Sunday, February 14, 2010

SPAZZ live at Pabco Road, Las Vegas, Nevada May 1997 VIDEO

       The late 90's gave rise to a subgenre known as PowerViolence!   If you are familiar with that term then you know about SPAZZ.

       To me it's the only band under the PowerViolence banner worth listening to.  I'd describe the style as ridiculously fast hardcore bordering on grind but with more changes.  Grindcore seemed to overplay the novelty of blast beats.  With bands like Spazz they at least threw in an interesting variety of blast beats.  It's still punishing brutality but there are enough changes happening to keep it interesting.  

     Aside from that the standard elements are in place.  Barked, monotone vocals, tough guy pissed off kinda stuff with a hint of straight edge politics.  At least this is Wikipedia's definition.  A definition that sounds like shit.  And for good reason.  Many of these Power Violence bands were crap in my opinion.  Take Infest for example.  I never saw any pictures of Infest but for some reason I picture the singer as a fat guy.  According to legend Man Is the Bastard was the first band to coin the term PV.  Yet another reason to think the genre is crap.  But wasn't Inhumanity considered Power Violence?  How about Charles BronsonPalatka?  All good bands.  It's a fruitless endeavor to try and walk through the genre maze.  All I know is that first Spazz record La Revanche is unfucking believable!   

       SPAZZ is one of the few bands from that time period who still sound exciting to me.  We were super lucky to have them come through Las Vegas on their first (only?) US tour.  La Revanche in the pinnacle of what that genre could achieve in my book.  But they also put out more split 7" records than Jesus Christ.  Ridiculous speed and menacing power but also the funniest jokes and samples I've ever heard in relation to brutal extreme music.  

       They were among the few bands at the time who found the missing ingredient in the brutal music puzzle.  Humor.  Every band with an ounce of destructive elements in their sound were steadfast in their serious devotion to all things ugly: Satan, murder, gore, serial killers, beheadings, or in the case of PowerViolence bands politics or Veganism or y'know whatever, I could never find it in me to care honestly.   SPAZZ bypassed all that shit by writing songs about random shit grounded in reality and a love for brutal music with funny ass samples and interludes.  Not that I give a shit what SPAZZ had to say either.  Who cares what anyone is saying in extreme music?  I can't understand a goddamned word and I make up my own words anyway because in most cases I'm usually disappointed in what they're trying to say.  The fact that SPAZZ's music was so funny is what made them so great.  I've played it for people who don't care for loud music and they were entertained.  So that says something right?

       Even on my first listen of their LP "La Revanche" I thought it was as good as Carcass "Reek of Putrefaction."  That's how bowled over I was!  I still stand by that first impression.  Unrelenting!     

         Chris Dodge played bass.  An interesting guy, also a former member of STIKKY!  I think guitarist Dan Boleri went on to make hip hop.  Also very cool.  To me the drummer of SPAZZ was the centerpiece of the band and watching him is the most entertaining part of this video.  Back then he was known as Hirax Max Ward because of his love of the band HIRAX.  Bonus point for that.  The way he eviscerates those drums with such precision is mind blowing!  

        SPAZZ was one of the bands who were there to pick up the pieces from what was left over from the "hardcore" aesthetic.  It was speed, simplicity, and aggression, with a smiling face ready to pull the rug out from under the serious but laughable tone which had set up shop in this kind of music.  It was a real punk move but I wouldn't call it punk.  It's not as limiting as grindcore, and it has nothing to do with Death Metal.  It was SPAZZ.  And it was the most fun that could be heard in the late 90's underground.  So glad I got to experience them live.  And I'm glad you will be able to do the same now. 

Download this clip or watch it on youtube below.

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