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Poison Idea - Feel the Darkness (Cover Artwork)

Poison Idea

Poison Idea: Feel the DarknessFeel the Darkness (1990)
American Leather

Reviewer Rating: 5
User Rating:


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

I was saddened to learn of the recent passing of Tom "Pig Champion" Roberts, the corpulent and charismatic guitarist for hardcore heavyweights Poison Idea, though I'm certainly proud of the music he left behind. A genre that he helped to create and sustain for future generations is now being tapped .
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I was saddened to learn of the recent passing of Tom "Pig Champion" Roberts, the corpulent and charismatic guitarist for hardcore heavyweights Poison Idea, though I'm certainly proud of the music he left behind. A genre that he helped to create and sustain for future generations is now being tapped for the soundtracks to big budget movies and sporting events, and countless bands are raking in the dough by pedding diluted, market-friendly versions of his monster to teenagers in malls across America. Poison Idea was one of those bands of unsung heroes that went virtually unnoticed while more successful bands took elements of their style and broke through to mainstream audiences. The closest that Poison Idea's music has come to respectable exposure was when Pantera covered "The Badge" for the soundtrack to "The Crow" in 1994. Most people who bought that soundtrack all those years ago, myself included, thought the song was great, but never did any research into where it came from. As I rapidly grew bored with the stale platitudes of mainstream metal, I found out through a guy in a St. Louis record store that "The Badge" was a song by an old hardcore band from Portland, and my curiousity grew. I found this album in the "Punk" section a few years later and it still spins regularly while the soundtrack to Brandon Lee's last movie sits undisturbed and neglected in its plastic jewel case. I now feel obligated to explain why you should have this album.

"Plastic Bomb," the album's opening track, starts off with a brief, sinister-sounding piano intro before the guitar, drums and bass come crashing in all at once like a coordinated military strike. The track only picks up speed from there, as thundering drums and a fast, thrashy riff provide the cover for Jerry A's grunted vocals and a catchy Bad Religion-like chorus of "whoa-oh-ohs." This is one of the catchiest songs on the album, and you'll be humming it long after you've turned the CD off. The improperly named "Deep Sleep" kicks in next, for it's nearly impossible to sleep through the maelstrom of shredding guitars and an impressive virtuoso solo courtesy of Pig Champion, the fattest guitarist to ever play punk rock. The third song, "The Badge," is considered by many to be a quintessential Poison Idea song. Hundreds of punk bands have written songs about how much they hate the police, but Poison Idea's vicious, derisive tirade against officers of the law draws deeply from their own uniquely intelligent well of potent, sarcastic cynicism and is arranged perfectly on top of an equally vicious riff. It's not surprising that Pantera chose this song to cover.

The fourth track, "Just to Get Away," is pure, unadulterated rock and roll, the irreverent, scurrilious kind that parents were once threatened by, the kind that Lemmy and Iggy Pop would approve of. A true anthem of unapologetic hedonism, this song has it all -- quitting your job and telling your boss to shove it, hopping into a fast car with your underaged girlfriend and speeding off to a brighter horizon with your middle finger in the air. Even the uber-serious punk rock types who think it sounds corny will be tapping their toes, playing air drums and nodding their head along with the music. I could write a paragraph for every track on this album that I like, but I'm trying to keep this less than ten pages long, so I'll just hit some highlights. "Gone for Good" is full-on thrash with Jerry's rapid-fire raps on the dangers of environmental destruction in the name of corporate greed, while "Alan's on Fire" (often covered by Machine Head in concert) blends cryptic lyrics of a more personal nature within a churning hurricane of musical heaviness. The prescient "Nation of Finks" could have been written yesterday about our current Zeitgeist of fear, suspicion and "surveillance of the fittest." I'll leave the rest for you to enjoy.

