Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Revelation Revisited

Many moons ago, in this blog's updated-more-frequently era, I mentioned that I'd owned a really large chunk of Revelation Records' early releases (see here) and then joked about doing a retrospective on my feelings for each release, all these years later. It seemed like a really bad idea.

So now I'm going to do it. It's been 20 years since I graduated high school, and that was the year I discovered most of this stuff. And a lot of it still comes up when I work out -- in fact, that might be a marketing idea. Workouts for aging ex-straight-edge guys, trying to work off the beer. "Rev It Up!"

Revelation's really the only choice for this -- there was a decent amount of time where I was crazy with anticipation for any release, and that lasted long into the period where they were more defined by Whirlpool and Engine Kid than bands I actually liked. Even now, I check the webpage semi-regularly. Dischord is really the only other label I could conceivably do this for -- they probably affected my personal ethos more than Rev did -- but in my formative years they were putting out stuff like Holy Rollers and Fidelity Jones that I didn't like even then. Beyond that, what is there? Victory? New Age? Vermiform?

This will last until I either run out of releases I listened to or I get bored with it. So until then, welcome to Revelation Revisited.

#1 -- Warzone "Lower East Side Crew"

1991: OMG SKINHEADS

2011: I kinda wish Revelation had put out more stuff like this.

Young Greg never really gave this one a chance. May have had a little to do with the lack of big black Xs on their hands, may have had a bit more to do with the fact that some of their stuff came out on Caroline Records, which had some vague bigger-business ties that I didn't understand but were sufficient for me to purse my lips and shake my head. But most of it was that here it was in the flesh, the skinhead threat, subject of very serious CBS special reports.

Never mind that the only skinheads I knew were kind of depressing dorks, not a threat to anyone except themselves -- the topper being an illegal immigrant who rebranded himself as an American pride skinhead and called himself "Beans" -- I'd lived kind of a sheltered life, and it took more time than I'd care to admit to accept that at least in Tucson, skins weren't any sort of threat or any sort of influence, positive or negative. My fevered MRR reading probably didn't help -- I really thought that skinheads, Krishnas, and major labels were the three worst things out there.

(none of this was sufficient to keep me from owning a copy of "Lower East Side Crew" and later selling it for a decent chunk -- even at my most stridently doctrinaire, I was capable of astonishing moral flexibility)

Now, with the benefit of some perspective and no longer caring a whit about hardcore scene politics, it's hard to find what upset me here. By all accounts Raybeez was a pretty wonderful human being, and there aren't any lyrical problems (unity is good, lack of unity is bad, let's all work together) here. What is something of a (sorry) revelation is how much I kinda dig this. The dirty production and the sheer urgency sound really, really good to my jaded ears; it's more organic hardcore than the more polished stuff that the label became known for. I've gone full-circle now. In 1991 I was more "Start Today" -- in 2011 I'm more "Lower East Side Crew."

The Verdict, comparing 2011 to 1991: much better.

More of this to come! Unless I get bored.

1 comment:

Brushback said...

Yeah, keep going.

I have a couple of Warzone stories but it's late and they're dumb so I don't feel like typing them.