Minor Threat - Minor Threat [EP] (Cover Artwork)

Minor Threat

Minor Threat [EP] (1981)


It is hard to write a review for a band and album that has been reviewed and discussed so much that honestly it won’t matter what my opinion of it will be. I don’t think my review will necessarily persuade someone to buy the first Minor Threat EP based on what I have to say, as I think history and legacy will speak for itself.

Minor Threat came together in 1980. They broke up in 1983. Much like how Minor Threat came together, other great bands would come from the ashes of the group (i.e Dag Nasty, Fugazi, etc). When Ian’s first band Teen Idles disbanded, they had already left a mark in the early DC punk rock movement. They had left DC to play shows on the West Coast, and brought the all-ages show mentality back to DC with them, because there needed to be a place for the younger bands to play. It is in Teen Idles that Ian would hook up with Don Zientara at Inner Ear Studio, who would later become the go to producer for Minor Threat and just about every Dischord band thereafter.

Minor Threat started with Ian and Jeff from Teen Idles, and later added Brian Baker and Lyle Preslar on bass and guitar respectively. Armed with 8 songs that run just a little longer than 9 minutes, Minor Threat would release their debut, Minor Threat EP. To Ian and the group, this was just a documentation of the songs their new band had at the time. To the rest of the scene, it was a movement. There may have been some bands coming out of DC, but this is the album that put it all on the map. Besides Black Flag, and Bad Brains, one would have a difficult time finding album as fresh as this. It was raw, fast, and direct. It was an album that was loud and was made to be played in your face, and when Minor Threat played live, the lyrics got yelled right back to Ian. It is a landmark album that will go down in history and its legacy will be discussed for years to come, and would be the spark that set of East Coast Hardcore. It coined a phrase that would carry on an entire movement of its own, “Straight Edge.” “Straight Edge Hardcore” wasn’t a style or scene until years later. Youth of Today, Uniform Choice, Judge, and a ton of other bands all took the ideals from Minor Threat’s 45 second song, and made their own history. The album would go on to not only have an impact on the the DC scene, and eventually the entire underground, but to be worshipped and covered by bands such as Slayer, Rise Against, Pennywise, and even Sublime.

From the iconic cover art that inspired Rancid, to a label synonymous with DIY culture, and a genre defining album, Minor Threat’s first EP did more for an independent scene, than some bands do in their entire career. I am willing to wager that if you asked Ian at age 19 if he thought he would be responsible for what can arguably be the entire punk rock scene today at 2018, he would have laughed it off, with that same laugh at the end of Minor Threat.