Eighteen tracks of punk rock goodness
Defiled! A Heavy Medication Tribute to New Bomb Turks - Various Artists (Heavy Medication)
Can’t profess over familiarity with the back catalogue of New Bomb Turks. Nothing personal, mind you, it’s just that when they were at their busiest back in the ‘90s, there was so much else around. Their potency can’t be disputed.
These Ohio high-energy punks churned out nine (yes, nine!) studio albums until life got in the way and ushered them into semi-retirement, and this tribute record from Polish label Heavy Medication testifies to their take-no-prisoners reputation.
Rember when tribute albums were all the rage, back before the Interwebs became fully embedded in our heads via vaccine-encased 5G chips? They grouped bands of a common mindset and showcased sounds you might not have otherwise heard. Like Spotify without ridiculously microscopic royalties.
There are 18 bands on “Defiled” and none are duds. Perhaps a bit more sonic variety could have mixed things up, but you know what you’re going to get.
First, to the familiar (at least to these ears): Aberration is one of Australia’s most underrated bands with their mutant New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) vs Punk Rock packed into a power-trio configuration. Their “Rat Feelings” scorches on a bonfire cooked up by ex-New Christ Al Creed’s excoriating guitar. Hard to top the rhythm section of Tony Bambach (Lime Spiders) and Stu Wilson (New Christs and Lime Spiders) too.
Poland’s cosmopolitan Jack Saint bring variety with a reeling bass-line and swamp rumble on “Grounded Ex-Patriot”, while Australia’s Howlin’ Threads sound spirited and turbocharged on “Professional Againster” (but jeez the vocals are up-front.) Italian all-girl trio Smalltown Tigers pack more sass into their snarling “Girl Can Help It” than you might appreciate on first listen, with some space rock noise thrown in at the death for good measure. Old timers from Japan, Jet Boys impart an air of lo-fi desperation to “Killer’s Kiss”. “Automatic Teller” from Doojiman & The Exploders works.
Less familiar, Frenchies Ville Fantome hang Robert Johnson’s corpse from a tree at The Crossroads to come up with their live cover of “Born Tolouse Lautrec” and its skeletal sound makes it stand apart.
The Satanic Overlords of Rock and Roll recorded “Tattooed Apathetic Boys” at Houston’s historic Sugar Hill Studios, but any resemblance to most of their clientele is left at the door. Donnie Stokes’ howl - and the Overlords’ frantic stun guitar attack - sounds more like Candy Snatchers than Roy Head. Honorable mention also to Tongue Action who put their “Telephone Numbrrr” to tape in the same storied place.
Puffball flies the flag for Scandirock with a fiery “Never Will”. Poles Moron’s Morons raise the punk quotient a few notches on “Wine and Depression” with vocalist Philo Phuckface coming across as the love child of Chris Bailey and Stiv Bators.
Londoners Flash House sound like Laughing Hyenas arm-wrestling Zeke with some acridly metallic guitar undertones on “I’m Weak”. Countrymen Dog Toffee from Manchester lock into a super-charged rhythm and apply flamethrower guitar over the top on “Id Slips In”.