My Personal Pogrom: The Low-Way to Hell

REISSUE OF THE YEAR: VOID’S SESSIONS 1981-83 (DISCHORD)

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Void

(This is simply my way of justifying a somewhat late album review —but the truth is shot straight and spoken above.)

Here’s another reason to love honorary Mayor of Washington DC (and Fugazi/Minor Threat guy), the Pope of Punk himself: Mr. Ian MacKaye, He’s dug through three decades-plus of the archives to unearth these grimy masters and given ‘em a Dischord Records “Legacy” treatment. Now if you haven’t heard of ‘em, we can put Void up there with the likes of Siege, Repulsion and a reference or two worthy of a crusty black and white patch or at the very least a Napalm Death cover.

Void weren’t merely one of those great dawns of the Reagan era (that’s the early ’80s for most of you who were still swishing ‘round yer daddies ball-bags). They were a mighty “WHAT THE FUCK!!!” whose up-til-now officially released musical output was under 20 minutes on the flipside of their mighty split LP with long-defunct Washington DC hardcore titans Faith. Oh, Void, how do I describe thee? They were hardcore without cliché. The sound of music being played with such fury that it falls apart only to put itself back together on the next song some 30 seconds later. They even take basic teenage screeds like “Authority” and surround ‘em with brilliant swells of feedback to make ‘em sound like the very, very retarded offspring of Black Sabbath (hence, the name from ‘Into The Void’) and Black Flag.

Like many of their DC homies — Void were actually from the ‘burbs: Columbia, Maryland – they were down to lash out at their surroundings: parents, cops and even Phys Ed Coaches (“Organized Sports”) – but unlike Dischord labelmates Minor Threat or Government Issue they seemed a lot less focused and dare I say ‘articulate’ in their rage.

This 34 track opus is comprised largely of 20 songs recorded in 1980, the full Void recordings from the 1983 Faith/Void split LP (most who have that record have one very worn Void side with a pretty pristine slab of great recordings from DC’s The Faith).

What’s even more compelling is what isn’t included. In 1983 Void recorded a follow-up titled Potions for Bad Dreams. It was not what their then new label Touch & Go expected. Or what they particularly wanted. The closest comparison I can make is the very earliest, antediluvian shamble-groove of White Zombie when they first crawled out of NYC sewers. In fact, the Zombies will freely admit to swiping their circa ’86 scuzz to a copy of Potions For Bad Dreams. You can find a zipped-up file of this lost artifact by poking around online – and it all has been uploaded to You Tube anyway. Apparently, guitarist Bubba Dupree (who also appeared on the Probot track “Exit Babylon”) has been denying hungry labels its release for some time now.

Sadly enough, there will never be a Void reunion. Drummer Sean Finnegan died from a heart attack a couple years ago while working on the set of a CSI episode in his native Maryland. With that, Void’s place in history became sealed, as the band would never have to justify itself to anyone, let alone hardcore history.

-The Gitter.

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