With this album, Poison Idea have mixed in the perfect amounts of thrash metal, punk, hardcore and Motörhead-style rock and roll, and the result is a terrific hardcore masterpiece that balances circle pit volatility with catchy rock and roll grooves and seriousness with sarcasm, resulting in an often copied, rarely duplicated hybrid sound that is purely their own. Feel the Darkness is an album that you will come back to after listening to boring and unoriginal albums, and an album that you will use as a comparison standard for other releases of the same genre. If you're a punk, a hardcore kid or a headbanger, it simply doesn't get much better than this. Rest in peace, Tom. You're in no danger of being forgotten.

 

 
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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.
orestes (November 5, 2008)

poison idea rule´s!!!
luv yu guys!!

miff (April 1, 2006)

in the magasine kerrang (its british so u arogant american fucks wont have heard of it but your not missing much cos its all about emo n metal bullshits lots they also have a radio show which plays cold[play so dont bother taking any nterest in it cos its a bit shit) they described poison a ugly music for ugly people- this made me laugh

Anonymous (February 19, 2006)

Well in an Poison Idea interview by Peter Markham from Moshable #9, 1991 they explained that recordtitle("kings of punk") this way.

(Question):So why did you call your 2nd LP the "Kings of Punk" ? Any particular reason for that ?

J: Because we are the Kings of Punk! I mean we're no marketing scandal like the Sex Pistols. What is punk rock? The freedom of expression, rock n'roll and whatever people like Youth Of Today and shit, think that, well that's what it was. But I think punk rock is the MC5, Iggy and the Stooges, the Ventures, early 60's stuff, old Elvis. Punk has been around forever, old jazz and rhythm n'blues, those guys are punk man. Anything that goes against the rule, it's like terrorism - not somebody with a bomb, but anybody who goes against the fuckin' modern day christianity and stuff.

(Q:)My own interpretation of that, is refusing to conform to anything.

J: Exactly, and we didn't then and we haven't now. And if we ever do, please somebody come up and stick a gun in my face and blow my head off. But I don't think we ever will, I know I never will no matter what. People slag us, and of course we're not the Kings of Punk, we don't squat - you see where I live. I'm not someone completely against society, but I've never paid taxes, I have a police record, I don't use my real name. I'll always fuck the system as much as I can, and just be revolting and subverse. And at the same time have fun, get drunk, live your life and be free, stay free - stay punk!
___________________________________________
...So let us assume punk is about personal freedom or trying to gain it then you have 100 definitions of what freedom is ... so good luck all you who wants to stab each other backs with arguments about that.

I just say "to each his own" because you live your life the way you choose but no one is 100% original and independent how hard you try anyway.
It´s nothing wrong either to let yourself be inspired by other humanbeings or their thoughts if you think they are accurate and compatible to your lifestyle.

And yeah by the way before I end I would guess that the aforementioned recordtitle was titled quite tongue in cheek
and it´s almost as good as the one reviewed here.

grr (February 19, 2006)

You kids here bitching about "facts" concerning Mackaye,Black Flag etc-were any of you actually present at any of those early-mid 1980s gigs & scenes,or are you just pretending to make yourselves sound valid?
Poison Idea called themselves KINGS OF PUNK to annoy the anal retentives- laughing at the pathetic airs that people give themselves.Like the dreadful ,joyless, posing wankers who try & be the "elite" in the punk world. Who try & tell you how you should think, act, dress, and view the world as if they were in some way qualified to do so. Who talk about "facts" when all they really have to cover their insecurities are theories-somebody else's theories.
But,if that's the way you want to waste a short life -good luck,suckers!

Nick_V (February 18, 2006)

"do you always let the shit record stores in st. loser pick out your music?"

Do you always hire glue-damaged retards to type for you?

"this album sucks compared to the early records. thats a fact."

Then why not write a review about the early records and explain to the rest of us why they're so great, in your own words?

"st. louis eats shit. as do the record stores. your a lame metal fag! you know nothing about this type of music. go review megadeath asshole."

Damn, I guess you've got me there. I must concede defeat to your insurmountably sophisticated wit. Well played, old chum. Would you care to join me for a spot of tea?

Anonymous (February 16, 2006)

First song I ever heard by Poison Idea was a cover of Hell's "Blank Generation"

Was hooked after that.

