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Zero Boys - Vicious Circle (Cover Artwork)

Zero Boys

Zero Boys: Vicious CircleVicious Circle (1982)
Toxic Shock

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:


Contributed by: WillWill
(others by this writer | submit your own)

While hardcore's history is steeped in the well-known scenes of L.A., D.C., Boston, and New York, the Midwest gets relatively little attention outside of Negative Approach. Perhaps it's because many of these superior bands didn't have luck to release or record on now well-known regional indie labels.
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While hardcore's history is steeped in the well-known scenes of L.A., D.C., Boston, and New York, the Midwest gets relatively little attention outside of Negative Approach. Perhaps it's because many of these superior bands didn't have luck to release or record on now well-known regional indie labels like X-Claim or Dischord. Maybe it's because they were outnumbered so much on the coasts.

Either way, there's no good reason why the Zero Boys' classic Vicious Circle album has gotten lost over time. Easily as riveting as the Bad Brains' ROIR tape or anything put out by Dischord in their hardcore heyday, it's among the best material to come out of this prolific period of indie music.

Coming together in Indianapolis, the Zero Boys evidently started as a more traditional '77 punk group, releasing an EP in 1980 in small numbers and to little fanfare. It wasn't until they were turned on to the Dead Kennedys and hardcore punk that they decided to pick up the speed. This might leave one to think of them as bandwagon hoppers, but their execution was entirely original.

Mixing the pop hooks of the original punk wave with the speed and political fury of hardcore, their songs are anthemic while retaining a high-speed urgency. The song subjects seem to run the usual gamut of social misanthropy and living positively, with the usual emphasis on the negatives of drug use. While pieces like the title track and "Drug Free Youth" speed along with all the fury of their peers, "Amphetamine Addiction" and similar songs are more melodic, recalling D.O.A. or early Scream.

It can't be stressed enough how underrated this is. Along with Die Kreuzen, Articles Of Faith, and Negative Approach, this is as good as Midwestern hardcore got.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
fletcher70 (October 19, 2006)

one of my top ten albums of all time

totalstranga (July 26, 2006)

2 osts below..yeah Im from ann arbor. Thrall and the god Bullies were around when I was playing in a punk band in the early 90's. well maybe thrall had broken up by then. great that someone remembers them. anyone remember Nadsat Nation??

Anonymous (February 4, 2006)

This is REISSUED on VINYL as of 1-1-06 yo RIFLEMAN RECORDS. Available through CHOKE dist: 1-773-539-5411. Also available is a DVD of a video from 1984 show at COSMO'S.

Anonymous (January 29, 2006)

Yeah, I'm from Detroit and always hate how the midwest gets the after thought treatment. The Meatmen, Necros, effigies, toxic reasons, etc.....There is one big label that gets it's share of press though...Touch and GO. I almost forgot about the band Thrall. They were from battle creek mich and were on alternative tenticles. The god Bullies, too. I could go on for a long time.

lushj (September 8, 2005)

It's cool, I love talking about music anyways. This is still SUCH a great record. Fuck!

Anonymous (September 7, 2005)

Jesse, I don't think he was asking you.

But maybe he was.

In any case, I listen to a lot of pretentious indie garbage, post-punk, and 60's rock as well as this kind of stuff. Not to mention all of the 77' wave bands I'm into.

I didn't mean to make the Zero Boys sound obscure. The fact that this was reissued prove that they're not. But I do think that they're more overlooked when compared to the Bad Brains, Black Flag, DOA, Minor Threat, etc.

-Will

Anonymous (September 6, 2005)

I listen to about 80% hardcore punk, the other 20% is comprised of Bad Manners and the Slackers.

-Ken

lushj (September 6, 2005)

Definitely, but I also LOVE hardcore punk, and grew up on the 80s US version. Check out my monthly column, as "Jesse Luscious" in AMP magazine [ http://www.ampmagazine.com/ ] for a monthly list of new stuff I'm excited about.

yayforapathy (September 6, 2005)

No offense is intended in this, but do you like any bands BESIDES hardcore punk bands from the 80's?

Still good record.

lushj (September 5, 2005)

Crap, you're right! Crucifucks first record. Completely bonkers. Boy the mid-west had a bunch of great bands in that generation of bands...

Anonymous (September 5, 2005)

Don't forget Ann Arbor's the State, Violent Apathy from Kzoo, or the crucifucks.

Anonymous (September 4, 2005)

As many people as there are who prefer short, descriptive reviews to long-winded, bombastic essays, there will always be the type who assume that just because you can summarize your thoughts of an album up in less than ten pages, you must not be able to write.

-Will

Anonymous (September 4, 2005)

great record

Anonymous (September 4, 2005)

"Is this the same Zero Boys as "Stick to Your Guns" and "I'm Bored"? I have that EP on Killed by Death #4. It's not that spectacular, but the fact that they went on to hardcore is promising."

I actually like those songs the best of theirs. That first ep was fucking spotless. Stoned To Death!

Anonymous (September 4, 2005)

Score is for the review. Do us all a favor and teach Anchors how to write like this instead of like an insecure college dropout.

lushj (September 4, 2005)

This is one of the best hardcore punk records ever. Hands fucking down. I don't think they're really overlooked, but that's my only disagreement with this review.

Here's seven other mid-west bands/compilations to dig up which I think are just as awesome as "Vicious Circle":
Oklahoma: NOTA s/t LP (every song a classic- violent unity music!)
Indianapolis: Toxic Reasons "Independence"
V/A "Master Tapes Volume 1" (organized by Zero Boys Paul Mahern, a combo of obscure yet classic bands like The Slammies, plus Toxic Reasons, AOF, Zero Boys, Die Kreuzen)
Necros "Conquest for Death"

Chicago area bands:
Naked Raygun "Throb Throb" (duh)
Effigies "Haunted Town"
V/A "Middle Of America" (from WNUR Evanston, Naked Raygun, AOF, Big Black, Effigies, Rights of the Accused)

gladimnotemo (September 4, 2005)

Is this the same Zero Boys as "Stick to Your Guns" and "I'm Bored"? I have that EP on Killed by Death #4. It's not that spectacular, but the fact that they went on to hardcore is promising.

anarchaeologist (September 4, 2005)

Lets hear it for Indianapolis Hardcore!

BrandonSideleau (September 4, 2005)

GREAT fuckin' album....and criminally overlooked. Excellent and tight musicianship.

Anonymous (September 4, 2005)

Hm, that really depends... I have 3 more lined up that I know of... OOIOO, Negative FX (which I regret submitting, because it's really pointless), and Total Fury. I'm gonna get to writing more tomorrow when I'm a bit more awake.

-Will

joeg (September 4, 2005)

awesome. what other reviews you got lined up? do a negative approach review next.

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