Wednesday, May 17, 2017

100 entries special post! Lärm discography plus extras.

Note: Feeling old yet? Punk is forever, dude/tte! 

Coucou, les chaton.ne.s! For celebrating our 100th entry (Congratulations, you lazybum!) we're making this special post dedicated to one of, if not, my favorite hardcore/punk bands of all time: Lärm.

When we had our ancient blog, this powerful dutch outfit had its entry and was one of the most successful ones back then. So, it was undeniable that such an entry would reappear here sooner or later. And, I'm very happy to feature them in this celebration special post. I'd also like to thank you for all the support and love you've been giving me these last 2 years. I never thought this experience of returning to "blogging" again would be so fun and satisfying at the same time. I'm sorry if I couldn't keep it more updated as I promised, but "real world" sometimes demands attention. Writing is a catharsis for me, and I'm glad that we're sharing these moments together. Always remember that this space is only for you. Thanks a lot, les chaton.ne.s!

Finally, I'll make another modern colombian hardcore punk entry this week because of the huge success the previous entries had. Thanks for the support. More surprises are coming. With all that said, let's begin.

Lärm ("Noise" in german) was born in 1984 from the ashes of other local hardcore punk outfits such as Total Chaoz. The members were: Menno, Dorien (vocals), Paul (guitar and support vocals), Jos (bass) and Olav (drums). Dorien left the band shortly after the release of the first record. Due to their short, fast and loud musical style, they are also seen as one of the first hardcore punk bands that inspired different extreme variants of the subgenre such as thrashcore, grindcore and powerviolence. Also, this band was one of the first european hardcore punk bands that introduced vegetarianism/veganism and animal liberation issues into straight edge's political agenda.

Since the beginning, Lärm always meant to play as fast as possible with an outstanding DIY spirit stating that it didn't matter if you could play properly an instrument or not. It just matters start a fucking band. Period. In fact, their first releases weren't something that could please Mozart's ears, but it's undeniable their brutal and passionate musical execution. That's the reason why they labeled their style as "Extreme Noise". Also, the band used different mottos in their releases such as "Campaign For Musical Destruction" and "Extreme Noise Terror" (Yes, UK Hardcore outfit Extreme Noise Terror took the name from this statement) for demonstrating that they were serious about their musical style.

In 1984, Lärm and fellow local hardcore comrades Stanx released a split named Campaign For Musical Destruction/No Secrets through Er Hoop Tapes (Lärm's own record label). It featured each band's first ever recorded material. This is also the infamous split featuring the toon crazy cow, Lärm's (un)official iconic mascot. There's a curious fact about this logo: when the band jammed at Jos' pad, the cows of the farm got scared and started to run desperately. And, there's also a funny story about the recording of this split: When Lärm was ready to record, the sound engineer thought that they were tuning their instruments and jamming. He made the signal for starting to record, but the band members stated that they already had played the entire set and therefore, it should be recorded. Stunned, the sound engineer leaved the room for getting a sandwich.   

Regarding the sound, Lärm was inspired by american hardcore punk such as Minor Threat, Uniform Choice, SSD and D.R.I., among other acts, at higher speeds. But also their outfits were more akin to american hardcore's style: short pants, flannels and bandanas. This american influence (both musically and aesthetically) was something really uncommon in european hardcore punk circles of the time, but started to gain acceptance gradually.

Another characteristic of this band was their politically-charged lyrics. They did not only sing about straight edge, animal liberation and vegetarianism/veganism, but also had radical left-wing stances in their political agenda. For example, they criticized Apartheid in South Africa, TV consumerism and nuclear arms race during Cold War, among other topics. On the other hand, the band has been mistakenly regarded as communist due to some tracks such as Opium Of The Masses (a clear marxist antireligious stance) and Red Brigades (a reference to 70's italian guerrilla of the same name) but in many interviews, the band members have stressed that they considered themselves socialist rather than communist. They also despised both state and party communism because were aware of the abuse of power and excesses committed in european and asian communist regimes of the time. Even some people believed that they were anarchist due to their activities within the hardcore punk circle, but the band has said that they admired anarchists but didn't embrace anarchism at all.

In 1986, Lärm released their second album named No One Could Be That Dumb EP. This record had 800 physical copies (a quite decent amount for a hardcore punk band of the time), following the same musical patron of the first release. Some months later, Straight On View LP, probably their best and most well-known record, was released with a far superior sound quality but still retaining the "Extreme Noise" ethos. At that time, the band was gaining immense popularity within the european hardcore scene and some of the tracks featured in this LP, along with some early recordings, were re-released in North America in End The Warzone compilation (One Step Ahead Records, 1986). This compilation brought Lärm's sound to US listeners who were really amazed by the ferocious and fast-paced dutch hardcore style.

