Review by Jeff Maki
Several months ago, I finally purchased Discharge’s classic album Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing on vinyl. I had been a fan of the U.K. hardcore band for years, but I had never owned the album in physical form. I listened to it over the next few days and thought to myself that my record collection is coming into form as I continue to fill in the punk and metal classics. Then only a few days later, Discharge announced it had signed a record deal with Nuclear Blast and was releasing a new studio album called End of Days. After an advance listen, I won’t be waiting nearly as long to pick this one up.
Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing is credited as paving the way for thrash metal, black metal and grindcore, and is considered the blueprint for a hardcore album. Discharge’s influence can be heard in just about any extreme metal genre. After the seminal debut, much like The Misfits, more albums and singles were released with various band lineups. In 2002, the band reformed and released Discharge. Its last album, Disensitise, was released in 2008. I don’t believe either of these releases gained much traction, as this is the first I had heard of them when I researched the band. Maybe that explains the eight-year hiatus.
So where does this leave Discharge in 2016? The lineup now features founding members Rainy (bass), Bones (guitar) and Tezz (guitar), drummer Proper and a new vocalist, Jeff “J.J.” Janiak. Why is Discharge back? Nostalgia? Is this an attempt to relive the glory days? Well, who the fuck cares, because End of Days is like a shock to the system, relishing in hardcore fury.
The band loses absolutely nothing with J.J. on vocals, as his style is identical to former vocalist Kelvin “Cal” Morris. (Where is that guy now anyway?) He delivers his vocals in the same motivational manner as if he’s protesting and rallying his followers to go against the grain. The 15 songs retain the minimalistic style, D-beat (a punk-rock drum beat Discharge is credited with inventing), violent guitar chords and solos—this is also something that sets Discharge apart from your average punk band.
The album’s opener, “New World Order,” works both as a political and musical statement that Discharge is back. The title track, the fast and furious”Hatebomb” and the hardcore-punk-styled “Infected” are all standouts. “Raped and Pillaged”—do I even need to continue? I think we get the idea. The entire album has the classic ’80s hardcore sound. It’s almost as if everything after its debut until now has been ignored and End of Days is Discharge’s proper second release.
It’s safe to say if you like Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing, then End of Days is like its brother in hardcore—except this is probably even more of an aggressive record from start to finish. This is one of my favorite releases of 2016.
(Nuclear Blast Records, May 13, 2016)