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The Record

Fear

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Album Review

In many ways, punk rock was a musical ink-blot test, and different people tended to see different things in it. Some saw punk as a call to organize the proletariat, others an opportunity to smash the state, some thought it was just a good excuse to get drunk and party, and a few folks figured it might be a easy way to make some quick money. Fear, however, had a fairly unique perspective — they seemingly embraced punk as an efficient way to piss off everyone around them, and there's no arguing that they achieved their goals with flying colors on their first and best album, The Record. Between the anthemic "Let's Have a War" ("...so you can go die!") and the inevitable closer "No More Nothing," Fear (and particularly frontman Lee Ving) seemed to have a bit of something to offend just about everyone, though women, New Yorkers, and (especially) gays seems to suffer the greatest brunt of his wrath. It would have been easy to dismiss Fear as a bunch of lunk-headed hate-mongers if it weren't for the fact the band played with daunting skill and bruising intensity (there were one of the few L.A. punk bands who never got hit with the charge "They can't play"), and the fact that they were often quite funny — like a well-told ethnic joke, you can't help but laugh as much as you might hate yourself for it (the band also managed to sound pretty convincing when they "meant it"). Does that make it OK? Not really. Does that make the record easier to listen to? Frankly yes. It makes sense that John Belushi was a big fan of Fear, because The Record sounds like the punk equivalent of the movie Animal House — puerile, offensive, and often reveling in its own ignorance, but pretty entertaining on a non-think level while it lasts.

Biography

Genre: Punk

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Along with Black Flag and the Circle Jerks, Fear helped define the sound and style of L.A. hardcore. Although they actually formed during the first wave of punk back in 1977, Fear didn't release an album until five years later, by which time they'd honed a blistering, thrashy attack that, for all its fury, was surprisingly tight and sometimes even intricate. Which is to say that, musically, the band wasn't as crude as frontman Lee Ving's outrageous, humorously offensive lyrics, which were geared...
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The Record, Fear
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