Posts Tagged ‘BL’AST!’

Southern Lord –10th March 2023

Christopher Nosnibor

Ask people to name a hardcore band and any money they’ll say Black Flag, but anyone who knows their stuff will likely also mention BL’AST. BL’AST stand as one of the definitive hardcore bands, formed in 1983 and releasing their first album, The Power of Expression in 1986, having recorded it three times.

The story goes – according to the band’s bio – that in June of 1988 BL’AST! went into the studio with Black Flags’ live sound GOAT: Dave Rat (RATSOUND), and the breakneck Take The Manic Ride was recorded. This version was later destroyed after the band was dissatisfied with the original production, with a rerecorded version being presented to the public in 1989.

It perhaps seems ironic that a band as raw and immediate as BL’AST should spend so much time faffing about in search of achieving the ‘perfect’ recording, when the finished article sounds so… unpolished. But of course, that’s the point and the key issue: many bands who are live acts first and foremost find their sound stunted, diminished, compressed and ultimately rendered weak and lacking in bite when attempting to capture the experience in a studio setting. The studio is a sterile environment, clinical, and few producers really get the concept of not actually producing a band. Hardcore is about tearing your guts out with vitriolic rage. The studio is never going to be the best environment for channelling it.

This is the stuff of music legend: the master tapes for that first version were destroyed and were never to be recovered, but as Southern Lord detail, ‘Through some incredibly magical surgery a new heavy as fuck version of the album has been produced.’

Perhaps predictably, Manic Ride is a mess of furious noise and aggression, abrasive and angry. While the Southern Lord reissue isn’t leagues different from the Blast First original, it’s very clearly a different mix. Hardcore (sorry) fans will likely be divided over the mix, whether it’s better or worse or whatever and there’s no right or wrong really. This version is crisper and clearer but also fuller.

What really matters is that this key album is back out there, and if it divides fans, fine. It’s back in the public domain, and will, with any luck, introduce new listeners to the band and their legacy.



On 12th June, Southern Lord and DVL Recordings co-release a deluxe edition of Neon Christ’s 1984 sessions for Record Store Day. Digital format will also be available via Bandcamp only, and non-Record Store formats will follow at a later date via Southern Lord Europe.

Neon Christ, the cult hardcore luminaries featuring William DuVall (BL’AST!, Comes With The Fall, Alice In Chains), Jimmy Demer (Gardens of.., Accidents), Danny Lankford (Gardens of.., GoDevils, Accidents) and Randy DuTeau (Gardens of) share the entertaining new video for "Neon Christ" which features the band’s children, and gleefully conveys the appreciation of this music across generations. The band comments, "We all had a lot of fun making this video with the kids. They did a fantastic job. It was a wonderful full-circle moment. And much hilarity ensued on set."

Watch the video here: