Review: ANTiSEEN: The Southern Hostility Demos
Punk Rock is the real “It’s a Small World” ride. Between the beginning of 1992 and 1993, I went from getting blown away by the raw skronk of ANTiSEEN’s 1991 opus “Southern Hostility” to interviewing them for a fanzine, booking them at Washington Square on Miami Beach (RIP) and dealing with their dirty dishes in my sink and snoring groupies in my living room. It was the start of a beautiful friendship.
While “remastered demos” may sound like an absurd concept for an album already lo-fi enough to win a limbo contest, any cause for 500 more copies of these sonic blasts is a worthy one. The seven hostility tracks included in this 13-song collection are indeed rawer than the final LP. I dare say, they are even rawer than ANTiSEEN’s “Raw Shit” compilation of their ’80s two-chord wonders. Open up your ears, and they will bleed, particularly on their cover of “My God Can Beat Up Your God” by OG Miami punk band Broken Talent.
Even better is the inclusion of “Psycho Killer” and “Heavy Mud.” They were previously released on a long-out-of-print single a quarter century ago. “Heavy Mud” is ANTiSEEN’s reclamation of Grunge from their Seattle fans Mudhoney and Nirvana. A reworking of their ’80s cow-punk jig “Drug Through the Mud,” it’s a slow, sludgy headbanger that allows Mighty Joe Young’s guitar alchemy to shine through. Open strings are not supposed to sound good with power chords, but when Young did it, the resulting tone was a hybrid of Motorhead and a chainsaw.
This guitar tone-of-death continues with their reimagining of “Psycho Killer.” Whereas the Talking Heads had a creative distance between David Byrne’s geeky warble and the grim tale they sang, ANTiSEEN singer Jeff Clayton’s throaty, menacing growl demands you know he means business. Not only is he a “real live wire,” but he’s coming to your house as soon as the song is over. That thought is reinforced by the thousand-yard stares his beefy, Manson-on-roids-and-wrasslin’ visage gives on the cover.
Other outtakes include ANTiSEEN’s amazing smash-and-grab hardcore version of Jumpin’ Gene Simmons’ ’60s garage novelty hit “Haunted House” and their “yes we came up with it first” ode to zombies: “Walking Dead.” To make the package sweeter to record collecting scum, this LP is limited to 500 copies on yellow wax and has a reprint of their “My God Can Beat Up Your God” tour poster, featuring a thorn-crowned Clayton toting a full-size cross in one hand and a Luger in the other.
If you need some hair on your chest, this album works better than a shot of whiskey or a vial of hormones.
(TKO Records, www.tkorecords.com )
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