Thursday, January 21, 2010

BRUTAL TUESDAY: By The Time I Get To Arizona

What is the one most noteworthy thing the U.S. cities of Chandler, Arizona and Camden, New Jersey share?  The answer to that lies within one name: Unruh.

On September 6, 1949, war veteran Howard Unruh made the decision to roam his neighborhood of Camden, with German Luger pistol in hand, and engage in what would be known as the "Walk of Death", the first single-episode of mass murder in U.S. history.  In what only lasted 12 minutes, Unruh had ruthlessly acquired a bodycount of 13 with 14 shots fired, not excluding women and children.  He eventually surrendered, but not after wounding several more in a frontdoor standoff with 60-police officers.

Unruh was eventually seen as insane, diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and sentenced to New Jersey Hospital for the Insane (now known as Trenton Psychiatric Hospital). In an interview with a psychologist, he left the public with a final quote, "I'd have killed a thousand if I had bullets enough."

He then became known as "Father of Mass Murder".

Now that the scene has been set...(jeez)

Cut to 1995. By this time, "extreme music" had developed into a monstrous, winding tree with proud, interwoven branches, fostering the growth of numerous mutant subgenres. This hybridization, starting in the mid to late 80's with the styles of Crossover and Crust, truly blurred the dividing line between Hardcore and Metal. Bands like Neurosis and Rorschach stood as exceptional proof and became the blueprint to many of their successors; Chandler, Arizona's Unruh made for an extraordinary progeny, further pushing this cross-pollination into something of gold.

What makes up Unruh's sonic assault? Imagine a pot.  Smear the entire inside of said pot with a molasses-thick coating of Hardcore-minded energy; this will soon cook into a hardened shell, tightly encasing the filling ingredients.  Throw in a generous spoonful of Thrash. Combine equal parts blasts and technical riffage (Grindcore and Death Metal brand recommended), whisk in a metal bowl, and add once well blended. Seal with one part Remain Sedate-era Charles Maggio, two parts Exorcist-era possessed Linda Blair.
Finally, take the sealed pot into Death Valley in the dead of summer, douse with jet fuel and ignite to cook. Commence ritualistic dance of choice. Once complete, extinguish the blaze by hosing down with a concoction of unrelenting angst, torment, and fury.

Voila!  Your almighty "metallic hardcore" band of previous mention is ready for consumption.

Seemingly enigmatic, not only did these cats leave practically no stone unturned across the landscape of audio brutality, and then some, but the words, as harshly ejected by Mike Edwards, fell into the form of sincere prose; brandishing an elegant balance between unguarded, self-examination and social commentary of the most livid kind.  No useless banter about “scene” politics or being tough, nor any tired discourse about saving the whales or suicide …just the bludgeoning violence of the music coupled with refined lyricism, thus making them even more impossible to box in for classification.

Click the image (left) to see the lyrics insert from their first album, Misery Strengthened Faith.  Click the link to d/l it as ripped from vinyl (not me).  It has been re-released on CD by King Of The Monsters with many bonus tracks scour the Internet and BUY it (I'm pretty sure Interpunk has it).

BRUTAL. A band who efficiently discharges the energy of their recordings directly into live form.  Super rare to see any footage of mucho propers to homey who uploaded this to the 'tube.

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