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May 21 2017

Discharge – Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing

Discharge - Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing band lineup (punkygibbon.co.uk)

Preface

On May 21st 1982 Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing, the debut album by English hardcore punk band Discharge, was released. At the time dismissed as “not musical” by some critics, it’s now regarded as a classic within the genre and a career highlight for Discharge.

Discharge Logo (punkygibbone.co.uk)

Discharge Logo

Discharge

Discharge is a hardcore punk-band from Stoke-on-Trent, England, formed in 1977. They developed the musical genre D-beat. In 1980 they released three important, trendsetting singles. They toured with Crass, Killing Joke and The Exploited. In 1981 the EP Why was released, which met with a great reception within the punkscene. In 1982 debut-album Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing was released.

Discharge - Why (punkygibbon.co.uk)

Discharge – Why

Discharge’s lyrics were dark, nihilistic and violent. They focused on anarchy and pacifism, with a lot of room for the horrific effects of nuclear war and capitalism. The covers were equally horrific, often containing shocking photographs in black and white.

Influence on Discharge

Two bands that heavily influenced Discharge were Black Sabbath, for their heavy riffing, and Motörhead, for their fast rhythms.

Influence of Discharge

The intense drumming of the beginning of their career as displayed on Why and Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing is called D-beat. D-beat is a way of drumming which results in superfast rhythms with a minimum of fills.

Discharge is regarded as essential in the development of the more extreme forms of metal and punk music, paving the way for thrash metal, black metal, crust punk and grindcore.

Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing

Discharge - Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing advert (drudenhaus.tumblr.com)

Discharge – Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing advert

As I heard the album for the first time, it was the loudest I had ever heard. The superfast songs, combined with the wall-of-sound of distorted guitar-riffs and the lyrics that were shouted out, was something completely new and extremely exciting. The recording of a film clip after A Hell On Earth was very confrontational. At the time a nuclear war was deemed a very real threat and that was depicted in the 1:05 minute soundclip, containing scary screams of pain and anguish by people and children and raging nuclear storms. Genuinely frightening. I still don’t really like listening to it.

The lyrics are left-wing and anarchistic and usually consist of 3 or 4 lines that are repeated a couple of times. The song Free Speech For The Dumb just consists of the repetition of the title.

Cassettes

At the time my friends and I taped records for each other, to save on costs. Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing was always funny, because the LED lights lit up to the max and stayed there without moving at the same level until the song was over.

Discharge recording level (apoplife.nl)

Discharge recording level

Key songs

The next two songs, which blend together, are the heart of the album (as far as I’m concerned). Musically, lyrically and intensity-wise. Even the guitars keep getting angrier.

A Hell On Earth

A claring light an unnatural tremor

Suffocating heat suffocating heat

A hell on earth hell on earth

Men women and children groaning in agony

From the intolerable pain of their burns

A hell on earth hell on earth

 © 1982, Discharge

Cries Of Help

Napalm tumbles from the sky

Cries of help cries of pain

Skin looking like bloody hardened meat

Cries of help cries of pain

 © 1982, Discharge

Songs

Discharge - Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing (discogs.com)

Discharge – Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing

Side A

  Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing

  1:31

 

  The Nightmare Continues

  1:49

 

  The Final Blood Bath

  1:39

 

  Protest and Survive

  2:13

 

  I Won’t Subscribe

  1:36

 

  Drunk With Power

  2:44

 

  Meanwhile

  1:27

Side B

  A Hell On Earth

  1:52

 

  Cries Of Help

  2:00

 

  (film clip)

  1:05

 

  The Possibility of Life’s Destruction

  1:14

 

  Q: And Children? A: And Children

  1:46

 

  The Blood Runs Red

  1:34

 

  Free Speech for the Dumb

  2:15

 

  The End

  2:32

   

27:17

Review

Number of stars:

Besides the album’s importance, the album is really, really good. The anger is real, sincere and convincing. The emotions are in-your-face, musically as well. You can hear the rage in the guitars and drums. 27 minutes long it’s an exceptional experience: furious punk with a message. I still play the album regularly.

In closing

Do you know this Discharge album? What do you think about it? Let me know!

 

Compliments/remarks? I´d love to hear them!