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.
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?"
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