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Antidote: Thou Shalt Not Kill 12"

Antidote: Thou Shalt Not Kill 12"

Tags: · 80s · hardcore · hcpmf · new york · nyhc · recommended · reissues · USHC
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If you're a ravenous consumer of New York hardcore obscurities like us, then you probably pored over tape trading lists late at night and wondered if Antidote's "Nazi Youth" demo actually existed, or was just a figment of tape traders' imaginations, or was (more realistically) just a bad dub of the 7". Well lo and behold, when we were tasked with re-releasing Antidote's classic "Thou Shalt Not Kill" 7" EP, we asked the band to dig into the vaults for a little something extra to pad things out into a 12", and they came up in spades! In addition to the legendary 8-song EP, you get the band's first 7-song demo recorded in 1982 at Jerry Williams' infamous 171A Studios, plus two songs recorded shortly thereafter for the lost Bad Brains Records compilation, and a previously uncirculated 12-song live set from 1983. The early demos feature original Antidote singer Jeff White (plus future Prong/Danzig axeman Tommy Victor on bass) and show the natural evolution from the band's punky roots to the well-oiled hardcore machine they became on their vinyl debut. The live set features "Thou Shalt Not Kill" howler Louie Rivera and contains several lost tracks that never made it to the studio. That's 29 tracks total of classic New York hardcore, 21 of which have never been heard anywhere before!

The LP also includes a 16-page, 12"x12" booklet containing photos, flyers and extensive liner notes by guitarist/founding member Robb "Nunzio" Ortiz, plus a reproduction of the band's original sticker design.

Our take: I’ve been listening to Antidote’s Thou Shalt Not Kill EP for at least twenty years now, and this reissue has significantly increased my understanding and appreciation of this all-time hardcore classic. If you’ll indulge me in a bit of reminiscing, I’m pretty sure the first time I heard an Antidote song was on Redemption 87’s self-titled album, which came out in 1996 and practically lived on my turntable for my last couple years of high school. That album featured a cover of “Something Must Be Done.” I didn’t know it was a cover at the time; I just knew it was my favorite song on the record. A few years later, once the Internet made researching 80s hardcore much easier, I heard Thou Shalt Not Kill and realized why that song stood out so much from the others on the Redemption 87 album. Eventually I found a bootleg LP that compiled Thou Shalt Not Kill, the Abused’s Loud and Clear EP, the Mob’s first EP Upset the System, and Urban Waste’s self-titled EP. To me, that bootleg LP is the sound of New York Hardcore, or at least my favorite iteration of New York hardcore. While I love all four records deeply, it was a toss-up whether I liked Antidote or the Abused best, and it is wild that Radio Raheem has now given the world definitive reissues of both records. I’ve listened to this EP hundreds of times over the years and still know all the words, but I never learned much more about Antidote. Radio Raheem’s reissue fills a lot of gaps in my knowledge, the most exciting of which is the wealth of material here other than that classic EP, which is also compiled. First up is a batch of 1982 demo tracks that are just killer. They showcase a very different band than Thou Shalt Not Kill. While the lineup is mostly the same and they play several of the same songs, the band’s sound hasn’t come together yet, nor has Louie Rivera’s trademark vocal style (which surely must have influenced Ray Cappo profoundly, among many others). Not having those trademark elements of Thou Shalt Not Kill is a minus, but a big plus is that, with the most distinctive elements of Antidote’s sound absent, it puts more focus on how great these songs are. The 1982 demo tracks sound like classic SoCal hardcore to me: energetic, tuneful, and almost poppy. Some moments bear an uncanny resemblance to the first Bad Religion album. There’s even a big, Naked Raygun-style “whoa” part to “Die At War” that they nixed for the Thou Shalt Not Kill version, and it’s awesome. These 1982 demos are fucking essential in my book, but wait… there’s more! The b-side of the LP is a live CBGB set engineered by Jerry Williams (who also engineered Thou Shalt Not Kill) featuring even more unreleased songs. The live set splits the difference between the more metallic and melodic material, but it’s hardly redundant, especially given the great fidelity. The music on this record is essential for anyone who loves early 80s NYHC, and this reissue also features Radio Raheem’s usual best-in-the-game packaging, including a huge booklet, sticker, and the usual meticulous graphic design and printing. If your collection is anything like mine, you already own multiple versions of Thou Shalt Not Kill, but you don’t want to miss what Radio Raheem’s version brings to the table.