Review Summary: Undeniably heavy and insanely catchy, Discharge releases an innovative and ground-breaking album that stands the test of time.
I still can’t believe that this release is creeping towards its thirtieth anniversary. In 1982, Discharge released its innovative debut album Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing
onto the unsuspecting public, and while it may have sounded like a frantic, garbled mess at the time, the content on this release has absolutely stood the test of time and the album has proven to be one of the most influential and important releases in all of heavy music.
Like many others who were not alive at the time of the original release, I was first exposed to Discharge thanks to Metallica, who covered both “Free Speech For The Dumb” and “The More I See” on their cover album, Garage Inc.
. I really didn’t understand what the hell was going on: it was literally the same riff over and over again, the same drum beat over and over again, and, probably the strangest of all, the same lyrics over and over again. It wasn’t until with repeated hearings that I truly developed an appreciation for the songs, and when I grabbed a hold of the original Discharge versions, there was no turning back.
The real charm and genius of this release is the simplicity of everything. With its unique metal-punk sound, the riffs buzz along repeatedly in every song, and I’ll be damned if these simple metal-tinged punk riffs aren’t some of the heaviest and catchiest ever recorded. These guitar riffs, accompanied by energetic drum beats, have a groove so deep that it feels like a raging tide swallowing you up and sweeping you away. The drums are relentless and fit in perfectly with the blazing guitars, and the chaotic solos put a melodic overtone to it all. The concept of “less is more” has never really been truer with this release, as the simple and repetitive nature of the music unlocks a strangely deep and everlasting quality.
The vocals and lyrics are another part of Discharge that is just so unique and fun. The lyrics are so incredibly animated and quirky that they just beg to be screamed out loud. While some songs only carry two or three lines, some songs just have a single line being said over and over, which really adds to the minimalist character of the music. While the singer barks about destruction and disruption over and over again, it’s not only hard to be amused by the corny premise, but it’s also hard to deny how catchy it proves to be. I can’t even recall how many times the lyrics of “Free Speech For The Dumb” or “The Blood Runs Red” have been stuck in my head after listening to them.
It’s difficult to think what people thought of this release nearly thirty years ago, but with several heavy metal/thrash giants like Metallica, Anthrax, Sepultura, and At The Gates covering Discharge songs, it’s easy to put Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing
into perspective. By infusing crusty, metallic riffs and galloping drums into simple punk structures, Discharge created something that was not only undeniably heavy and insanely catchy, but also completely innovate and ground-breaking for it’s time. The influence of this release is all too apparent some thirty years later, and it deserves to be heralded as a classic and innovative album of not only the punk/hardcore genre, but of all heavy music as a whole.