Not knowing the whole story of Slash Records, as I’m sorry to say, I was intrigued by the fact it had been dead for a few years already. And looking from the track list, I again was intrigued, because it spans 25 years of music, covering great bands that have really stood the test of time, as far as sincerity and meaningfulness.
The Slash label has now become BiggMassive, and from the liner notes, it still wants to push the envelope, even calling out the recent NYC scene, saying “there are more goddam garage bands than garages in Brooklyn.” Quite a statement, yet the lineup Slash has boasted over the years back it up: the Germs to X to the Violent Femmes, the list of album releases boggle the mind. And it shows on Salute This.
The first band backed by the new label, Shiner Massive, offers a heavy, almost Rage-like musicality, a modern look at how far the punk sound has evolved up until this point. It’s a bit tiring towards the end, but it holds its own. Then there are the big boys: The Misfits. Faith No More. Fear. X. All in a row. All with the intensity and unbridled enthusiasm of what music is all about: emotion, fun, art, youth, individuality. If there’s a reason why you think you should give any of these bands a listen, this is it right here: “All Hell Breaks Loose” showcases the reason why Danzig had one of the best voices in hardcore. “Epic” is why Faith is possibly one of the most outstanding bands of the late 80’s/early 90’s. “Let’s Have a War” shows the seriousness of LA as a hardcore breeding ground. And “Los Angeles”... Well, let’s just say it shows that X fucking rules.
Again, this comp does not disappoint. It spans the whole history of the label’s repertoire; Asian Dub Foundation’s ’98 hit “Buzzin,” to the surprising Seattle era grunge hit “Pretend That We’re Dead” from L7, even Burning Spear’s dub cut of “Spear Burning,” showcases the rebellion and attitude of what alternative rock is all about: no excuses, no backing down, all heart.
Though it seems a bit odd that all these “different” bands are on the same comp, make no mistake: this is what punk is. It is thrashing a guitar. It is trying something different. It is saying “fuck you,” to those that say “fuck off.” It is reggae. It is thrash. It is pianos. It is electronics. It is whatever you want it to be as long as you mean it.
Tom Fraher is a Contributing Writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.