Toxic Reasons - Independence

If I were to compile a list of the most underrated punk rock albums ever, Independence, the first of many full length records to come from hardcore punk band Toxic Reasons, would be at number one. Independence was originally released in 1982, although it has been rereleased a few times on various record labels, most recently on Beer City Records in 2001. I was lucky enough to get both the CD and LP versions of the 2001 rerelease for free when the band's guitar player Bruce gave them to me when I interviewed him about his experiences, but that is a completely different story. I am here to tell you about Independence.

Independence features eleven tracks of relatively original hardcore. On this album, Toxic Reasons successfully combines three distinct hardcore styles; fast and loud American hardcore, melodic Canadian hardcore, and anthemic British hardcore. DOA was a tremendous influence on Toxic Reasons and this particular album bears strong resemblance to the DOA /Subhumans style of HC. The album also sounds a little bit like '80s UK punk (i.e. The Exploited), but not in a bad way. Thirdly, Independence sounds a lot like Bad Brains, mostly because of its adherence to a steady rhythm and tempo which gives it the chugga chugga sound which we've all heard (or at least I hope to God you've heard) on the self titled Bad Brains. And if that's not enough 'Brains influence, there's even a reggae track titled "Ghost Town"! What is surprising about Independence is that it is so derivative yet it also manages to be original. Lyric-wise, Independence is mostly political; the band deals with the total bullshit of American patriotism, urban decay, and the continuing Cold War. Some of the lyrics are just rockingly hardcore (I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing) - "Noise Boys" for example; "Is it loud enough or do you want some more? / I told you once that we weren't wimps, we're born to be hard-core / And now that we've got our amps maxed out on ten / do you think that you'll ever ever ever come and see us again?"

Independence is undoubtedly required listening for any punk rock enthusiast. Musically, it rocks and rolls with a good fast, yet steady tempo, loud guitars, and gruff vocals. It has pretty solid, if less than brilliant lyrics, and I would contend that the content of the lyrics remain relavent today. As I said earlier, Independence is a good bet for any hardcore fan, and additionally for anyone who likes pop punk or some crap like that because it sure beats the Hell out of anything by Anti-Flag or AFI.


Buy It

1. Mercenary
2. Drunk And Disorderly
3. War Hero
4. Noise Boys
5. Riot Squad
6. Ghost Town
7. Killer
8. Somebody Help Me
9. How Do You Feel
10. White Noise
11. The Shape
12. Rally Round The Flag, Boys

Written by: Sam

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