Punk for The Gospel Benefit Compilation

Punk for The Gospel Benefit is a 2 volume compilation consisting of 42 bands who donated songs to help raise money and awareness to support the work of foreign Missionaries and families which includes Dave Emmerson of The Old-timers and Aaron “Liberty” Wells of True Liberty, from within the Christian punk community. It is also one triumphant barrage of high quality punk music brought together by Thumper Punk Records and Caustic Fallout. Eclectic and highly charged, the album hits all the right spots whilst doing good things at the same time, a winning combination.

The first important thing to note, other than the cause of course, is that the release is for everyone who loves punk in any form. Many, like we initially wondered, might think it will be ‘an in your face’ faith shout from beginning to end but though the tracks all come from Christian bands and are predominantly in praise of ‘the higher good’, the release is a stirring charge of energy, great sounds, and good will, which has more than something for everybody, believers or not.

The 42 songs which are split evenly over the two volumes include 19 which are either new or previously unreleased and include the first song released by The Deal in 8 years. The impressive thing about the compilation is that truthfully there is not a moment where quality takes a dive just to make up the numbers, every song in their live, raw, or polished studio form grabbing the fullest and most satisfied attention. Obviously personal tastes dictates some tracks light bigger fires than others and it is individual to each, but even those just sparking appreciation do it with pleasing passion and energy to leave one fully contented. The tracks mentioned further on are our favorites only, with those not mentioned left to surprise and delight when you make your own investigation which you really should.

Volume 1 starts off with the old school punk of South African band The Old-timers and their song This City, a direct and challenging track which sets the tone and cocks the trigger for the release ahead, the hungry and rampant breath lighting the touch paper to quality punk energy and sounds across the board.

The excellent Offspring like Homeland Insecurity from Californian melodic hardcore band Dogwood has the pulse rate firing and soon has its back covered by the great Flatfoot 56 and their excellent Smoke Blower, an explosion of intensity and punk rock complete with anthemic choruses and glorious pipes blazing away in the background.

The album continues in strong and varied style but finds its fullest height at the end with a quartet of songs to ignite every passion. The first of the quartet Hold On from The Altar Billies fuses great strains of rockabilly into its presence whilst The Meteors lined Swing Low, Sweetheart by Alaskan band The Scurvies is simply irresistible psychobilly.

As the album plays one quibble did arise and that was lack of female fronted bands but Mason Summers do remedy that a little with their dual vocal attack from Lydia Danger and Mikey Scars in their sinister and hypnotic song Pedestal.

The best song of the whole compilation ends the first volume, a track as essential as it is infectious. I Wanna Be A Kennedy from The Shiny Darks is stunning, the Texans exploring the ear with incendiary melodic strikes and intrusive beats all borne from a flaming energy and intent.

The second volume it has to be said starts off as the first ended, with songs to leave one breathless, deeply satisfied, and energised through some of the best punk rock around today. Marked For Life from Virginian punks True Liberty fires up all the senses with intense energy and Bad Religion and NOFX like dynamic sounds. The song sets up the album perfectly, again the track listing making sure fires are raging from the off.

The following hardcore veined Retaliate from False Idle and the melodic punk gem Blind Eye from The Way ensure the great start is continued and built upon whilst the rock driven Nancy Don’t Fall Asleep from The Deal is a welcome return from the band.

Again this album is a consistent treat from start to finish and arguably stronger than its sister volume, especially with the inclusion of two songs as magnificent as the top one of the other volume. Haunted House from Grave Robber is brilliant, a Sex Pistols/Misfits/Calabrese feast of terror to dine on forever, horror punk at its very best and equalled in excellence by the Metanoia song Evidente. The track from the Chileans is high octane skilled punk rock brought with craft and unbridled energy, a real find amongst so many on the whole release.

As said there is nothing but great sounds and bands on the album and surely a must check out for all punk lovers. Available either as individual purchases or as a bargain package, Punk for The Gospel Benefit is a release well worthy in cause and sound of your time and attention.

