1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear
#8: Charles Bronson – Youth Attack (1997)
Fancy hearing an album that contains no less than 20 songs in 12 minutes? MATT KELLY implores you not to do so.
In rock/metal/punk, there’s an endless quest to be heavier, faster, harder, more extreme. But can it go too far?
Based on this one and only album from Illinois hardcore outfit Charles Bronson, the answer is YES.
I initially picked this album up because the cover and name made me think it was a record from the actual Charles Bronson rather than a band using his name. Instead of some kitschy Hollywood hubris, I got an “album” (20 songs in 12 minutes, take that Napalm Death) which makes Minor Threat sound like Sunn. Some of the admittedly amusing song titles such as ‘Let’s Start Another War So I Can Sing About Stopping It’ are longer than the tracks themselves.
But Charles Bronson’s crazed dedication to speed and fury do not pay off. The album is ludicrous. BABABABABABABA BWAKBWAKBWAK. That’s essentially the musical palette on offer here as vocalist Mark McCoy does an impression of a heavy smoker chicken being tortured on a rollercoaster.
The guitars sound like they’re being played with drumsticks and the drums sound like they’re being tumble dried. Even at 12 minutes this is absolutely exhausting and aggravating.
I’m not having a go at the style; there are bands such as Nails and Dropdead who have made it work as their songs have a recognisable atmosphere and intent. By contrast, Charles Bronson’s performances obliterate any sense of what is going on or why a listener should care. Headache-inducing nonsense.