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GI

Germs

1979

Buy At Rough Trade
GI
Album Summary

GI, stylized as (GI), is the only studio album by American punk rock band the Germs. Often considered the first full-length hardcore punk album, it was released in the United States in October 1979 on Slash Records with catalog number SR 103. The album was later released in Italy in 1982 by Expanded Music with the catalog EX 11. The album's title is an acronym for "Germs Incognito", an alternate name the band used to obtain bookings when their early reputation kept them out of Los Angeles-area clubs. After (GI)'s release, the band would only undertake one more recording session, for the soundtrack album to Al Pacino's 1980 film Cruising. On December 7, 1980, a year after the release of (GI), vocalist Darby Crash killed himself. The entire album was included on the 1993 compilation CD (MIA): The Complete Anthology. In 2012, (GI) was reissued on CD with "Caught in My Eye" as a bonus track, after "Shut Down".

Wikipedia

Rating

2.53

Votes

10856

Genres

  • Punk

Reviews

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Thu Jul 08 2021
2

It is definitely a punk rock album but not a good one. I don't think I needed to listen to this and I don't have a need to listen to it again.

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Mon Jun 28 2021
2

Another one of these 'influential but not actually entertaining to listen to' ones

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Tue Feb 02 2021
1

the fucking worst noise i’ve ever listened to.

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Fri May 28 2021
2

Proof that music is whatever people will make and whatever other people will listen to, everything else is extra.

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Fri May 28 2021
5

Awesome punk album. Crazy that it was made in '79. Wonderfully produced, every instrument comes in clear, while still being chaotically punk.

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Sun May 16 2021
4

A blast of self-lacerating L.A. punk in its original glory, (GI) is simply classic; a commanding, rampaging sneer at everyone and everything infused with a particular, disturbed vision. Said vision belongs to Darby Crash, whose proclivities for charismatic manipulation were already well established before he fully spelled them out in lyrics like "Lexicon Devil," here featuring in a re-recording, and "Richie Dagger's Crime." His David Bowie worship was also paramount -- "Land of Treason," "Communist Eyes," and "Strange Notes" are just three numbers featuring his transformation of the apocalyptic aesthetics of albums like Diamond Dogs and Station to Station toward more brutal ends. Practically speaking, his snarling star quality comes through more than his words, but it's more than enough on that front. Pat Smear has an equal claim to being the album's star, though, and for good reason -- not only did he co-write everything, his clipped, catchy monster riffing was as pure punk in the late-'70s sense as anything, wasting no time on anything extraneous. Lorna Doom and Don Bolles keep up the side as a kickass rhythm section, Bolles in particular making a good mark in the first of his many drumming stints over the moons. Joan Jett's production got knocked at the time for perceived thinness, but she and engineer Pat Burnette actually did a great job at recording the band with crisp, strong results. The notorious closing number, "Shut Down (Annihilation Man)," makes for a nicely balanced contrast to the 42-second opener, "What We Do Is Secret." While the latter song is pure hyperspeed, Crash sounding like he's about to run out of breath on the shout-along chorus, "Shut Down (Annihilation Man)," recorded at a club gig, shows how the Germs could (quite intentionally) tick off an audience via long, meandering numbers if they so chose.

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Mon Sep 21 2020
2

Not unlistenable, but not my style.

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Fri Nov 19 2021
5

One of my favorite albums of all time by one of my favorite bands. There's no denying the songwriting here is great - the songs all have great melodies and the lyrics are clever and poetic in a good way. I would even say Darby was one of the best lyricists in punk, maybe music in general. The music is also great, very catchy, fast enough, energetic and short as it should be. I'll admit I often skip Shut Down, but it's not actually a bad song. All in all, an absolute masterpiece.

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Mon Sep 18 2023
5

If aliens landed on earth, came to me and said you have one chance to choose the most perfect example of a punk rock album or we'll turn the Earth into a smoking barren wasteland, this is the album that I would confidently choose.

