Review Summary: Despite lasting a mere nine minutes and twenty seconds, this is some of the most explosive "golden age hardcore" you will ever hear.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
The original "hardcore" era ran for 8 years, beginning with the Middle Class' Out of Vogue EP
and ending with the breakup of Black Flag. That's how I see the span of the golden age of hardcore. Throughout that period were two things that happened in music. On one side, there was the New Wave and Disco movements. On the other side, there was hardcore. Now, when most people think of hardcore, there are three bands they think of: Black Flag, the Bad Brains, and Minor Threat (who are considered to be the three most influential pioneers of the genre). Minor Threat may not have been the most influential, but they were probably the strongest of the three. Even though they only had a short three year run, they had an amazing career. Despite the absence of any commercial success at the time, the band started up a widely recognized independent record label, released three definitive hardcore records, and initiated a lifestyle movement.
The origin of Minor Threat is said to be traced back to the first time the Bad Brains came to Washington D.C. It is said that "they changed the face of music overnight", and under the mesmerizing energy of the Bad Brains, the Teen Idles were formed. Once the Teen Idles broke up, Minor Threat was formed with Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson who were the bassist and drummer (respectively) in the Teen Idles. Once they recruited guitarist Lyle Preslar and bassist Brian Baker, they just exploded. Then, they released the Minor Threat EP
in June, 1981. No one could believe what they were hearing. The most explosive, aggressive release of it's time came from four teenagers from Washington D.C., who had just been hit by that massive wave known as punk. Minor Threat was (and is) without a doubt one of the best bands of the hardcore breed.
The Minor Threat EP
is a pure TNT bomb of simple riffs, alarmingly aggressive vocals, and sheer speed. At the time, it was one of the craziest, quickest, and most aggressive records of it's time, but these days, people wouldn't say those things about it. Ian MacKaye's lyrics on the EP are inspiring, and deal with such topics as religion, drugs, racism and, of course, the "Straight Edge" movement. The "Straight Edge" movement is named after the song "Straight Edge", which is the first song that put forth this lifestyle choice. The lifestyle consists of refraining from promiscuous sex, drugs, and alcohol completely. It has also been further taken into refraining from prescription drugs, caffeine and/or consumption of meat or animal produce altogether. MacKaye's lyrics are truly inspiring, and are more intelligent and sophisticated than the subjects that other bands put forth. MacKaye's vocals are violently yelled into the microphone, but at times, it is impossible to comprehend what the guy is saying (but keep in mind that Darby Crash was even worse, so it doesn't really matter).
Guitar and bass is used similarly to most hardcore bands of the era; simple, repetitive riffs (with the occasional solo). However, the simplicity of the music does not seem to matter at all. The band can still blast out absolutely crazy tunes that just make you want to punch the person next to you. Even though the riffs are simple, they are effective, as demonstrated on the bass riff for "Seeing Red", or the main chord pattern on "Straight Edge". Jeff Nelson's drumming is just perfect, and the skill is shown is amazing if you listen carefully. Accompanied with MacKaye's vocals, the band is unstoppable.
The EP consists of really cool bass introductions on some songs ("I Don't Wanna Hear It", "Seeing Red") and simple, dirty thrash riffs that create these great, catchy guitar parts ("Straight Edge", "Minor Threat"). Choruses are memorable and meaningful ("Filler", "Screaming At A Wall"), and lyrics are madly yelled with the raw fury from the voice of MacKaye.
Subsequent releases demonstrate more musical development in the band, with higher quality production and a cleaner sound. But this is probably the best release out of their entire discography. The lyrics are iconic and clever, the guitars and bass are raging and catchy, and drums fit perfectly with everything that the rest of the band plays. This is one of the many hardcore releases that you simply must have. Don't let this one get by you!