To find out more about the album go to http://thumperpunkrecords.storenvy.com

RingMaster 05/09/2012

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The Old-timers: Soli Deo Gloria

South African based punk band The Old-timers list in their influences the likes of GBH, The Subhumans, Headnoise, and Minor Threat, inspirations their music proudly builds upon. As their debut album Soli Deo Gloria shows the trio do not hold back in either sound, energy or passion, their lyrical theme and music created to glorify God whilst have one riot of fun in the process. Released jointly through Thumper Punk Records, Caustic Fallout, and Veritas Vinyl, the album is fourteen unashamed storms of emotion and aggressive energy which leaves one thoughtful, provoked and satisfied.

The Old-timers is a band thanks to modern technology which creates music at distance. Vocalist Dave Emerson and guitarist/bassist Don live in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth respectively and twelve hours apart, whilst drummer Matt Lagusis is based in California. With the mixing of the album being done in Idaho and the mixing in North Carolina, it is a release which has chalked up some cyber miles in its making.

The seeds of the band came when Dave whilst on holiday in the home town of Don, met him through a mutual friend in 2011. Their joint love of punk and the JCHC (Jesus Christ Hardcore) movement helped a strong friendship emerge and the eventual sending over of tunes from Don which Dave leapt upon with love and vocals. The tracks became the Punk’s Not Dead! Nor Are We! demo which led the band to the attention of the previously mentioned labels and the planning of an album. At this point Matt who was playing drums for another Thumper Punk Records band, False Idle, joined the band, and now Soli Deo Gloria, one feels it is time for The Old-timers to take their place on the punk map.

From the first track The Old-Timers Intro one knows they are in for a blast of old school punk rock brought with just the right amount of discord, aggression, and irresistible hooked riffs. From the brief declaration the album soon explodes into the boiled atmosphere of Adonai’s Agape and its ‘ode’ to the Son of God. It is an in your face surge of passion and energy which easily whips up the senses into an agitated pleasure. The melodic hooks of Don are as infectious as the coarse shouts of Dave are hungry in sharing their intent. Vocally there is rare deviation throughout the album to the hardcore delivery shown here but it never did Henry Rollins any harm right?

The first single from the album, This City is another tasty slice of senses ruffling and emotion baiting, its power and rough handling of the ear pleasing and greedily welcomed. As the track plays, thoughts of the likes of UK band Crisis, Angelic Upstarts and Shelter come to mind, the sound a feisty mix of all and dripping Old-timers distinctness.

Songs like Posi Isn’t Enough, the Suicidal Tendencies like eruption On Hope, and the contagious Prescribed Rebellion with its irresistible addictive melodies and shifting muscles, leave one tenderised and smiling in satisfaction but it is with the title track that the band deliver the biggest triumph. Soli Deo Gloria from its opening riffs and bruising rhythms slaps the senses into adoration within moments. The song excites and incites with every note and syllable, the music driving with a wicked grooved mission to infest and the vocals offering their only real moment of variety on the release, the expected shouts stepping aside at times for actual singing and group shouts and it works a treat. One wonders if this would have made a better first single but it will get its day for sure.

Soli Deo Gloria is a great album with for many will have a big but. For many like us who do not share the same beliefs and passions as the band, we welcome their heart and thoughts but just like bands that use other personal passions and themes to fuel their creativity and energy, when it borders or leaps into preaching, the barriers come up. At times the album comes over that way, track after track slamming home the uncomplicated and direct lyrical content within. The passion driving through makes the release powerful admittedly, but the lack of subtlety and repetition becomes a demand and order rather than a guiding message or heartfelt view to leave one with some negativity towards what is one punk album which still is able to fire up any punk heart. The Old-timers join the growing brigade of great bands showing real punk has not had its day.

RingMaster 15/08/2012

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