Saturday, January 14, 2017

Band profiles: Voorhees

Hello, les! We're back once again with the "almost complete" discography of one of the greatest UK Hardcore Punk bands in the 90s: Voorhees. I apologize because this week I didn't write any post but I'll try to compensate you my abscence with this. I'm sure you'll be more than satisfied. When we had our ancient blog, the band profiles-related posts were a huge success, so we'll revive this feature. Also, I tried to post it yesterday because it was Friday the 13th (what a coincidence) but I couldn't find the CD-R containing all the files (It's pretty old and I'm happy it still worked after all these years). Luckily, I found it this morning when I was looking for some hidden clothes in my closet (You'll never know what kind of secrets your closets hide. Clean and organize them periodically). Lastly, I'll leave you in one file all the material that Voorhees ever recorded in their active years as a band, except for the complete Peel Sessions record. I've only got one song named Oblivion and have unsuccessfully spent many years trying to get it. It's been an impossible task. If I ever get it someday, I'll post it for sure. With all of this said, let's begin.

Voorhees was born in 1991 from the ashes of different local hardcore bands such as The MacDonalds, Steadfast, Know Your Enemies, False Face, among others. This Durham-based outfit was also one of the first UK hardcore bands in the 90's that had more US hardcore influences in their sound. You may remember some mid and late 80's local hardcore legends such as Ripcord, Heresy and Intense Degree that started this trend but the recent generation of hardcore bands at the time made it more frequent and evident.

Unlike some of their local counterparts like Stampin' Ground and Knuckledust, Voorhees ignored the imperative metallic hardcore sound of the era and remained faithful to the old-school hardcore classic sound of SSD, DYS, Negative FX, Negative Approach and Void, among others. Hence, they developped a mean, relentless and uncompromising ferocious hardcore punk style. Some people argue that this sound also contributed to the thrashcore revival movement in the late 90s. Their lyrics treated both political and social issues (i.e. violence, drug abuse, murder, police corruption, conspiracy theories, etc.) but with a dark sense of humour and sarcastic touch. And, of course, some lyrics and imagery are references to different horror movies such as Jason Voorhees and Evil Dead, as well as some serial killers such as John Wayne Gacy (AKA the "Killer Clown").

With their first line-up (Ian, vocals; Sean and Daryl guitars; "Brownie", bass; and, "Gaz", drums), they recorded their flexi named Everybody's Good At Something...Except Us (it was recorded in 1991 but released in 1994. It was only limited to 50 copies and also served as a demo) and Pressure, the song that was featured in the Consolidation compilation (released in 1992 and already featured here in the blog). "Brownie" went missing one day. He was never seen again and was replaced by Paul.

Later, they recorded their first EP named Violent (released in 1993). All of these records were released through Armed With Anger, one of the most influential and important UK-based hardcore punk record labels of the time. Voorhees was gaining a name within the scene and also supported one of the first Slapshot's tours in the UK. They also recorded some songs for a Negative Approach tribute that sadly never saw the light. 

Shortly after the release of Violent, Voorhees changed their line-up with a more stable one. Michael replaced "Gaz" in the drums and Graeme joined the guitars. With this new line-up (Ian, vocals; Sean and Graeme guitars; Paul, bass; and, Michael, drums), they recorded the songs that were featured in their famous chef-d'œuvre Spilling Blood Without Reason (released in 1994 by Armed With Anger Records). This record is undoubtedly one of the best UK hardcore albums ever released, along with other classics such as Discharge's Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing and Extreme Noise Terror's Holocaust In Your Head.

Also, with this "classic" line-up (considered as such by many fans and music reviewers), Voorhees recorded songs for their split with Stalingrad (released in 1995. The front cover of Voorhees' side featured Newcastle United's Kevin Keagan, the favorite soccer team of the band). They also made an European tour in 1995 and in 1996 they toured for the first time the US. They shared stage with local monstrous acts such as Los Crudos, Hatebreed, 25 Ta Life, Dropdead, Charles Bronson, among others, and performed in different legendary venues like ABC NO RIO and CBGB'S.

