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In 1982 Hardcore Punk was raging all over the world, but more or less every influental, genre defining band was from the US or the UK. Unlike their British counterparts, however, many of the American bands were trying to play faster than the rest and although there was quite some competition (e.g. Boston's SSD or Austin's MDC), it was three 17 year old kids from Boston, who seemed to have come out of nowhere, who took the cake.
Consequently, when D.R.I. finally entered the recording studio to record the Dirty Rotten EP, their only competitors for being the fastest band in the world were Gang Green with their contribution to the "This Is Boston, Not L.A." compilation. Apart from Gang Green, however, there was no other band around in 1982 who played as fast as D.R.I. on this release.
From the first drum beats of "I Don't Need Society" to Kurt's last shouting of "Blockhead!", from 20-second-assaults like "Why", "Balance Of Terror" (the second half, i.e. without the "intro"), "Human Waste", "Draft Me", "F.R.D.C." or "Plastique" to an (over 2 minutes long!) "epic" like "Sad To Be" there is not one redundant note to be found on here. This is Hardcore Punk at its very best: raw, fast, in-your-face!
Although the songs on this album are very short, these are structured, well-thought-out, complete songs with intros, verses, choruses, breaks and even guitar solos/fills ("My Fate To Hate" (25 seconds), "Closet Punk" (31 seconds)).
What's really fascinating about this release, though, is the fact that it is so fucking catchy. No matter how fast they played, D.R.I. could write some really catchy choruses ("Reaganomics", "No Sense", "Capitalists Suck", "War Crimes"), catchy songs ("I Don't Need Society", the accelerating "Commuter Man", "Yes Ma'am", "Dennis' Problem") or even real (i.e. even more catchy) Hardcore Punk "hits" like "Who Am I" and "Money Stinks".
The Dirty Rotten EP has become an all-time classic, because really everything has come together on it: Great riffs, a great production, great lyrics, great machine gun vocals and, last but not least, an insanely fast, yet kind of sloppy, but pretty unique and highly imaginative drummer, whose style added very much to the brilliance of this album.
At the time of its release The Dirty Rotten EP was the fastest album in the world (and it maintained its title for quite some time) and it demonstrated perfectly what Hardcore Punk was all about: Four kids, who seemed to explode with creativity, crammed everything into 20- to 75-second-songs, went into a studio to record 22 songs in two days and created a fast, raw and intense masterpiece, that still stands as one of the best albums ever made. A truly perfect album!