Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Sgt. Rock - Sgt. Rock
Sgt. Rock's gritty crossover will easily interest anyone with a curiosity in the formative years of the genre. The material is also of historical interest as well to Impetigo fans with vocalist Steve-o's involvement being linked. No Visible Scars once again does a great job with the tapes, which come in military green. The J-card has an enjoyable array of pictures and images along with lyrics to a bunch of the tracks. The choice of putting this on tape was wise. It maintains the aesthetic which originally applied to the demo material provided here and it triumphantly carries the impression the original material must have had to a new group of listeners. This is still definitely a niche tape not for everyone.
The heavily punk influenced material is bookended with thrash metal charm in places. There is a sarcastic anti-war / anti-military theme which runs throughout the material. Evidence is abound. Ending the first fourteen tracks from the 1987 My Friend Lost His Face demo, "Be All You Can Be" samples the US Army commercial jingle with an epilogue of someone throwing up. "Military Time" shares a disdain for military order mimicking a wake up call and then trudging along. The subject matter adds to the tape's innate nature as a punk artifact more than a metal artifact and the influence of one subculture is more apparent than that of the other.
Sgt. Rock create an atmosphere of militant indifference and authoritarian criticism by way of a steady variety of marching riffs, trudging beats, and metallic clamor all while poking and prodding symbols of military might. The tracks from the My Friend Lost His Face demo are easily the better sounding, however still rough, cuts. The other 29 tracks are rehearsal tracks, two of which are from a March rehearsal. The April 1987 rehearsal tracks are a fun listen to in their own right. The entirety of them have added energy with some invited bystanders adding their own comments and general drunken tomfoolery in the background.
Ultimately, this tape is going to appeal to fans of crossover, Impetigo, punk, and perhaps those looking for something humorous to toss on every now and then. There are some fun tracks to scream and yell along to like "Grenades", "Rambo", and "My Friend Lost His Face." A Misfits cover appears halfway through the April rehearsal along with three attempts at an S.O.D medley which is finally nailed on the fourth go around. It's very honest rehearsal material which ties current kids rehearsing at home in basements to the perceived golden age of metal and punk.