It's been a while since I last reviewed anything -- maybe even a few months. And damn, do I miss it. I guess contributing to Punknews really needs to move up on my priorities list (take that, school work!). Anyway, I thought that I'd return to the land of Lifetime with a review of one of the UK's best hardcore bands, Heresy.
Heresy was one of the first mid-`80s "Britcore" bands to take the quintessentially English fury of Discharge and mix it with the insane speed of Massachusetts bands like Siege and Deep Wound, often creating some damn fine hardcore in their own right. Later on, they would go in a more rock-oriented direction, but the tracks on 1985-`87 are all pure blast-beat-driven punk.
This CD, reissued through the fantastic Boss Tuneage Retro Series, contains the band's first demo tape, the excellent Never Healed flexi EP, two live-to-tape tracks, and the ultra-rare Thanks! tour EP.
Okay, so, since I'm no good at transitions, onto the music. The demo tracks are rough, but surprisingly high quality considering their age and the band's lack of experience at the time. All of the demo tracks, excepting "Never Healed" were completely scrapped once Never Healed was released -- and frankly I can see why. Most of the demos are crude D-beat songs with some very fast parts, verging on grindcore, but the heavy metal influence comes very close to completely ruining the songs. The pitiful attempts at heaviness, and the absolute crap guitar solos make parts of these songs just difficult to listen to. Anyway, not terrible, but Heresy was right to drop them from their set.
Never Healed, however, is very close to perfect. The recordings are much more polished, and the songs are tighter, faster, and refrain from the pointless wankery of the demo. The title track especially is an out-and-out hardcore classic. The lyrics on the EP tend to more of a Discharge, "War is bad / I hate war / War is baaaaad!" style, but you wouldn't be able to tell from the recording. Despite the excellent sound of the instruments, the vocals must have been recorded in a public bathroom, about 50 miles away from the mic, while then-vocalist Reevesy was under water.
The Thanks! EP has a slightly different style than the first two recordings. The metal parts are entirely gone; the lyrics are focused on personal and scene politics rather than, like, actual politics; and the new singer, John, has a gruffer, more "American" style. At this point, Heresy had a four-piece lineup, and you can tell that the band members could actually concentrate on their instruments now. Heresy once again ramped up the speed for this recording, and added some breakdowns here and there.
Anyway, I wish I could talk about the tons of lyrics, photos, six pages of liner notes (penned by guitarist Baz Ballam), and beautiful digipak case, but I don't want to waste anyone's time. Let's just say that this CD, and the whole package, is worth getting.