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I don’t know if purists consider this the first speedcore album ever issued, but with a release date of ’83 and clearly pre-dating Cryptic Slaughter, Siege, Repulsion, Heresy and many other stalwarts, I’ll be happy to say that Arizona’s D.R.I. were more than bit ahead of their time. Which might be said of the tempos of their songs themselves, as an obsession with hyper-fast speed and songs that approximated quick, blunt slaps to the face dominate this and other early releases from the band.
But D.R.I. was not just a talent-deprived bunch of pissed off teenagers. They were a very talented bunch of pissed off teenagers, which makes all the difference when it come to good versus poor record making. The vocals, delivered by pissed off teen Kurt Brecht, are furious but clear and somewhat articulate in their delivery of pissed off teen themes like parents, peers, society, school, and other crucial stuff. The guitar work of Spike Cassidy is uniformly sound, not being as noisy or blurry as future grindcore and death metal noises would, but pack a tight and precise punch all the same. For their part, the drum and bass dudes take it upon themselves to hold things together at the fastest tempos possible, and it’s this tightness that set D.R.I. and their growing speedcore contingent apart from the legions of drunken Discharge clones who felt playing sloppy was an attribute of punk, and not simply an indication of lacking talent. But as the general riot of “Capitalist Suck,” “I Don’t Need Society,” “Commuter Man,” “Who Am I,” “Money Stinks,” “Reaganomics,” and “Blockhead” rage forth, one’s jaw must hang open at the dexterity displayed here.
No production credits given on the original LP, as it’s pretty much a plug the stuff in a let rip kind of deal, but that’s just fine. The sound is in your face, angry and raw like a sashimi salad. Speedcore would flourish (a bit) in the years to come, but this is the genre at it’s purest. Pissed-off teens rule, man!