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Increase the Pressure

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Album Review

Not as well-known as Crass in America but huge internationally and in England, Conflict, a crew of radical anarchists and animal rights activists, put out a bunch of great records in the '80s and a few decent ones in the '90s. Increase the Pressure is among the best of them. The gatefold vinyl record includes a photo of a march on the front with a black anarchist flag hoisted above the crowd, a shot of a tipped-over police van burning on the back, and a giant photo of Parliament, one of Conflict's main targets, inside, all rendered attractively in black and white. This stuff is not about shock value, as Conflict was involved in every sort of social movement (of which there were many in England in the '80s), and the majority of their songs were about fighting the police, nuclear proliferation, animal rights, and the antiwar movement. The lead track, "Increase the Pressure," is an anthem and call to arms against the government and police, and it's also inspiring, catchy stuff. "From Protest to Resistance" is another classic, violent-sounding Conflict number, while the lyrics are about uniting and not letting politics and infighting sink their opposition movement. Other tunes deal with the cruise missiles that the U.S. placed in England in the '80s ("Cruise...") and mankind's savage treatment of animals ("Tough S**t Mickey"). While not as eloquent as Crass, Conflict delivers their message in a convincing manner, and at least 100 bands took these songs seriously enough to attempt to imitate them. [This edition contains bonus tracks.]


Formed: 1981 in England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Anarchy in the U.K., indeed -- such was the ultimate goal for the fiercely political British punk band Conflict, a group fueled by its hatred of Thatcher's England, the media, the military, and the general status quo of late 20th century life. Conflict played its first gig in 1981 led by vocalist Colin Jerwood, who would remain one of the group's few constants throughout its fluid existence. Much more permanent was the group's political agenda, which was already firmly ensconced by the release of...
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Increase the Pressure, Conflict
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