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Discharge - "Disensitise/War is Hell (reissue)" (CD)

Discharge - "Disensitise/War is Hell (reissue)" CD cover image

"Disensitise/War is Hell (reissue)" track listing:

Disc 1: Disensitise
1. Blood of the Innocent
3. What Method What Madness
4. They Lie You Die
5. Becomes Again and Again
6. Spoils of War
7. Persuasion = Power
8. Web of Disadvantage
9. Ignorance Is Your Surrender
10. Kept in the Dark
11. You Have the Gun
12. Will Deceive You
13. Beginning of the End
14. No Return
15. Legacy You Left Behind (bonus track)
16. Propaganda Feeds (bonus track)

Disc 2: War is Hell
1. War is Hell
2. State Violence State Control
3. You Deserve Me
4. Never Again
5. The More I See
6. Hype Overload
7. Corpse of Decadence
8. M.A.D.
9. You Take Part Creating The System
10. Nightmare Continues (Live)
11. Hell On Earth (Live)
12. Realities of War (Live)
13. Doomsday (Live)
14. Beginning of The End (bonus)
15. Blood of The Innocent (bonus)
16. They Lie you Die (bonus)

Reviewed by on September 27, 2011

"Both albums are strong enough to win a back alley rumble with just about any crossover record, regardless of the times."

Discharge has left a Sasquatch-sized footprint on the annuals of heavy music. Forming in 1977, these blokes have been credited for hatching the hardcore punk egg, as well as the forerunners of punk-infused metal known as crossover. They even invented the d-beat. Candlelight understands the group’s importance, so the label reissued two of the band’s albums, “War is Hell” and “Disensitise,” on the same day.

Released in 2008, these two recordings hardly constitute the “classic” tag. Don’t allow the greenness of each recording to sour your listening experience. Both albums contain crossover, hardcore punk tunes full of vigorous energy, punchy drums, razor-sharp riffs and anarchist ideas that, thanks to their gang-imbued choruses, will stamp your brain like an Orwellian boot simile.

Also, keeping with the tradition of the modern re-release, each album features bonus tracks. “Disensitise” contains two bonus tracks, “Legacy You Left Behind” and “Propaganda Feeds.” “War is Hell” was repackaged with three bonus tracks - “Beginning of The End,” “Blood of the Innocent” and “They Lie you Die” - from the group’s 2006 EP “Beginning of the End.” “Beginning of the End” runs on a d-beat fuel. This chugging, thrashy number gives a big nod to Motorhead.

“Blood of the Innocent” seems angrier than “Beginning of the End,” if only in the alcohol-slurred, sing-along vocals. This track even has a solo, something that occasionally pops up in the background, but without flash and pomp. Another track featuring a solo (two-minute tracks don’t leave much time for guitar wankery) is “Legacy Left Behind.” This track’s safety-pin sharp, thrashing riffs are well-paired with an effectively sloppy solo, and placed nonthreatening in the back, of course. The prize for best solo, however, goes to “War is Hell” for its Kerry King-style whammy bar solo. Because this was recorded in the last decade, it’s hard to say who influenced whom. Both bands most likely rubbed off on each other.

Punk and all its gutter-encrusted descendants all display an energy that is unmatched, especially in the live setting, so the four live tracks on “War is Hell” certainly come with a bloody-nosed welcome, or at least with the feeling of one. Here, the speed, aggression and gang yelling perfectly convey the live atmosphere. If you can’t make it to your closest, local music hall, then you can at least go into your basement and yell one of the lines to “Hell on Earth,” like “You are the gun, I am the bullet.”

Both albums are strong enough to win a back alley rumble with just about any crossover record, regardless of the times. I prefer the thicker production of “Disensitise,” which is most apparent on the organic drum sound on album opener “Blood of the Innocent.” “War is Hell” has a much leaner production, which one would expect to hear from an '80s punk album. For this reason, those who prefer the older punk sound will opt for this album. Whether you’re an old timer or newcomer to Discharge, these two recordings are well-worth the investment.

Highs: Both recordings contain memorable speedy riffs, punchy d-beat drums and gang choruses.

Lows: The production on "War is Hell" is quite lean.

Bottom line: Whether you’re an old timer or newcomer to Discharge, these two recordings are well worth the investment.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)