleakly focused, and metallically tinged. With each of the tracks been an unforgiving blend of ear stingily ferocious drumming, searing barbwire guitar lines, bluntly battering bass lines, and shouty enraged male vocals.

The other three discs and their tracks certainly have their moments- and add to both the weight & attack of the bands notoriety for battering punk- but itís the debut album which is the most even statement of the bands intent- if you do pick this set up, Iíd say play the debut first & foremost, then spread out to the other discs.

Iíd only heard bitís & bobs of Discharge work in the past, so itís great to see Captain Oi offering up a through sonic picture of the band as their most vital & unpromising- pricing wise the release coming in under or near the £20.00 mark, so itís not too steep for a four-disc box set. Of interest to both aging punks, who want all of their classic Discharge in one place, and those interested in finding out more about the band that helped birth both the hardcore punk scene and more extreme metal genres.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Roger Batty
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