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LIFE SENTENCE- s/t 12″EP (Walkthrufyre, USA, 1986)

A life sentence, that’s what I always call my passion for this kind of music.
I know a few people who say the history of Hardcore was over with this 12″ from Chicago’s LIFE SENTENCE. Is that so? Let’s just say this is one of the last throughtly great Hardcore records released, albeit the music here already sounds a bit different from the “classic” Hardcore of the early 80s. Maybe this has to do with the outstanding skills of the musicians. Not only do they play a bit better than your average 1-2-fuck-you Hardcore band, they also show quite a bit of talent for writing memorable songs, with lots of hooks and with a leading voice sometimes similiar to that of Kevin Seconds.

“Punks for Profit” and “Problems” (reminds me a bit of the late OFFENDERS) are the super hits here, but this records stands the test of time as a whole. Another plus would be the real thrashy big band sound which is among the most powerful productions that I ever heard. This is in one league with Jerry’s Kids “Is this my World” LP, I’d say.

Has this ever been officially re-released? I’ve seen a bootleg CD for sale once which had extra tracks from the following LP (which is great too and was very favourably reviewed in Germany’s Metal Hammer magazine!).
When I saw the price sticker (21.- Swiss Francs) on the back, I remembered how expensive imports were when the $$ was still high and local record stores had a quasi-monopoly on such records. Another thing about the 80s that sucked.

See the sticker on the front cover? Wonderful! I call for a Pulitzer price!!

Download the entire record by simply clicking this link and choosing “save as”. This will make your computer downloading a .zip file which you will just have to unzip after the process of downloading is finished and then do whatever you have to do to make the files deliver the music encoded within and when you play this and shake your head, ass or boobs, please – think of me.

32 Comments

  1. henrysugly

    damn dude this LP is super great
    sadly i dont konw the lyrics to this even thou i try to sing along sometimes haha
    i enjoyed every second of this sadly i dont own a copy of it. just mp3s. ive seen sometimes people that have some live shit from them, on tape ill really liek a copy of that but sadly lost the website or whatever it was…..
    i want the demo thou
    and ill make sure to think about you when i listen to the whole thing ; )

    [Reply]

    Posted on 21-Jun-08 at 13:41 | Permalink
  2. chano

    Good one ! One of the first hc recs i’ve ever heard . Many memories connected to this disc… Sounds alot like early 7SECONDS .

    [Reply]

    Posted on 21-Jun-08 at 22:38 | Permalink
  3. Zach

    There was an official CD reissue on Nat Records from Japan a few years ago. It’s sold out now though.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 21-Jun-08 at 23:55 | Permalink
  4. adamski

    Yep, another great record. Powerful & catchy beyond belief. And I’d agree with the 7 SECONDS comparison, especially the vocals. I thought the length of this record was far too short at the time, but now I think it’s close to the perfect length. No hardcore Lp should go beyond 30 minutes tops.

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    Posted on 22-Jun-08 at 03:58 | Permalink
  5. Didn’t know about the CD reissue (as always).
    Well put Adamski – I too used to think it was too short but now it’s really just perfect. It would be difficult to take much more of this energy level.

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    Posted on 22-Jun-08 at 04:13 | Permalink
  6. Essential record. The length is perfect. I don’t think any hardcore LP should go beyond 20 minutes. This LP could’ve been even shorter if they left out the fillers: Take A Stand and Unemployment. Circle Jerks proved it already on Group Sex. All in all the only complaint I have is that I wish Men In Blue, Peacetime Death, Race To Die/Election Day and Unemployment had the same great production and sound as the other killer tracks.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 22-Jun-08 at 06:25 | Permalink
  7. blake

    about five years ago there was a LP that had the entire S/T and some demo tracks. i lost my original copy of this and found BOTH LPs at a shop for under $20!!
    also found this page a while back desperately searching for band info – http://www.roctober.com/roctober/sellout.html

    i missed out on a chance to get the final 7″ Admin do you have this record?

