Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Southern Lord have done a very good thing and reissued '80s Dutch power-trio titans GORE and two of their albums - Hart Gore and Mean Man's Dream (plus a wealth of bone-arse material) - on a double CD (you can also get 'em as individual double LPs w/ all the fancy-schmancy packaging one has come to expect from the 'Lord). Funny thing is, I was looking into reissuing these suckers about 12 months ago and searched high and low throughout the 'net for some kind of contact point or remnants of the band... to no avail. Southern Lord have the connections, and I certainly can't fault 'em for doing such a fine job. I've raved about Gore in entries past, namely their Hart Gore 2LP, but so far any kind of real details regarding the band have remained scant. Now the holes are filled, the gaps plugged. The exhaustive (and exhausting) liner notes within, by bassist Rob Fey, have set the record straight: Dutch HC kids turned on by Bad Brains, Minor Threat et al., along w/ No Wave, Swans and, eventually, the hard-assed riffery of primo Metallica and Slayer, get together a metallic, proggy, No Wave/Minimalist instrumental powerhouse, set a few minds afire throughout Europe in the late '80s/early '90s, complete a few tours, almost get signed by SST (didn't know that! Mega-fan Hank Rollins dragged one of them over to the US to shop some tapes around the office but struck out just as 'Flag split and relations soured between Hank and Greg) and eventually call it a day, having achieved some acclaim in their time, mostly in the US via Hank, Steve Albini and some of the Forced Exposure crew. This is the first time I've ever actually owned anything by the band - my brother has the Gore stuff and has always refused to sell it to me - and boy does it feel good to really play this shit loud and pummel my senses. Gore were propelled by a powerhouse drummer, a sludgy, metallic stew of repetitive guitar riffs and a really non-standard sense of song structure. Often compared to Gone, I'd also throw in a heavy dose of the Swans, Voivod and Tweez-era Slint (who apparently dug 'em). The production occasionally lacks a bit of bottom end, but the rawness lends it an ace Euro-garage feel, and their ability to take a riff and drag it into the mud is something I find mighty appealing. Epic, brutal and ugly, though not without its charms. Typically hot packaging, more extra tracks than you'll probably listen to in a lifetime, and now the puzzle of Gore is solved and the world can welcome them to a whole new generation of fans. This is a reissue you should grab yer mits around.