A horrible hack

Subterranean Kids

Early Stuff

Year Released: 2008
Format: CD
Label: BCore
Reviewed by Ciaran Power on Jun 21, 2008
[I tried to keep this short, but with the immensity of the 43-song CD plus the 6 downloadable tracks, that isn't easy, especially considering the general awesomeness of the release and the effort that must've gone into the packaging et al. You may want to skip to the last paragraph.]

According to BCore, this is Spain's first hardcore band and it's really good stuff. Parts are like Minor Threat, only sped up and in Spanish, while others have a more 'single note'-line approach. A couple of songs even have solos, but I'll allow it.

The CD contains the band's first three releases, Hasta el Final 12", Los Ojos de la Víctima 12" and Subterranean Hardcore cassette and in the booklet there's a link to a site and a passcode you can use to download six other songs from various comps and singles as well as all of the lyrics. Admittedly, I don't have a clue what's happening with the words, but it's still nice.

The first eleven songs are from Hasta el Final (the CD is in reverse chronological order, new to old). Sounds a bit crusty to me, no-one informed me of this. Hasta el Final is split between Discharge-esque crustiness and straight up hardcore punk, which is on occasion ridiculously fast and at other points slow and sinister sounding. I think everything here works really well; even the solos are well placed and not at all wanky. The opening track, Amigo, and the sixth track, Ciudadano Ejemplar, both stand out in particular as being top-notch, but I must say all of the songs are great.

The next thirteen songs are from Los Ojos de la Víctima. Like Hasta el Final, it opens with an absolute belter, this time being A Quién Queréis Engañar. As a whole, it's really interesting, the band's adding a good few new ideas to their sound from Subterranean Hardcore, notably a melodic element, the concept of slowing down occasionally (though they play also play blisteringly fast when they so choose) and even squealing like a little girl on a rollercoaster a couple of times. The vocals seem especially well delivered on here and it proves to be a solid album from start to finish.

The last nineteen songs are from Subterranean Hardcore. This opens with Canción Bestia, which is hilariously fast. Later in the album, Nunca Más shows a nice bit of Crass influence. There are two covers on here: of Straight Edge by Minor Threat, with the lyrics in Spanish which is tops, and Don't Care by Black Flag. Canción Bestia (II Parte) also stands out as being quite unusual for being nearly a whopping three minutes long and for being quite quiet and mostly instrumental in the first half of the song, save breathing into the microphone. It is followed by ¿Puños o Cabeza?, which itself passes the three minute mark and is also instrumentally rooted for a large part and opens with a palm-muted melodic introduction which seems ahead of its time. ¿Qué Hacéis? is another excellent song, reminiscent slightly of Econochrist and just is some quality hardcore. Subterranean Hardcore is definitely a good hardcore album, but I'd have to say it wanes in parts and typically lacks some of the diversity of the band's later efforts, it doesn't sound quite as original. Despite being the least stimulating of the three albums on here, it's still very enjoyable, it's still fast and it's still angry; this band is seemingly is never boring.

The downloadable songs are 160 kb/s MP3 files and have some variance in the recording quality; in fact some of the recordings are a bit sketchy but the music's good, pretty much the more of the same really. Una Noche Cualquiera is a standout track, being extra heavy, angry and fast. A couple of the downloadable songs do actually provide something significantly different to the music on the albums; it's good that they made these available.

For a CD, the packaging's really nice, it has a paper/card case which folds out into three sections and it's adorned with pictures of the band. Inside the inside left section there's a flap cut out with the booklet in. The booklet has yet more pictures of the band playing and generally larking around alongside drawings, album covers and posters. It has information (in Spanish but most of it's not hard to work out) and that download link that I mentioned earlier as well.

The band seems to be pretty obscure, at least outside of Spain or Spanish-speaking countries, so I haven't been able to find out too much about them except for that they're the first Spanish hardcore band (and Subterranean Hardcore was the first Spanish hardcore record), they're from Barcelona, and into anarchism and straight edge.

In summary, this is petulant, pissed off punk rock and that should be reason enough to give it a listen. This is only furthered by the band's status as being the first to make Spanish hardcore, the general quality of the music and the integrity it exudes as well as the excellent packaging and overall attention to detail. It should really be appreciated by any fans of Minor Threat, Discharge and Crass.
Recommended record by Collective Zine!

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