Punk is a genre that many metal genres owe a great deal to. Black metal groups such as Darkthrone, Venom and thrash groups including Slayer, Death Angel, have taken many pages from the book of punk. In this edition of The Heavy List, we will take a look at punk in general with the Ska and Hardcore sub-genres soon to come. The first four honourable mentions are international acts with the last four being homegrown.
It is time to let out the inner punk in you and set that anarchist free.
The Exploited. Troops of Tomorrow (1982)
The Germs. GI (1979)
Pennywise. About Time (1995)
NOFX. White Trash. Two Heebs. And A Bean (1992)
Frenzal Rhomb. Not So Tough Now (1996)
The Meanies. Televolution (1994)
Cosmic Psychos. Go the Hack (1989)
Hard-ons. Dateless Dudes Club (1992)
Top 10 Punk Albums
10. Dwarves. Blood Guts & Pussy (1990)
Forming in the mid-eighties with their debut Horror Stories (1986) it was the band’s first release on major label Sub-Pop (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney) which took the punk world by storm. With thirteen tracks in less than fourteen minutes, focusing on quality, not quantity here. Crazed frontman Blag Dahlia leads his band of misfits featuring bassist Salt Peter, the infamous guitarist, Hewhocannotbenamed and drummer Vadge Moore. With song titles such as Skin-Poppin’ Slut, Let’s Fuck and Insect Whore it doesn’t get any more punk than the Dwarves. These days touring extensively, their latest The Dwarves Invented Rock and Roll (2014), features Rex Everything aka. Nick Oliveri (Mondo Generator, Kyuss, QOTSA) among other musicians who make the line-up. The cover was found to be controversial by feminists who didn’t appreciate the photography of naked models covered in animals blood.
Standout tracks: Back Seat of My Car, Drug Store, Fuck You Up and Get High.
9. Bad Religion. How could Hell be any worse? (1982)
The debut full-length for Californian Punk rockers Bad Religion was originally released in 1982 via guitarist, Brett Gurewitz‘ own label, Epitaph, later re-released in 2004. The album war recorded over two sessions which lead to line-up changes whilst recording. Original drummer Jay Ziskrout left halfway through recording and was replaced by Pete Finestone. Bassist Jay Bentley left the band after recording however returned six years later on Suffer (1988). Greg Hetson, guitarist of The Circle Jerks at the time provided a solo on Part III and was a full-time member until 2013. Praised by Zack de la Rocha (RATM) who stated that, “Fuck Armageddon…This Is Hell” changed his life. We’re Only Gonna Die was covered by the likes of crossover group Biohazard on Urban Discipline (1992) and Ska- punk outfit Sublime on their debut 40. oz to Freedom (1992). The reception of How Could Hell be any Worse? makes it a strong contender as an original punk rock classic. Although the iconic voice of frontman, Greg Graffin was still forming the guitar work and songwriting of Gurewitz, was in the works for greatness.
Standout tracks: We’re Only Gonna Die, Fuck Armageddon…This Is Hell, Voice of God Is Government.
8. Hard-ons. Smell my finger (1986)
The debut mini-album for Punchbowl locals the Hard-Ons is looked upon as a classic Australian punk record. Original drummer and vocalist Keish De Silva featured on the album and recently rejoined in 2016 after leaving in 2001. Accompanied by bassist Ray Ahn and guitarist/vocalist, Peter Black, the Sydney-siders whizz through eight punk rock gems that are sure to leave a long lasting impression on the listener. Always giving an energetic performance at every live show the Hard-Ons are the most relevant Australian punk group today. Having toured alongside the likes of The Ramones and The Damned they are truly world-class. An unlikely cover of Then I Kissed Her (1963) by The Crystals is also given that Hard-Ons twist. Essential listening right here!
Standout tracks: Wog food, Then I Kissed Her, Think About You.
7. Descendents. Milo goes to college (1982)
The debut full-length for American punk-rock veterans, the Descendents continues to influence many musicians today leaving a legacy behind. Songs such as I’m not a Loser were covered by ska-punk outfits, Voodoo Glow Skulls, while Hope was covered by Sublime. Lead by frontman, Milo Aukerman alongside original bassist Tony Lombardo, the late Frank Navetta on guitar and the longest running member, Bill Stevenson on drums. Fat Mike (NOFX) and founder of Fat Wreck Chords, states Milo Goes to College his all-time favourite album. Those kind words from Fat Mike alone explain why this album is a must for any fan of Punk rock music.
Standout tracks: Myage, Hope, Bikeage. I’m not a Loser.
6. The Clash. The Clash (1977)
The debut self-titled record for UK punk rock royalty, The Clash is classed as one of the greatest punk rock albums of all time. The influence the band has had is immense. The vocal stylings of Joe Strummer took a strong impact on lead vocalist and guitarist for Rancid, Tim Armstrong. That distinct voice definitely left a mark on Armstrong among other musicians. Lead guitarist, Mick Jones accompanied Strummer with bassist Paul Simonon, drummers Terry Chimes and Topper Headon. A US version was released in 1979 with tracks such as the original version of White Riot, for not being radio friendly. Tracks such as I Fought The Law, off The Cost of Living EP (1979) and the reggae-influenced (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais, featured as an A-side on the UK single in 1978, saw the light of day.
