Arise! + 2
Universally regarded as the progenitors of the modern crust-core scene, Amebix were one of the first (and few, next to Motörhead and Discharge) UK bands to adeptly fuse metal and punk together. However, pondering the band’s 1985 debut album, Arise! (reissued on vinyl and digipack CD with two jaw-dropping bonus tracks, both ’87 demos), in hindsight, it’s difficult to find the tangible trajectory from the more-modern anarchistic bands – Infest, Diskonto, Assfactor 4, Drop Dead, etc. – they supposedly inspired. Like Killing Joke’s eponymous debut doused in gasoline, rubbed raw n’ paranoid and imbued with an Exploited (but smarter) sensibility, Arise! is one of those records that kinda got away: monolithic in its post-apocalyptic biker-metal abandon, primal and political, tribal and troubling, the whole of the album steeped in a curious production job (courtesy of the band) that’s simultaneously confrontationally direct and distantly alien. Although Amebix went on to one more album (1987’s appropriately titled Monolith, also highly recommended), Arise! stands bleak and billowing as the band’s (sadly short-lived) statement of purpose – bar none, this year’s most essential reissue.
Alternative Tentacles, P.O. Box 419092, San Francisco, CA 94141; http://www.alternativetentacles.com