Warhead: Never Give Up 12"
Let me get this out of the way first: I am an unabashed Warhead fanboy. Their Cry of Truth EP is a top-5 Japanese hardcore record for me, reaching Gauze/GISM levels of "how could this music be made by mere mortals?" Those tracks are compiled here, and for that reason alone this compilation is utterly essential if you don't own an original. Now, that being said I always saw Warhead as having at least two distinct periods, the first is the Cry of Truth era, which had more of a traditional Japanese hardcore sound, and then by the time they get to their 00s-era records they had gotten much more primal and noisier, with a nasty, trebly guitar attack that laid the foundation for later, noisier bands like Zyanose. Now, I don't know if there was some really heavy-handed mastering at work here or what, but this compilation kind of contradicts that whole stance, since the recordings here sound so similar that they almost could have come from the same session, despite the fact that a full two decades separates the earliest material on this collection from the latest. Listening to it all together, I'd say that's less a flaw in the compilation and more of a testament to the uniformity and consistency of Warhead's vision. When this came in I immediately put it on and marveled at how great these songs are, but once I was halfway through the first side I had stopped listening closely, but I realized I was doing my normal work at double-speed. In other words, listening to this gets me completely wound up... there's a visceral power here that will probably make it too difficult to actually listen to for some people, but if you crave ever higher energy levels you will absolutely love this. Wrap it all up in an awesome, full-color gatefold sleeve and you have an utterly essential document for fans of Japanese hardcore. I think I have just about every single record that is compiled here, but I still took a copy home because it's just too great not to. If you like Japanese hardcore, you just need this, plain and simple.