I was actually kinda surprised by my own reaction to this CD.  I found that I liked it far more than I thought I would.  It has got some pretty killer, hard-hitting anarcho-crust tunes that bring to mind earlier outfits such as INSURGENCE and NAUSEA, and not only because of the dual female/male vocal thing.  There is also a touch of something like SEDITION here with their hardcore thrash meets tribal punk but ATU adds a modern, fully metallic production that makes it sound like they spent some time in the studio making these songs sound as large and powerful as they could be.

To be honest, I have always kinda been on the fence about APPALACHIAN TERROR UNIT.  I do like their passion for the causes that they support and I like the heavy thrashy crust that they put forward, but that being said, I sometimes think that they come off as a bit “holier-than-thou” about it all.  I am not even sure how I came to that thought.  Maybe it stemmed from seeing them live in the past.  But whatever, that was then.  This is now and this makes me rethink ATU cause this is pretty solid material.

This CD takes tracks from the “Armageddon Won’t Be Brought By Gods…” 7” from way back in 2007 and the “Greenwashing LP” from 2008 and it comes as a striking reminder of just how powerful this band can be.  Chugging riffs, searing vocals imploring for change and a drummer that shows off his expertise without showing off.  Had APPALACHIAN TERROR UNIT been on the scene back in the mid 90’s they would have probably been one of the biggest bands of the time, with their politically-charged lyrics and anarcho punk meets thrash metal sound (that has been done to death in the past few years with varying results).

Packaging is, as you would expect from Profane Existence, exceptional.  The CD booklet that accompanies this is 22 pages of lyrics, explanations, backgrounds and photos, and shows that they are willing to expand on their lyrics in a way that is often lost today.  It brings to mind CONFLICT and many of the early anarcho punk bands of the 80s that saw their releases as an opportunity to educate and share ideas beyond the songs themselves, packing the record sleeves and inserts with explanations of their songs, putting them into historical and/or cultural context or just providing more of the story.  ATU show that they aren’t just spouting a few political catchphrases but want the listener to have a deeper understanding of the issues at hand.  Songs span topics as diverse as the impacts of strip mining coal, the american war machine, keeping the pressure on fascist elements within our societies and the failure of modern healthcare to provide for the poor, even here in one of the richest countries in the world.  There is also a song that confronts the wasteful war on drugs and supports the legalization of ganja.  (Thanks to the residents of Colorado for making that dream a reality!)

My big beef with this release is why do we need this when both the 7 inch and the LP that lend tracks to this “discography” are still in print?

APPALACHIAN TERROR UNIT may not have done anything remarkably new or inventive, but they do have some great punk songs and some vehemence about our earth and its inhabitants.


~ by thrashpunx on February 13, 2013.

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