Executioner - Hellbound [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Hellbound [7-inch] (2010)


Buried in the annals of American hardore punk history is San Jose's Executioner, who after 25 years finally put forth an official release for their 1982 demo Fix Me/Hellbound.

Essentially a local band who generally stayed within eyeshot of the California coastline from their inception in 1982 to end in 1983, Executioner did share the stage with a handful of legendary acts including TSOL, Crucifix, Social Distortion, the Faction, Bad Posture, Social Unrest and Redd Kross (who were still known as Red Cross at the time) to name a few.

Although alleged to be revolutionary in the release's press materials, Fix Me/Hellbound came some six years after the formation of Black Flag (and four years after Black Flag's "Fix Me") at a time when hardcore had pretty much already spread across the country from the East and West coasts to the nether-regions like Minneapolis and Detroit.

And while Executioner's sound isn't a total copy job of other West Coast hardcore at the time, it wasn't all too dissimilar from those like Code of Honor who embraced punk skateboard culture while expanding with guitar solos and slower tempos. The A side is somewhat of a hybrid of two songs seamlessly transitioned from a riff-heavy anthem of heroin apologetics to the thrashy and unripe anti-war "Hellbound," which shouts "A soldier waits in a foxhole / Waiting for the enemy to pass by / Air raid sirens fill the air / As bombers darken the sky."

The B side includes the repetitive but easily enjoyable skaterock of "Riding in the Flatlands," which is mid-tempo but with enough teenage gang shouts to give it its punk feel. "Marked to Die" is perhaps the best song of the EP, a ripping slam-along that starts slow and hits overdrive with a searing guitar solo all in a cool minute and 20 seconds.

Executioner may not be the first band that comes to mind when considering crucial California hardcore, but they certainly have their place, and the release of this enjoyable 7-inch after 25 years finally gives them the recognition they deserve.