In 1993, Chris Elder of the mighty Despise You and Pessimiser/Theologian Records did something very, very awesome: he put out the first Cry Now, Cry Later compilation. Then, once a year for the next three years, he put out three more. They were all double 7”s (which only upped the awesomeness factor), and they showcased the finest power violence, grind, punk, sludge, and other forms of underground extremity at the time. And we mean underground: there are bands on these compilations I’ve literally never heard of off aside from their songs on these legendary platters (hi, Fishsticks, whoever the fuck you are).
Today, we’re going to look at five of the best moments from these comps. And there are tons of runners-up here: Spazz, 13, Carol, Eyehategod (kings, but live song here), Dystopia (kings, but live song here), Factoria de Miedo (it’s a certain metal band we all know, back when they had the soul of the old machine), Grief (very close contender to top five), Capitalist Casualties, Stapled Shut, Black Army Jacket, Suppression, Man Is the Bastard, Soilent Green (very, very close contender to top five), Cavity… argh, the runners-up list is painful to type because these bands are all A-list, which is testimony to how great these compilations were.
So, without any further yakking, let’s get to it: here are five times the Cry Now, Cry Later compilations totally ruled.
5. 16 – “Fucked for Life” (off Cry Now, Cry Later Vol. 2)
This song kicked off the second instalment of this series in that very unique 16 way: is this noise rock? Thrash? Power violence? Somewhere in between all those genres lives 16, and this great song sums up all the more up-tempo elements of this very likeable band’s sound. Short and to the point, few bands can make 1:04 of music as compelling as 16 can. On other criteria, Soilent Green or Grief would make the list, but 16 embody the screwed-up California power violence aesthetic more than those bands, so for the purposes of this particular list, they must be recognized.
4. Noothgrush – “Gage” (off Cry Now, Cry Later Vol. 4)
One of the most intriguing bands of the California underground at the time, the sludge/doom freakies known as Noothgrush lay down one of their more concise numbers here, although this 3:14 song sounds positively epic next to many of the short grinders on these compilations (although Vol. 4 did feature several bands with longer songs). Everything that makes Noothgrush great is here: a performance that sounds like it’s barely being held together and is played with complete sincerity; heavy, next-level-Grief sludge riffs; tortured vocals that are probably singing about some Star Trek or something (kidding, take it easy). Noothgrush sound positively deadly on this song, as they always do.
3. Lack of Interest – “Wasted Effort” (off Cry Now, Cry Later Vol. 3)
Clocking in at all of 1:11, this song does what Lack of Interest always do so well: guttural, bass-led power violent crust-punk, all hysterical energy and pessimism, here the band managing to only really get vocals in the last 20 seconds of this song, which is like crossover on speed, the band coming across like Spazz covering D.R.I. covering Despise You. Basically, some of the best music ever right here.
2. Excruciating Terror – “No Edge” (off Cry Now, Cry Later Vol. 3)
Good grief, are Excruciating Terror heavy. This 50-second song ups the Cry Now production values significantly (they followed up Crom in their garage-grind mode on Vol. 3, so, that’s not saying much). This is as good of a death-metal-infused crust-grind song as has ever existed, and it makes you wonder why this band has yet to cause a bigger stir among the faithful longhairs of the grind underground. Music is rarely as vicious and as raw as this.
1. Despise You – “Aqui Solito (Como Siempre)” (off Cry Now, Cry Later Vol. 1)
Alright, keen eyes will notice the video above is not this song, rather, it’s the Despise You song from Vol. 2. This particular tune isn’t on YouTube but that one will give you the idea. Now, oh, man, no band sums up this particular era and scene like Despise You. Absolute kings of pure, unbridled intensity in music, their grind/power violence is so real it feels like you’re walking down a crap California street, dodging weird insects and shitty bullets. This song, clocking in at 0:52 (hey, that’s kinda long for Despise You), has an almost death metal-ish intro before the manic grind and power violence kicks in. Dig that insane production, and dig how the song kinda falls apart from 0:39 to 0:43, only to come back together for the race to the finish line. Despise You are heroes.