Published Mar 12, 2014Southern Lord has done a big favour for fans of early American punk and hardcore by assembling pioneering Texas punk rock outfit Offenders' first three EPs as a single release, Black Flag style. The release contains nearly an hour of genuine old-school hardcore with a fairly similar tone, making it a challenging, active listen that would work better as a soundtrack to a skateboard session.
The band are at their best at their fastest. On songs like "No Chance" and "I Hate Myself," they seem to coalesce into a tighter unit. Production and performances throughout are authentically unconfined and loose, which is characteristic of the era, but they play competently on all fronts. Flavourful and expressive punk guitar solos punctuate most of the record, helping to move along and break up some longer tracks. The uninspired cover of the Supremes' "You Keep Me Hanging On" feels a bit extraneous, but this release is as much a punk archival exercise as it is a way of bringing an often overlooked seminal band into the consciousness of fans.
"Impact," the fifth track on the record, characterizes the band and the era well, doing so much with just a single chord. This release is a reminder of the intensity, passion and fury present in Reagan-era punk rock, and why its waves still ripple through today's hardcore music. (Southern Lord)