Anonymous (February 16, 2006)

No, more like screaming at a wall!!!!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

BrandonSideleau (February 16, 2006)

like talking to a wall.

Anonymous (February 16, 2006)

Will is right....That is why agnostic front suck. they sound the same after what....100 years?

Anonymous (February 15, 2006)

And as far as I'm concerned, this conversation is through. Any logic you might have about the issue is completely overwhelmed by your blind alleigance to Black Flag. As if they were perfect human beings in a perfect band that never fucked up, ever... So, whatev's. Believe what you want, but if you read what Rollins has to say about that era, and what Greg Ginn says, even though their historical aspects clash at some points, they still paint a picture of a band that didn't care about DIY punk by 1985 or so.

-Will

Anonymous (February 15, 2006)

Wow, so Greg wanted to play with the Ramones? And liked DK's? Two famous punk bands?

And you can't dispute the package tours they did, which totally overshadow their show with the Ramones... That's ridiculous. "No, dude, they totally loved punk... Like, they played a show with the Ramones in 1985."

-Will

Anonymous (February 15, 2006)

Wow, so Greg wanted to play with the Ramones? And liked DK's? Two famous punk bands?

And you can't dispute the package tours they did, which totally overshadow their show with the Ramones... That's ridiculous. "No, dude, they totally loved punk... Like, they played a show with the Ramones in 1985."

-Will

Anonymous (February 15, 2006)

Wow, so Greg wanted to play with the Ramones? And liked DK's? Two famous punk bands?

And you can't dispute the package tours they did, which totally overshadow their show with the Ramones... That's ridiculous. "No, dude, they totally loved punk... Like, they played a show with the Ramones in 1985."

-Will

BrandonSideleau (February 15, 2006)

No Will..........Flag played with the Ramones in 1985 at the Palladium and Greg Ginn was the one who set it up. IN a 1984 interview Greg said he was a big fan of the DK's. There ya go..........conversation done.

Anonymous (February 15, 2006)

"Greg Ginn was never anti-punk, again you've got your facts all mixed up, he was anti-Fashion/run of the mill punk.......Greg Ginn was, in fact, a huge fan of the Dead Kennedys, The Ramones, The Misfits and Flipper.....among other bands. I do recall him saying he disliked Clash for some reason, and I'm sure he hated all the weak British Oi bands."

Those bands are all from the early Flag period. By 1984, they were listening to more Sabbath than anything, and you can hear it. Rollins even describes them as being anti-punk at that point in "American Hardcore." He claims they were only interested in punk bands if they were friends with them (SST roster).

-Will

kenfuggit (February 14, 2006)

Everytime "Just to get away" rolls through my head at work, I always have to consider just fucking ditching everything and heading off into the sunset, armed and loaded at 200 mph.

-Ken

Cos (February 14, 2006)

Yup, it was this one. Epitaph still has it listed on their site.

Cos (February 14, 2006)

Which PI album did Epitaph pick up for a hot minute in the 90s?

Cos (February 14, 2006)

Greg Ginn was probably just like most good punks, who absolutely hate the generation that comes after them.

Also, I don't think anyone needs an explanation for not liking Briitish Oi! bands.

BrandonSideleau (February 14, 2006)

Greg Ginn was never anti-punk, again you've got your facts all mixed up, he was anti-Fashion/run of the mill punk.......Greg Ginn was, in fact, a huge fan of the Dead Kennedys, The Ramones, The Misfits and Flipper.....among other bands. I do recall him saying he disliked Clash for some reason, and I'm sure he hated all the weak British Oi bands.

Anonymous (February 13, 2006)

Its always great to see a classic recieve its due.

Anonymous (February 13, 2006)

Why don't you two write a couple of books about this pressing issue and then organize a debate/book signing university lecture tour. I'm sure at least 5 people will show up. Maybe even all at once!

Anonymous (February 13, 2006)

Also, I'd question why they'd want "punk openers." Greg Ginn was vocally anti-punk by that period. They separated themselves from the punk scene and made a big deal out of it, then Ginn later said stupid shit like "I didn't hear about us being hardcore until 1982!" Yeah, right. Black Flag were awesome, and their later music is good, too, but there were times when you can't deny that they were absolutely full of shit.