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Sun Dec 19 2021
1

I’m double vaccinated so didn’t think I’d have to put up with Germs. My first reaction was this sounds very basic and I can't understand the lyrics but the same could be said for The Clash's 1st album (which I rated 5) so I thought I should give it a chance. I looked up the lyrics to a few songs (including Communist Eyes and Lexicon Devil). Lexicon Devil seems to be about a dictator (possibly Hitler); it’s not necessarily taking a positive view but not taking a negative one either. The lyrics coupled with the violence incited at their concerts indicate that Darby was a nihilist. (I haven’t heard anyone being called a nihilist since The Big Lebowski). I immediately booked my booster shot so this is hopeful the last of the Germs showing up.

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Sun Aug 15 2021
5

An important album for LA/hardcore punk, and it still sounds great and powerful

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Thu Aug 25 2022
5

A mad band, though only the rhythm section benefits, musically speaking. Hardcore moves fast enough that misses and hits are obvious; Remarkably, Germs veers back and forth between success and failure in the space of seconds. Repeatedly. This is a remarkable set to have captured on wax. The bass and forward momentum carry a listen or two and one hopes there are grimy depths to plumb.

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Tue Oct 31 2023
5

The snobs who don't get punk won't like this, but this is terrific for those who do. It's raw and hard hitting. It's the kind of album that really helped define the genre. It's too bad we never got another album.

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Fri Jun 25 2021
4

There's just something about this album... Its attitude, its strength, its lyrics... it is one-of-a-kind indeed... and jewel of the crown of US punk

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Wed Oct 06 2021
4

My knowledge of The Germs up until now was limiting to knowing they were featured in Penelope Spheeris' film The Decline of Western Civilization, and that they were a hardcore band. Shamefully, despite their importance to the hardcore scene, GI isn't on Spotify. GI doesn't sound like a band that barely knew how to play their instruments when they were formed. For punk, this is not simple music. Compositionally, it has more in common with the Pixies than the Clash. There are start and stop rhythms, odd time signatures, and the chord sequences are not the standard I, IV, V beloved by punk bands everywhere, and all of this is played at breakneck speed, with energy to match. It would be tempting to lay this at the feet of guitarist and co-composer Pat Smear, who later went on to tour with Nirvana, but the truth is that bassist Lorna Doom and drummer Don Bolles match him step for step. They're a damned good rhythm section. As for frontman Darby Crash, he sustains a near inhuman level of energy, even if you can hardly understand a word he screams/sings. I feel like I'm not doing a very good job of explaining how good this band is. The thing is, Smear writes really strong riffs and instrumental hooks, and there's a wide range of stylistic variety for hardcore punk. It's just a shame you can't understand what Crash is saying and that he isn't technically a strong singer. Also, as fun as GI is, it starts to wear you down after four or five songs and there's sixteen tracks! At a mere 38 minutes, GI feels really long, even punishing. One last thing I should mention. Joan Jett (yes, that Joan Jett) does a great job of producing, imparting GI with a clarity of sound that reveals that the Germs were not just mindless hardcore punk thrashers.

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Mon Nov 01 2021
4

The newest member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - PAT F’N SMEAR!!!!!! Great album with lots of punk rock anthems. Best when kept short and sweet. I liked the 8 minute Shut Down track but it did feel like it took some unnecessary detours Fave tracks: “Lexicon Devil” “Communist Eyes” “Richie Dagger’s Crime”

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Wed Mar 09 2022
4

Raw, sneering, blistering, hyper-paced, classic punk album. The lyrics are pretty impossible to fully discern by ear but surprisingly smart and eloquent. It's incredibly biting political and social commentary, some of the best. Listen, the go read the lyrics to catch the full measure of what this band was about. Album is not on Spotify, go to YouTube. Fave Songs: Our Way, We Must Bleed, Media Blitz, The Other Newest One, Land of Treason, Strange Notes

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Wed Jul 27 2022
4

Over forty years old and still sounds fresh.

