Hellshock_Only the Dead Know the End of War

“Only the Dead Know the End of War” LP

Speaking of my three-week Bolt Thrower binge, this Hellshock LP came at the perfect time. They have twin-guitar harmonies that are brutal and foreboding, just like Bolt Thrower. They have march-into-battle riffs and guttural vocals, just like Bolt Thrower. They have lots of songs about war, just like Bolt Thrower. They have probably been spotted wearing CRASS and Discharge shirts, just like Bolt Thrower. Bolt Thrower emerged from the mid-1980s peace-punk scene in Great Britain; Hellshock only sounds like they did. You don’t even have to guess what bands Hellshock loves, but they still have a sound of their own that tells you they’re from Portland, Ore. The album art is also excellent, featuring a detailed drawing of a dead soldier, a gas mask and a vulture. Still, Only the Dead Know the End of War sounds very metal for a punk record, but if you walk with the goat lord, you will understand. (Hellshock/P.O. Box 2626/Portland, OR/97208)

This review originally appeared in Wasted Life, August 2004, Issue 188. 


“The Final War” CD

This record has four different illustrations of gas masks, and I’m beginning to wonder why they are so popular on T-shirts and record covers. It’s probably because gas masks are the last thing punks see before the riot police hose them down with pepper spray. Decontrol know exactly how to get people like me to pick up their record. The band logo and cover art are hand-drawn in black and white with stenciled lettering, not made on a computer like a Limp Bizkit record. There are song titles like “Armed to the Fucking Teeth,” “Government Made Wasteland” and “Nightmares of War,” which tells me this is going to be a full-metal jacket raw punk explosion inspired by Discharge. I thought Decontrol would be a really good Discharge clone, but there’s more variety here than I expected. Some songs sound more inspired by Swedish greats Anti-Cimex and Shitlickers, others more my British legends like Anti-System or The Varukers. Then again, it could be the very dirty recording that will surely offend trendy ears. (Hardcore Holocaust/P.O. Box 26742/Richmond,VA/23261-6742)


This review originally appeared in Wasted Life, August 2004, Issue 188.