-Will

Anonymous (February 13, 2006)

Then I guess everything I read about SST having "packet" tours in their later years was lies.

It doesn't matter, you're still totally off about PI.

-Will

BrandonSideleau (February 13, 2006)

Actually.....Will, you REALLY need to get your history straight. First off, I'm sure most of what you're saying is 5th hand knowledge at best. Black Flag welcomed local openers anytime they didn't already have an opening band touring with them. In fact, many DC and Santa Cruz area bands opened for Flag on many occasions in their later years. Rollins himself in a filmed 1985 interview (which I have) stated that they were having problems finding local bands to open for them, because the punkers weren't into the fact that they had "long hair and played differently". Blast opened for them atleast a year before they were signed to the label, as did non-SST bands like Flipper and the False Prophets......all from 1983-1986.

Anonymous (February 13, 2006)

Brandon, the fact that October Faction and Tom Trocolli almost constantly opened for Flag in their later years meant that no locals could open for them. They weren't as hugely popular, but Black Flag would never come to a city where no band would want to open for them (no matter what members of the band would like to say now).

Also, it's called having a sense of humor. Poison Idea didn't really have anything against MacKaye. They just wanted to irritate people who idolize him (like you). And I guess it worked.

-Will

Anonymous (February 13, 2006)

do you always let the shit record stores in st. loser pick out your music? this album sucks compared to the early records. thats a fact. st. louis eats shit. as do the record stores. your a lame metal fag! you know nothing about this type of music. go review megadeath asshole.

FuckYouOiOiOi (February 13, 2006)

is this better than pick your king?

BrandonSideleau (February 13, 2006)

the problem is....Ian MacKaye was not a part of the "Straight Edge" bullshit or any other "movements"......the very IDEA of movements and scenes were hated by people like Jello & Ian........PI were simply attacking the wrong targets, as most drunk idiots do.

kenfuggit (February 13, 2006)

"Is this still in print? I've been hoping for a re-issue for ages so I could get my hands on a copy."

Every label in the history of punk rock has released this record. Currently, Havoc Records (www.havocrex.com) has this in print and on vinyl. I expect they will keep it in print for some time.

-Ken

Nick_V (February 13, 2006)

By the way, that was Tom's record collection on the cover of the "Record Collectors..." release.

Just shows that they never took themselves too seriously. :)

dai (February 13, 2006)

Bugger! theres me score!
The MDC collaboration band went under the name "the submissives",one miniLP which is great.Revolting lyrics tho.

dai (February 13, 2006)

This is prob. the most "accessible" PI album which does not stop it being brilliant-however you should also hear "blank blackout vacant" which is just as good,"kings of punk" on taang records,fuckin a,"pajama party" (cover album) ,in fact pretty much all their releases ("war all the time" isn't that great overall but it's got some belters on it.) Ther's a best of album as well,not hard to find.
The "ian Mackaye" thing was part of PI's ongoing mission to annoy ALL the 80s punkers who took themselves way too seriously.As was titling releases"record collectors are pretentious assholes" and "kings of punk"-that one was WAY out of line for the crass commune types! In those days there were a lot of fragments within the punk scene trying to order people around-a fair percentage of the early "straightedgers" were among the most annoying. Ian Mackaye himself was as dismayed by these humorless bores as anyone else. As was Jello Biafra, himself a pretty pure-living person.I hope that the younger punx now aren't as divisive & pompous as a lot of my generation were.
PI were also full-on drunks.Grinning at their own self-desrtuction.Not glorifying it,just being honest and unpretentious.I don't think that being told that wasn't allowed by self-elected elite groups sat well with them.They stood for,and I'd guess Jerry still does stand for, thinking and living for yourself at all costs.

BrandonSideleau (February 13, 2006)

actually Black Flag DID allow local bands to open for them......the fact is that no local bands wanted to and most of those local bands hated Flag.....get your facts straight man. Secondly I only figured they were bashing on him and praising acting like a moron (drinking, smoking).....which most idiots who bag on Ian are like- macho knuckleheads. But the music is good.

