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Friday, 2 September 2011

Mo' production, mo' problems

Over-production is the curse of many a modern rock and metal album. All too often the vocals will be polished to within an inch of their lives (never more prevalent than on HIM's latest Screamworks... album - Ville Valo's vocals have no hint of the dark, doom-ridden malevolence of Greatest Love Songs Vol. 666) and you're subsequently left listening to some sort if grandiose example of music that could never be recreated live without Metallica-sized budgets.

The wonderful thing about punk music is that broadly speaking, it tends to avoid the overblown dramatics of soaring, multi-layered guitar harmonies and gets straight to business. I am, of course, referring to actual punk bands and not pop punk clusterfucks like Simple Plan and All-Time Low. Proper punks like Loudmouth, the more melodic Samian and bands such as
Satanic Surfers that came from the skate scene.

This week a copy of Executioner's Anthology landed on my desk. Formed in California in the early 1980s, this group of miscreants have put out a 29-song catalogue of their finest, rawest, most socially unacceptable punk rock. The guitar is fuzzy, the drums are tinny and the vocal levels are all over the shop. It's absolute class. It sounds like punk should sound and creates a crystal clear picture of nutters with mohawks and skinheads draining beers and stamping bovver boots into each other's foreheads. In a nice way, of course.

Don't get me wrong; I'll happily stick on Dimmu Borgir's In Sorte Diaboli and get lost in a whimsical world of black metal fantasy as the plentiful string sections fuse together to create a unique ambiance. But sometimes you get bored of all that bollocks and simply want to get drunk with your mates and sneer at the general public. It's then that the likes of Executioners, Christ on a Crutch, and more recently Trash Talk and Arson Anthem, become the only viable soundtrack.


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