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Friday, March 14, 2008

CD Review: Terror - CBGB Masters: Live June 10, 2004 The Bowery Collection

Terror - CBGB Masters: Live June 10, 2004 The Bowery Collection
2008 MVD Audio
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Often you'll hear veteran punks and metalheads who lived in the New York region wax about the matinee punk and hardcore shows on Sundays at CBGB's and certainly the names you hear coming out of their mouths like Youth of Today, Bad Brains, Agnostic Front and Gorilla Biscuits lend an air of envy to those never in attendance of such legendary performances at America's lost hellhole club extraordinaire.

Though the year of this show by hardcore revivalists Terror captured for CBGB posterity is 2004 and hardly the vintage air of those eighties hardcore mission statements, what resonates through the bulldog rasps of Scott Vogel (enjoying an obvious homecoming moment) and the massive thrash attack of the LA-based band is that Terror recognizes the history of their venue and they go for it balls-out as if the year is 1987.

They buzzsaw through a destructo-agro set of songs like "Better Off Without You," "Keep Your Mouth Shut," "Life and Death" and "What Have We Done?" and unlike most live recordings, you feel a sense of being there because Terror is simply abusive through their relentless riffing and crushing beats amidst their professions of positivity. You can feel Terror slipping out a Bad Brains homage in tone on "Not This Time" while going absolutely berserk towards the end of the set on "Keep Your Distance" and "Push it Away."

You'll be seeing more from this CBBG Masters series including already-released shows from The Mooney Suzuki and ska legends The Toasters. The late club owner Hilly Kristal was reported to be such a music fan in life that bands from many walks of life can attest to having played there. Going up to New York numerous times in the past, I regret never making it to CBGB's before it recently shut its doors, but interviewing bands who had played the club and reading testimonials from the venue's salad days which hosted the greatest of the greats like The Ramones, Sex Pistols, Blondie and Talking Heads along with its famous Sunday punk matinees, you get the feeling that every act knew they had a standard to live up to when entering the cramped dinginess of CBGB's.

Never before has anyone had to rise to the occasion amidst such squalored conditions, but CBGB's was obviously a juke joint turned into an underground music mecca and listening to an inspired set like Terror's, even in 2004 there was obviously something to prove to yourself as a band, much less the snarling crowd standing on top of the spilled beer, glass and piss.

Rating: ****

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