The Disrupters – Generation Retard

(album, Overground)

There’s been something of a resurgence of interest in the whole UK82 scene over the past few months, and the arrival of Norfolk punks the Disrupters first album of new material since 1984’s Playing With Fire appears to be an extension of this ongoing trend. Perhaps best known for their inclusion on the first Bullshit Detector collection, and their evocative cut, ‘Stonehenge’ – which latterly appeared on Overground’s excellent Anti-State compilation, the Disrupters are most commonly associated with the anarcho punk end of the black t-shirts and boots spectrum.

However, with Generation Retard it is evident that the quartet’s sound has moved into heavier, more metallic realms, exiting at the intersective point of an imaginary Venn diagram where UK82 meets the NWOBHM. Most likely, this is the result of the band having assimilated a greater breadth of technique than was available to them during their first flowering. Whether or not such increased instrumental proficiency is a desirable, or even necessary, component for making effective punk rock is entirely subjective. On the one hand, this Iron Maiden-gone-hardcore dynamic works particularly well on ‘Never Gave A Fuck’ – its reflective lyrics evoking a genuine sense of mourning for lost youth – whereas the technical precision and clean production serves to strip the songs of some ragged edges that many may have found enjoyable.

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Lyrically, the band set themselves the interesting task of contemporising their antipathy toward church, state, and the system in general. By calling the album Generation Retard, it could be argued that they are backing their ability to do so in a particularly up front way – you don’t wanna go calling your disc something like that and then say something dumb, after all. What this results in is a somewhat courageous stab at addressing today’s issues – whereas Christian fundamentalism was the main target for secular ire thirty years ago, the Disrupters have set their sights on lambasting Islamic extremism in particular (the Dead Kennedy-esque ‘We Are The Taliban’), and all religious zealotry in general (‘Generation Retard’).

Similarly, globalization is railed against within the reasonable-if-predictable polemic of ‘Corporate Nightmare Vision’ while ‘Ian Huntley Said’ represents the most successful example of the band’s attempts to explore today’s headlines – being an accurately observed lyrical dissection of the way in which the media splices sensationalism to vicarious moralising. The lyrics are delivered with conviction atop a churning punk backing, however – the song’s impact is possibly undermined by the subsequent ‘Torture Room’, wherein a perfectly rational sense of outrage concerning cruelty to children is devalued by a delivery that mirrors the inchoate hysteria that the tabloid media seek to create.

Elsewhere, the Disrupters offer up more ambiguous fare, such as ‘Pissing In The Wind’, which opens with a wholly literal interpretation of its title; the psychotically soaring ‘Know The Enemy’ – a welcome departure from the orthodoxy that struggles to maintain its initial velocity in the final third; and ‘The Forgotten’, which lurches into Pantera territory for an ambivalent exploration of sexual transgression. There’s also ‘Khao San Road’, which takes a well-aimed swing at the kind of ‘anarchists’ who like to wave their own little rule books at you, and a couple of spoken word pieces declaiming the monarchy and ripping on Anne Widdecombe.      

Order the album via Overground Records:

The Disrupters on MySpace:

Originally posted 2011-05-27 11:05:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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