    [Reply]

    Posted on 22-Jun-08 at 07:49 | Permalink
  8. Nice one Erich. I have to agree with the less is more attitude above, about short harcore records. Listening to hardcore bands live, I felt the same way.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 22-Jun-08 at 08:53 | Permalink
  9. I have the record Blake writes about. It’s a bootleg but I also heard that it was issued by an ex-member.
    When Regress played over here, they did alot of Life Sentence songs as well. Regress has 1 member of Life Sentence (of the 1st line-up before they split in 2 groups with sueing each other).
    http://www.myspace.com/regressnow
    More info on Life Sentence and their troubles:
    http://www.punkvinyl.com/2004/11/21/selections-from-the-punk-vault-life-sentence/

    [Reply]

    Posted on 22-Jun-08 at 11:21 | Permalink
  10. I saw Life Sentence at CBGB’s in 1986, a year after I had interviewed one of them over the phone. Their show was great; this was a time when the NYHC crew didn’t warm up to out-of-town bands all that much, but Life Sentence won ’em over, especially with their cover of “Ace of Spades”– pretty smokin’.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 22-Jun-08 at 14:58 | Permalink
  11. mrpoopy

    Found several sealed copies of this one for next to nothing while living in Chicago but it was somewhat hard to come by even as early as the 90’s in other places. Used to hear this rumor that one of the guys was homeless and strung out on dope which might lend some credence to the punk dork vault article linked above but tongues do wag.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 22-Jun-08 at 15:07 | Permalink
  12. malfeitor

    Comments at http://www.somethingilearned.com/2006/05/life-sentence seem to back up dope/homeless stories. This record is great. Blake, I say a no go on the 7″. I listened to it once and now it’s in a box somewhere. I could be wrong.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 22-Jun-08 at 18:21 | Permalink
  13. totally ripping band… I saw them ca. ’86, probably the same tour Mr. Brushback saw them. I’d imagine the band schism is a contributing factor to the lack of an “official” re-release. The other thing I’d heard is that Walkthrufyre is a shady and/or difficult label.

    Tell me that the opening chords to “Problems” don’t make you want to start punching things!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 22-Jun-08 at 20:02 | Permalink
  14. chano

    Hi , Blake . Don’t worry , the last 7″ is nothing to write home about…

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Jun-08 at 06:09 | Permalink
  15. Ah, the 7″ – never heard it but remember hearing it was really weak.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Jun-08 at 06:24 | Permalink
  16. mrpoopy

    The Walktrufyre label only had a few releases that I was aware of, including the Out of Order LP that got put out on Victory Recs later on. As far as I could tell they were just another small-time local label that bit the dust. A guy who might know the story would be the bass player for this band, who was in ID Under (WTF 1742): http://97-shiki.com/about/

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Jun-08 at 17:32 | Permalink
  17. I saw these guys in 88 or 89 in Oklahoma City at the Blue Note lounge.Seems that the show was attended by less than 20 punks,my friend and I were the only longhair/metal guys that would go to shows like this.We would’nt smoke our ultra expensive weed with the singer and he was a dick about it.I think they were on thier last legs by the time we saw this show,but the LP is still kick ass!!!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 24-Jun-08 at 11:56 | Permalink
  18. One last thing about that show in OKC way back.The opening band was The Herb Tarlicks from Detroit.Probobaly one of the most obscure bands ever,not sure if they were touring with Life Sentence or just got thrown on the same bill,they sucked but had the balls to tour in the hardcore dark ages.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 24-Jun-08 at 12:19 | Permalink
  19. Franz

    Oh God, I have this on cassette and try to listen to it whenever there’s a decent-working tape deck nearby. I only got into them because Kurt Brecht from DRI wore a Life Sentence t-shirt when I saw them live – but that’s how we heard of new bands back in the day! There was no internet, no iTunes samples, no FUSE – we took a lot of gambles, but Life Sentence is one gamble that paid off! Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 04-Jul-08 at 12:13 | Permalink
  20. So in 1996 I found this LP and their second, along with Out of Order, Effigies, Bloody Mess and the Skabs, and other great Illinois punk albums for about $5 each. I was a teenaged punk in the suburbs of Chicago, I went to shows in the city almost every week, but I and no one I knew had ever heard of any of these bands. In fact I’ve never heard any mention of Life Sentence anywhere until the last couple of years on the net. So only a decade after this band existed, they were, aparently, completely forgotten in their home scene. I bought the records because they were obviously punk, and I was totally impressed, but amazed that no one seemed to know who they were. I’m glad to see them finally available… My favorite song on this album is ‘In The Streets’, which seems uncharacteristcally tough for a song from Chicago. I also love the second album, and on hearing it again recently, I am struck by how international it sounds, reminding me more of Japanese and Italian thrash than anything else. On an interesting side note, I recently found an old demo tape from 1990 by a band called Kill City. After some research I discovered that this country-rock band features members of Life Sentence and Rights of the Accused, among others, and was recorded as early as 1988.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 04-Jul-08 at 15:45 | Permalink
  21. doeskopp