Voorhees' fame was constantly growing as well as the tensions within the musical group. After the US tour, Sean quits the band. In 1997, What You See Is What You Get EP is released by Crust Records (this record features an impressive cover to Crucifucks' anthem Hinckley Had A Vision). Shortly after the release of this EP, Graeme leaves the band. And, the next year, Fireproof is released by Chainsaw Safety Records. This record featured two new guitarists: Atkinson and Richard. Shortly after, both Michael and Paul quit the band.

In 1999, Voorhees completely changed their line-up (Ian, vocals and only original member;  Atkinson and Richard, guitars; Andrew, bass; and Dave, drums). They recorded that year 13 (released by Armed With Anger Records and Six Weeks Records), which is regarded by many fans as their worst record. It's not that bad as you may think. Its sound is a little bit different with some modern metallic hardcore influences and it is not executed in the same way as the "classic" line-up recordings. Shortly after the release of this infamous record, Andrew was replaced by Steve and this is the last change ever in Voorhees' line-up.

Despite the critics, Voorhees continued with this "final" line-up performing and recording different albums. For example, they made splits with Devoid Of Faith (here Voorhees makes a superb cover to Suicidal Tendencies' cult classic Possessed To Skate), Kill Your Idols (both bands make two cover songs to each other), F-Minus, Out Cold, Radio Alice (the songs for this split were recorded in 2000 but were released posthumously in 2004) and Insult (here Voorhees makes 4 fantastic covers to DYS' different tracks, whilst the auto-called dutch "Emo Bashing Fastcore Pimps" make a cover to Cryptic Slaughter's classic Money Talks), recorded Bookburner, their last 7", and some songs for different compilations (most of them already featured here in the blog) and also made their last US Tours. In 2001, they recorded Crystal Lake's Legacy, which was more praised than 13 by their fans and the critics but it couldn't surpass the greatness of Spilling Blood Without Reason. Shortly after the release of their third and final full-length album, Voorhees was officially disbanded. Some of their members went on to perform with different hardcore bands such as Meatlocker, Walk The Plank, The Horror, The Sex Maniacs and Sick Fuckin' O, among others.

Last but not least, Voorhees reunited in 2004 for celebrating the tenth anniversary of their swansong with the "original" line-up, except for Paul who was working in the US at the time and was replaced by Steve. This show was played on a ferry boat on the Mersey River in Liverpool, UK.  Since then, Voorhees has eventually reunited for playing on some gigs. For example, an European tour was planned for April 2010 with the "classic" line-up, but the volcano ash cloud over Europe meant Paul and Graeme were stuck in the US. Sam from Sick-O filled in on bass to make sure the shows went ahead in Leeds, UK and Amsterdam, Netherlands. They also played in 2014 in Leeds, UK with some of the New Wave Of British Hardcore (NWOBHC) most representative acts such as DiE, The Flex, Violent Reaction and Mob Rules and last year in Berlin, Germany. (Gosh, how could I miss those live performances?). No one exactly knows if they'll make a full comeback with a new record. Their members haven't said any word about it but we'll keep you in touch if the things change in the near future.

Finally, click on the banner below for downloading all the material that Voorhees ever recorded, including two compilations: Smiling At Death (released in 1996 by Grand Theft Audio), which contains all the recordings made by both first and "classic" line-ups including some Spilling Blood Without Reason outtakes (some of these tracks have been featured in different re-editions of the record) as well as compilations tracks; and The Final Chapter (released in 2008 by Violent Change Records), which contains all the featured tracks in different splits with Radio Alice, Out Cold, Kill Your Idols and Bookburner 7". Remember that, as I mentioned you before, the Peel Sessions are incomplete and the track Oblivion is only featured. In fact, it's the only exclusive track because the others are available in different Voorhees' records. And, you'll also find the artwork, inserts, layouts and lyrics sheets of most of the records. Don't miss out the opportunity of having the almost complete discography of this influential 90's UK hardcore punk band. Many modern hardcore punk and thrashcore bands, including the New Wave Of British Hardcore (NWOBHC), have been touched by its brutal and magical charm. Enjoy and until next time. Kisses and Hugs!!744mkDpI!TSfZYotsoHR-xClx7_M-Tv4g56a8IYqb2t6VeJsZJXA

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