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Fri Sep 16 2022
4

4.5 The Ramones may have invented punk, but The Germs invented hardcore... and the genre owes so much to them for it. It's not for everyone, but man it's for me - I couldn't help but bang my head along even though I was working in the office while listening. Darby Crash is an all-time great punk vocalist (RIP) and Pat Smear (later of Nirvana/Foo Fighters fame!) an all-time great guitarist. Would have loved to mosh to these guys. It's really all killer, no filler here - just 38 minutes of raw, uncut punk. Yeah, not the most versatile record to exist, and maybe some songs blend together, but dammit I had a great time with every single track. Special shoutout to Lexicon Devil for being one of the greatest punk songs ever written. Would listen again in a heartbeat... though probably need to take a minute to calm my anarchical urges. Favorite songs: Liked them all, but love Lexicon Devil

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Fri Sep 23 2022
4

No need for a coffee wake-me-up this morning. "(GI)" is the only studio album from the LA punk band The Germs and it is often considered the first full hard-core punk album...GI standing for Germs Incognito. Oh, and it rocks in a pretty relentless way. The album was produced by no other than Joan Jett as the band were big fans of The Runaways. The band consisted of the charismatic (in a hardcore punk way) lead singer Darby Crash, Pat Smear (guitar, he might have been in a few subsequent bands), Lorna Doom (bass) and Don Bolles (drums). The music is pretty much straight-forward hard-core punk..the musicians are top-notch for what they are playing and Darby is unique with his sneer and lyrics. And the lyrics appear to be pretty autobiographical and sometimes political although I'm not sure if it's serious or tongue and cheek or both. This music is very influential; I hear early Husker Du and just about every other hard-core punk band. The album kicks off and the stage is set with the 43 second "What We Do Is Secret." Here's the Incognito. "Communist Eyes" is just a great hard-core song..thumping bass, Smear's guitar, Darby's sneer. Seeing through the Communist eyes. Hard to tell if he's serious or not but he compares it to a double-edge sword and suppression. "Lexicon Devil" might be their biggest song. Kind of a classic rock guitar riff. Has to be autobiographical with a leader making people believe anything with words. "Manimal" is slower and more in the heavy metal category, at least in the beginning. Humans have the power to nature and destroy. The second side starts with "Media Blitz" and comments on media control. "The Other Newst One" is the closest thing to a pop song. It's slower..very Ramones-esque. The band goes horror and Black Sabbath at the end with "Shut Down (Annihilation Man)." This nine-minute long song was recorded live in the studio. Darby brings all his evil out and comments on Joan Jett, Sid Vicious and a lot more. An appropriate way to the end. The first time I came across The Germs was in the film "The Decline of Western Civilization" which prominently featured Darby Crash. I think I went immediately out and tried to find a Germs' album. I need to watch this again. (GI) is a great and influential album. I actually think The Germs were one of the highlights of western civilization in the 20th century...there was a lot worse.

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Thu Oct 05 2023
3

Germs are a 70's hardcore punk band. Super fast and thrashy like punk should be, but I haven't got a baker's fuck of an idea what the lead singer is saying. It's exactly what you expect from a good punk band. Hard, fast sloppy, and unforgiving. I realised while listening through the album that one of their songs "Lexicon Devil" was featured on the Radio station Channel X on GTA 5. I couldn't remember where I heard it before until I looked it up. Punk is a weird genre. Each song ranges from 1-2 minutes in length, and never overstays its welcome. That is, except for the last song on the record, which is almost 10 minutes long. Overall, a perfectly fine punk record from the roots of the genre. Nothing really to write home about, but not bad at all. Favourite songs: Lexicon Devil Least favourite songs: Shut Down (Annihilation Man) 3/5

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Sun Dec 12 2021
2

Les Minutemerde ont encore échoué dans leur couverture, on les reconnait immédiatement.

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Fri Apr 02 2021
5

Classic album. If only Darby lived.

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Fri Dec 31 2021
5

One of my favorites albums of all time

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Fri Sep 16 2022
5

5 Absolute quintessential punk fucking rock. Lexicon Devil is what got me started (s/o THUG2) and I’ve listen so many times since. Top shit

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Fri May 12 2023
5

YES! I've never heard this band but was so nice to get some legit punk on here.

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Mon May 29 2023
5

legendary vocal performance, for sure influenced Attila Csihar decent/strong 9

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Wed Nov 15 2023
5

awesome addition to this era of punk. Probably the closest thing to bad brains I've heard without it being bad brains. AND I FUCKING LOVE BAD BRAINS!!!!!!

