• Scream - NMC17 (No More Censorship)

    Scream - NMC17 (No More Censorship)
    Released by: Southern Lord Records
    Released on: April 27th, 2018.
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    Southern Lord is all set to reissue No More Censorship (retitled NMC17) from Washington D.C.’s seminal hardcore outfit, Scream. Remastered from the original tapes and remixed at Dave Grohl’s own 606 Studios, this reissue also completely redoes the packaging and comes complete with a bunch of archival photos, lyrics and personal writing from the band (or at least it’s supposed to – this review is based off of an MP3 download that didn’t include any of that neat stuff).

    This was the band’s fourth album, but the first to feature a pre-Nirvana Grohl behind the drum kit. Why release it now? Well, according to vocalist Pete Stahl, these songs were original recorded at the height of Ronald Reagan’s time in the Oval Office – a lot of what the band was singing about back in 1988 seems relevant again today.

    Politics aside, how does the album sound? Really strong. From the opening reverb that sets off Take It From The Top, the new mix is clean, clear and powerful without sounding too modern. The opening track, one of the best on the album, we’re in pretty familiar eighties hardcore territory. There’s a big Bad Brains influence running throughout the entire album, with a bit more straight ahead rock thrown into the proceedings. From there we move on into Something In My Head, another straight forward hardcore track. Like a lot of the songs on the album, politics are worn plainly on sleeves, but this one drives forward really nicely, with the twin guitar work of Franz Stahl and Robert Lee Davidson propelling the track with some impressive aggression. Catchy chorus on this one too.

    Binge keeps the aggression front and center, it’s a bit more ‘rawk’ in that it’s got a lengthy guitar solo in it that’s a little noodley, but it’s a solid track with some great harmony on the chorus. God Squad starts off with some odd, distorted and almost ‘backwards masking’ sounding vocals over top of a very repetitive drum beat. From there, the guitar and the bass come into the mix and it picks up speed and finds a seriously catchy groove that it works for the next three and a half minutes as it rants against the hypocrisy of the religious right.

    Hit Me starts off with some off kilter guitar work before the band proper really throws down. The riff that is front and center on this track is simple but catchy and it provides a strong backbone for the rest of the band to play off of, with Pete Stahl’s vocals really going over the top here. At times this almost sounds like a blues jam, which is weird and sets it apart from the rest of the record, but it’s catchy as fuck. Building Dreams has a weird sort of dreamy opening, which is appropriate given the lyrical content of the song, and from there it picks up a bit, staying in the mid-tempo range rather than trying to blows the doors off of things like most of the band’s material does. Not the best song on the album, but it’s interesting to hear them doing something different.

    No More Censorship, the title track, definitely feels like a product of its time what with the PMRC trials and all of that having happened around the time that this was originally recorded. That doesn’t take away from the fact that the point behind the song remains a valid one. This probably should have sounded angrier and more hostile than it did, maybe it would have been more convincing that way, but as it stands this is a catchy track that features some AC/DC inspired riffing behind the vocals that actually works quite well. If nothing else, this’ll make you want to shake it.

    It’s The Time opens with a bass riff from Skeeter Thompson and then some weird fret work on the guitars before Grohl’s drumming opens the door for Peter Stahl’s vocals, which take a serious turn for the dramatic here, working a little Cro-Mags style warble into things that works nicely. The do the speed up/slow down thing well here. Fucked Without A Kiss again really showcases Stahl’s vocal abilities in interesting ways, he almost croons at times in this track, which contrasts interestingly enough with the harsher delivery of some of the faster parts of the song.

    GLC (which is an abbreviation for Good Looking Corpse) sees the band return to a more traditional hardcore sound on this album, some H.R. style yelping again bringing in that Bad Brains influence. It’s the shorted track on the record at under two-minutes, but it’s also one of the best. Run To The Sun also opens with a mellow opening bit, Stahl singing slowly and calmly about the summer of love and Watergate before the band, who are almost jamming a bit here, toying with some far more traditional sounds, up the intensity of the track allowing the vocals to really fly. The album, or this version at least, closes with No Escape, which lands them back in more traditional hardcore territory, playing fast and tight with some killer bass work showcased on the track.

    It’s worth noting that the song order on this reissue is different from the original which went:

    Hit Me / No More Censorship / Fucked Without A Kiss / No Escape / Building Dreams / Take It From The Top / Something In My Head / It’s The Time / Binge / Run To The Sun / In The Beginning

    This reissue also features a track called God Squad that wasn’t on the original issue, and it omits In The Beginning from the album for some reason.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. David H's Avatar
      David H -
      Nice review! Just bought the vinyl yesterday but I don't want to play it until my family is out of the house so I can turn it up to 11.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Haha, yeah, definitely one to be enjoyed at a proper volume.