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Class 6(66)

Disrupt: Unrest

11/10/11  ||  Habakuk

Introduction

Yet another band too cool for Metal Archives. The ignorance of that site is only matched by its usefulness for everything “real”-metal related – but let’s not turn this into a site review, shall we. Disrupt’s 1994 30-song album “Unrest” truly is an epitome of American crust and hardcore blending together perfectly (and bordering on grind) for an intense 50 minutes of absolute mayhem, and that’s even more important than clos-eminded failure.

I’ve had this review in my “to-do” queue forever now, because I couldn’t find the right words to begin with – although the album is listed on my last.fm as the one I’ve listened to the most, ever. Which can be partly explained as a statistical side effect of the short songs on the album, but still: I obviously like this. So, why no describe?!

The problem was not that this is too complicated for a description, but quite the contrary: How can something so simple be so fucken good? It hardly does anything out of the ordinary, but everything is so well-executed, this really became a sort of anchor for my crust listening habits. And here’s why.

Songwriting

“Songwriting” – Does the term even apply? This is hardcore punk to the bone. Fast, unrelenting, short, violent, and with “Discharge” written all over it. The riffs mainly consist of simple chord sequences and the underlying super-fast drum beat mashes it all into one big, seemingly chaotic mess, occasionally broken up by a more focused kick in the butt in riff form, or a bad-ass chorus. What Discharge came up with, Disrupt perfected. What’s not to love? Oh yeah, there are a bunch of absolutely nerve-wrecking intros, but that’s it. Play a song off this album next to, say, a Judas Priest song, and you’ll notice just how old metal sounds in comparison. Imagine early Napalm Death without blast beats, but a knack for tasty breakdowns and coming in a generally tighter overall package. 8

Production

The one big difference to Discharge, and why this is so much better from today’s perspective (in terms of being more listenable, not groundbreakage, of course), lies obviously in the production values. Gone are twangy guitars, muffled drumsounds and blurpy bass, “Unrest” (at least the 2007 re-release I’m talking about here) brought in a seriously kick-ass tone. Dirty enough to keep the lo-fi spirit alive with woolly dual guitars and fuzz-ridden bass guitar, yet sharp and heavy enough to hold up 29 years after Hear nothing, see nothing, say nothing. 9

Guitars

The two guitars give this a seriously heavy vibe. The guys don’t fiddle around with leads or solos, they just combine both instruments to form a thick wall of punk riffing. Simplistic as it may be, it’s not just untuned fuck-all note spitting, but tight and always focused playing – otherwise it would hardly work with dual guitars anyway. Chunky, meaty, good. 8

Vocals

There are two main vocalists, one of which sports a deep “punk growl”, as heard with Extreme Noise Terror. The other one has a more throat-wrecking approach with grating punk screaming. Plus, in some instances a lady called Alyssa Murry make an appearance. At first she might come across as annoying (female shouters…), but after a while she does indeed profit from what I call the “Raised Fist-effect” – her over the top yelling actually adds to the intensity of the music. It’s not a coincidence that I consider “A life’s a life”, featuring her most prominently, one of the best songs on this disc. And with not two, but at times even three vocalists all determined to spew their guts out if necessary, rest assured the overall result is nothing short of absolute havoc. 8.5

Bass

A thick fuzz carpet underlying the guitars, and occasionally playing a riff by itself to lead the charge. Have you ever heard bass do more on a crust album? 7

Drums

Unlike your cliché punk drummer, Randy Odierno is super-tight and right on the money for 50 minutes straight. Sure, d-beats are his home turf, but he goes beyond the simple snare-rolls-only variation and you’ll find thrashy half blasts next to awesomely groovy passages (“Human garbage”) and effective accentuations just as well. And interestingly enough, you won’t find any blast beats. Hard-hitting as he plays, Odierno’s stamina in a live setting must have been a sight to behold. Youtube actually has some footage, and although you can hardly see him go, the audio alone tells you he was in for the kill. 8.5

Lyrics

This shit is so left-wing it hurts, and leaves Misery Index behind a good mile. Animal rights, atheism, “anti-patriotism”, scene solidarity and whatnot are all legit topics, but delivered in an absolutely unfiltered punk fashion, I’d rather not read through them and just take incomprehensible yapping and grunts. Not that there is anything wrong with the lyrics, I’m just saying there is a reason I don’t listen to much punk, even though I probably often tend to agree on a basic level. They’re fun for being radical, but I can’t find much else in lyrics like “exorbitant prices must diminish, exorbitant prices must decrease!” Duh. 5

Cover art

The original version was a simple photo collage with not enough work put into it. The re-release comes with a well-composed high contrast black & white photo of US soldiers walking through corpses in a concentration camp. Nice eyecatcher with the red album title, too. All in all, I guess the Relapse re-releasers weren’t on the hunt for a good taste award, but it does work with the lyrical content, and after all, this is a crust album… 7

Logo

Spiky and nasty as it should be. The dot on the I looks like either a peace sign with way too much design around it, or Chewbacca. 8

Booklet

n/a. I can’t explain why, but I still don’t own a physical copy. What the hell? I’ve seen the original release’s booklet though, and it holds nothing but lyrics and thank yous. And the original disc print tells you that being vegetarian is better. k.

Overall and ending rant

At first sight it seems like you can start anywhere in the metal-related realms of a genre like crust. It all sounds the same, right? Wrong. My advice is to not be put off by millions of bands with a shit sound, and concentrate on the good stuff instead. Sure, there’s a big gang of Swedish d-beat masters, but for something a bit heavier, check out Disrupt and you’ll not be disappointed. dis dis dis.

9

  • Information
  • Released: 1994/2007
  • Label: Relapse
  • Website: Disrupt MySpace
  • Band
  • Jay Styles: vocals
  • Pete Kamarino: vocals
  • Alyssa Murry: additional vocals
  • Jeff Hayward: guitars
  • Terry Savastano: guitars
  • Rob Palumbo: bass
  • Randy Odierno: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 1. Domestic Prison
  • 2. Mass Graves
  • 3. Compliant
  • 4. A Life’s A Life
  • 5. Pay For…
  • 6. Unrest
  • 7. Reality Distortion
  • 8. Down My Throat
  • 9. Tortured In Entirety
  • 10. Religion Is A Fraud
  • 11. We Stand Corrected
  • 12. Faction Disaster
  • 13. Human Garbage
  • 14. Without Sincerity
  • 15. Neglected
  • 16. Same Old Shit
  • 17. For What?
  • 18. Squandered
  • 19. Mindlock
  • 20. Green To Grey
  • 21. Critics
  • 22. Dog Eat Dog
  • 23. Deprived
  • 24. Give It Back
  • 25. Victims Of Tradition
  • 26. Exorbitant Prices Must Diminish
  • 27. Smash Divisions
  • 28. Lack Of Intelligence
  • 29. No Values
  • 30. Solidarity