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Sun Dec 03 2023
5

Had to back and relisten to the Lost Notes podcast on John Lennon and Darby Crash ahead of putting this on today. So good. Ironic that I got this the day after McCartney. It does kind of eulogise Crash's death by overdose/suicide as a somewhat romantic tragedy however, but it's a good story. The album I didn't actually expect to enjoy that much, from the snippets I'd heard prior, muddy recordings of the chaotic live gigs with Crash snarling and gnashing over the top, thought it would be more of a mood than actually good. But holy hell, there's a lot of riffs going on if you listen, Pat Smear fully deserves equal kudos for this. Too much punk, especially hardcore, just thrashes through the same simple riff for 2 minutes and calls it a job. Not so here, there's loads going on. Banging.

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Tue Dec 05 2023
5

What I needed to hear today!

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Fri Jan 19 2024
5

Loved it, exactly my kind of thing

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Mon Jan 29 2024
5

Loud and in your face. Darby Crash's lyrics are some of the best in punk. And Pat Smear's guitar work is really good here, too. This is a great example of late 70s punk/hardcore.

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Mon Jan 29 2024
5

Just a great loud punk record. I was thinking about listening to this when it came up on the feed.

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Mon Jan 29 2024
5

Genre defining hardcore punk record by a legendary band headed by a central figure of the scene. RIP Darby Crash.

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Mon Jan 29 2024
5

This album was the birth place of a lot of the punk/hardcore I love. Crazy they sound like this so early and how many bands sounded like them for so long.. Great stuff and great pick.

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Fri Mar 01 2024
5

The album that spawned an entire genre, this album is all killer no filler. Pat Smear’s howling guitars, the super tight rhythm section and Darby Crash’s vocals are absolute assault on the ears.

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Mon Mar 11 2024
5

One of the better L.A. hardcore albums, in large part due to Joan Jett’s production.

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Wed Apr 10 2024
5

The quintessential snotty punk album. It never lets up. Killer riffs throughout too.

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Mon Apr 15 2024
5

Fantastic. A band that I have heard a lot about over the years but have not listened to.

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Wed Feb 10 2021
4

Classic punk, hilarious start for these guys, but a great addition to punk history

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Thu Jan 28 2021
4

Echt lekkere harde California punk. Zit ook nog wel een hitje op

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Mon Mar 15 2021
4

In 1979?!? Nonstop action like a grindhouse film of music.

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Thu Aug 26 2021
4

Looking at the cover I want to say it's electronica like Kraftwerk or something, but 1979... probably just post-punk/new wave lol. lol it's punk, actual hardcore punk though and not new wave! Wasn't expecting that. This is a fun enough little album. It does just what it sets out to do: get from A to B in the shortest, fastest, loudest way possible. And it's still got a lot of melody/catchiness going on along the way. 4/5.

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Sun Oct 03 2021
4

Good hardcore punk. Punk is definitely not my go-to genre, but hardcore is my favorite sub genre. This is messy, angry, and driving, everything you want from a hardcore record.

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Wed Oct 20 2021
4

Fun good punk album, I'm always amazed listening to such old punk albums that would still hold up today.

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Thu Dec 09 2021
4

Explosive! These guys are from California but sound like a DC band. Loved the voices and the aggressive snare sound

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Fri Dec 17 2021
4

This was excellent, loved it. Like a cross between Dead Kennedys and the Ramones. Definitely a keeper!

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Wed Jan 26 2022
4

Unfortunately most of this album was not available on Spotify. I found it all on YouTube. It was pretty good.

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Fri Feb 18 2022
4

Not my cup of tea but I can why it was influential on hardcore punk.

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Mon Apr 25 2022
4

16 songs, 38 minutes. One of those tracks is 25% of the album. This alone was enough to make me think I'd enjoy this one and I was not disappointed

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Fri Jun 17 2022
4

Très solide punk, belle découverte, définitivement à réessayer

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Fri Sep 02 2022
4

A lot of energy but didn't really stand out for me. I'd never heard it before, so that was good.

