Scream - NMC17 [reissue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


NMC17 [reissue] (2018)

Southern Lord

1988’s No More Censorship (here presented as NMC17 for some reason) is the Scream album that is best known for being the first to feature a very young Dave Grohl on drums. The topic of censorship is certainly still important 30 years later, and I really like the first two Scream albums. Still Screaming (1983) and This Side Up (1985) were both released on Dischord Records and have aged quite gracefully. I love what Southern Lord has been doing with punk and harcore reissues too. I have scooped up their versions of long out of print albums from The Offenders, Excel, YDI, Electric Funeral, Bl’ast!, Battalion of Saints and Virulence.

I also don’t have any issues with Grohl. A lot of people seem to hate him for some reason. Probably mostly just because he’s rich and famous. To me, he just seems like a big kid who really loves music. I can’t begrudge him earning millions from Foo Fighters tours and Nirvana royalties when he turns around and helps get other much smaller projects done. Projects that would have gone nowhere without his name (or cash) involved. Why am I telling you all this? To let you know that I’m not dissing this just for the sake of dissing it.

I really wanted to like NMC17, but it’s just not all that good. It feels like Scream was taking a stab at commercial success, and it just didn’t work. (Don’t judge them too harshly. Lots of punk bands from the 80’s tried it, and few succeeded.) So what does it sound like? I’m glad you asked. It sounds like late 80’s hard rock. Opening track, “Take It From the Top”, features both hair metal style vocals and multiple guitar solos. Second track, “Something in My Head”, reminds me a bit of post Jack Grisham TSOL. (Another band that tried its best to sell out.) It’s a little better. It’s not good, but it’s about as good as this gets. On and on NMC17 goes for 12 songs and nearly 43 minutes.

I grew up listening to hair metal. I was a legitimate fan of Dokken and Def Leppard. This is not that. This sounds like a punk band pretending to be a mainstream band. The lyrics are mostly bad. It feels like an inside joke that the band forgot to let the listener in on. There’s even a power ballad called “Run to the Sun”. It might be the cringiest song on an album full of cringey songs. The most noteworthy thing about NMC17 would have to be its packaging. It’s full of rare photos, lyrics and other cool stuff. The album is dedicated to DC scene photographer Naomi Peterson, who rescued the tapes that would become the reissue.

So, is there anything musically redeeming on NMC17? Not really. Maybe some decent cock rock riffs, and I guess the drumming is good for what it is. Scream is still one of the most important DC bands. It’s nice to see them getting some attention, even if this album is a swing and a miss. Dave Grohl’s name being attached will certainly help move some units among the curious. Grohl superfans and Scream completists are going to buy this no matter what I say, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.