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Uncompromising Noise: the Legacy of SORE THROAT

When you think of blast beats you're mind probably goes to something like Napalm Death or Rotten Sound nowadays. Perhaps Pig Destroyer's Prowler in the Yard? While some speculate that Napalm Death was the originator of the blast beat, they were not the only band famous for the method at the time. Perhaps one of the more prolific bands that loved a good blast beat was Sore Throat.

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Sore Throat was a crust-punk/grind/noise band out of Huddersfield and Birmingham, England. Sore Throat, formed in 1987, encompassed a realm of absolute minimalism, completely refusing to practice, opting to come up with songs on the spot during recording instead. Jon 'Doom' Pickering and Rich 'Militia' Walker claim that the band's goals were simple: piss everyone off, drink as much as possible, and push pure, raw noise as far as they could.

Sore Throat succeeded in spades. The band wanted nothing to do with the commercialistic bands and trends of modern hardcore. Albums like Never Mind the Napalm…Here's Sore Throat (a reference to Napalm Death) and the artwork to Death to Capitalist Hardcore, which featured an impaled man holding a D.R.I. symbol served as simple reminders to the scene that they supported none of the trends. However, the band still remained political in its core. With titles like 'Bomb the Whitehouse' and 'Environmental Suicide', the band did manage to sound like they had a political/social message, though they probably caused more people anguish over their trashing the popular bands and trends among scene goers.

What made Sore Throat stand out beyond their trash talk and in-your-face political stances was the way they pushed their sound. The band wanted absolute noise to be its voice, to the point of twenty second songs being a common trait. Albums like Death to Capitalist Hardcore were forty-five songs long and stuffed onto seven-inch. But these albums absolutely blasted. Despite hardly ever writing songs that were over a minute long, Sore Throat managed to still be identifiable with the crust and grind movements of the time, however taking them to new levels of shortness. Sore Throat's albums are absolutely raw to the most intense degrees, to the point of instruments sounding like nothing more than a quick hum during some songs. Still, some pieces manage to have some actual length to them though they remain in the spirit of the band's straight forward approach and don't deviate much in terms of melody. The use of the first movement from Beethoven’s 'Moonlight Sonata' is particularly memorable in the middle Death to Capitalist Hardcore.

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Sore Throat did evolve as the few years they existed went on. The Inde$troy record was the record the band spent the most time on, though it is as unrehearsed as anything else. They even changed their name to 'Saw Throat' for this one. The piece is chaotic, industrial, atmospheric, grind-y, crusty, punk, experimental surprisingly well recorded, and extremely long for a band that specialized in blast beats. Inde$troy is an absolute smasher for anyone that thought the band was worth nothing more than ripe blast beats.

Sore Throat was, and always will be, an absolute monster unto itself, crust, punk, hardcore, thrash, and grind. They hated everything from trends and crossovers to Kerrang!, Billy Milano (Stormtroopers of Death), environmental abuse, Margret Thatcher, scene treaders, and so on. The band ended up disbanding due to internal conflicts in 1989 but their influence is still felt. The new degrees to which Sore Throat pushed minimalism and their complete disregard for organizing music (other than on the spot) is something that you would think would turn out to be completely incompetent and useless, a simple punchline in the hardcore and metal scenes. It wasn't. This is a discography that deserves to be heard with ideas on both politics and music that can be (and should be) applied today.

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