Wednesday, August 27, 2008

G&P review: Amebix (Crust Punk Reissue Week Part 1)

No Sanctuary: The Spiderleg Recordings
Alternative Tentacles

“No Gods, No Masters” – amazing how that simple, iconic statement managed to sum up the collective outlook of not only Amebix but subsequent generations of crust punks and metal minions.
Hell, it’s such an anthemic idea Amebix recycled it a few years later on Monolith’s “Chain Reaction.”
Amebix dressed like the Cult and rocked like Venom gone punk and this remastered collection typifies pretty much everything that would define crust.
After a legal skirmish lasting a few years, Alternative Tentacles, which released Amebix’s stone fucking classic Arise!, has finally secure the rights to release the punkers’ earliest music. These larval tracks, while far more simplistic than those that would appear on later albums, are a significant trip through the WABAC machine to view the birth of what would become crust punk.
The outlook is suitably apocalyptic and the songs lack any subtlety and are generally declamatory – “No Gods, No Masters,” “The Church is For Sinners” and “Sanctuary” (as in there is no). Though Amebix’s swampy dynamics were already in play, but the later metallic influences were only in their nascent stages.
Though not as polished or as crucial as their later output, Amebix recorded these earliest songs with scrounged money while the band was living in Bristol squats with junkies and hookers. The songs’ production lags well behind later albums and that poor production often saps the music’s energy and immediacy. But “Curfew” is a short, fast and loud punk battering ram, “Sunshine Ward” is the kind of drug addled tour throw the psychoward Amebix would later perfect on “Largactyl” and the ferocious roar of “Winter” is a sign post to everything that would be realized on Arise!
Heavy Metal Records put kiss off record Monolith back in widespread circulation last year and now Alternative Tentacles is assuring the third wing of the Amebix triptych is readily available, allowing us to trace the progression of crust’s seminal auteurs from an ugly British squat straight through their metal inflected denouement.


Long-Hi said...

Just to add a little something to the Amebix talk, I'm not sure that "No Gods, No Masters" is to be taken literally, as in punks like to satirize the literal and any form of propaganda whatsoever. If you could sum up the punk scene in a quote, most of us would not like punk anymore. Everything about punk is a negation on a negation, a cunundrum or a riddle, an effort to say you don't make any effort, and so forth. Crass had already claimed "punk is dead" in the 70s, but here we are, whatever this is. The picture of the Amebix head is of a man grinning and a dramatic portrayal of the third eye opening, perhaps alluding to enlightenment? It was the zen anarchists who had shocked their religious world centuries ago getting away with saying this kinda stuff on the same level as the Amebix quotes. If you actually believe punks don't believe in a God or any kind of mastery, self or other, then take a look around and there is absolutely no consensus. It is the punk way to think for yourself, even of masters and Gods, and fucking Amebix knew that, so they tried to deny it too. Now it is Amebix who is being worshipped as a master and god, the irony fucking kills! hahaha

Anonymous said...

i dont know if the last comment is from a religious person or not,but i know i sure as hell take "No Gods No Masters" very literally. all of the symbolism used on Amebix and other like minded crust type bands all goes back to an anti-religious,anti-slave mentality. i dont know about you,but most people i know who love Amebix are definitely not into bullshit religion and being blindly led,or believing in made up gods.

eexcessive said...

yeah, No gods no masters is an anarchist slogan that amebix borrowed. Most anarchist would take it literally.