ALBUM REVIEW: End of Days – Discharge

DISCHARGE perpetually seem to be one of those bands acknowledged for their undeniable impact and influence, but never really listened to. To the majority of people they’re the presumably very angry band whose songs METALLICA deemed fit to smother in Hetfield-isms and both open and close disc one of Garage Inc. with, and in gloomier corners their importance on the development of extreme metal via bands like HELLHAMMER is well documented, but when was the last time you really listened to Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing or Never Again? Indeed, it has to be admitted that DISCHARGE have not really been able to spread their wings and cultivate much of a fan-base among younger, more current listeners, almost definitely in part due to their absence during recent years. New album End of Days is only their third during the 21st century and coming eight years after their last, the previous two being fairly low key, but with arguably the strongest line-up DISCHARGE have had in a while here and with a high profile label like Nuclear Blast behind it End of Days has potential to make some at least some impact.

Their sonic blueprint has not changed much but interestingly enough while the hardcore landscape has undeniably evolved in the decades since DISCHARGE’s initial emergence, rather than making them redundant it has left something of a hole for them to now fill. In contrast to so much else in modern hardcore, DISCHARGE’s anarchic snarl is in a way refreshing. End of Days is one-dimensional in the most gloriously satisfying of ways, a spitting rampage clattering through fifteen tracks in just over half an hour and lacking in all forms of subtlety. Punk’s ability to slap three chords together and create a riff that will stick in your head for days while making you want to slam through every wall you see is evidently as powerful as ever, and the likes of the ravenous Raped and Pillaged and the weirdly off-kilter dissonant squall of album highlight It Can’t Happen Here go a long way to prove DISCHARGE’s ongoing strength.

With the backing of Nuclear Blast the production on End of Days is some of the highest quality of anything in the DISCHARGE discography but rather than slap a glossy mix on things and sap it of its character it plays to DISCHARGE’s strong points, making their d-beat barrage seem all the more cacophonous with frontman JJ Janiak’s vocals front and centre. Janiak makes his full-length debut here and both vocally and lyrically fits in so seamlessly with DISCHARGE’s trademark vibe it’s hardly noticeable that that is the case, his voice wonderfully obnoxious as he bluntly declares “The broken law’s gonna break your jaw” on The Broken Law.

End of Days ultimately does make more than just passing nods to ground already covered by DISCHARGE in the past whether it be musically or in the clip beginning the title track from a 1950s style nuclear war educational video, a theme that dominated DISCHARGE’s heyday. This then keeps DISCHARGE from being in the same category as bands like NAPALM DEATH, who have managed to stay ahead of the game by consistently challenging both themselves and their peers to not rest on their laurels and to be different, but their grimy and spitting presence in 2016 is a very welcome one. They may not be zeitgeist-capturing in the same way they were in 1982, but End of Days is the sound of veterans doing the thing they know best having not lost a drop of enthusiasm, and all the more infectious for it.

Rating: 8/10

Discharge End of Days

End of Days is set for release on April 29th via Nuclear Blast Records.

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