The Varukers - Murder/Nothing's Changed [remastered] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Varukers

Murder/Nothing's Changed [remastered] (2010)

Rodent Popsicle

Formed in 1979, the Varukers were one of the first bands to immediately follow suit after Discharge paved the way for the waves of D-beat soundalikes thereafter. This release is a remastered version of the 2004 compilation that combines the Varukers' 1998 LP, Murder, along with the 1994 EP, Nothing's Changed.

Those familiar with D-beat probably fall into two distinct categories: devotees to the style, and those who find it preposterous to base an entire genre off one drum pattern. I guess I'm somewhere in between, because I find myself enjoying most of this album despite the less-than-groundbreaking approach.

Murder is fairly thrashy and faster than what one might expect, save for a few more mid-tempo tracks (and I use that term loosely) like "Genocide" and "Eradicate the Problem". The lyrics are pretty much the standard, gloomy left-wing rhetoric of the crust punk and anarcho-punk lore, like "Nightmare Vision": "Here lies our earth / Its dead in torment / The cancers been caused by our abuse / Battlefields computer board games / Corporations drown out our cries / Men in suits slaughter thousands / Sign a check so many die."

The Nothing's Changed EP is only four songs long, though the difference in sound is palpable. The tempo of "Missing Out" is about half that of most of Murder, and the repetitive, angular riffs are nothing like the frenetic, quick-moving progressions of the LP. The next song, "Tortured by Their Lies" moves back to the thrashy D-beat style, which continues through "Obey" and the title track.

Anyone familiar with UK 82 bands like the Exploited, Discharge and GBH should know what to expect from the Varukers. It's mostly fast, two-dimensional hardcore street punk mixed with a little thrash and Motörhead influence, and despite the sloganeering can be a fun listen, if for no other reason than the novelty.