VARIOUS ARTISTS American Hardcore: The History of American Punk Rock 1980-1986
Rhino RHI2-74192 (2006)
Released in conjunction with the documentary film of the same name, American Hardcore presents a varied overview of the hardcore scene that grew in America in the wake of the punk rock of the seventies. With 26 songs clocking in at a total of 37 minutes, its brevity is symbolic of the nature of the music being made at the time; performing and recording in the shadow of then-President Ronald Reagan's Cold War with Russia and the looming threat of nuclear war, many of the bands probably felt that there wasn't much time to say what needed to be said, so they had better say it as fast as they could. After a while, the songs all feel like one big song, with slight pauses for subtle shifts in vocal and instrumental tone. What the bands lack in individuality, however, they more than make up for in energy. Highlights include Bad Brains' "Pay to Cum", Canadian punkers D.O.A.'s "F***** Up Ronnie", and Flipper's sardonic "Ha Ha Ha".