American Hardcore: The History of American Punk Rock 1980-1986 is a superb documentary. It dives head first into the explosion of hardcore punk that had a significant influence on the trajectory of rock music. This documentary introduced me to many bands that I had missed when I was a boy cutting my teeth on poppy punk. In college, I discovered this documentary. And, while saddled with the stress of changing the world and making all my ideals come true, I discovered hardcore as an outlet for my frustrations at failing to make those goals happen.
Within that documentary, a blip on the hardcore DNA radar, is Battalion of Saints. Not from LA, New York, or DC, these guys hail from sunny San Diego playing metal infused hardcore that’ll raise the hackles along with any Black Flag or Bad Brains. Their stint in the punk limelight was short. Founded in 1980, they were pretty much done by 1990. In 1995, band members put together a reissue of nearly their whole library and from this solid record, Death-R-Us, comes your banger this week.
Fuzzy, aggressive guitar sets the melody that the drums roll into. Then, shortly comes the singers shriek and an unintelligible lament about daily difficulties. Riding the torrent, after 55 seconds it stops, and you may think it’s over. But, as the singers howl fades the bass line kicks back in and before you know it, you are launched into a furious final half. This song hearkens back to the earlier days of punk. It’s fast, hard, and rips. The music, which many find hard to get into, goes hand in hand with the tone and intent of the song, which finds the band having a hard time getting into society.
But, rather than reflect, just enjoy the fury. And for a bonus, check out their cover of “Ace of Spades”