Discharge - Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing
Clay
Hardcore Punk, Early Thrash
14 songs (27:17)
Release year: 1982
Discharge
Reviewed by Goat

The treatment of Punk by many metalheads is downright shocking. Incredibly, most of them will refuse to admit that The Sex Pistol’s Never Mind The Bollocks album was hugely influential on music post-1977, deriding it as a sloppy mess, and then will go on to praise the likes of Hellhammer and Venom! The p-word has, in recent years, come to mean sloppy or overly catchy, largely due to a certain area of South California that has done more damage to music than virtually any other place on earth thanks to its excreting out the likes of Blink 182. This does not, however, mean that the majority of Metalheads should not be aware of Punk’s contribution to their favourite genre.

Alas, this is neither the time nor the place for an in-depth discussion of the British Anarcho-Punk scene of the early eighties, but it makes for fascinating reading if you’re interested. Disillusioned with the increasingly commercial Punk scene, what with most of the first wave bands either imploding or selling out by signing to major labels (Metal and Punk are less different than you’d think!) young people started their own labels, releasing challenging music that picked up the reins of the Punk attitude and turned it in a positive direction. ‘Anarcho’ in this respect doesn’t mean the negative ‘nihilism’ that the word is generally used to mean today, but a left-wing political movement that sought to take the power from the hands of corrupt governments and put it back with the people. Hippie-style communes were set up in squats, as bands lived together, playing to whoever came along. Acts like Crass and Flux Of Pink Indians were born, flourished, and died in the blink of an eye, and for a while there was a macrocosm of creativity that for once wasn’t obsessed with the creation itself as much as the sheer being.

Of course, it couldn’t last, the scene imploding under its own weight as everything from internal squabbles over ideology to the rise of the opposing skinhead force came to bear. The remains are vastly mixed, too, as all too few releases from the time can still look good when re-examined. One band, though, stands out from all the others, one band whose debut album took the base elements of Punk and formed them into a monster that would go on to directly influence Celtic Frost and Napalm Death as those fledgling bands were fashioning their own hellish rumble.

Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing is at its simplest a raging invective against nuclear weapons and those in power who were often more prepared to use them than you’d believe. The primitive production serves to focus the rage, driven by Kevin ‘Cal’ Morris’ vocals and Tony ‘Bones’ Roberts’ guitar, and if you’re coming to this expecting something catchy then you’ll be disappointed from the start. The opening title track goes straight for the throat after a brief drum count-in, the thick and fuzzy bass forming the backing darkness as the guitar grinds along with it, an intense torrent of anger that rides over a Slayeresque solo to punch you in the face – and then it’s all over, one minute and thirty seconds long. Speaking of Slayer, it’s not hard to see where Tom Araya got his vocal style from as Cal spits out sloganistic lyrics intermittently, at seemingly random points in the song.

Although the songs are all of a very similar style, it’d be wrong to think that they all were the same. The aforementioned title track is a perfect kick-off, and is soon followed by The Nightmare Continues, another great song with another great solo. It’s impossible to find a weak track from then on, as each and every song, whether it’s the bassy The Final Bloodbath, or the Motörhead-alike groove of Protest And Survive, is a killer. If there’s an overall highlight it’s the longest song on the album, the just-under four minutes long A Hell On Earth, which is about as close to Avant-Garde Thrash as you could get in 1982. Cries Of Help features a sombre newscaster voiceover detailing the horrific effects of a nuclear explosion on the innocents caught by the radiation, with background shrieks and moans. It’s quite disturbing, and sets you up for the following songs well, the intensity building up until the album finishes with the furious The End.

The reissue has a host of bonus tracks, but few can stand up to the original fourteen songs, which sadly holds true for Discharge’s other output as well, especially 1985’s infamous Grave New World, which was a widely-hated foray into the Glam Metal world. Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing, however, is a vital purchase for anyone concerned with the history of extreme metal, as well as a mandatory listen for those that think that punk can’t hold a torch to metal’s sheer forcefulness. A classic by every definition of the word.

Killing Songs :
All
Goat quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Discharge that we have reviewed:
Discharge - Disensitise reviewed by Goat and quoted 78 / 100
Discharge - War Is Hell reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
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