Friday, November 27, 2009

Moral Majority, Kiss My Ass

Death Sentence is one of the original Australian hardcore bands, but I didn’t know that until I’d already had a bootleg of their first 7-inch for at least three years. To this day, I have no idea how it managed to find its way into my collection in the first place. Or how it survived without my ever listening to it, but I got sent for a loop when I finally put it on. Ryan…Thanks for the Support was released in 1985, and is a classic amongst die-hard “ultracore” fans. Named after Ronald Ryan, who in 1967 was the last person to be legally executed in Australia. His unfair trial and execution led to the biggest public protest in the country’s history, ensuring that the Australian government would never enforce the death penalty again. Ryan… was released the same year the death penalty was officially abolished.

To some, Death Sentence was considered Australia’s answer to DRI in their day. Their brand of atonal thrash gave better-known bands like Lärm and Siege a run for their money. And these weren’t clean-cut kids with neatly folded bandannas either. Their singer Peter McGrath had grown up on the streets and did time in maximum-security prisons at a young age. His hatred for Nazis was intense to where he would attack them in the crowd mid-song.

Peter also managed to establish a connection with the Bay Area punk scene in the mid ‘80s. A US tour had been scheduled, but the rest of the band pulled out at the last minute. Peter went to San Francisco anyway and hung out with members of DRI, MDC, and Verbal Abuse. During that time, he apparently saved Keith from Condemned 2 Death’s life in a bar fight and was asked to stay and sing for MDC. But Peter went back Down Under and continued with Death Sentence. Shortly after, they lost their drummer Scott to a drug overdose. Repaying the favor from San Francisco, Keith moved to Australia to become their new bassist. But things didn’t work out for Condemned 2 the Death Sentence. Apparently, Keith had a hard time playing fast enough to keep up and they parted ways. Death Sentence would continue with changing lineups until the early ‘90s.

If you ever find this record for a good deal—bootleg or not—be sure to grab it. Burrito Records also reissued it on CD with the rest of the Death Sentence studio output just before they went under. A fine piece of nasty hardcore noise that stomps all over today’s happy-go-lucky gentrified version of the real thing.

Get sentenced here.

1 comment:

Sean said...

I for one appreciate the righteous fury of this record.