Monday, January 25, 2010

Review #50: Kraut - An Adjustment to Society (1982)


Year: 1982
Genre: Punk Rock
Sub-Genres: Hardcore
Label: Cabbage Records
Tracks: 16
Length: 31 Minutes (Medium-Length)
Style: Political/Rebellious
My Rating: 6/8

Kraut is a hardcore-punk band from New York City that formed in 1981. One of their first gigs was as an opening act for the Clash, and they are notorious for being the first independent band to get their video played on MTV (the music video for "All Twisted"), and quite possibly the first ever hardcore band to get mainstream exposure. The band released three LPs and various singles throughout the '80s, and reformed in 2009, so if you like them, you could go see one of their shows possibly sometime very soon!

This album itself is the most punky LP that they released, as in the mid-1980s they changed their sound to a more metal-oriented one, but here they sound like a typical New York hardcore band with maybe a touch of Oi to their musical style.

1. All Twisted
One of their most well-known songs. Starts with a hard-hitting riff and thumping bass drums. The first verse starts, and Davey Gunner's rough vocals set the mood to the song. This song is actually pretty melodic and catchy for a hardcore song. The song's sings about the "twisted" policemen who seem to be just out to get a quick buck and arrest anyone they can get their hands on. A truly awesome solo takes place during the middle of the song. Best song on the record.

2. Mishap
Shortest song on the album (under a minute long!). Very fast beat, swift riffs, and quick vocals (those are all words for 'really fast').

3. Unemployed
The riff is pretty lead-driven. Davey sings with more melody in this one. Can't find the lyrics for most of these songs, so I dunno what some of these are about! :-(

4. Onward
Slightly faster than the previous track (about the same as 'All Twisted'). Excellent use of vocal harmonies and there's a great solo as well!

5. Don't Believe
Very uplifting riff. It seems to be an anthem to freedom from government behavior-control and anti-war sentiments.

6. Abortion
This one's really fast, too. I'm guessing it's about abortion. I guess it is about abortion. But I dunno the lyrics for this one.

7. Bogus
The intro to this song is slow and loaded with an ominous riff and rolling drums. Suddenly, there's a pause, and it goes into a fast-n'-thrashy bit. Another slow mid-section after that. And then you probably know what happens next. Slow one more time after the next fast part. The end.

8. Matinee
Starts with really fast blast-beats, and then a fast but not-quite-that-fast section with the chant of "I'M FUCKING MY GIRL AT THE MATINEE!!". It seems to be a song about a kid who gets in trouble for having sex and then eventually runs away from his douchebag parents.

9. Arming the World
Starts with a long synth intro, probably done on a keyboard or something. Nice use of variety, there. Then the synths are replaced by guitars and clattering cymbals, as an "ARE YOU READY? WORLD WAR III!" can be heard in the background. The main part of the song begins, and I think it's about fears of Ronald Reagan starting World War III and totally fucking over the country. The song ends with a similar outro as what the intro sounded like. Another one of the best songs on the album.

10. Getaway
This one's a little happier than the song before it. It's not very long.

11. Doomed Youth
Very fast. It's a song about the youth of America needing to "run and hide" from oppression that is to come.

12. Last Chance
I swear I made up this riff before I even heard this song! Dammit. Well, it's still a pretty good song. The lyrics are about the unpredictability of the government's actions towards the citizens, further playing on the theme of Cold War-era fear.

13. Sellout
A happier-sounding song. Basically a song describing a "sellout" as a person who will take orders from anybody else to make a buck.

14. Army Sport
Another very fast song. Pretty cool verse riff.

15. Society's Victim
This is a slow song. Great riff. The title is pretty self-explanatory. A man (or woman) who feels victimized by society. The song catches you off-guard at the end when it sounds like it's about to end, but it bites back for an ultra-fast conclusion.

16. Kill for Cash
Originally from their first 7" single. Starts pretty happy-sounding with a slow pop-punk intro and a solo. Suddenly, things get more aggressive, and the song gets harder and faster, singing about the government starting wars and killing and stupid shit just to make money. End of the album.

This album is really good! It's early '80s hardcore, but it has a lot more melody and diversity to it than some of your average-joe bands of the time. It sounds way better than the majority of "modern hardcore". The lyrics are pretty political, discussing problems on a social level AND on a large-scale level. It's a pretty solid listen, and if you like fast hard stuff, I highly recommend this!

(P.S. -- Steve Jones from the Sex Pistols plays guitar on some parts of this record!)


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