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EMPTY RITUALS- Dressed to kill, b/w Hardcore 7″ (Mental Assault Records, USA, 1984)

After the last posting, there were two records of which I thought could come next. The 12″ EP by END RESULT from Chiago for obvious reasons – or this one, for even more obvious ones. I don’t know nothing about EMPTY RITUALS other than this was the band’s only vinyl appearance.
Musically, we have a very nice blend of Jello Biafra-type vocals backup-up with a solid post-punk beat, filled up with some atmospheric guitar work. When this kind of music is well done, it gets a really hypnotic drive as it is the case here.

A band from MA, recording at Radiobeat, being engineered by Jimmy Dufour – and with a strong anti-Hardcore sentiment, this is a “real” punk record. I have no idea who these guys were and what made them take such a strong stand against Hardcore. Sure, the lyrics went a bit too far in the second last line (the rape thing – that was a really dumb and commonly used topic from radical feminists), but the general direction was spot-on and probably is nowadays more so than ever.
The a-side “Dressed to kill” song is my favorite though (albeit the lyrics are super-cheesy).

I would like to dedicate this post to Hardcore, a pretty idiotic style of fast and aggressive music, which I happen to love very, very much, and which mercifully imploded a quarter of a century ago. Since then, it’s constantly staged as a sad role play full of empty rituals all over the world again and again. Like the NAKED RAYGUN singer says (quoted from memory) at the end of “You weren’t there”: It has settled down into suburbia and whatever has landed there is bound to last for maybe centuries …

Dressed to kill.mp3
Hardcore.mp3

38 Comments

  1. PS: If anybody could help me make this RSS-feed thing work, I’d be chuffed.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 17-Oct-09 at 13:30 | Permalink
  2. ::beatMe::

    I love it when you get all provoactive 🙂 especially with such a great record. totally new to me.

    ps: no idea about that computer stuff. I hardly can switch it on.

    ps: didn’t say anything bout the hardcore dead or alive issue. it’s so obvious that it’s loooooooong gone.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 17-Oct-09 at 15:58 | Permalink
  3. elliott

    like i said hardcore is not dead. old and new hardcore has touched my life so much that if i didn’t have both i wouldn’t be alive right now. anyway this is okay not really something i can dig but it’s okay.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 17-Oct-09 at 20:06 | Permalink
  4. Oh, it’s not Elliott? Well, guess I was wrong then, if you say so.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 17-Oct-09 at 20:19 | Permalink
  5. noah

    really like this one. this should be on some “killed by hardcore” comp.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 17-Oct-09 at 20:25 | Permalink
  6. elliott

    i guess it’s just a matter of opinion.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 17-Oct-09 at 21:38 | Permalink
  7. cockroach

    So you’ve got “opinion”, kid. Hahaha

    [Reply]

    Posted on 17-Oct-09 at 21:49 | Permalink
  8. adamski

    Erich, we get it – hardcore is dead. Can we move on now? Pun (un)intended.
    I can appreciate some post-punk/hardcore stuff, so I’ll definitely check this out for a wee change of pace.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 17-Oct-09 at 22:43 | Permalink
  9. I had to be punk, Adamski! It’s still alive (in me).

    [Reply]

    Posted on 17-Oct-09 at 22:48 | Permalink
  10. elliott

    you guys are all great. erich thank you for supplying me with so menny different bands. and yes thanks to you i have bought a lot more records/cds. i am forever greatful.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 17-Oct-09 at 23:00 | Permalink
  11. dewey.decimal

    Really like the first 60 seconds of Dressed to Kill–nice Bunnydrums vibe (though not as good)–but the song is about 8 minutes too long. COOL POST.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 18-Oct-09 at 00:20 | Permalink
  12. Geoff S

    Pfft, you said a 12″ but this only a two song 7″…. This is really good though! I need to see that Chicago punk documentary

    [Reply]

    Posted on 18-Oct-09 at 10:33 | Permalink
  13. Jerry N

    mm kinda boring though

    [Reply]

    Posted on 18-Oct-09 at 20:11 | Permalink
  14. tom

    sure i wasn’t there but i wasn’t born till 1990 and i missed out? i’m not gonna let that stop me from enjoying the best music ever created… and keeping it alive. hardcore is not dead it might have died but it’s alive and well right now and i love it. and popular music is 100 times worse now than it was in the 80s… all the more reason to keep it alive. sure it’s been done before but we’re doing it our own way and better. hardcore lives!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Oct-09 at 06:55 | Permalink
  15. tom

    ^ that was also in response to your recent comments on the kbd blog.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Oct-09 at 06:56 | Permalink
  16. Who cares, Tom. You’re obviously too dumb to understand the facts and I don’t give a shit what posers and trendies like you listen to or don’t. I bet my record collection, within 5 years you’ll jump on the next bandwagon.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Oct-09 at 08:00 | Permalink
  17. ::beatMe::

    HC in 1983 was a punch in the face. HC in 1988 was sad. HC in 1995 was funny. HC in 2009 is pure comedy.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Oct-09 at 09:01 | Permalink
  18. howardx

    went and saw reagan youth, the varukers and the accused this weekend. standing there looking at the crowd i really got what you mean by “reenactors”

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Oct-09 at 16:53 | Permalink
  19. roc

    I think its sad you still use words like poser and trendy in your old age. I remember those words from Jr High. And you have no clue if you think Hardcore is a trend right now. In 2009? At least in the US if people want to follow a trend they listen to indie music. Whatever that is. You speak as if theres groups of wannabe punks roaming around. The only time I would meet any of those types is at shows. So what exactly is “trendy” about listening to hardcore?

