Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Blitz - All Out Attack EP

All Out Attack EP

Released 1981 on No Future
Reviewed by Fitter Stoke, 18/04/2007ce

In 1981 yours truly led a band of hopeless punk hopefuls called The Basics. We weren't very good, but our tape garnered what has to be classed as an overgenerous review in the one music paper - 'Sounds' - that still held that punk was indeed not dead. I still have a yellowed, manky copy of that feature, sharing space with reviews of cassettes by bands who actually went on to release proper records: Chron Gen, The Partisans and, best of all, a most unsavoury looking quartet of two punks and two skinheads trading as Blitz. The tape reviewed therein contained four extremely violent shots of bile that went on to form the EP under discussion here, packaged in a hellishly cheapo, hand-drawn foldout sleeve bearing laughably "hard" polaroid shots of New Mills' finest. To the more discerning long mac wearers posing around the campuses with their glossy copies of 'Heaven Up Here' and 'Kilimanjaro', such a platter barely justified beermat status. Well my friends, if that was you, I am here to humbly inform you that, fine as those way more sophisticated records are, you MISSED OUT.

For 'All Out Attack' rocks. No, forget that. It demolishes everything in its path. Its sheer force of existence blasts aside any cliched 'Oi!' uncoolness and demands respect. Even 'Ace Of Spades' sounds like a Chris de Burgh B-side next to this.

The opening salvo, for example, is the charmingly-titled 'Someone's Gonna Die', a tender (sic) tale of football violence: "This is where the good times went/With his brains spread on the pavement/With a broken bottle in his hand/And another in his back". The music backing these far from subtle syllables is equally brutal and uncompromising: three barre chords from hell, a vastly-overloaded 'Raw Power' style non-production, and gutteral vocals akin to Crimson's Schizoid Man on speed. Arresting enough as this verse is, it's the fist-clenching, defiant chorus that really packs the punch: terminally addictive ("Do you feel alright/Someone's gonna die tonight"...") This, the only worthwhile song in the history of rock and roll containing the phrase "Oi Oi Oi", is given even more weight by the stop-start reprise of the slower intro half way through the track. It rocks like the most rabid of bitches and leaves you as dead and wasted as the poor bastard that inspired the song. Fucking awesome.

'Fight To Live' is more of the same, with an even more irresistable - and funny - chorus ("We fight to live/We live to fight/We don't give a shit/What's wrong or what's right"). Quite alarmingly tuneful as far as mindless ramalama thuggery goes. There's a unusually inventive lyrical edge in '45 Revolutions' ("45 revolutions, living on your stereo/Not one revolution on the street/Vinyl solutions, many as you want/Not one solution on the street") that - like the whole record - overrides the third generation punk predictability that the band's sub-Sham image appears to promise. And "Attack" is more of the same, half again as fast this time, with a gut-wrenching Sabbath-like riff and an unforgettable "Ah-ah" refrain at the end of each cough-and-you'll-miss-it short verse. The overall effect is staggering: faster, harder and more venomous than just about anything else before or since, Discharge possibly excepted, yet without the poe-faced pacifism that characterised that other fine "new punk" band.

'All Out Attack' is a thoroughly nasty seven inches of plastic - nothing more or less - yet the sheer force and power of its grooves justifies serious attention. Even if you think British punk was indeed dead after Sham 69, this mighty blast of nonsense deserves six minutes of your life. Without doubt the greatest record to enter the 'Oi!' chart (a hardly boastful achievement, granted), it might even inspire you to break up your band. It did me.

Do you feel alright?

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