Poison Idea - The Fatal Erection Years
Hardcore these days is lazy. That's not to say there aren't bands out there desperately trying to breathe new life into the genre - The Wave and UK Swell, for instance, are making cathartic, thought-out music with bite and immediacy. But for the most part, the genre is convoluted by guys thrashing around, poorly imitating a movement that had its heyday when their Dads still had mullets.
It is because of this that The Fatal Erection Years fills me with bile and rage. It is mainly the second portion of the album - a live set recorded in Portland, circa 1983 - that fills me with this certain anger. It's not nostalgia exactly, because I was never there - it's more bitterness that punk music like this is few and far between these days. Sure, there's plenty of hardcore bands doing the rounds on a Saturday night, shouting "LETS OPEN UP THIS PIT!" to crowds of drunk men punching each other in the face. But people have been punching each other in the face at these sorts of gigs for decades. I cannot even imagine what it must've been like to be at Poison Idea's early shows - the mix of terror and awe at the unprecedented level of sheer volume, with the man mountain that is Pig Champion (so huge he had to sit whilst playing gigs) thrashing the hell out of his guitar. This was a time when vocalist Jerry A's question "Who wants to volunteer to get a broken nose?" would've been met with shock, rather than rolling eyes. This was punk when it was fresh, when it still had the power to inspire fury and rebellion. This energy is almost audible in the live section of The Fatal Erection Years, and it makes me want to be there more than anything.
Still, for those of us who weren't lucky enough to have been born when Poison Idea were releasing their formative material, we can still make do with the newly re-mastered segment of The Fatal Erection Years. This section is comprised of the Pick Your Kings EP, the Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes 12" and four tracks from compilations. To say the tracklist is a bit hit-and-miss is an understatement, but then again Poison Idea were never exactly famous for their song-writing genius. Still, the Pick Your Kings EP in particular is 12 and a half minutes of blistering punk perfection- songs such as 'Pure Hate' and 'Self Abuse' seethe with venom, and have never sounded better thanks to re-mastering by Jack Control (Severed Heads of State, World Burns to Death). It's also great to see one of my favourite tracks, 'Die On Your Knees' (originally from the Cleanse the Bacteria compilation) on the track list.
If you're a Poison Idea fan, this album is definitely worth picking up- for the re-mastered releases, the electric live set and the Jerry A liner notes. If you're new to Poison Idea, but enjoy lo-fi guitars, screeching synths, and men repeatedly shouting the words "MY HARD-ON WITHERS IN YOUR FACE," go get this album, and thank me later.