Hello Dear Reader, welcome back: I've been here at the beginning and I'll be here at the end, but we here at the Little Black Egg have taken an extended leave from these parts for travels and ruthless challenges overcome only through sheer tyranny of will. Sometimes life has a way of chopping off your arms and legs and hoisting your screaming torso onto a battle standard where it is iffily secured with some bullshit twine, and thusly you are sent into the fight.
As usual, horror lurks everywhere in this world, and I have taken to consuming a steady diet of D-beat in order to fortify me with the essential vitamins and minerals I need to get through the day.
It's a rare punker indeed who doesn't know all about D-beat, but this publication is meant for all a manner of humans, so I here present the briefest of summaries:
- There was a UK punk band called Discharge that, from 1980–1983 or so, released a series of influential EPs and two LPs.
- Discharge basically always used one drum beat, as seen below. When played fast enough, it just kind of rolls over you.
- Each song only had a couple of chords, off-centered, seasick, played over and over
- Every song had to do with war, nuclear war, nuclear annihilation, misc. atrocities
- Lyrics were minimal, yelled from behind a wall of sound. The lyrics to "Q: And Children? A: And Children": In agony they cry and scream/and children, and children/and children, and children/skin peeled hanging in strips [REPEAT]
- So many people have copied this formula that it is now an entire genre
Discharge, at the time of their debut were completely novel—iconoclasts, truly. Every unnecessary part of them has been removed, and what's left is grim and singleminded; it's music written straight from the parasympathetic nervous system. Discharge raised the stakes for everything, and after hearing them it's difficult to return to the headspace you enjoyed before.
In fact, I'd say that Discharge is perhaps the only band I can think of that didn't influence others—they acquired followers. Other bands adopted their font, the "Dis-" prefix, their style of dress, subject matter, song structure, and most significantly, D-beat. For whatever reason, Discharge worship was most pronounced in Scandinavia and Japan, but at this point there're few significant metropolitan areas that don't have a Discharge worship band. Over the years, their influence, if anything, has grown.
It's fair to say that most of the bands coming afterwards sounded better than the original article. People are quick to dismiss Dis-bands as being unoriginal, but originality isn't necessarily the point here, and these bands aren't necessarily trying to hone in on their "voice"—they are building a fucking ziggurat, block-by-block. And why not? What is the best way to make an artistic statement about nuclear war? What if hundreds of bands choose to make the same statement? As far as I'm concerned, it's all valid—a comfort.
A sample of dialog from the movie The War Game, as used in the song "Cries of Help": At seven tenths of a millisecond after the explosion, and at a distance of 60 miles, the light from the fireball of a single megaton thermo-nuclear device is 30 times brighter than the midday sun. This little boy has received severe retinal burns from an explosion 27 miles away. The blast wave from a thermo-nuclear explosion has been likened to an enormous door slamming in the depths of hell.