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Vegan Reich

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Vegan Reich were easily one of the most controversial bands to emerge from the hardcore punk scene. They were also the first rock band to combine militant animal rights leanings, a conservative stance against drugs and abortion, a desire for anarchy to be preceded by a so-called "vegan dictatorship," a harsh stance against racism and sexism, and an almost religious intolerance of homosexuality. Their music started out as fast-paced punk rock littered with guitar solos, then evolved into a more metallic approach, and their lyrics were always cause for debate amongst the radical punk and hardcore elite. Vegan Reich began in 1987. It was led by singer/guitarist/songwriter Sean Muttaqi, who, utilizing some friends from the band Naturecore, recorded his first song to place on a compilation intended to benefit the militant Animal Liberation Front. In 1990, Vegan Reich -- now comprised of Muttaqi and drummer Jon Ewing --formulated an ideology called Hardline, and released a 7" by the same name through a label of the same name as well. The pair was assisted by Sergio, then-bassist for Southern California punk band Amenity, until Dom Ehling joined up in 1991 shortly after Florida native Ray Titus relocated to Laguna Beach, CA, to replace Ewing. In 1992, that lineup released a cassette-only EP called The Wrath of God that was as heavily influenced by Iron Maiden as the previous release was inspired by Crass. The band went on hiatus after that, with the lineup first morphing into the reggae-tinged Captive Nation Rising, and later the back-to-basics punk band Pressure. In 1996, Uprising compiled all of Vegan Reich's material and released it as the Anthology CD. Vegan Reich reconvened briefly in 1999, with Muttaqi playing guitar and bass and singing on a new EP, Jihad, backed by Racetraitor drummer Andy Hurley. ~ Ryan J. Downey

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