A left turn for Southern Lord, the label takes a brief moment to divert our attention away from the doom/sludge/and dark metal bands to bring back to life this rare punk band from the Lone State.
Offenders surfaced right at the end of the 1970s to become the forefront hardcore punk band in Texas. They released three albums (two full lengths and a seven inch) on vinyl and now Southern Lord has gathered the music and packaged them under one gigantic collection.
The band stood alongside fellow punk comrades D.R.I. and M.D.C. Although not as legendary as the other two bands, Offenders immediately draws you in and unlike many punk bands of their time, the music is timeless; as fast and furious as any band today and with enough potency. I am really shocked this band did not have the drive to stand out ahead of the pack.
25 songs total, this collection packs a punch! What is interesting is that their style veers away from what we consider the Texas punk sound and more towards the BYO West Coast style with a Minor Threat East Coast directive. They all co-existed around the same time, but the geographic separation makes it a strange anomaly that the community ties seem strong.
With so much included, it takes time to really get to know these songs as they shoot by like a blur. “On The Crooked Edge” has that spitfire Minor Threat wail with rapid fire guitar interchange that’s like watching a tennis match on speed.
“Coming Down” shows us what a solid hardcore song can sound like. The art of time signature derivatives and power play in three chord exchanges really turn this three chord frenzy into an asthma attack.
And if you want an iconic punk stance, “We Must Rebel” is it. More sloppy than the controlled musical ethics in their earlier period, you see that vocalist J.J. Jacobson remains consistent throughout the band’s career.
Unfortunately guitarist Anthony Johnson and bassist Mikey Offender have passed away, so it makes this collection even more important not just to the history of the band but the history of punk music.