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Pro Patria Mori: Where Shadows Lie 12"

Pro Patria Mori: Where Shadows Lie 12"


Tags: · 80s · anarcho · hcpmf · punk · recommended · reissues · spo-default · spo-disabled
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$16.00
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$16.00

Pro Patria Mori, meaning "to die for your country", formed in Wokingham, Southeast of England in 1984. Though they never released any records, not even a track on a compilation but they did record two demos of which Where Shadows Lie is the second. Recorded and released in 1986, the demo is a total jewel of that era. It’s aggressive and fast paced anarcho punk with dual vocals, spoken word pieces, eerie interludes and dark political lyrics. The band were offered a release on Peaceville Records which never happened and played lots of gigs with Anti Sect and toured Italy playing a two day festival at the Virus in Milan. This release comes with a A3 Lyric Sheet plus a 44 Page Booklet with interviews, handouts, Fanzine pieces, reviews and more. If you yearn for the glory days of the 80’s and Anti Sect, Anti System and AOA - then this is a must. Demo Tapes have put their heart and soul into this release.

Our take: This vinyl version of Pro Patria Mori’s 1986 cassette is about as comprehensive and carefully produced as any punk reissue I’ve ever seen. Before we get to the packaging, though, let’s talk about the music. The years around 1986 seem like a very interesting time in the UK punk scene as the whole Crass / anarcho thing seems like it was very much on the wane and a new, more metal-influenced sound was on the ascent with bands like Sacrilege, Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower, and Axegrinder getting started and/or hitting their stride. Pro Patria Mori strike me as very much a product of that transition. Their incorporation of poetry into their music and their aesthetic feels very grounded in the bohemian world of Crass, as does their tendency to experiment with what sounds like tape loops (or at least very repetitive song structures and super open arrangements). However, Pro Patria Mori have no problem transitioning from this bohemian experimentation into some of the most brutal and primitive thrash-punk I’ve heard… one minute Where Shadows Lie might sound like Wire’s 154, and just a few minutes later you’re listening to something that sounds like Side A of Napalm Death’s Scum. Occasionally their punk can be a hair more tuneful—occasionally approaching something like early Upright Citizens or maybe Legion of Parasites—but the first two modes that I mentioned are the predominant ones. Yes, it’s kind of a jarring combination, but it’s an exhilarating one, and one that I can’t imagine really happening at any other time or place. Oh, and this isn’t some mega-raw demo-quality thing either… the sound on this reissue is full, clear, and powerful in a way that bands nowadays would kill to sound like. All of this adds up to something that is both a historical curiosity and a genuinely ripping punk record. Now that I’ve argued that the music is really interesting, I should note that this comes with one of the most extensive booklets I’ve ever seen in a punk record. It’s basically a full-size zine collecting what seems like every scrap of information relating to the band… you get everything from zine interviews, photos, and flyers to copies of the band’s correspondence with Peaceville Records (though, unfortunately a release on that label or any other never came to fruition). I love reading about this era of punk, but this booklet makes me realize that most of what I know comes from secondary sources and after-the-fact reflections, and the wealth of primary source material here is a real window into the time and place as well as the rich culture that operated with this music at the center. So, whether you just want to hear a criminally underrated slab or whether you’re an amateur scholar who loves learning as much as possible about a release’s context this reissue is totally essential.