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An Unsung Influence - 90%

corviderrant, February 10th, 2007

This was one of the last really good albums by Edinborough's finest punk export, and one of the first albums of theirs I bought years ago. It can be safely said that their buzzbomb hobnailed boot approach made an impression, because years after the fact this album still packs a mighty pissed off wallop. They were everything but resting on their laurels and it showed in their furious delivery of some of their best songs to date as well as a tad of experimentation that fit pretty well, actually.

With loud, clean production that no doubt had the punk purists howling "Sellout!" indignantly (fuck 'em), this album still dominates with its alternating furious blasts of noisy punk mania and slower, more considered songs that are more deliberate in their delivery. Of course they still are angry as all hell and Wattie Buchan is far from a soft and sensitive New Age crooner. His nettled yelling and thick Scots accent adds an extra edge of authenticity to their headlong musical charge and his lyrics are simple and direct, littered with profanity and getting right to the point most of the time. How can you mistake a song like "I Hate You" with lyrics like "Went to a party, caught you fucking my mate!/I hate you!" for anything other than what it is?

The title track starts things off with an ominous bass line that is soon joined by thunderous tribal drumming and ends up being one of the more atmospheric songs on here (this is a relative term, naturally) with its menacing vibe and Wattie's bellowing the verses about Third World countries starving to death and nobody giving a damn making you take note. The chorus is more subdued and shows Wattie speaking the lyrics and assuring people that they are unable to handle truth being worse than fiction before roaring "YOU CAN'T STAND IT, THE HORROR EPICS!!!"

The rest of the album, as I said, alternates between slower, more structured tunes ("My Life", "Forty Odd Years Ago", for example) and their usual violent thrash mania ("I Hate You", "Don't Forget The Chaos", "Maggie"). "Maggie" in particular is a barbed and nasty full-on attack on then-British PM Margaret Thatcher, coming out and saying it flat out on the chorus: "MAGGIE!!! Maggie, ya cunt!!!" and Wattie adds the capper by drawling "Fook yoo, Maggeh!" at the end. "Don't Forget The Chaos" is another standout with its anti-war/anti-nukes message and frenzied blitz as well as some gnarled lead guitar noise."My Life" is the slowest song on the album, featuring more tribal drumming and dominant bass lines over Wattie's declaration of his independence from the system, and it is far from mellow, instead tense and angry (what else are the Exploited if not angry?) as he bellows away enthusiastically.

Damned if this isn't a classic and essential piece of punk rock history. But be punk and don't take my word for it; get it, find out for yourself, and make your own damn mind up.