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Oct-09 at 18:12 | Permalink
  20. “If a person is a poseur, wimp or trendy, it’s downright natural to call him that way.” (G.W.F. Hegel: Lectures on Aesthic, Vol. II, 1838, p. 755)

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Oct-09 at 18:52 | Permalink
  21. Jerry N

    hehe yeah nice attempt at eleviation E, but Roc is right, there are not trends anymore, just the global mainsteam pushed by the megacorps with a big spaghettified under current of non localised underground phenomena, we have definitely crossed over into the post post whatever it is, no 19th century philosopher aint got shit to say about that 😉

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Oct-09 at 21:56 | Permalink
  22. Jerry N

    But chapeau for inciting the most interesting discusion about this stuff I’ve seen so far!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Oct-09 at 21:59 | Permalink
  23. You’re wrong, Jerry. Some german journalist had a nice way to put it a few years ago – he called it the “mainstream of minorities”.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Oct-09 at 22:36 | Permalink
  24. Jerry N

    Thats a nice way of putting it, but its not real imo, there is a definite global mainstream out there, lets call it the “Death of Micheal Jackson” mainstream, the “Lord of the Rings” mainstream, the “Clearchannel owns all the billboards in your city” mainstream i.e. the shit that’s pushed to us on a global scale by the top 5 media corps day to day and worms it’s way into our collective subconsiousness. Granted it’s way more diffuse then back in the “only 2 channels on the tube” days, but its still there. And ironically, most of the so called “minority” mainstream is fully powered by the very same media institutes through facebook, myspace, blogger, wordpress and whatever else you can think of. Anyway, I’m starting to sound like penny rimbaud so I’ll retreat to my farm and leave it at this 😉

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Oct-09 at 23:12 | Permalink
  25. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories nor in concepts of global manipulation and all that (or esoteric concepts like “collective subconsciousness”). You should take people and their cultural practices more seriously, I think. – A trendy is by no means somebody who follows the “biggest” trend – it’s somebody who doesn’t give a shit basically.

    Sorry for sounding rude (if I do), but it’s been a hard work day.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Oct-09 at 23:43 | Permalink
  26. Jerry N

    Yeah no prob, I am not a conspiracy nut at all. I think this could be solved with one phone call and/or an old fashioned chat with some good ol’ non verbal communication, its too damn hard to get a point across withut writing an essay.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Oct-09 at 23:50 | Permalink
  27. Maybe, Jerry N, maybe …. Subjects like the one we’re discussing are complex and I’m sure that they require a lot of reading work, if you want to dig a little deeper.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Oct-09 at 23:59 | Permalink
  28. elliott

    i don’t know man. what i’m saying is i am a punk who missed out. i don’t wear the punk uniform i have a shirt with some of my favorite bands all handdone or givin to me. i have no stupid hair thing it’s long or short. and i wear shorts. it’s my own stile of punk basicly saying i’m not conforming with you conformest punks. i don’t believe in god and i don’t like government or authority but i do not look punk. in fact one of the best quotes i heard was one of my friends said “the best punks are those who don’t really look punk.” it’s so true. anyway thanks for everything erich rock on!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-Oct-09 at 01:30 | Permalink
  29. The Reptile

    If all those great bands of the past would have copied their parental generation (as the kids of today do), Hardcore and Punk would never have existed. Have Black Flag copied Gene Vincent ?
    Try something new. I know everything has been done, but why be subversive in a musical context ? Music bores to death !!!
    Real innovations today take place outside music.
    How can we oldtimers take a generation seriously that has so less phantasy ? Sorry for my bad English but my schooldays are long ago.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-Oct-09 at 12:00 | Permalink
  30. I kind of liked what Jerry said about the “global mainstream”. I don’t know about that being part of some conspiracy, I think it’s more blatant than that. It’s always been about control. The bottom line is that most people are idiots (myself included maybe), gotta be somewhere in the range of

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-Oct-09 at 17:35 | Permalink
  31. I kind of liked what Jerry said about the “global mainstream”. I don’t know about that being part of some conspiracy, I think it’s more blatant than that. It’s always been about control. The bottom line is that most people are idiots (myself included maybe), gotta be somewhere in the range of 99.999999999999%. We eat that shit up that “they” feed us. In fact we like that shit so much that we decide to grow our own crop. At various points in history people strike out on their, ignoring the crops their neighbors are cultivating and choosing to plant something completely different.

    Some things remind me of reinventing the wheel.

