Here’s my first holy shit column, as documented in the annals of the Deciblog. Check it out to get an idea of what I’m holy shitting about.
If you’re like me – and my sincerest sympathies and condolences if you are – you’re of the opinion that Italy’s Raw Power is the greatest hardcore bands in the history of full sleeve tattoos. I’m not going to get into a debate about who might be better and who I might be overlooking because when a triangle is formed with myself, hardcore and Raw Power as the vertices, it creates an force field impervious to the rest of the world and your ridiculous opinions about who could possibly come close to the greatness of the Wop Hour 7”, the shred-tastic After Your Brain or 1984’s iconic and classic Screams From the Gutter album. The band has consistently released albums since 1983, going through x amounts of ex-members in the process and having the majority of the general public carry on unaware that the ragers from Reggio Emilia have still been kicking it hard ever since (we’ll give ‘em a mulligan for Too Tough to Burn though. It’s not all bad, but if we’re being honest, it is the equivalent of Motorhead’s Another Perfect Day).
I’ve always thought that part of why Raw Power never achieved the notoriety and success they deserved was because of the clown circus they always seemed to have backing them. If it wasn’t sketchy labels, it was sketchy tours booked by sketchier bookers and promoted by the sketchiest of promoters and there never seemed to be any coordination between when the band was doing something and when most of their fans would find out about it. Hands up those of you who weren’t aware when they had something new available or were playing your town? And is it any coincidence you never see anyone sporting Raw Power merch? They wrote a song about their frustrations in dealing with the DIY hardcore scene on 1995’s Mine to Kill , and it would appear that little has changed. That’s because, imagine my surprise, the band have a new album out called Resuscitate.
Few people, myself included, seem to know about this album. I have seen a grand total of zero reviews of it (maybe Maximum Rock ‘N’ Roll has done one? Maybe not?), every music emporium I’ve mentioned Resuscitate to has had no clue of its existence either. Not only that, but if you go to Raw Power’s own webpage, there’s a mention of the new album, of course, but click on the links to their US and/or European labels and about as close as to nothing as you’re ever going to have happen happens. Then again, if you poke around enough you’ll find CD copies of Resuscitate kicking around on Amazon, eBay and a handful of underground mail orders, but you’d think it’d be easier to track down a copy of an album that’s been out since 2010. No, wait, 2011. Huh? 2012, you say? Yeah, in poking around, I’ve found three different release dates for the album and not found the two labels that are supposed to be putting it out actually, y’know, putting it out.
After all the runaround bullshit, I procured a copy of it and the tragic thing is that it’s a friggin’ killer album! It starts with a homage to their long time favourite, “State Oppression” called “State Depression,” A song which is the 1984 classic tune craftily played sideways, before shifting into some of the best material they’ve written since Screams From the Gutter. Those infectious, leaping chord progressions, spasmodic and rickety drums, slinky walking bass lines and strep throat vocals all exist in a powerful uppercut to the ears in songs like “Stop Me if You Dare,” “Crawling,” the title track and “Watch Your Step.” Resuscitate is simply a fucking amazing addition to one of the most unfuckwithable (again, Too Tough to Burn notwithstanding) legacies in hardcore. Too bad hardly anyone knows of its existence. Hopefully this little bit of biased bloggery helps the awareness factor in some way. Soooo – to the point – my holy shit moment here was two-fold: one, discovering one of my favourite bands of all time had a new album out, that it’s awesome and that the band are alive and kicking my ass just as hard as they did when I was 13 years old. Unfortunately, there’s an air of resignation to the second half of the moment in realising that the machine behind Raw Power and Resuscitate is as broken down as a 1950’s Edsel.