And, finally, the next year, Lärm released their third and last full-length album
Nothing Is Hard In This World If You Dare To Scale The Heights, where the band finally exploited the "Campaign For Musical Destruction" with a more advanced, refined and precise instrumentation. The guitar and drums are faster and brutal than ever. This record is probably one of the most accurate blueprints for the first wave of powerviolence bands in the 90s. With this release, Lärm made successful european tours, accompanied with fellow UK mates Heresy and Ripcord, consolidating themselves as a huge international hardcore outfit. Everybody was crazy about them, everybody needed their hyperviolent music in the ears. However, the band didn't feel comfortable with this privilege because they thought that the audience cared more about the music rather than the political message. 

Lärm disbanded shortly after their european tour. Menno left the band for continuing his law career and was never involved with another hardcore punk musical group. The three remaining members changed the name to Seein' Red, following the same musical and political message of Lärm. At the beginning, they tried to distance themselves from Larm's musical style but they ended making faster music because it was in their blood playing that way. Also, Paul and Olav were in Manliftingbanner, a well-known dutch youth crew outfit with a prominent socialist (even communist) agenda. And, even though everyone thought that Lärm was dead, its legacy continued to live on. Many posthumous releases such as Destroy Sexism EP (Wicked Witch Records, 1995) and different live and demo bootleg compilations appeared. This made grow the hunger of different record collectors and fans for completing Lärm's entire discography.

But the almost insane obsession of Lärm didn't end here. During the 90s, every zine and every person asked Paul, Olav and Jos to reunite once again with Menno as Lärm. The band members apparently didn't have interest in doing so and stated that anything could happen. In 2002, Paul, Olav and Jos, along with a vocalist named Roy, started to play some gigs and the next year re-recorded some old Lärm's tracks and released a demo and a split with Humus named Campaign For A Musical Destruction. For this record, they named themselves as Lärm As Fuck and featured once again the infamous cow in the front cover.

Two years later, they were asked to play with the original line-up at Thrashfest in Hoogeven, Netherlands. This performance was registered and released as a tape that same year by KFC Records (France). They never imagined to have such a success and wide acceptance within the hardcore punk scene, so they decided to play once again the next year in Sweden with Mob 47 (For this gig, Roy performed as a vocalist because Menno had a knee injury and couldn't make it), one gig in El Masnou, Spain and two 10 minute-sets in Barcelona, Spain and Utrecht, Netherlands in 2008 and Brighton, UK in 2009. After this gig, Lärm decided to play a gig anually and also re-recorded some of their most well-known tracks, releasing in 2010 a self-titled EP through Way Back When Records. This record has the most superior sound quality of all Lärm's releases with an impressive musical execution with nothing to envy to other hardcore punk acts of the time.

Lastly, Lärm officially disbanded in 2012, playing their last gig ever at OCCI squat in Amsterdam, Netherlands. A few months later, Seein' Red did the same at the same venue. Paul and Olav are still active in Manliftingbanner, Jos played with Kriegstanz and Staathaat between 2003 and 2007 but I'm not sure what's he doing after Lärm's official dissolution, and Menno still remains outside of the hardcore/punk circle.

So, I'll feature you the Complete Campaign For Musical Destruction LP, released in 2012 by Farewell Records, that has the same content as Extreme Noise discography CD released in 1997 by Coalition Records. All Lärm's official releases are here, plus three exclusive bonus tracks: Destroy Sexism (originally released in the posthumous EP of the same name, re-recorded and remastered for this edition), Vader Abraham (originally featured in the live performance contained in Side B of Straight On View LP. It's also re-recorded and remastered for this edition) and Victim (probably an unreleased track made in the 80s. It's not their best track if we compared it with other works, but it's still enjoyable). Plus, in the same file, I'll give you some extra freebies: Lärm's 2010 EP, the 2003 demo (which features Roy as a vocalist. Not bad, though), Destroy Sexism EP (which contains some alernate versions and unreleased tracks), Extreme Noise Terrorism (Lärm's live performance at De Tagrijn, Hilversum (Netherlands) in 1985. Probably one of the best Lärm's gigs ever recorded) and Never Too Old For Pogo, that not only contains Destroy Sexism EP tracks, but also the long lost 1984 and 1986 demos, as well as a live performance somewhere in Germany in 1985. This is by far the best Lärm bootleg compilation ever made. Click on the image below for getting everything. You'll have the essential collection that a true diehard fan of Lärm, like us, must have. There are some other live performances missing but, personally, they're not as great as the featured ones here. Don't miss out the opportunity of having the complete works of one of, if not, the best european hardcore punk bands ever. The whole extreme variants of the hardcore punk subgenre owe their existence to this dutch powerhouse. Mandatory download. Enjoy and until next time. Kisses and hugs!

https://mega.nz/#!nxRBgKZT!CJDNNEl6KG1VgrEV6SkioQqjegLhWQsaptivaW8Optc
Best cow ever. For sure.

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