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Hell and Back Together 1984 - 1990

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Album Review

Poor T.S.O.L. had long ditched any musical evidence of a punk rock past and jumped into the Los Angeles hair metal scene by the time this compilation was released. Although this transformation was more than just a quick changeover, the band went from a politically motivated hardcore band in 1981 to a superficial hard rock band in 1991 with a completely different lineup featuring no original members. The transformation is documented here with an emphasis on their latter-period material, making the change seem like a "growth" when it essentially documents a band falling apart and being put back together by musicians with no interest in the original goal of the band. Thus you are presented with a record that almost seems like two different groups, one that made excellent gloomy alternative rock and one that sounded like Guns N' Roses lite. The material from Revenge and Change Today stands out for being the best on the collection, but the lack of material from the latter is quite disappointing. Still, tracks like "Flowers by the Door" and "Nothin' for You" display a passionate band on edge, making vital L.A. post-punk that practically crackled with electricity and intensity. The rest of the music is serviceable hair metal that hardly even sounds like the same band. Which, of course, it wasn't.


Formed: 1978 in Huntington Beach, CA

Genre: Alternative

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

In the early years of Los Angeles punk, one of the premiere hardcore bands was T.S.O.L., which stood for True Sounds of Liberty. Offering poppier music than many of their contemporaries and featuring an image that appealed to punks who wanted to dive deeper into the gothic subgenre already being offered by many British punk bands, T.S.O.L. became hugely popular on the local scene but never translated that success to national exposure because of their ever-shifting lineup and sound. Formed in 1978...
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Hell and Back Together 1984 - 1990, T.S.O.L.
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