Reviews

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

Review: The Imprint

Posted on Thursday, October 12th, 2006 | Comments Off on Review: The Imprint

My first impression of the Subhumans was based on their interesting instrumentals. They are clearly a punk band with balls.

Gerry Hannah, the bassist, known as ‘Nature Punk,’ has been linked to a political group known as “Direct Action.” They blew up an environmentally unfriendly power plant. Hannah was sentenced to prison for 10 years. Now that’s what I call punk. A band that actually believes in what they write about.

This CD makes me pay attention to the lyrics instead of dismissing them and just jumping around to the punk sounds. I like the political nature of the album. Yes, this has been done many times before, however it’s far from boring and repetitive this time: “The experts all agree on what we shouldn’t see / Don’t look at the bloody mess that’s under the debris.”

The Subhumans have been an established band since 1978 and have their roots well and truly planted in the early days of punk. Subhumans are no bandwagon jumpers or sellouts; they just give a realistic commentary on society today.

New Dark Age Parade is a CD that I would use to welcome someone who has been living in a black hole for the past 30 years. A voice of truth and reason, Subhumans haven’t sugar-coated the corrupt spoon-fed society we live in. I would expect people to whom I handed the CD to turn around and run back.

Brian Gobles’ vocals are rough and gritty with a piercing tone of understanding and awareness. I would encourage you to invest in this CD, not only because it’s an impressive piece of work, but also because it’s a record that says a lot about the way we live and accept certain “truths.”

If you do purchase the album and like what you hear, Subhumans are playing in Toronto on October 21 at Lee’s Palace.

Amy Brooks
The Imprint (University of Waterloo)
September 15th, 2006

Review: The Martlet

Posted on Thursday, October 12th, 2006 | Comments Off on Review: The Martlet

It’s been over 20 years since Vancouver punk outfit Subhumans put out an album of new material. What a bloody relief they still know how to do it, and what a surprise—the Subhumans are better than most at honest-to-goodness fuck-you punk.

Granted, you can hear the age on these guys. Their sound is clean in a dirty way, and solid as a swift boot to the throat from someone old enough to be your dad. Lead singer Brian “Wimpy-Roy” Goble yells about society’s ills in a way that is both raging and measured—not to mention sardonic—because, hell, they’ve been pissed off about pretty much the same stuff for decades.

Maybe it’s because every second album these days is a social commentary album, an “I’m-opposed-to-the-current-U.S.-administration-and-that’s-gonna-make-me-popular” album, that I was worried at first that the Subhumans were just following the herd with this disk. Give New Dark Age Parade, oh, four-and-a-half, five seconds and you’ll hear strains of Vancouver’s punk past, as well as a measured, unyielding critique of everything from celebrity to war to greed to homelessness. Somehow, all these issues become connected, almost indistinguishable, by the end of the album. As guitarist Mike Graham says, New Dark Age Parade constitutes “14 new attempts to make sense of what the world has become.” Jello Biafra also gets first acknowledgement in the liner notes, and that alone is enough to make a person want to listen to this album. Loudly.

Laurie Graham
The Martlet (University of VIctroia)
September 21st, 2006

Review: Hour Weekly

Posted on Thursday, October 12th, 2006 | Comments Off on Review: Hour Weekly

After more than 20 years of relative inactivity, Vancouver’s Subhumans are back with a brand new record. Say what you will about old dudes reforming after many years in the midst of a parent-friendly “punk” revival, New Dark Age Parade is a refreshingly smart and pissed-off record. One thing’s for sure, those 20-plus years haven’t softened these guys one bit. Maybe it’s the fact that they were around during the real years of the violent, dangerous counterculture, or maybe it is indeed their age, but there is just something so genuine about their angst. The only real change is the quality of sound. Twenty years has done wonders for a reasonably budgeted recording. If you are into Dead Kennedys, DOA or anything else that doesn’t appeal to the broken-hearted, definitely pick this up.

3/5
Andrew Tweedy
September 7th, 2006

New Dark Age Parade