Friday, September 2, 2011

Ballad of a Broken Home

What was it like to be a punk rocker in the bullshit burgh of Fresno, CA in the early ‘80s? Probably not that much fun, but at least you had a hometown hero band to get behind in the great Capitol Punishment. It’s safe to say that they are one of the most underrated bands in the Northern California hardcore lexicon. Capitol Punishment may come off as a typical 1-2-fuck-you thrash band at first glance, but there is a superior intelligence at work here. By the time they released When Putsch Comes to Shove in 1985, these Central Valley punks were well-versed in their craft to where you could conceivably put this album up against other classic hardcore records released that same year, like Raw Power’s Screams from the Gutter. The songwriting has a good amount going on as different elements are introduced for effect. I hear a little bit of LA creepy crawl here, some Euro thunder there, and even a sprinkling of Discharge doomsday riffage in the mix. Vocalist Ralph Lotspeich typically has a throat full of gravel in the best way possible, but it’s great when he cleans it up on “Elephant Man.” That’s just one of a number of memorable songs on this album. Lyrically and musically, “Racism is Ignorance” is quite possibly the best condemnation of racism that I have ever heard. The song breaks down. “Stand upon your pedestal…your pedestal of fear…” Muted guitar chords. “All’s not well…I can tell…you’re so fucked up…” The pace begins to build. “You declare supremacy, but you’re NOT THE MASTER RACE!” The song kicks back in and if you’re not ready to single-handedly take on the entire Ku Klux Klan, you have no fucking soul. When Putsch Comes to Shove is, without a doubt, one of The Evil Eye’s all-time favorite Northern California punk records. If you’re a fan of the Fix, Poison Idea, Discharge, or Battalion of Saints, you may want to click here and get ready to stagedive.

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