By Various Artists
When you think back to the days of punk rock, Bristol is not the first city name that might spring to your mind. Witness then this compilation of punk bands between the years of 1977 and 1983, lovingly brought together by Bristol Archive Records. A great feature of this CD is the set of names and song titles, that firmly root these bands in that period. More of this as we listen with attitude and pogo like knobheads.
The first few tracks are generally forgettable stuff with the usual punk topics of boredom, alienation, racism and unemployment at the forefront - there are a few gems in the first ten tunes, mind. The Pigs' 'Youthanasia' and The Media's 'New Blood' show how early punk can be done well, with the latter nicking a few melodic harmony ideas off the Clash and some Skids-esque feeling in the guitar riffs. Additionally, only an idiot would argue with the emergency of The Primates' 'Generation Warfare.' 48 Hours' 'A Soldier' is also nicely done, a story of being forced to join the army because there's no other choice and being posted in Northern Ireland. Good riffing lads.
After elevn tracks of snot and angry youth, there's an opportunity for a relax with The X-certs covering Culture's 'Stop the Fussing and the Fighting, and turn it into a slow, tinny dub tune, if a bit too long at 9.36, but showing how reggae and dub influenced punks wanting to do more than three chord thrashing. Wakey wakey though brother, as Vice Squads' 'Resurrection' does just that: 200 miles an hour riffing and female vocals struggling but succeeding in being heard over the racket. Nice.
Following track, Disorder's aptly named 'Complete Disorder,' sounds like it's been recorded in a beer barrel that's being kicked down the stairs - it's fucking marvellous. What is it about? Who cares. It's faster than Usain Bolt and sounds like at any second it could fall into a million pieces and by the end does. Spectacular. Winning the overall title for both title of song and mentalness, is Chaotic Dischord's 'Who Killed ET? (I Killed the Fucker!)' with the finest ending ever after 80 seconds - simply the word "cunt" - not big or clever, but bloody funny and a reminder of my 6th form days at school. To end with, we have Onslaught's 'Thermo Nuclear Devastation of the Planet Earth,' where we're now deep into hardcore territory and 79 second songs. Genius.
So, at the end of all this, what have we learnt? Bristol, like many other places, had some good and some pretty average punk acts and most of them are on here, with a definite development from the three chord stuff to some brutally quick hardcore. Is it an essential purchase? Hard to say - it's a good retrospective and if you can cope with punk in its rawest form, both song-writing and production-wise, then you should prepare your lugholes and start gobbing at next door's pet rabbit - oi oi!