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Black Army Jacket: Closed Casket

This is one of two reviews of Black Army Jacket reissues currently available from Magic Bullet Records. For those who don't know Black Army Jacket, they are best known for two things: 1) as a key East Coast band in the powerviolence movement and 2) as the breeding ground for creative and ambitious musicians who would go on to play in bands like Municipal Waste, Human Remains, Hope Collapse, and others.

Powerviolence developed in the late 1980s, partly as an expansion of hardcore and partly as an exploration of what else punk can do. The music is often dissonant, raw, ambitious, and violent. It also engages directly with political topics, exposing listeners to the ironies, complexities, and abuses of capitalism and other things. Many of the songs here open with clips from movies or television shows that help set the mood and the tone. Many are serious but others are playful and ironic. The songwriting will seem familiar to most listeners. It starts with familiar punk rock tropes but quickly transforms them into something new, a blend of new meters, rhythms, and styles. The result is probably best described as dissonant punk rock but anyone who listens to this collection will quickly realize it's much more than that. If you like experimental hardcore punk, this band is probably already one of your favorites. If you've never listened to Black Army Jacket, I highly recommend checking them out.

Closed Casket is a compilation of everything Black Army Jacket released on cassette, 7"s, and splits. The material on the band's full-length release 222 will be released separately (and reviewed here separately). I enjoyed listening to the music on this album. The songs are all short (three minutes would be a long song) and they all pack a punch. I can imagine that some listeners will complain that the songs all sound the same but that argument misses the variety and the experimentation on display here. Bands like Black Army Jacket took punk rock in new directions; they also helped spur creative juices in other burgeoning genres of the 1990s. If powerviolence is not as popular now as it once was, there's still no denying its influence. Frankly, the music here sounds just as fresh and fascinating as it did back in the day. I recommend this album highly. Some of my favorites include "Sudden Life," "Jaws," "King of the Hill," "The Shake," and "Lord of Murder."

Track Listing:
1. Vindictive
2. Pathogen
3. Old Habits
4. The End of Dreams
5. Uncomfortable
6. Peering from a Bandaged Face
7. The Power and the Plan
8. Lord of Murder
9. Cup of Many Lands
10. Untitled (18:18 Compilation Track)
11. 222 Part II 1998
12. Avalanche Rapids
13. Pugilistic Attitude
14. Lying Between the Tigris and the Euphrates
15. Beast
16. S.O.C.M.
17. Blood from a Stone
18. Galactus
19. 222 Part II
20. Dog Teeth
21. Without Law
22. ...Sometimes...
23. Your Pitiful Existence
24. King of the Hill
25. Night Drive
26. Crane
27. Snort
28. Dantam
29. Covered by Snow
30. I've Lived on What I've Stolen and Hoped Inside A Lie
31. Slaves of Destruction
32. I Heard
33. Jaws
34. Genma
35. The Shake
36. ALH84001
37. Palden Gyatso
38. Make it Stop!
39. Sudden Life
40. Parliament of Rooks
41. Fire in the Universe
42. Impastor
43. Make it Stop! Make it Stop!
44. Corpsealwimage
45. Pretenders to the Throne
46. Look at What I Can Do!
47. Alpha Male
48. Salt
49. The Simplest Solution
50. Greedy Bastard

Added: March 15th 2017
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 483
Language: english

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