    You know there was something nice about the days of reading zines, ordering demos, trading tapes and so on. A little more adventurous. I’m telling you Erich, the answer lies in the evolution of music, natural selection, only the strong survive.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-Oct-09 at 17:46 | Permalink
  32. Just to show you how much of an idiot I am, I submitted half the same comment twice.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-Oct-09 at 17:47 | Permalink
  33. It’s getting a bit scary here – from conspiracy theories to social darwinism …. You weren’t serious about that “natural selection” thing, were you, Justin? Just to prove my anal character: Darwin didn’t say the “strong” survive, but the “fittest”. 😉

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-Oct-09 at 18:21 | Permalink
  34. What's the Truth?

    This isn’t entirely relevant, but I will make it so…It was actually Herbert Spencer, considered the founder of Social Darwinism, who coined the phrase “survival of the fittest,” and Darwin later adopted (unfortunately) it for his 5th edition of Origin of Species.

    But the beauty of evolution as we now understand it is precisely that it’s not about the survival of the fittest, but about the survival of the “fit enough.” There is no single ideal form for any particular context/environment, and so a real diversity of forms can coexist, influence each other, and participate in this larger process without a cuthroat, completely individualistic or racist logic. I think it’s that self-organized diversity that makes genres like punk so exciting in their early days. So many ideas that haven’t been formalized, so much change, exchange, and creativity. That’s all for my science moment…

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-Oct-09 at 18:32 | Permalink
  35. Great input, WTT. You’re absolutely right about the Spencer-connection: “survival of the fittest” first appeared in the 5th edition (the german translations translated it as “(…) of the strongest” until pretty recently, from what I remember from my Social Darwinism studies).

    Phillip Sarasin, Swiss historian, recently compared the evolutionary process (mutation / selection) with Foucault’s concepts of power and history and such (“Darwin & Foucault”), arguing that they both followed a similiar conception in terms of imaginations of bodies (discourse and evolution as acts of “cold labor”).

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-Oct-09 at 18:39 | Permalink
  36. I’m just stuck on music being some kind of evolution, maybe both literally and metaphorically. But with my burned out mind I’m talking in terms of addition and subtraction, while you guys are capable of talking in terms of applied calculus. 🙂 Genres of music are born, die, morph, resurface for a variety of reasons. I think that the younger generation, those somewhat out of the mainstream, are struggling for an identity. Let’s face it, as far the 90’s and 2000’s it was pretty stagnant when compared to other generations. My crystal ball says that this imitation is going to lead to something new.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-Oct-09 at 19:41 | Permalink
  37. What's the Truth?

    I don’t imagine there’s an English translation of this Darwin and Foucault book out, as I haven’t been able to find one, but that sounds fascinating. I really should start working on French and German…

    I’ve been reading something along similar lines recently, this book called Germinal Life: The Difference and Repetition of Deleuze by Keith Ansell-Pearson, which establishes a conversation between Deleuze’s ideas and modern evolutionary theory. It highlights the way in which Deleuze’s biology-concerned influences (Nietzsche, Bergson, Monod, etc.) played a role in his thought, but also what his thought and evolutionary biology can contribute to each other now (evolution as difference and repetition and so on.) Really fascinating stuff! I don’t know if it’s been translated from English yet, but I would certainly recommend it.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-Oct-09 at 19:53 | Permalink
  38. There’s one copy of this great 7″ on ebay right now:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170425226227&refid=store

    [Reply]

    Posted on 01-Jan-10 at 13:05 | Permalink

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] You cannot argue the overwhelming power of “Get it away”, the 2nd release by Boston’s notorious SOCIETY SYSTEM DECONTROL. Test it yourself: Turn up the volume to a considerable point, play these songs one after another and then take any other record and spin it next. If it’s not falling flat in comparison, it’s gotta be one of those truly monolithic Hardcore classics like Die Kreuzen’s first, “Tied down” by Negative Approach or “Kings of Punk” by Poison Idea etc. If you want your Hardcore to show a certain level of technical perfection, a full frontal and pounding production and aggression at the brink of a killing spree, there are not too many other records like this. On the other hand, Springa’s tortured vocal chords, the absolutely merciless guitar by Al Barile and the band’s general attitude and the narrowness for which SSD pretty much stand always kept me from playing this EP constantly over the past decades. Take Die Kreuzen for instance: That LP is of an incredible brutality, but it leaves you room to breath because the band manages to deliver different patterns of emotionality that still may be very tense all the time. Not so with SSD: Unfiltered aggression, a bulldog vehemence is the concept and in a way, “Get it away” falls victim to its own consequence. How they violate the Buzzcock’s rather buoyant “No Reply” and make it sound like a war anthem is something that has got to be heard to be believed. Contrary to popular believe, “Glue” is not a song about sniffing glue, unfortunately. Rather it’s one of the genre’s typical ways of dealing with Hardcore’s main issue, the suppressed homosexuality. I sometimes think the panic fear of cigs (fags!) and beer bottles articulated by straight edgers is nothing but a culturally transformed homophobia and as such reveals the obsession with the male genitalia. “Come up here with us, emotions let them go, gotta be real hard (…)” from the song “Xclaim” ….. Now guess what “Forced down your Throat” is about. Read and hear more here. […]

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