Antisect - In Darkness There is No Choice [reissue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


In Darkness There is No Choice [reissue] (2012)

Anti Society Records

When Antisect released their debut LP, In Darkness There is No Choice, in 1983, it tactically reached back into the band's immediate past while simultaneously creating a new sound that would heavily influence crust punk, and heavy music in general, to this day. While Antisect and their contemporaries had all started on the Crass label, or the Crass progeny Flux of Pink Indians Spiderleg label, Antisect seemed more indebted to the original anarchy punks. While Amebix spread their wings and track by track floated away from Crass' ranting and more into Black Sabbath and Mötörhead territory, Antisect kept the choppy rhythm and ranting/screaming of Crass, but interestingly, also seemed to adopt the relentless speed and wall of sound of Lemmy Kilmister and the gang. Fascinating, then, that despite Antisect's unique and futuristic take on harder punk, and despite their sound being carried by generation after generation, they remain fairly obscure, even by punk standards, and currently seem to be more of a footnote than one of punk's hallowed champions.

Immediately upon needle drop, two innovations by Antisect that have burned into a crust punk trademark become evident. First, Antisect debuted an incredibly unique guitar tone--a tone that was downed, but played with Ramones cadence and downstrokes, creating a something nearly identical to an engine far exceeding its maximum RPM and about to throw a rod. Second, while other bands, including the Beatles, Clash and Crass, had what could be considered more than one main vocalist, Antisect may have been the first punk band to have two main vocalists whose sole job was to be a main vocalist, and equal share of the microphone to each. While other bands may have had multiple voices, Antisect was the first to have two mouths constantly on the attack, jumping off each other, creating a much more continuous and vicious attack than had previously been heard.

Perhaps most interesting, however, was Antisect's knowledge of their immediate history and willingness to expand the fairly narrow anarcho-punk sound. Clearly, the base of In Darkness' sound is the charging three-chord attack of punk, supplemented with Mötörhead's wall of sound, with each instrument blending together, making more of a sonic wave than collection of instruments. Of course, their thrashing attack carries wordy messages of government control, interference and hopelessness.

However, nearly as soon as the band establishes their pattern, they begin to experiment with it. At one point, the band drops to half time, letting the instruments hang drone-style in the air. At another, the punk charging cuts out for an extended piano and choral of the bells interlude, which gives the entire album a twisted classical gravitas. At another, the band ceases their music entirely, and snaps into a echo-drenched sermon that as much borrows from the style of Crass' "Reality Asylum" as it does distance itself through fewer indictments and more positive calls to action.

Thankfully, AntiSociety Records has re-issued this seminal release after years of obscurity and being out of print. The AntiSociety reissue is more or less a straight re-issue, with no extra tracks or modern mixing. Also, the release keeps the original poster foldout jacket that can expanded into a giant wall hanging. The sole new addition is a new four-page insert that gives some nice insight, through band interviews, into the creation of the album. Still, while the reissue does maintain respect for the original's form, just like the original release, the record is a little flimsy. A thick record stock would have been nice to prevent warping, especially with the album's jacket, which because it is little more than construction paper, does little to help the vinyl hold its flatness. Also, while the bonus four-page insert is nice, with a reissue, why not conduct a thorough research of the release's history and include a more academic history of the album and band, similar to the ones found in reissues by Trojan, Crass' own Crassical Collection reissues, or even the track by track discussion found in Alternative Tentacles' Amebix re-issues.

But, most importantly, its nice to have this classic slab back in print, and let newer generations experience just how ahead of their time and influential Antisect were… even if you'd have trouble finding a single person that can name a track by the band.