When it comes to British grindcore band Sore Throat, you can at least say they know how to squeeze things.
Their 1987 Death to Capitalist Hardcore EP would be a double album for regular bands.
Well, Death to Capitalist Hardcore squeezes 45 songs, if you can call them that, into 18 minutes and 29 seconds.
You heard me right. They make Napalm Death’s Scum, which squeezes 28 songs into just over 32 minutes look like long play.
In 1987, Sore Throat and Napalm Death were performing a lot of what you could call “microsongs.” The microsong is one of the hallmarks of grindcore punk, being songs that are only seconds long.
The band itself consisted of Richard “Militia” Walker on vocals, Nick Royles of drums, John “Doom” Pickering on bass, Brian “Bri” Talbot on guitar. They were united for by their distaste for what they saw as commercial bands like D.R.I., OLD, Suicidal Tendencies and Napalm Death. They apparently were also anti-music, which you’ll find with Death to Capitalist Hardcore.
The majority of songs on Death to Capitalist Hardcore are microsongs, most averaging less than 20 seconds in length. The shortest is “S.S.A. Part II” at only five seconds. They’re marked by a blast of overwhelming drums and a few words that are screamed, usually incoherently.
These microsongs, they probably work live, but on an album, they just kind of feel like pieces of something else. A lot of them actually sound alike to me. I don’t know if that’s due to the production, which like Scum, brings the drums to the front of the mix, or the fact that the Sore Throat only had a handful of ideas what to do with these songs. They’re so short, I can’t really review them properly, so I can just give you my perception of the album.
The first they you may notice, right after how short the songs are, is that 90 percent of them seem to sound the same. Almost all of them start with the same feedback and end with a shout or growl.
If you’re a fan of this band, you’re probably going to tell me that the point of grindcore is to produce “anti-music.” If Napalm Death didn’t exist, I might agree with you, but they do, so you’re wrong. Napalm Death, unlike Sore Throat, made several of these microsongs memorable with the few seconds they lasted, which attests to the talent of that band.
Anyway, I’ll try to talk a little about the few tracks that resemble songs.
Probably the most well known tracks on here are the tracks attacking other bands. About the longest song on here is the “Ballad of Billy Milano.” It’s more of the same music wise in regards to the rest of the album, but it ends with a coherent “die Milano” at the end.
They also take a shot at Suicidal Tendencies with the five-second long “Fungicidal Tendencies.” I’m not even sure what they say in the track, so one might even miss that it’s supposed to be a diss.
“Social Genocide” is an actual song, but there’s not much to distinguish it. It’s kind of like what you’d expect off Napalm Death’s Scum if they didn’t know how to play their instruments.
Also, one of the things that stick out about this album is the man with a spike through his head holding what looks to be an album by D.R.I. I’m going to assume they are the “capitalist hardcore” that’s referenced in the title. D.R.I.’s album, Crossover (which my next review is about), came out in 1987 as well and is considered to be a ground-breaking album that melded punk and metal. Apparently the “true punks” considered a wider audience, good production and the ability to play one’s instruments well a sign of “selling out.”
D.R.I. is a target of one of the more coherent tracks, the 10-second long “D.R.I./E.M.I.” It’s not a particularly good “F.U.” track, considering all it says is “Who are we/D.R.I/ What’s our label?/E.M.I.”
But that’s neither here nor there. A lot of metalheads are the same, usually growing out of it by the time they graduate high school.
I would not recommend buying this unless you’re a grindcore completist or into novelty albums. There’s just not a lot there. One listen off YouTube and you’ve pretty much got the experience down. I just can’t really justify paying money for Death to Capitalist Hardcore, which may exactly be the point. To me, listening to so many identical-sounding songs is a waste of time. The novelty of the microsong wears off in about a minute.
Of course, if you’re punk, then you probably don’t give a crap what I say.