Thursday, October 20, 2011

Kissing the Revolution of What We Are

The Finger Print discography is getting harder to find, so I did some digging. With a little window cleaner my old scratchy copy of the CD made for some good ripping. As far as my personal canon goes, Finger Print were one of the delectable treats that lured me into the rabbit hole of nineties hardcore. Things would never again be the same for me, and I rather like it that way. Claw your way through the tangle of FP's jack-hammering drums, metallic dissonance, winding melodies, and curdling screams, and you'll find four regular guys, hacking their own rambling and fugitive path to the same vague place you hope to one day end up too. Like many acts of the decade, their path went somewhere inward, exploring the place of the individual among the shape-shifting and ghoulish menagerie of the political realm. Whether or not they ever found what they were looking for, I cannot say, but this 19 track document suggests to me that the journey was well worth it. There's nary a single throw-away (other than the awfully recorded live tracks at the end), and unlike many hardcore discographies, I am always riveted by this one from beginning to end. Speaking of the end, the final three studio tracks revealed a slightly new direction for the band, smoothing the jagged metallic edges to more elegant contours. Members would continue in this direction in the band Jasemine, who sadly only released four songs.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Q: Mankind? A: Dirt.

I won't get into all the reasons for this blog's dormancy; it's the usual case of taking on too much and having too little left to give by the end of the day. I'll slowly get the cogs moving again, and by the end of November, it should be back to clacking and clanking at its old pace. But what really matters is the music, so I'll continue on the therapeutic simplicity of the last post with a couple of splits by Connecticut's Mankind?. This short-lived peace punk/hardcore ensemble channeled all the best aspects of the 80's and 90's, albeit through only a handful of songs...
The first split represents arguably the best material from both bands present, the other being UK veterans, Dirt. Dirt's flickering presence throughout the 80's had exceptionally luminescent moments, but their brief return in the 90's was for me their most focused appearance. Maybe you'll enjoy their more raw material better, but the stylized direction of Deno's vocals just do it for me on this one.

While disappointing by comparison, Mankind?'s two offerings on their split with Final Warning are still solid efforts. The disappointment for me lies in the poor production and in the decision to not make Stacey the lead vocalist. Other than that, "Utopian Nightmare" is a more than passable contribution to American political hardcore, and their cover of "Electrodes" is a boiling, frothing brewpot of angst and loathing.

The original idea for this post was to gather a bunch of Final Warning tracks, including the Warning 7". Both Warning and Final Warning were New York-based bands featuring Neil, Nausea's original vocals-man. Mike of Twisted Tracks must have been eating the same thing this week or been tuned to the same frequency as me because he beat me to it. To complete your Final Warning collection, the track "Wasteland" on the split above is one of the finer examples of FW's post-Discharge bleakness, complete with Neil's burliest angry-sailor vocals. You can get FW's "Eyes of a Child" 7" here, some compilation tracks from both FW and Mankind? here, and FW's live LP here. In an interesting twist, on the LP Final Warning takes their stab at an "Electrodes" duet between Neil and Stacey (Mankind?).