Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Discharge
Why


Released 1981 on Clay
Reviewed by Dave W, 22/04/2001ce


Forget 'The Clash', 'Damned Damned Damned' or 'Bollocks'. They were far too soporific. THIS is the natural successor to 'Raw Power', and even manages to make parts of that spectral record sound more like Chris de Burgh. My copy of this record has been played so much it is decimated with static. No matter. As soon as the needle hits the first 'music' (inverted commas intentional - jeez, this goes beyond a description as twee as that) there's precious little space for clicks and pops. Buzz. Clang. Feedback. Bass blast. Then sheer, fucking MAYHEM. Eighteen seconds of free-form hell. Bad drum roll. Brief pause. Then the most horrific, devastating, knife-to-gut, mental barre chord riff ever to emerge from a sick Midland mind takes over. Mindless anti-war libretto screamed with a ferocity that begins where Iggy's Death Trip left off. One note vocal 'melody'. One relentless light-speed tempo. Amps turned to sodding twelve, never mind eleven. That desperate riff doesn't change, aside from an occasional sortie a few frets down. One minute 37 seconds later and it's over, just like that. And so is your sanity. But there are nine further aural warheads to go, none lasting more than two minutes, none with any accepted sense of musical harmony or resolution, just constant, unforgiving, catastrophic racket. By the end of the disc you feel as wasted as the monochrome corpses that decorate the sick, sensationalist cover. However, naive anarchistic posturings are irrelevant in the scheme of this incendiary sound world. What matters, what lingers, what just IS, about this incredible record is the unprecedented, massive force of power and volume that takes the worst excesses of its anticedents (Stooges, Ramones, Sabbath) and moulds them into a new and unique, deadly but delicious melee that to this writer constitutes no less than a 'new wave' in itself. Listen to Anthrax, early Metallica, Slayer or Napalm Death and hear how Discharge, epitomised in this mini-LP, proved so epoch-making.

(Currently available as tracks 10-19 of Castle Essential double CD anthology 'Free Speech For The Dumb', ESACD 798; or pick up a Clay Records PLATE 2 vinyl original (preferred) for around £10.)


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