Zero Boys - Vicious Circle / History Of [reissues] (Cover Artwork)

Zero Boys

Zero Boys: Vicious Circle / History Of [reissues]Vicious Circle / History Of [reissues] (2009)
Secretly Canadian

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
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Zero Boys aren't exactly the first band to come to mind when talking about `80s hardcore, but Secretly Canadian's recent reissues aim to at least get them a mention in there. The Indianapolis-based outfit formed in 1979 and helped forge the early `80s hardcore sound that was being popularized on the.

Zero Boys aren't exactly the first band to come to mind when talking about `80s hardcore, but Secretly Canadian's recent reissues aim to at least get them a mention in there. The Indianapolis-based outfit formed in 1979 and helped forge the early `80s hardcore sound that was being popularized on the surrounding coasts, but ended up being highly overlooked in the process.

Their debut full-length, Vicious Circle, neither rages as hard as Black Flag or cuts as precise as Minor Threat, but it's a great little album and enjoyable historical document. With slightly more of an emphasis on the punk in hardcore punk, Vicious Circle rocks in the vein of the Germs' (GI), Dead Kennedys' Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables and Bad Religion's How Could Hell Be Any Worse? (influences of which are mentioned up-front in the expanded liner notes). Things tend to hover somewhere between mid- and fast-paced, from "Civilization's Dying" packing a surprising punch of melody and hooks to the bizarre, quasi-Buzzcocks-esque pop-punk of "Livin' in the 80's" (which sticks out like a sore thumb, as it's a redux from the earlier and slower EP of the same name). This particular reissue (it's seen one by Lookout! in 2000, another in the late `80s by Toxic Shock) has some good background information and quotes from the band on the recording and the two bonus tracks ("She Said Goodbye" and "Slam and Worm") that didn't make the cut on the original 1982 release.

History Of is also reissued here, a collection of songs the band recorded with the intention of a sophomore full-length but never officially finished. It's also got their first EP, Livin' in the '80s. Though there's an occasional demo feel to these, something like opener "Drive In" is a woulda-been classic, with a driving tempo, simple hook and wailing solo. Not all of these songs work as well, though, as the band seemed to gain some confidence trying to branch out after doing some of their first full-fledged tours with various bands and getting to see the country (as well as Canada). The songs are often sort of clunky and lack the fire that made Circle so enchanting. Still, it's not terrible stuff and the songs have their moments. The EP itself at the end is much slower than Circle, but it's still got this casual snottiness about it that make them compelling.

For the most part, essential listening for '80s hardcore aficionados.

Civilization's Dying
Livin' in the '80s [EP version]


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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.
xmadcowx (March 3, 2009)

Pretty terrible review. Doesn't give the band the props they deserve. When I think of hardcore punk, I think of regions, and the Zero Boys are one of the first and best that come to mind for the midwest (only second to the Fix in my opinion).

This review reads as though all the info was gotten from the liner notes.

inagreendase (March 2, 2009)

Some songs might be essential. Others not. In this case, one of the reissues is essential. The other, not.

slowstupidhungry (March 2, 2009)

Yeah, how can something be essential "for the most part?"

oskorei (March 2, 2009)

Zero Boys? More like Zero Talent

JonDreamy (March 2, 2009)

Fuck you with that no caps shit.

JonDreamy (March 2, 2009)

Vicious circle, vicious circle, vicious circle !!!!

gotsmuch (March 1, 2009)

tenwestchaser- their singer, paul z, aka paul mahern, is the one that teaches at IU i believe... i see him all around town, he owns echo park studios.

exh82- this is totally on vinyl.

brian- review coulda been better.

slowstupidhungry (March 1, 2009)

NOTA would definitely make a Top Ten... They might edge out the Fix, but the Fix had such sheer speed and power that I couldn't help but throw them in there. Also, honorable mentions to The Effigies, Articles of Faith, Toxic Reasons, The Crucifucks and Husker Du...

mikexdude (March 1, 2009)

Vicious Circle is so great.

LushJ (March 1, 2009)

I don't think a list of best MW HC records can leave out NOTA's LP. Otherwise, yes.

P.S.- The Toxic Shock version of Vicious Circle has my favorite bonus tracks on it: Mom's Wallet, Human Body... Basically Vicious Circle has been an essential LP since day one, and the "History Of" CD has some of the awesome (& not so awesome) b-sides & single tracks.

Score's for the 1-2 punch of these reissues

dickvain41 (March 1, 2009)

The "History Of"-LP/CD was released as a cassette only and only 300 were made.

SlowStupidHungry (February 28, 2009)

Yeah the liner notes bring comparisons to the Germs and DK, but I always saw their first album as a combination of melodic second wave punk (ala SLF) and the speed and precision of the Bad Brains. What a great, great record.

Best MW HC records:

1) Negative Approach - S/T 7"
2) Zero Boys - Vicious Circle
3) The Necros - IQ 32 7"
4) Die Kreuzen - S/T LP
5) The Fix - Jan's Room 7"

SloaneDaley (February 28, 2009)

Oh yeah Vicious Circle is one of the best hardcore punk albums of the 80's and would likely be one of my desert island picks.

SloaneDaley (February 28, 2009)

fuck I had most of a review for History Of written, I have the Panic Button Vicious Circle from the 90's. The History Of album is hard to gauge cuz while it does have some rather bleh metal tendencies happening in places they tacked on the Living In The 80's EP which is essential.

bikeage (February 28, 2009)

score is for vicious circle. history of cassette is so so. basically essential listening

ehx82 (February 28, 2009)

Is this on vinyl anywhere? I definetly want to check this out

mattramone (February 28, 2009)

This shit is great.

tenwestchaser (February 28, 2009)

One of the guys in this band teaches audio courses at IU. He's the one that was in American Hardcore. Never had any of his classes by my buddy did, thought that was pretty cool...

anarchyadam (February 28, 2009)

I'm pretty sure "Civilization's dying" is one of the best songs ever written. Vicious circle is a pretty awesome album as well.

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