    Bought this record when it came out for 24 geman marks. That was horribly expensive that time. The more I was surprised that it was only about 20min long….. However these minutes are great. Fast as hell…

    [Reply]

    Posted on 06-Jul-08 at 08:46 | Permalink
  22. Maik

    This is one of my favourite hardcore vinyls. Much better than the following LP which has a sound that’s too clean. It was difficult to get this 12″ in Germany two decades ago and as doeskopp says it was rather expensive but worth every penny!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-Jul-08 at 15:03 | Permalink
  23. Robi_Wan

    I finally bought the orginal copy (never heard of a repress) for only 9.99 euros at ebay. I received an incrdible clean copy. It also has the cool sticker on the front cover.
    But my copy has a golden(!) stamp on the backside which tags it as “promontional copy”. I guess it was sent to a radiostation or a magazine…
    Awsome record!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 06-Oct-08 at 08:30 | Permalink
  24. Dave

    Love this record. I played through my original copy in the 80s (your Jerry’s Kids comparison sticks WAY more than the 7 Seconds comment..also p.i.y.l. of Hogan’s Heroes) and I played it when I had a radio show in the early part of this decade. NEVER failed to get someone who would call/write in and ask about it.

    I’m really writing to give you props for the fact that the FUs are in heavy rotation. “Young Fast Iranians” was on every tape I made in the 80s. They became Straw Dogs during the REALLY annoying phase when every HC band became a metal band and redid YFI. It isn’t terrible, but this one is epic.

    Keep it up.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Jan-09 at 04:21 | Permalink
  25. greezeq

    i saw them in 89 @ the ice pick in muskegon, mi. great band!!! i got a 7″ @ that show- i believe it’s the punx for profit 7″, but not positive on the title without looking it up… i know it has 3 tracks- punx for profit, a cover of godzilla (totally rips!) + 1 more…. i traded a copy of bruce springsteen’s born in the usa at a second hand store for this in ’92!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 14-Feb-09 at 18:20 | Permalink
  26. LIFE SENTENCE IS BACK…

    Support the creators of this awesome music stop by the page…. T-shirts and CD’s and other merch for sale. Hit us up….

    [Reply]

    Posted on 07-Apr-09 at 20:24 | Permalink
  27. http://www.lifsentencechicago.com

    [Reply]

    Posted on 07-Apr-09 at 20:25 | Permalink
  28. gg allin

    Bloody Mess and the Skabs are better then this. then again maybe i’m just saying that because bloody f. mess and gg allin are the two kings of punk. and cj i will not just go to your site. i have to hear this. speaking of that erich i can’t listen to .zip files. i’m running on low grade technology hear.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 08-Apr-09 at 03:10 | Permalink
  29. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! My old band played a few opening gigs with these guys around ’88 and I loved them ever since. At some point I lent my cassette copy of their album to some skater kid who I never saw again. Thanks for letting me hear this AMAZING ALBUM AGAIN! BTW Eric B is back with a new lineup and playing out again as LIFE SENTENCE! CHICAGO PUNKS! UNITE!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Aug-09 at 01:50 | Permalink
  30. Justin

    I saw them at CBGB’s back in the late 80’s, played a sunday matinee. I went next door to the record store and bought the album and I still have it. It’s a classic and they were a great live band.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 06-Jun-10 at 18:01 | Permalink
  31. Druff

    I remember in my first year of college in Fullerton CA back in ’87, some random dude came up and started talking to me because I was wearing a BL’AST! shirt. He had just moved from Chicago. We instantly became friends and he clued me in a lot of obscure Chicago HC and thrash stuff like Out of Order, Zoetrope (pronounced “ee-trope” for no apparent reason) and this Life Sentence record. Next thing I knew Metallica was wearing their t-shirts in Kerrang. Awesome to hear it again.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 16-Apr-11 at 01:42 | Permalink
  32. SG

    Great American hardcore. Musicianship is top notch for a hardcore band, great singalong. UK hardcore has the anger, this was a setup for american popcore.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 14-Mar-12 at 09:46 | Permalink

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