Demerit - Never Say Die (Cover Artwork)


Never Say Die (2006)



Never Say Die, the full-length debut from Chinese punks Demerit, clocks in at a tight 28 minutes with no filler. Their music is like taking a tour of a chainsaw factory during a locust storm. English lyrics from vocalist Spike run the gamut from navigating life in rapidly-changing China to Orwellian discontent, swinging between contemptuous sneers to gang vocals, with the band's raw production values recalling their natural habitat–nasty sweat-soaked chaos factories on their native turf.

Tracks like "Fuck the Schemers" and "Keep Yourself" are relentless, no-frills assault vehicles–eardrums, meet defeat–while the quartet's more mature streaks shine through with the layered "Never Gonna Change" and "Fight Your Apathy", twin gut-punchers that meld balls-out riffing with melodic basslines, soaring guitars and layered vocals.

Don't be fooled by their obscure origins: These Chinese heroes–leaders of the country's punk movement–go blow-for-blow with anything cranked out by their counterparts from the West. If anything, they're even more vicious and bloodthirsty. Cases in point: standout tracks "Voice of the People", a throat-shredding, fuzzed-out back-and-forth anthem between Spike and Chinese riot grrl Shenggy and "The World Has Become a Battlefield", wrought with tense guitars and dystopian wordplay.

This may be pure Chinese punk, but they aren't above giving a nod to their influences. They rip through a cover of Minor Threat's "I Don't Wanna Hear It" with the same urgency as the original; and like their D.C. heroes, Demerit has also spawned a following of young Chinese punk bands who hold this record in high regard.