Skip to content

cover-raperevenge

Calgary, Canada fastcore/powerviolence unit Rape Revenge was only around for a brief three years. In the timespan from 2009 to 2012 they released two albums (which accounted for an EP each), of which “Rape Revenge” was the first. Shunned in their own region because of their outspokenness on a variety of socio-political subjects, straight edge/vegan lifestyle and DIY ethos Rape Revenge was the Canuck equivalent to incendiary Michigan, Detroit band Cloud Rat. This self-titled debut is a loosely conceptual, 10 track effort about animal rights, feminism, gender politics and egalitarianism.

Rape Revenge was formed in Alberta in 2009 by frontwoman Samantha Trees and drummer Matt Elbows, with a revolving cast of guitarists and bassists. On its debut recording Rape Revenge had a mostly female line-up consisting of Keaton Pridham (guitar), Arielle McCuaig (guitar) and Gwen Morgan (bass guitar). For its second EP saw both replaced by male members. Pridham fronts his own post-rock band Whale Mountain and experimental hardcore band Deformer. McCuaig and Morgan would resurface in garage rock band The Shrapnelles and pop-punk trio The Throwaways. Elbows has his own vegan powerviolence band Lab Rat, whereas Trees cut her teeth in indie rock band Eyes Full Of Stars and hardcore band Self Rule.

tumblr_inline_n92wrpyiy01rw72h2Much like defunct Slovakian grindcore outfit Idiots Parade simplicity and a brevity are Rape Revenge’s fortes. The band is squarely on the grind spectrum of the fastcore genre. The pace is utterly relentless and unforgiving. Trees easily matches Idiots Parade’s Petra in sheer ferocity and pitch. Like many of their contemporaries the bass guitar features prominently in the music. The riffs balance between punk, hardcore and sludge without pinning themselves to one specific genre. Only two songs come close to reaching the one-minute mark. Like most bands of this ilk it are the vocals and drumming that truly sell the record. Trees and Elbows are no slouches in their respective departments. Rape Revenge, both band and album, are inexorably aggressive, chaotic and violent.

‘Car Ride With A Vivisection Intern’ is about animal lab testing. ‘I’m Not Your Fucking Mother’ is about misogynist attitudes, mutual respect among the sexes and socially conditioning and gender roles. ‘I’m So Gay’ is a protest song against homophobia. ‘Dear Date Rapists Of St. Albert, AB’ is about rape culture, male domination and the culture of violence that inhabits the hockey teams in and by the more affluent parts of Alberta. In the track Trees makes no mistake about her intentions with such perpetrators, ‘If I find you / I’m going to fucking kill you’ she screams horrified. ‘Fuck Your Gender’ is about gender binarism and - identity. ‘Beauty Myth’ concerns body image, and has Trees screaming ‘it’s a lie!’. ‘Women’s Studies’ is about breaking away from established gender stereotypes and supports elagitarianism. ‘More Mosh, Less Macho’ deals with chauvinism and patriarchal attitudes in the hardcore scene. ‘Burn These Bridges’ is about overcoming oppression that women and girls face in modern day society.

Its confrontational, thought-provoking lyrics and frank outspokenness on a number of socio-political subjects led to Rape Revenge being shunned in the Calgary underground scene. Trees, who works as a counselor to sex workers, speaks with a degree of authority on the subjects she tackles as she experienced them first-hand or through her employment. The minimalist recording, and the band’s taut delivery of its stripped down and abrasively direct music, put all the focus on Trees and her politically-motivated lyrics. “Rape Revenge” is no easy listen, aesthetically as well as sonically - and that’s exactly the point. Grindcore, like punk and hardcore from whence it came, is about socio-political awareness and protest. Rape Revenge take the genre’s objective to heart and this EP is proof that the band wasn’t afraid to put its money where its mouth is.

