So, to the second installment of my utterly self-indulgent WHYDOESN'TEVERYONELIKETHISALBUMASMUCHASIDO series. It's time for my two favourite '80s Australian hardcore bands, Massappeal from Sydney, and Civil Dissident from Melbourne.
To dispel the myth that all Aussies are uncouth drunken yobs, here's a pic of me and a couple of friends. Just peacefully hangin' after a show, but still gettin' hassle from The Man. It was a good night though, as you can see, I scored...
Anyway, amongst the bands located in the south-east of the country that I was into, like Death Sentence, 4 Thousand Million (best band from the city I grew up in, Canberra), Gash, Depression, etc, the two that always stood out for me were the two mentioned above.
Sydney's Massappeal played face melting crossover thrash with a bias towards hardcore over metal. But the metal influence was there, and came to the fore in their later albums. Problem was, they were a much better hc band than metal band, and they ended up kind of losing it (sucking). That's not important though, what matters is that their first 12'', 7'' and LP are mandatory ear destruction. Their awesome 1990 LP, Jazz, saw them slow down a little and adopt a more metallic hc sound, pretty obviously Black Flag inspired. It's a rad album, and you really should find it and give it a listen.
Their first and greatest though, was their 1986 thrash attack Nobody Likes A Thinker. But don't listen to the reissue CD with all the live tracks and shit. This is the only way to hear it... the original 12'', short, ripping and leaving you hungry for more. They played a lot of shows and always ruled; loud, tight as fuck, and more than willing to completely pulverize a dickhead's face with a folded-up cymbal stand. I'm referring to what I saw one of Massappeals members do at the infamous Canberra show with DRI in '87. Said show erupted into a massive brawl, punks and a few headbangers Vs. a notoriously violent crew of skinhead fuckwits who had shown up just to sabotage the fun. Long story, but if you're interested, I had a good rant about it in the comments on this DRI post at Cosmic Hearse a while ago.
Where Massappeal favoured the US tendency to sing about introspective angst and social issues, Melbourne's Civil Dissident were far more political, a la the UK anarcho bands. Most non-Aussies probably got to know them through the two tracks on Pushead's Cleanse The Bacteria comp. They didn't release much - the First Blood 7'' and a bunch of compilation tracks. Fortunately, in '96 Prank Records collected that 7'' and all those comp tracks into an excellent LP called Menzies' Crack. It rules. These guys played punk thrash mixed with a bit of mid-tempo hc, maybe a little sloppier than Massappeal, but I reckon they had a bit more of an original quality to their music than their Sydney counterparts.
Incidentally, the last track "Memories of Menzies" sounded like shit on this rip, so I replaced it with the version from the Not So Lucky Country comp (sort of like our Not So Quiet On The Western Front). On it you can hear some sound bites that will show you what a racist, tiny-minded, parochial little fuckhole my beautiful country is. "Oh, but those are from decades ago", I hear you say, "it must have changed". You have no idea.
Finally, sorry for being so crude in the opening paragraph. The way we really keep warm in the winter down here is with happy group hugs.