Anecdotally, 1977 is generally accepted as ground zero for punk rock. It was the year the genre really exploded into mainstream notoriety and The Clash, Sex Pistols and The Damned each released their first albums, kicking off a youth movement that saw bands come to life almost anywhere there were children to train them. . Conversely, by 1980 the genre had been declared dead; the media had evolved, the post-punk and new wave genres had drifted away from their source DNA, and its greatest champions had split off or would have passed their creative peak.
But that doesn’t really explain what happened. after 1980. Punk may have lost its dominance, but the genre collapsed, becoming much faster, angrier and more political as a new wave of punk artists arose to take over the scene and create a whole new school for the genre: hardcore. Where new wave co-opted the commercial appeal of punk, hardcore punk went in the complete opposite direction, a whirlwind of furious nihilism which in turn also helped inspire heavy metal to become much heavier and spawn styles like thrash, black and death metal in the process.
So never mind the bullshit about the death of punk: these 12 albums show that 1982 was perhaps the most pivotal year in punk history.
1. The exploited – The troops of tomorrow
The Exploited’s debut album was titled Punk is not dead, and that pretty much tells you everything you need to know about where Scottish punks stand on the state of punk rock. Although not as sonically furious or as political as they would later become (1983’s Let’s start a war… Said Maggie one day offered the tipping point towards pure and hard punk), The Troops of Tomorrow represented a shift in the sound of The Exploited, with vocalist Wattie Buchan growling like a bulldog on songs like United States which were almost proto-thrash in nature. It was no coincidence – The Exploited were a key influence on early extreme metal, their songs continuing to be covered by the likes of Slayer, Hypocrisy and Impaled Nazarene, while the song United Kingdom82 gave a name to the new generation of punks who started a storm in the early 80s.
2. Anti-Nowhere League – We are… The League
’70s punks may have caused outrage and controversy, but the Anti-Nowhere League made them look like altar boys. Bold rock ‘n’ roll outlaws who had more in common with Motorhead than The Ramones, the band’s 1982 debut album We are… The League is an affront to all that is decent in the world. The vulgarity of bad taste contributed to make So what one of punk’s most notorious songs (and a Metallica favorite in the process), but the entirety of We are… is a sneering exercise in excess, playing villains to perfection as they take on the Oi! relay from Sham 69 and brought it to its logical conclusion.
3. Bad Brains – Bad Brains
The Washington DC Bad Brains were a force of nature from their inception, an uplifting entity whose live performances in turn inspired the greatness of other hardcore legends including Minor Threat and Black Flag. Their influence spanned genres and covered everyone from Living Color and Anthrax to Fever333, Clutch and Death Grips, while the band could play alongside many hardcore punk or thrash legends throughout the years. 80. Faster than any other band on the planet, the band were as likely to tear down walls on songs like pay to cum Where Banned in DC (a song on their live shows causing them to be blacklisted for not performing in their hometown) when they had to break into a reggae/dub jam. Their self-titled debut album is still utterly iconic today.
4. Discharge – Hear nothing See nothing Say nothing
Discharge’s debut album hear nothing see nothing say nothing truly changed the shape of metal and punk forever. Shaping D-beat and crust while launching the ‘dis-core’ movement (bands that used the suffix ‘dis’ in their name – Discharge, Disfear, Disgust etc.), the furious brand of British hardcore punk from Discharge heavily influenced the extreme metal explosion sequel and saw them covered by everyone from Machine Head and Metallica to Napalm Death and Arch Enemy. Fiercely political, hear nothing see nothing say nothing is thoroughly apoplectic, directing its anger at both the failures of Britain’s Conservative government of the 1980s and the threat of nuclear annihilation, proudly waving its flag and paving the way for more political aggro for decades to come.
5. GBH – City Baby attacked by rats
Birmingham may have been the birthplace of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, but in the 80s the city hosted a wide range of scenes. While the New Romantics inspired the fashion for downtown nightclubs like The Blitz, on the outskirts of town in neighborhoods like Moseley, venues like Barbarellas The Mermaid became punk’s breeding ground. Leader of the scene were GBH (originally Charged GBH), the hardcore punks who would go on to help shape extreme metal by inspiring everyone from Slayer and Metallica to Bathory and Destruction. GBH’s debut album City Baby attacked by rats feels almost like the missing link between 1977 punk rock and hardcore, an evolutionary leap that saw the songs go much louder and faster than anything that had come before while still keeping the overall punk frame.
