THE FASTERLOUDER YEAR(S)
Around 1983 I'd been into punk for about a year and a half, listening to a broad range of music, from Crass to the Fall to the Damned to (gasp!) U2. The arrival of American Hardcore (punk, not porn) on these shores changed all that; suddenly everything had to be as fast and loud as possible. For a while at least, this was fun; a confused and fragmented scene became focused and exciting again. For me the big watershed was hearing the Als Je Haar Maar Goed Zit 2 LP for the first time. I'd already heard Gang Green, Void etc. but expected this new Dutch comp to be the same old Nederpunk. Not so, as the first track (Pandemonium's "Wir Fahren Gegen Nazis") immediately made clear. We'd just started our own band and we were playing fast, but this was something else; a maelstrom of supertight over-the-top screaming, pummeling drums and scorching guitars. And every track by every band on this LP was like that! An important factor must have been producer Dolf Planteydt, who in a fit of temporary insanity mixed the guitars about 5 times as loud as the rest (on the first BGK LP recorded around the same time, this style is taken to its ultimate conclusion: you hear nothing but guitar and an occasional kick drum), making these tracks sound unlike any Dutch punk that came before. I was just crazy about this LP, playing it non-stop during the year I got kicked out of school. Apart from the speed there's an excitement and mischieviousness about everything, everybody playing and singing as if their lives depended on it, but at the same time having a laugh about it too. Apart from Zmiv and Pandemonium all of these bands were from Amsterdam, most of them containing old scenesters like Herry Hubert (Last Few, later Deadlock and Yawp!), Fokkie (Outlawz, son of legendary Amsterdam communist Roel Walraven) and Maarten Luijendijk (Null-A, later No Pigs and the Soundgarden pub), so this fasterlouder stuff was actually something a lot of older punks were into! Too bad that in a space of just 18 months this excitement seemed to evaporate, leaving just politically correct, adequate-but-boring HC-by-numbers (just compare Als Je Haar... with the Beware Of The Wolf In Sheep's Clothing comp of 1985). And that was even before metal took over...
P.S.: Listening to the Haemorrhoids reminds me of the time I went up to their place to record them for a tape I put out. That was on the legendary Vondelstraat (mentioned by de Straks in their song "Eet U Smakelijk"!), where a big squatters' riot took place in 1980, although I think their practice space wasn't a squat, but the stately home of one of the members' parents! A guy about 7 foot tall called Bart Schut did backing vocals; years later he became a night DJ on Dutch VPRO Radio, sometimes "illustrating" some political theme on the show with a Mob 47 or Kaaos song!
Pandemonium - Wir Fahren Gegen Nazis
Haemorrhoids - Government's Decision
Outlawz - El Salvador
BGK - Video Voodoo
Last Few - Narrow Minds
Zmiv - Crime
Amsterdamned - Sleep
Null-A - Arbeit Macht Frei