Surely there are other, more marketable, bands just like it in various parts of the world – but seldom does a debut record crystallize the sheer essence of a genre as well as “Rape Revenge” does. What “Scum”, Napalm Death’s 1987 debut, did for the genre at its inception Rape Revenge does for the genre today. Explosive, subversive and relevant to the problems of its age and constituency – the record drags the tired and often imitated genre kicking and screaming away from the pangs of commercialism and back into the hands of the disenfranchised, the disillusioned and the dismayed. “Rape Revenge” has no ulterior motives except to confront the listener with the nasty underbelly of a male-centric society. They won’t stand for it, and neither should you. It’s time to act.

cover-idiotsgraphy.jpg

 

Idiots Parade, arguably Slovakia’s most visible female-fronted grindcore band, formed in Zvolen during 2004 as a successor to the earlier unit Tay Gatto. In all probability  the power trio took its name from the Nasum song ‘The Idiot Parade’ of their 2000 album “Human 2.0”. As the album title suggests this comprehensive 47 track compilation spans the band’s entire recorded history, including all of the band’s official releases, splits, and previously unreleased material. It commences with the most recent release “R.I.P.”, and works its way backward chronologically to the band’s earliest rehearsal recordings.

Central to Idiots Parade is frontwoman Petra, along with rhythm section Mato (bass guitar), and Jan (drums). The band is rounded out by guitarist Robert, who during the later stages of the trio’s career was duly replaced by Filip. The true calling card of the band is its energetic frontwoman Petra. Her high-octane vocal performance is completely over-the-top, and hysterical in its rabid intensity. A comparison could be made to Madison Marshall from Michigan grinding hardcore power trio Cloud Rat. As Idiots Parade comes from a hardcore background it isn’t very surprising to hear the bass guitar as prominent as it does. Likewise are none of the band’s releases overproduced in any capacity. Most of the lyrics deal with socio-political subjects, including but not limited to anti-capitalism, consumerism, the military-industrial complex – and introspective themes.

As a historical document “Idiotsgraphy (2003-2013)” had the arduous task of bringing together all of the band’s official releases, split albums, compilation tracks, and various assorted odds and ends. The disc consists of the "R.I.P." 5" EP (2013), the 2010 split with SayWhy?, the four tracks from the “This Comp Kills Fascists” session, and all the songs of the split with Abortion. The second half of the record compiles a number of unreleased recordings from 2006, along with the material from the “Sekec Mazec #4” 7" EP (2006). The anthology is fittingly concluded by the tracks from the band’s 2005 rehearsal demo, and its contribution to the Accomplice tape from 2005. Also included are covers from the band’s local and international contemporaries and inspirations such as Mäso (Slovakia), Sangre de Cristo (Slovakia), V.O.K.K., and Charles Bronson (US)

11018652_660385457421918_1138536963495326820_nThe “R.I.P.” material resembles Flesh Parade (“Kill Whitey”, in particular) closely. The growled backing vocals even don’t feel out of place. Petra’s vocals on the material for the split with SayWhy? are strangely subdued, muffled and whispered in parts – although they get better during the second half. One of the band’s biggest accomplishments was featuring on the second installment of the Scott Hull curated “This Comp Kills Fascists” series of compilations in 2010 that were released through Relapse Records. The four tracks of said compilation were among the band’s better produced efforts. Notable is that the band’s 2005 demo material is far thicker sounding than any of its later material.  Regardless of release the drum tone here is overall better than on many contemporary death metal releases. Like genre pillars Agathocles, and Nasum, before them Idiots Parade is able to do much with very little. While many songs barely clock over a minute the amount of dynamics and diversity that these cuts hold can be matched by few.

“Idiotsgraphy (2003-2013)” was released in a variety of formats on a swath of different European labels. It was released CD format on French grindcore specialist label Bones Brigade Records in 2014. Additionally, the compilation was released on cassette tape format by British label imprint Grindfather Productions. German label T.V.G. Records handled the LP release. Each of these various versions has it own distinct artwork differentiating it from the other. Interesting to note is that only the Bones Brigade Records print has a slightly different title with “Idiotsgraphy (2005-2013)”. Of all the different versions the Bones Brigade print is the most traditional looking while the other two versions accentuate the band’s DIY/hardcore ethos more with the handdrawn art.

Having all of the band’s recordings on a single disc proves just how consistent Idiots Parade was with its chosen style. From its 2005 rehearsal material to its swansong 2013 EP the quartet never compromised its vision and/or DIY ethos. Even though the production values increased from one effort to the next, Idiots Parade never surrendered to industry – or peer pressure to become a more marketable asset. The band was helped tremendously by the stellar performance of the delightful Petra. Her shrieks, wails and yells are among the strongest in the genre, and hopefully she’ll resurface sooner rather than later.  On all fronts is “Idiotsgraphy (2003-2013)” is a fitting eulogy to one of Slovakia’s most promising if shortlived grindcore units.