Discharge – End of Days (Nuclear Blast)Friday, 27th May 2016
Query the old guard of thrash and they’ll speak to what a profound influence Discharge was. As one of the initial practitioners of heads-down, no-frills, d-beat punk, the Brits have seen many of their songs covered by the likes of Anthrax, Metallica, Nazum, and Sepultura, perhaps the ultimate sign of respect. Cognizant of this, Nuclear Blast gobbled the band for a new deal and the subsequent release of their first full-length in eight years, End of Days.
Discharge’s lineup features three founding members, which for a band founded in 1977, is rather impressive in this day and age of mix-and-match formations. The newest member is singer JJ Janiak, who is tasked with holding down the fort with a rather monosyllabic bark, largely reminiscent of original singer Kelvin John Morris. So that’s really where End of Days goes – right into the dungeon of song uniformity, forever one of the biggest knocks on the band. Naturally, there’s a pissed, aggro vibe to short numbers like “Raped and Pillaged,” “Meek Your Maker” and “Hung Drawn and Quartered,” yet there’s no real movement to the band’s riff ideas. They’re basically set to top (chord) gear, laid alongside a hearty d-beat, and off they go.
End of Days happily carries the “in-and-out” fashion of Discharge’s early catalog. And while there’s more punk here than tried-and-true metal, the Brits, in their advanced age, provide plenty of pop to go along with their political and social commentary. Now, it worked like a charm for Discharge throughout the early ’80s. Will it work today? Possibly not.