Standout tracks: I’m So Bored with the U.S.A., White Riot, London’s Burning, Police & Thieves
5. Misfits. Walk Among Us (1982)
Although this was the debut release from Horror Punk rockers, Misfits it was recorded after The Static Age (1987) which wasn’t released until 1997. Featuring the classic line-up of vocalist, Glenn Danzig, bassist Jerry Only, guitarist Doyle and drummer Arthur Googy, the album stands the test of time. Misfits have recently reunited with Danzig, joined by drummer extraordinaire Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Grip Inc, Fantomas). Danzig has a distinct voice and his love of Elvis shows, particularly with his solo group the aptly named, Danzig. Goth punks unite for a stellar album sure to be stuck on repeat.
Standout Tracks: 20 eyes, I Turned into a Martian, Skulls, Night of the Living Dead.
4. Sex Pistols. Never Mind the Bollocks (1977)
Released via Virgin Records, the only studio release from the controversial UK punk rockers, Sex Pistols took the world by storm. Particularly due to the short-lived Sid Vicious who died at the ripe age of twenty-one. Vicious only recorded on Bodies as he was unfit to record the other songs on the album. Focusing on the chaotic romance of Vicious and girlfriend Nancy Spungen, the UK feature film Sid and Nancy (1986) did well at the box office with actor Gary Oldman, praised for his effort. Vocalist Johnny Rotten, now known as John Lyndon provides vocals for the Post-Punk outfit, Public Image Ltd, forming after the demise of Sex Pistols until 1992 and reforming in 2009. From the get-go controversy surrounded, with even the title ‘bollocks’ found to be offensive, left blank on charts with some record stores refusing the album. The B-Side of the Pretty Vacant single also features a cover of The Stooges, No Fun. Guitarist, Steve Jones played bass on all songs, except Bodies. Paul Cook sat back and watched the craziness from behind the drumset. Regarded as a classic punk record as it so rightfully deserves.
Standout tracks: Holidays in the Sun, God Save the Queen, Anarchy in the U.K, Bodies, Pretty Vacant.
3. The Damned. Machine Gun Ettitiquete (1979)
The third release from English punk group The Damned, saw a lineup change with Captain Sensible moving from bass to guitar after original guitarist Brian James left. Algy Ward took over bass duties, accompanied by drummer Rat Scabies. The distinct vocal stylings of Dave Vanian is a standout and the album has more of a punk edge to it than previous releases. Vanian and Sensible are the only two remaining members and continue to tour extensively on their 40th Anniversary Tour, with Hard-On’s as their Sydney supports. It was a close tie between Machine Gun Ettitiquete (1979) and the debut Damned Damned Damned (1977), which featured NewRose, the first single for a British punk band. It was the song Smash it Up however which The Damned are better known for. From psychedelic rock to punk to goth rock The Damned weren’t afraid to blend genres and they do it so well, leaving a legacy behind.
Standout tracks: Love Song, Melody Lee, Smash it Up.
2. Ramones. Ramones (1976)
A list of punk albums would be incomplete without the debut from the Ramones, consisting of vocalist Joey, guitarist Johnny, bassist Dee Dee and drummer Tommy. Numerous musicians have covered the Ramones, whether it be Red Hot Chilli Peppers who did a rendition of Havana Affair, the B-Side to first single Blitzkrieg Bop, covered by Rob Zombie. Both covers can be found on We’re a Happy Family: A Tribute to Ramones (2003), one of many tributes to everyone’s beloved punk band. The legacy and influence remains endless, not only inspiring punk musicians but musicians in general. If you have no recollection of “Hey Ho Let’s Go!” you have a lot to learn.
Standout tracks: Blitzkrieg Bop, Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue, I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend, Judy is a Punk.
1. Iggy & The Stooges. Raw Power (1973)
The third album for The Stooges and the first to be credited as Iggy and The Stooges stands the test of time as a cult classic. A lot was going on after the release of the successful debut, The Stooges (1969) and Fun House (1970). Band members were going through drug addiction and alcoholism, causing a break-up. Pop moved to London to work on his solo career, befriending David Bowie. Pop was to start recording an album with James Williamson, who had played as a second guitarist for the Stooges in 1970. Without a rhythm section, the Asheton brothers soon flew over to record. Ron moved from guitar to bass and Scott stuck to drums. Pop faced mixing problems at CBS Studios, lacking balance or tone with most instruments mixed into one stereo channel and the vocals into the other. Bowie agreed to mix seven tracks at Western Sound Recorders, Los Angeles, keeping the original mix of Search and Destroy.
The album has been praised by many such as the late Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) and guitarist Steve Jones (Sex Pistols) who claimed he had learned guitar from listening to Raw Power whilst taking speed. Covered by various punk groups such as The Damned, Sex Pistols and countless others Iggy and the Stooges continue to spread their legacy. Sadly losing one of their original members, guitarist/bassist Ron Asheton in 2009 with The Weirdness (2007) the last studio album, a follow-up to Raw Power. Pop remains relevant today with his most recent solo effort, Post Pop Depression (2016), teaming up with Josh Homme (QOTSA, Kyuss). Gimmie Danger (2016), a song title off Raw Power is also the film title for a recent documentary film by indie filmmaker, Jim Jarmusch. Pop has worked with Jarmusch in the past, featuring in both Dead Man (1995) and Coffee and Cigarettes (2003).
Hoping for more material to come from Iggy and the Stooges in the not too distant future.
Standout tracks: Search and Destroy, Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell, Raw Power, Shake Appeal.