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Wed Sep 21 2022
4

Classic punk rock at its finest.

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Thu Sep 22 2022
4

Sometimes these foundational cornerstones of a genre leave me less impressed but I could see the point of the hype on this one. The sound is iconic, the lyrical sensibility clever, self-aware, and very punk. No love on YouTube music though, another where I ended up finding an (easily searchable, clearly identified, complete and decent quality) YouTube video on some unofficial channel, still can’t figure out how that works other than I guess no one is trying to fight it.

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Wed Oct 05 2022
4

Punk is not my genre but I didn't hate this.

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Wed Oct 05 2022
4

violent genius but oh, so sad

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Mon Dec 19 2022
4

This album is so critical and crucial to so much music that was insprired by and came after it. The bass is mixed perfectly on this thing, I wish all hardcore/punk albums sounded this good. Incredible record.

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Thu Jan 05 2023
4

This was very cool. My favorite part was when the official Spotify lyrics said [Incomprehensible].

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Thu Jan 26 2023
4

Listen, I love punk. Like, I REALLY love punk. But this one is rough. It's frantic and aggressive and unrelenting and young Darby sure does want you to work to get past his vocals. That said, the musicianship is really on point. These grooves are just so good. But here's what I love the most about it: this came out the same year as The Clash's "London Calling" and, though both punk, the two couldn't be more different. While The Clash was playing with adding in jazz, reggae, and pop influences, Germs was like, "how hard can we go before we break something important?" I'm reminded of a quote from the great indie film, "SLC Punk" where Stevo is talking about the UK/US punk debate: "I don't know who started it, and I don't give a shit. The one thing I know is that we did it harder, we did it faster, and we definitely did it with more love baby." The Germs support the argument. We did it harder.

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Wed Feb 15 2023
4

Classic hardcore punk with some decent moments - Richie Dagger's Crime a definite highlight. I do have a huge soft spot for LA punk, and this lot certainly make the cut.

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Mon Mar 20 2023
4

what production alchemy did 70s punk bands use to make their drums sound like that

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Thu Mar 23 2023
4

I actually listened to 90% of this last week when it came up, but never got back to it until today and then started from the beginning again. One of the things I've enjoyed about this project is that it's helping correct some of my blind spots when it comes to classic punk. Before drawing this, I'd only known Germs by reputation and due to Pat Smear playing with Nirvana in their later days. This was my first (and second) time listening and I loved it. Took a bit of time to get accustomed to Darby Crash's vocals but the music kept me riveted enough to keep my interest in the meanwhile - the bass sound throughout, in particular. Definitely see myself resisting this one! 4/5

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Fri Mar 31 2023
4

Solid, high energy, hectic Punk album. Enjoy it for what it is.

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Fri Apr 07 2023
4

Raw and powerful, essential hardcore punk.

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Mon May 01 2023
4

Classic hardcore, gotta love it. I like how the last song is 9 minutes long

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Mon May 08 2023
4

Couldn’t decipher a single word of this but I did really enjoy it, especially the last song

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Fri Jun 23 2023
4

Better than I remembered it.

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Tue Jun 27 2023
4

Raw. Fast. Darby Crash's voice takes a little to break into, but it really doesn't get more punk than this record. Favorite tracks: "Lexicon Devil", "What We Do Is Secret", "Media Blitz"

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Thu Jun 29 2023
4

Gotta see “What we do is secret”

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Sat Jul 01 2023
4

Fast and loud, and not very long. A really important album, showing Cali punk in its early form, and great to hear some Pat Smear guitar work.

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Wed Jul 05 2023
4

Not as familiar with LA punk as I am with the New York scene, so I missed this one growing up. Holds up with everything from the era. Certainly has a raw intensity few others could claim to match at the time, besides maybe Black Flag. Darby Crash's growling can get old after awhile, but he keeps things varied enough to keep it interesting.

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Mon Jul 24 2023
4

That rocked. I love how punky it was. I love the tragic tale of the often-trespassed band. I love that Belinda Carlisle of the Go-Gos was supposed to be their original drummer! I love Lorna Doom. I love Darby Crash. This felt so nihilistic; I can’t help but love it.

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