Thursday, August 30, 2012
Artist: Appalachian Terror Unit
Label: Vex/Profane Existence
We're going back to "A" one more time. My band had the privilege to open for these folks recently and I had to pick up their record. I was annoyed by having to go back to "A," but this record is well worth it.
Appalachian Terror Unit is an anarcho-punk/crust band from West Virginia. The sound is reminiscent of some of the heavier anarcho-punk bands like Amebix and Antisect that would become the sonic inspiration for crust punk. Featuring heavy (but not sludgy) guitars and shouty (but not overly growly) vocals, ATU fills that space that bands like Aus Rotten used to occupy in the late '90s. There's nothing super original about their musical performances--they play a genre. But they play it REALLY, REALLY well. The performances are flawless and powerful, the production feels full without being overproduced.
This record features female lead vocals that alternate with a male backing vocalist in a way that remind me a bit of Nausea. The singers deliver passionate, urgent protests against the drug war, environmental degradation, the two party system, commercialized health care, and similar topics. The lyrics are intelligent and the content seems well-researched and thoughtful (leaving aside some spelling and grammatical errors in the accompanying lyrics booklet). Some of the songs feature rants in the middle that add a lot more content and substance than some bands in the genre bring to their lyrics. While there's nothing terribly original about the topics or critiques they offer, the band does a bring an interesting perspective to their discussion of environmental issues. Hailing from West Virginia, the destruction that is inherent in Appalachian coal mining is right in their backyards. They have firsthand experience with the devastation that this industry leaves behind, and their lyrics recognize the hazards that workers in this industry face, the damage that is wrought on the environment, and great lengths that industry will go to cover up both of these travesties.
All in all, if you like crust or heavy anarcho-punk, this record is really good. I'd go so far as to say it's a must have for fans of Amebix, Aus Rotten, Nausea, Anti-Sect, or Icons of Filth. And their nice folks, too!
Here's the title track if you want to check it out.
Total songs listened: 857