The man referred to as the Curator here at MRML, an old friend now departed, lent me many an unforgettable punk records from his cache back in the early 80's. However, try as he might he never fully sold me on Emergency Broadcast System, the first album by the Detonators.
Led by Bruce Hartnell and Juan Camacho and a host of other members, the Detonators (who were from Eugene, Oregon by way of Redondo Beach, California) plied their gravelly, kinda catchy brand of political punk rock on and off right up until the early 21st century. Their sound combined the grit and force of the early Ruts with the triple-time beats and over-driven guitar of Bad Religion, all fueled by an abiding anger that would destroy the nervous systems of lesser men.
On sixth listen, lo these many years, some of Emergency Broadcast System's primitive power reveals itself. While little of the pop influence so characteristic of SoCal punk exists here, the band does wield this relentless hostility to effective use, especially on tracks like, "Crime and Punishment" and the album's brightest point, the shout-along, "Guitars or Guns".
Download Emergency Broadcast System
By 1985, with straight-up hardcore all but extinct, the Detonators returned, if anything faster, louder, angrier. The album, Just Another Reason, gives no quarter to the trends of 1985, in fact it sounds like 1981 frozen in aspic. (The album still awaits its' promised re-issue from N.F.N. Records.) For proof of the Detonators single-mindedness, circa 1985, check out the ferocious,"Yer Child's War".
Incredibly, the band remained unbowed on 1988's Balls to You, a re-issue of which remains available here.
Then, strangely, the Detonators One Great Moment finally arrived 1991, when they released the cogent, blitzing single, Billion Dollar Nazis. The very Ruts/Clash-like, "11:59" marries rage to reggae to create one bastard of a sound.
As for the other tracks, the Alice Cooper mangling is charming, while "Cloak and Dagger" is a repeat from Emergency Broadcast System and "I Hate the Rich" is not the Dills song but a less distinctive thrasher.
Download Billion Dollar Nazis
The Detonators seem to be in limbo but as they are unkillable, do not turn your back on them.