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The Exploited are often regarded as one of the best hardcore punk acts ever- and there's no doubt about it. Their first and second albums are located deep inside the punk hall of fame, and spawned very angry genre-defying classics such as Punk's Not Dead, UK 82, and the list could go on forever. Their third album, Let's Start a War... ...Said Maggie One Day, marked a change in their musical style, and laid down the tracks to the thrash sound of their later career.
This album begins with a radio/TV broadcaster discussing terrorism, and then, like sunshine in a rainy day, the instruments kick with Wattie's trademark heavy Scottish-accented hardcore wailing. It seems like Wattie's been tortured with nonstop Conservative propaganda and with some mainstream pop which caused him to loathe every single politician on earth (and that's how you get the trademark Wattie howl). Accompanying the vocals, are the instruments, which burst like a meteor shower on a clear day- especially the frenetic drums and bass which dominate the pace of the album and add a lot to its untamed manner.
The songs themselves and their arrangements are very varied compared to other hardcore punk albums. On one side, you have the midpaced punk rock rebel anthems, and on the other side, you have the blasting almost-crossover songs (Psycho, Rival Leaders). Except for the usual punk/hardcore structure to the songs, you also get a few twists in the songs which keep every song in the album more refreshing and interesting to the other- whether it's the blues tinged Kidology, or the depressing Insanity( which has a riff that is suspiciously similar to Metallica's Orion) ,and guitar solos which are a very rare thing in punk, and surprisingly don't interrupt the furious nature of the songs.
A very strong point of this album is the production. It is exactly the opposite of polished, but every instrument is heard- and especially crunchy guitars and bass that dominate the album with their power. Another strong point of the album is the use of recorded radio broadcasts in songs. They represent the album's extreme anti-establishment, and help with complimenting the atmosphere of the album and its lyrical themes which revolve around anti-politics, anarchy and despair, but are delivered with a slight sass and a load of attitude;
"Guns go off around my head
As I fall over the fallen dead
Cordite fumes that sting my eyes
The infantry's always the first to die" (Should We Can't We)
Overall, this album could be described as a UK hardcore masterpiece and should be more recognized among metal fans. Mandatory.
(Don't be irritated by the title of my review, you'll get the idea after reading it)
The Exploited somewhat changed with this album. Not only their style but the whole punk movement. Moving from traditional UK82 punk, to more hardcore related punk, this album was and still is a huge impact within the entire genre. I do belive 'Let's Start a War' is highly influenced by hardcore punk legend DISCHARGE'S debut album, because you here the traditional and legendary D-BEAT that's used in death-, thrash-, power- & speed metal and hardcore punk nowdays.
What makes this album a milestone of the development within the punk scene, is not only the influence. No, it's the anger, the hate, the aggressiveness.
Sure, that's nothing new for hardcore punk, but this is the album that started it all!
In fact I do consider it to be the first hardcore punk album in history, because 'Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing' from Discharge just wins a consolation prize when you compare it to this, because the lack of speed here and there makes it "slow" when you compare it to 'Let's Start a War'.
Despite the lyrics who somewhat aren't very original, the music is pure ownage.
What we have here is even faster than Kill 'em All (Metallica) & Show No Mercy (Slayer), both albums that got released in the same year. The production is typical for the hardcore punk genre, bass is tuned down while the guitars create the speed and the drums just kick the shit out of everything. The vocals are as mean as it get's, you somewhat feel attacked and just ask yourself "what the fuck did I do?"
'Let's Start a War' doesn't offer originality, or a bunch of riffs that will get unforgettable like let's say...Black Sabbath's 'Paranoid'. No, this album offers you speed and influence.
Influence? Yes, that, and a punch in the middle of your face so you can think about what ACTUALLY DID influence all your thrash metal heros, sucker!