BANDIT – Heathen Rock LP
burning spirit hardcore / punk
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A couple of years in the making, this Japanese hardcore masterpiece finally gets a long overdue vinyl reissue. Originally released in 1991 on CD format only, Heathen Rock was Bandit’s debut release, a relentless 12-track hardcore assault. The Kitakyushu-based band played Japanese hardcore typical of the era, comparable to Lip Cream and Nightmare on speed: raging riffs, fast 1-2 drum beats, brutal vocal delivery, and anthemic gang choruses. It’s all there! After their demise in the mid 90s, members went on to form the acclaimed AI. Comes with a full-color 12 page booklet and improved cover art. Remastered for vinyl purposes and comes with a download of demo and unreleased comp tracks.
Our take: Vinyl reissue of the previously CD-only 1991 release by this Japanese hardcore band whose members would go on to form the mighty AI, who had a couple of killer releases on Feral Ward. Bandit aren’t quite as anthemic or as Burning Spirits-esque as AI, though, instead plying a faster, meaner, and more chaotic version of Japanese hardcore that, listening to it in the year 2016, strikes me as extremely 90s. I suppose that’s mostly the drumming… nowadays the d-beat is pretty much the fashionable beat to play, and the 1-2-1-2 thrash beat that forms the backbone of the fast parts of most of these songs has, at least for now, relegated to the sands of history. I absolutely loved music like this in the early 00s (back when I’d order nearly every single Bloodsucker Records release from Hardcore Holocaust), but I wonder what the punks of today will think about it… will they find it old-fashioned, or will they hear the throat-shredding vocals and blistering, metallic riffs and appreciate it for what it is, a paint-peeling hardcore record? Only time will tell I suppose.