6. Vice Squad – Stand Strong, Be Proud
Directly influenced by bands like X-Ray Spex, Bristol’s Vice Squad didn’t buy into the heavier direction that punk was taking, instead they resolutely followed the spirit of 1977 as far as they could go. lead. Vice Squad’s 1982 album Stay strong Be proud was the last of their original incarnation, with vocalist Beki Bondage leaving the band the following year to form other bands. Nonetheless, there’s a vitality to the release that bristles with the same energy that influenced the original 1977 punk wave, retaining just enough pop sensibility to ensure the songs have radio appeal. The only Out of reach became the only Vice Squad single to ever break the top 100 of the UK charts.
7. Descendants – Milo goes to college
Although the 80s saw punk get heavier and faster via hardcore, the foundations were also laid for the polar opposite: pop-punk. Orange County residents Agent Orange and Adolescents established the staple form of pop-punk with their early 1981 albums, but it was the Descendents. Milo goes to college it gave him some bite. Offering a more melodic take on hardcore punk, Milo… established the lyrical bedrock that was key to pop-punk in the mid-’90s and early ’00s: heartache, rejection, suburban boredom and teenage angst, not to mention an unfortunate amount of misogyny and homophobia since disavowed that would make this album difficult for J’adore if it were released today. Still, it’s hard to imagine what the shape of pop-punk to come might have been without the influence of Descendents.
8. MDC – Millions of Dead Cops
With an album title like Millions of dead cops and lines like ‘No war, no KKK, no fascist USA‘, Texas’ MDC nailed their colors to the mast on their first full-length album. A full-speed, highly politicized blitzkrieg of hardcore punk aggro, Millions of dead cops is anti-fascist, anti-racist, anti-homophobic and anti-pretty much any other prejudice you could find, unambiguous in its message with songs like John Wayne was a Nazi. Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain listed the album as one of his all-time favorites, with MDC proving to be a leader in socially conscious punk.
9. Dead Kennedys – Plastic Surgery Disasters
The Dead Kennedys debut album Fresh fruits for rotten vegetables is nothing short of an all-time punk classic, its sardonic humor and frenetic bursts of energy helping to establish the Dead Kennedys as leaders of the American punk scene. For their 1982 follow-up Plastic surgery disasters, the band was taking things in much more experimental directions. songs like Forest fire and Nazi punks fuck skewed decidedly in favor of hardcore punk, but were pitted against eccentric outbursts like Forest fire and Trust your mechanicwhile the swinging grooves of songs like Halloween emerged as the psychobilly warped version of the Dead Kennedys, laying the seeds for weird punks like Butthole Surfers and Cows in the future. The album reached no. 2 on the UK Independent Chart and confirmed that Dead Kennedys were among the most creative bands to ever emerge from punk rock, experimenting with their sound to ensure they were never left behind.
10. Pinball – Generic Pinball
Flipper’s first album Generic Pinball is a test of endurance in sheer punishing weight, with the band taking the idea of punk as a misplayed racquet to its logical conclusion. Except, Pinball could play – their noise control was second to none, opener Never shuffling with all the grace of a drunken elephant in a china shop, utterly calamitous to behold and yet utterly thrilling to do. While everyone in punk was speeding up, Flipper was slowing down (long before Black Flag had the same idea), creating something that feels like the bastard son of punk and doom metal, helping to birth noise rock and grunge in the process .
11. Misfits – Walk Among Us
The Misfits’ first album walk among us was definitive proof that punk wasn’t dead – if anything, it was UNdead. Hailing from New Jersey horror punk, The Misfits took on the calmer tempos of hardcore while keeping the massive backing vocals of punk’s first wave, Glenn Danzig’s gothic baritone giving the band’s sound a distinctive tone and gravitas. . As heavy metal flirted with horror in its first decade, the Misfits would sneak up to its bedroom window and profess their undying love, merging the two in a way that would not be matched until now. until thrash took the lead later in the decade.
12. Fear – The Record
The LA Fear punks had been around for five years by the time they released their debut album The record, but that didn’t mean they felt the need to mature. Unpleasant as they come, The record was more about offending and distorting expectations than expressing a worldview, songs like let’s go to war and New York’s Alright (If you like saxophones) dripping with the same brand of sarcastic humor beloved by Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra. Singer Lee Ving had the bark required for hardcore punk, but was also thrilled to deliver a twisted version of Elvis-style crooning, a trick repeated at the end of the decade by Faith No More’s Mike Patton (who also collaborated later with Ving on a cover of I do not care about you).