Reviews

Review: Riot 77

Posted on Monday, October 29th, 2007 | Comments Off on Review: Riot 77

This, of course, is the Canadian Subhumans and not to be confused with the primary vehicle of Dick Lucas. I’ve always had an interest in Canada’s long lost Punk veterans and here they are today with an all-new LP for us, New Dark Age Parade! Artcore fanzine ran a very informative piece on their legacy a few years back—a good place to start if you’re interested in the group’s history, but we’re here to talk about the Subhumans as they stand today.

Though they were often seen to be part of the early Hardcore movement which encompassed the likes of Black Flag and DOA, the Subhumans, in truth, had far more of a ’77 edge to them and their songs were generally mid-paced, as they remain today. Brian Goble’s vocals sound especially good here and contain a soothing and inviting tone not often heard in this genre. G7 Welcoming Committee will conduct the honours for this record’s release in Canada, but long time fan Jello Biafra has nicely clinched the deal presumably for the rest of the world.

The lyrics, of course, are a reflection on the grim state the modern world finds itself in and apparently the band members themselves never opted out of their original ideologies, with bassist Gerry Hannah in particular becoming involved with Direct Action’s protests of the late ’80s. “Shut Your Eyes” and “Clash Of The Intransigents” display some strong song writing and catches the band working at their best, but on the whole, there’s a great flow to this record and each tune sounds the perfect accompaniment to the last. Not sure what the touring prospects are for the band these days, but as far as their studio efforts are concerned, this is one hefty slab of genius.

Cian (Issue 11)

Review: Discorder

Posted on Monday, October 29th, 2007 | Comments Off on Review: Discorder

The Subhumans are still telling it like it is. In the ten years since they last put out a record, punk music has taken a turn for the worse. It’s crap really—mostly a bunch of whiney songs about ex-girlfriends, and giant tours sponsored by skate-shoe companies, with the occasional “Oi! Oi!” thrown in for authenticity. Especially with the recent closing of CBGB’s in New York, an even darker age has fallen on hardcore. Thank God the Subhumans remember punk the way it was intended. Original band members, ex-con Gerry Hannah on bass, Mike Graham on guitar, Brian “Wimpy-Roy” Goble on vocals, plus DOA/SNFU alumnus Jon Card on drums, are back on a New Dark Age Parade, facing up to Vancouver’s rampant poverty, brainwashing celebrity culture, and a world at war. Considering they’ve had more than 25 years to evolve as songwriters, the band might even be better at it now than when they started.

In the volatile political climate we live in, where music is an essential voice of the people, the Subhumans are one of the few bands still shouting. A must-have for anyone who remembers the early days and for all those who want to hear legends still at work.

Merch Girl, November, 2006

Review: Punkrawker.de

Posted on Monday, October 29th, 2007 | Comments Off on Review: Punkrawker.de

There have always been attempts from old champions of punk to get together again after several years of separation. While some manage this convincingly, others don’t. The Canadian band, Subhumans, founded in Vancouver in 1978, dissolved already in 1982 when Brian Goble crossed over to DOA to play bass for them. In 1995, the group reunited after 13 years of separation; however, they restricted themselves to playing old material only.

Since 2005, however, they ditched this trend and devoted themselves to writing new songs. The result was the new release New Dark Age Parade, fourteen tracks of depth and goose bumps. All I need to say is 1978 in 2006 to describe the atmosphere of the new release. These are no stale punks who are out to garner the hearts of some fans with boring song writing—no, it’s the complete opposite. Subhumans play pushy punk rock songs with a political energy so often neglected these days. The sound exists in its simplicity and is not overproduced. Beautiful voluminous choruses and highly gifted bass runs emphasize the end product. It is not a snotty disk, which I completely attribute to their age, but these types don’t need it. With the character of the singer/songwriter they are not transmitting an absurd picture like the wrecked types a la Charlie Harper, but are tackling the job seriously and in doing so, appear mature, more grown-up. Ingenious!

Jens, September, 2006

Review: The Nerve

Posted on Monday, October 16th, 2006 | Comments Off on Review: The Nerve

I am no longer surprised to see punk bands that I listened to in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s reunite and release new albums. I am surprised when the band in question has almost all the original members and makes a record that sounds just years, not decades, apart from the last album. Indeed, this record sounds so much like their earlier work that it is hard to believe that 26 years have passed since the Subhumans released Incorrect Thoughts. Jon Card kicks off New Dark Age Parade with a percussive blast and the pace never lets up once. Jon is the only non-original member here, but as the powerhouse behind the legendary Personality Crisis, he is uniquely qualified for the job.

One of the advantages of having so many original members is that the new songs sound very much like the old ones and are every bit as angry. All three principals pen songs here and, unsurprisingly, the subject matter is largely political. I’ve always liked how the Subhumans can make political statements without preaching, and the fact that the lyrics are easy to hear. Brian (Wimpy Roy) Gobles has many dark observations of the world we live in, and it’s easy to see how working as an outreach worker on the Downtown Eastside has affected his song writing. Let’s just say that it’s extremely unlikely that he voted for Gordon Campbell in the last BC election. But enough talk of politics lest we scare the kids away. If you choose not to listen to the message, there is enough adrenaline and supercharged guitar to keep even the most brain-dead punk happy.

Welcome back, boys. Please don’t make us wait another 26 years for the next album.
– Chris Walter

Review: Monday Magazine

Posted on Thursday, October 12th, 2006 | Comments Off on Review: Monday Magazine

Leave it to Winnipeg’s political punk miscreants over at G7 Welcoming Committee Records to fund the comeback album from Vancouver’s Subhumans. Best known for their early ‘80s touching anthems “Slave to My Dick” and “Fuck You,” as well as the direct action misadventures of band leader Gerry “Useless” Hannah (Hannah spent 10 years behind bars for his part in bombing a cruise missile factory outside Toronto), Subhumans cranked out some of the best anti-government anthems alongside DOA during the glory years of Vancouver punk. So now they’re back with New Dark Age Parade and sounding as raw and angry as ever. Hannah’s vocals are right in your face (and still very similar to Joey Shithead, sorry) and the band is rounded out by Vancouver punk pedigree Brian Goble, Mike Graham, and drummer Jon Card (SNFU, DOA). Not ones to slack on the genius song titles, this one features perhaps their best, “Life Sure Can Suck.” This is punk rock at its best, none of that newfangled pop/fashion shit. Thanks to G7, we’ve now got a retro revival that won’t have us running to the nearest toilet bowl.

Jason Schruers
Monday Magazine
September

New Dark Age Parade
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