Verbal Assault - Volume One: The Masses and Learn (Cover Artwork)

Verbal Assault

Volume One: The Masses and Learn (2003)

Mend It Inc.

Ahh..early 1980s when cultural America sucked so much except for one aspect, punk rock. This was the era that spawned many of our favorite most respected bands in the genre, but alongside the Dead Kennedys, Circle Jerks, Minor Threats of the world their were many more bands that sounded similar but didn't get the exposure the others did or even if they did they often fell through the cracks and have become virtually forgotten by the scene except for the ones that were there or the others that have exhaustively searched for these rare gems of rebellion. Verbal Assault is one of these bands.

Hailing from Rhode Island, this group of kids that started playing out of boredom and tore it up on stage with the likes of the aforementioned bands and others like Suicidal Tendencies, Vicious Circle, and 7 Seconds (they were also signed to Kevin's label Positive Force). Well for those that were there or missed out Mend It Inc. has reissued Verbal Assault's first two albums The Masses and Learn together for the first time on cd.

VA plays old school hardcore with leanings toward Minor Threat's sound, which is also due to Ian MacKaye producing and singing backing vocals on tracks 11-18. The first ten tracks sound really rough, partly because they were recorded live during a radio show, but there is growth and maturity in the song writing that appear during the second half of the album, recording at Inner Ear doesn't hurt either. Being a fan of the old school I really liked this band, and since it's not a well known band I kind of felt like I had found a treasure from the past that isn't a band that everyone references when talking about the 80's. The liner notes were also well done with the singer telling the story of the band from beginning to right after the recording of the second album. I thought the story was very well written and gave a snapshot of the scene in RI. Also included were a lot of pictures of the band and flyers.

If you're into old school punk do yourself a favor and pick this one up. From the biography it sounds like a volume 2 is in the works, I can't wait.

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