Hardcore kids have a nasty habit of anointing legend status on any band that happened to release a seven-inch before 1995. If said band happened to be from New York City or Washington DC, they were talked about and revered like ancient gods who broke up before showing the hardcore community the light. While it’s important for followers of any style of music to understand its history and roots, the hardcore/punk community often takes it to ridiculous extremes. It’s a good thing that albums by Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Black Flag or the Cro-Mags are still in circulation. However, it would be all too easy to make the argument that the money spent re-issuing albums by Outburst, Justice League, Up Front, Straight Ahead, etc., would be better spent promoting new bands. Honestly, do we really need to hear every crappy straight edge band who ever played CBGB’s to understand the style? Isn’t one Youth of Today and maybe a Gorilla Biscuits album enough? It’s not like any of these bands were doing anything radically different (I dare you to point out the immense style gap between Youth of Today and Bold, come on, just for fun, try it.)
Very rarely, on par with the frequency of Haley’s Comet, a label will re-release a rare hardcore recording that is actually worth owning. In this instance, Jade Tree Records has done just that by unearthing the Resurrection EP by seminal DC band Fury. The band, which existed for a couple of months in 1989, was made up of scene stalwarts Chris Thomson (of Ignition and Circus Lupus) on vocals, Jason Farrell (of Swiz, Sweetbelly Freakdown and Bluetip) on guitar, Shawn Brown (of Dag Nasty, Swiz, Sweetbelly Freakdown and Jesus Eater) on bass, and Alex Daniels on drums. What’s amazing about each member of this band is that they all were key members of bands who took the aggressiveness, energy and mentality of hardcore to other forms of music. Each band mentioned above played important roles in showing how hardcore could maintain its edge without getting stale. Fury seemed to link the band members’ harder, thrashier roots with the more expansive, experimental projects they are involved with today.
Fury, which came together just before Farrell and Brown would start Swiz, did one 12-minute recording session that Jade Tree has been kind enough to re-release. “Resurrection” immediately lays down the blueprint Swiz would apply throughout their illustrious career. The song is woven around a thundering bass line that is soon joined by piercing guitars that squeal like a muskrat caught in a bear trap. Fury reside on the edge of chaos; just as they are about to veer out of control, they rein in the sprawl, leaving you with the tightest of hardcore songs. “Space Love” is straight up DC-inspired thrash borrowing heavily from Minor Threat and Faith. Things get interesting on “Shotgun”—the song builds and builds as Chris Thomson rants like a madman calling for the end of the world. “Circle of Lies” maintains the intensity of “Shotgun” but is closer to falling off the rails before Brown’s bass rights the ship. “Psycho” is what a hardcore song should be: short, sweet and to the point, buzzing like a swarm of killer bees out of control all the while twitching like an epileptic snake. The last track, “Last One”, is also the catchiest as the band winds down into an almost party atmosphere. Chunks of feedback are swatted back and forth as Thomson maintains an angry conversation with himself before declaring “I’m going to stop now”.
Resurrection is twelve minutes of hardcore perfection recorded, packaged and delivered to you. It would be easy to insert a cliché like “It would be interesting to see what the band would have done on a full-length album.” But there’s no need for that. The spirit and skill on display here can also be found in the bands that immediately followed Fury like Ignition, Swiz and Circus Lupus as well as the bands that are around now, Bluetip (who just broke up) and Jesus Eater. If you want to hear what hardcore should sound like or if you are a fan of any bands mentioned here, I suggest you pick up this EP and use it to brighten your day.
// Notes from the Road
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