Various: Charred Remains 12"
Man, I've been anticipating this since the moment it was announced, and I have to say that now that it's here I'm even more blown away than I thought I would be. Like everyone on the planet with a computer, I've had really crappy mp3s of this classic compilation for years and years, but listening to this version is like hearing all of this for the first time. Apparently the originals were home-dubbed (and I'm sure the mp3s I had were a couple of generations down the line from that), but for this vinyl version Radio Raheem managed to dig up the original 2" master tapes and master the vinyl directly from that, and consequently it sounds great. Of course lots of these recordings are pretty raw, but everything is loud, punchy, and comes across with maximum power. It's funny looking at this compilation some 30 years down the line... while at this point I'm sure there were already literally hundreds of hardcore bands across the US and Canada to choose from, the ones that ended up appearing here are, by and large, the ones who went on to expand in really interesting directions and, in some instances, almost pioneer entire subgenres of their own. This captures all of those bands at very formative stages so you can only hear the seeds of their fully-formed sounds here, but to think that this comp managed to capture Die Kreuzen, Void, Husker Du, Rebel Truth, Articles of Faith, Double O, and several more before anyone had any idea what they would become is really astounding. That's not to diminish what each band contributed here... it's all top-notch early 80s hardcore. Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that this comes with a full zine-size reproduction of the original lyric / info booklet. If you're into early 80s USHC you simply need this, no way around it.