Anonymous (February 13, 2006)

this is great punkrock, why dont new bands have that aggro-loaded punk style

givemeamuseumandillfillit (February 13, 2006)

Oh yes. This is easily one of my all-time favorite bands. I actually saw "them" 2 years ago, it was very random, it was only jerry and a few belgian guys. It was really good though.

branden (February 13, 2006)

goddamn this band is fuckin awesome

they got all the sweet lixx

Nick_V (February 13, 2006)

I've been informed that Pig Champion did a 7" record with MDC...

http://www.interpunk.com/item.cfm?Item=34406&

I should pick it up. Anyone else heard it?

jamespastepunk (February 12, 2006)

Anybody else think that Saturday is the only day worth checking the reviews on this site anymore?

No.

Anonymous (February 12, 2006)

Anybody else think that Saturday is the only day worth checking the reviews on this site anymore?

Anonymous (February 12, 2006)

Niiiiice.

Anonymous (February 12, 2006)

Is this still in print? I've been hoping for a re-issue for ages so I could get my hands on a copy.

Anonymous (February 12, 2006)

Brandon,

People like you are the precise reason they released that. They knew Ian MacKaye was someone everybody respected, so they dissed him. Nothing personal at all. In fact, it's a pretty funny EP.

Not listening to bands for the stigma surrounding them in the 80's is pretty weird. In that sense, Black Flag were huge assholes for not allowing local bands to open for them. So should I not listen to their later classics?

-Will

dazed (February 12, 2006)

Oops, here's my score. Also the whole Ian Mackaye thing had to do with this:
http://www.fuzzlogic.com/flex/p/3828.php
http://muzzone.c om/en/Album/30253/Ian-Mackaye/

dazed (February 12, 2006)

This is a classic and it really shows what a great guitarist Pig was. "Nation of Finks" and "Death of an Idiot Blues" are two of my favorite Poison Idea songs.

Mute98 (February 12, 2006)

this is one of the "classics" that actually deserves to be called one

BrandonSideleau (February 12, 2006)

The Crow soundtrack was great only because of "Ghostrider".....awesome fuckin song. I've heard this album and I liked what I heard.....but didn't the lead singer write a song bashing Ian MacKAye or some shit? That's pretty weak.....that's pretty much the only reason I haven't picked this up.

BillH (February 12, 2006)

SoupIsGoodFood ... No, I agree with you that the song "Feel The Darkness" is ripping. I've got a cool 7" remix of it (that was given away with an English fanzine years ago) and it's great, too.

Anonymous (February 12, 2006)

this is a classic. i didn't even know the dude died though.

SoupIsGoodFood (February 12, 2006)

Am I the only person who likes the song "Feel The Darkness"? I think it's great.

Anonymous (February 12, 2006)

A REAL classic.

BillH (February 12, 2006)

Nice job, Nick_V. I can't hear enough of PI's praises being sung. And not just since Pig's death. Just think of all the hack bands that have trotted out record after record.The fact that PI gave us both "Pick Your King", the veritable blueprint for hardcore and "Feel The Darkness", a genre transcending, incredible piece of music, is just unbelievable. The rest of the catalog is brilliant, too. Hope there really is some "lost music" out there and it sees a proper release.

Anonymous (February 12, 2006)

Top ten of the songs:
#1.Taken by surprise
2.The badge
3.Just to get away
4.Alan´s on fire
5.Nation of finks
6.Painkiller
7.Deep sleep
8.Welcome to krell
9.Plastic bomb
10.Feel the darkness

gladimnotemo (February 12, 2006)

I don't have this yet, but I've been listening to "Just To Get Away" all week. Totally killer.

etwiels88 (February 12, 2006)

Rip pig champion. Worse the dimeback.

Dante3000 (February 12, 2006)

That read more like a novel than a review, and I don't mean that in a bad way.
I was unaware "The Badge" was used in The Crow. Of course I saw that movie once and laughed my ass off. But that doesn't mean it wasnt fun.
-Dante

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