THE OPPRESSED / THE PROWLERS - SKINS 'N' PUNKS - Volume 6
Between 1986 and 1989 Roddy Moreno from The Oppressed released five volumes in the famous Skins 'n' Punks series through his label Oi! Records. That classic series introduced us to great new bands like Last Rough Cause, Oi Polloi, The Magnificent and The Press.
Now, over 25 years since Oi! Records called it a day, Insurgence (North-America) and Aggrobeat (Europe) have decided to release a new volume. Not only is this the first volume with The Oppressed taking part, it's also the first time in nearly twenty years for The Oppressed to release new material on the 12” format!
The Oppressed serve up five new tracks and reworkings, plus a Prowlers cover and a newly-recorded version of White Flag, which is the first time with Roddy on vocals. The original 1982 version featured Martin Brennan on vocals. The Prowlers offer six previously unreleased cuts, including blistering covers of Poblers United's 'Antifascist Skin' and The Oppressed's 'Urban Soldiers'.
For both bands it was a logical decision to finally make an LP together. Both bands are long-time friends and have shared the stage multiple times across Europe as well as in Canada and Mexico.
The Insurgence version features White vinyl (250 units). Our friends at Aggrobeat in Europe are issuing a version on red vinyl (250 units). A short run of this release has been issued on CD, complete with Skins 'N' Punks 'The U.S. Connection' mock artwork.
FORMAT: LP / CD
From the growl and bark of Roddy's voice on "Head Kicked In" I knew this record was going to have some killer songs. I love early Oppressed and The Prowlers have been a staple of consistency and quality. I was worried about what I would get from the Oppressed. I have been critical of their later releases. They felt uninspired and the sound seldom felt like the Oppressed of old. I can say from the first track the voice and attitude is back! both sides of this record is a mix of original songs and covers by both bands. Roddy and gang hit you in the head on the first track and follow that up with a cover of "Drunken Skinhead", originally done by The Prowlers. They do a nice job on the cover, the song has a nice bounce and the guitar leads sound like they should. I like the original more but hats off for doing a good job on the song.
The version of "White Flag" on this record is the best version... With a sound ripped from the early 80's comes a nod to the Cockney Rejects with "The Greatest Cardiff Rip Off". They mix up the sound on the songs a bit with the melodic "Cardiff Born". This song will have you thinking of mid period Oppressed. The band finishes the album off with the hammer, "SHARP Anthem" a song that was done with the Bois... These six songs are easily some of the best stuff these guy have done in a long time. I like the mix in sonic style and vocal delivery. I do not know who is all in the band now but they deliver equal parts power and melody.
Up next is the Prowlers and they are here to drink your beer... They kick your head in with the rage fueled "Revenge". The Prowlers do what they do, and they do it well. "Revenge" is stone hard and strikes with the lead singers distinctive bark and a chorus that will have all of us singing along. "We're Here To Drink Your Beer" is about having a laugh and drinking beer. This song is about hanging out with your friends and brothers and this is a good song to do just that. "Antifascist Skin " was originally done by Pöblers United. It was a song that was ok, but nothing that stood out to me. The Prowlers have added that bark and growl that I love and have made their version better then the original. They fucking nail their cover of "Urban Soldiers". They play it close to the original. What I like is they spit these classic lyrics out with pure passion. The original is a classic and I have not heard a cover that comes close to it, until now. The boys from Montreal finish the album off with "My Vote". A pulsating intro that is bone jarring with it's energy, add thick gang vocals and all the attitude the band can muster. That is what they deliver on this last shot. Great way to finish off the record.
This is the right way to bring back the classic split album series Skins 'N' Punks. The Oppressed give us some of that old angry sound I have been missing and mix it with their melodic sound. I was pleasantly surprised by their side and maybe there is still some fight left in that old dog. The Prowlers deliver again, hard street level songs that have big choruses... Good job to both bands and the label for putting this album out. I just ordered my copy and if you like either of these bands you should order a copy too.