Sunday, March 8, 2009

Music Review: The Dehumanizers "The First Five Years (of Drug Use) Anthology"

“The First Five Years (of Drug Use) Anthology” is a compilation done right for a change. Seattle Punk mainstays The Dehumanizers have finally gotten the CD treatment, and I have to say that P.I.G. Records have done a stellar job.

The Dehumanizers first gained notoriety way back in 1985, with their song “Kill Lou Guzzo” Lou was a notoriously senile TV commentator in Seattle, who went on the air with an anti-punk diatribe one night, which The Dehumanizers sampled liberally. His immortal line “Who needs punk rock anyway?” was particularly galling, so the band let him have it. The song was an instant classic, and was released as part of their 5 song EP debut.

The momentum carried over into the recording of the full length LP “The End of Time” which is included in it’s entirety as a bonus disc here. The original sequencing of “End of Time” remains an extraordinary achievement, utilizing comedy breaks and music snippets between tracks, creating a work that is best heard in it’s original, unaltered form.

As for the compilation disc itself, there are alternate versions of tracks from “End of Time” and also selections from their nearly impossible to find 2nd lp “The Dehumanizers Go Hollywood” and the equally rare “Here’s To You”. Over the years, The Dehumanizers have weathered a number of personnel changes, which is fairly common in punk bands. But the one constant presence has been drummer “Infra Ed” who pounds the skins mercilessly throughout the 40 tracks contained herein.

Special mention must also go out to Coby Jackson’s extensive and thorough liner notes. He puts the somewhat convoluted history of this great band in excellent perspective, so even a novice listener will come away knowing what The Dehumanizers are all about. And why to this day, they remain relevant to Seattle’s ongoing punk rock scene.

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