Review # 61
Artist: Born/Dead & Consume
Title: Split LP
Label: Yellow Dog
My last two reviews have featured complex records by innovative bands. This one doesn't, really. Born/Dead and Consume are generic, but I don't mean this in a negative way. They aren't generic in the sense necessarily of being bland or boring, but rather in the sense that they represent well the qualities of a genre of music. From the grainy black and white cover featuring armed to insurgents to the typewriter font lyrics poster, to the recording quality of these fifteen songs of angry protest, everything about the record conjures in my mind a hundred memories from the last 13+ years of dark rooms filled with black-clad punks, packed in to see to see the touring band or some local favorites on a Saturday night. This record sounds like crust. If you like crust, there's a lot to like here.
Let's start with the Born/Dead side. Born/Dead, not to be confused with Born Dead Icons, play Tragedy-esque hardcore punk. With alternating vocals, heavy guitars, one long sample, and pounding drums change effortlessly between breakneck speed and mid-tempo shout out parts, this band may not be doing anything new, but what they are doing, they do very well. Their lyrics address poverty, the military industrial complex, the culture of surveillance, the objectification of women, and the inability or unwillingness of either the left or the right to deal with any of these problems. Born/Dead are an anarchist crust band. If you've listened to many bands like this, you won't find a lot of surprises here, but what you will find is the style done right. It's passionate, high-energy, and musically competent.
While I don't have any deep investment in Born/Dead as a band, the same cannot be said of Consume. Consume was a Seattle band in the early part of the 21st century, during a time when I went to DIY punk shows nearly every weekend and was playing more than a few myself. The band included at least one member of late '90s Seattle punk luminaries Whorehouse of Representatives, and were one of my favorite local bands during their existence. I was disappointed when they went their separate ways (although the gap has largely been filled by Deathraid, which contains, if I'm not mistaken, at least a couple of the same folks). So obviously, I have a personal bias in favor of this side of the record. Consume played fast, metallic dbeat crust with socially conscious lyrics. Perhaps slightly less articulate than Born/Dead, these songs are none the less impassioned statements against war, consumerism, dependence on television, and, of course, George W. Bush. Everyone had a song about him back then, and rightly so. These songs are faster than the Born/Dead side of the record, and perhaps slightly less complex. It's just good, straight-up crust, played well. They were a lot of fun to see live back in the day.
I couldn't find a song from the Born/Dead side of this record on youtube, but here's "Walk the Plank" from the Consume side.
Total songs listened: 762