EP Review: DROPZONE Rape Killing Murder
The history of these D-beat obsessed Finnish rawk ‘n’ ragers is entertaining and colourful, to say the least. According to lore, it involves members of such Suomi luminaries as The Flaming Sideburns, Thee Ultra Bimboos and Gandalf getting together at various Helsinki-based adult establishments, surrounding themselves with various amounts of adult beverages and, once the slurring started, deciding to form a band. The only problem was that even though band mastermind, drummer/guitarist, Bjorn, knew he wanted to crank out some crusty hardcore punk propelled by the classic D-beat, he was drunk as fuck, didn’t have any songs and once everyone sobered up he quickly realised he was the only one willing to share his alcohol-riddled vision. So, what did he do? He went ahead and booked some studio time anyway, got together other dudes to round out the line-up (including members of HIM and Divine Decay), wrote eight songs in two rehearsals, then went into the studio and recorded them in five hours. The eight tunes comprising Rape Killing Murder ripped into a vein similar to Discharge, Extreme Noise Terror, Wolfpack, Disfear, Riistetyt and Entombed. The urgency and rawness that inherently comes with writing and recording songs so quickly is patently obvious and makes listening to this spirited and fun; the sort of shit you put on to kick start the adrenaline during a late night drive. It’s short and sweet, going from start to finish in twenty minutes or so and, despite the fact anyone who’s ever exposed their earholes to Dis-core has heard similar sounds, it is arguably one of the most powerful and potent offerings from the subgenre in recent memory.
The ironic/curious/funny/interesting thing is that this all happened over twenty years ago. Yep. All of the above occurred in 1996. Upon the original completion of Rape Killing Murder, press kits and promo copies were dribbled out to various press and record companies at the time – this was still in the days before the interhole was in full swing – and supposedly offers, deals and contracts were on the table. However, Bjorn thought diving head first into the world of Dropzone would interfere with his drinking schedule and the EP languished in the periphery of the Dis-core world until recently when it fell into the lap of Osmose’s Herve Herbaut. And here we are.
Who knows what would have happened had Rape Killing Murder been released at the time of its recording? It’s safe to say that the popularity of this particular distillation of hardcore punk is well beyond what it was in 1996, but given how bristling and fresh this EP sounds now, it’s a record one can arguably say has/would have stood the test of time. So, taking into consideration the penetrative thrust and unhinged energy of songs like “Enslaved Forever” and “The Blood Runs in Streams,” the falling-into-line classic feel of “The Bloodbath of Innocents” and light-speed blasting of “Manhunt,” it shouldn’t be any surprise if/when this gets embraced by the patch-pants set today, despite their dumb moniker and the fact the cover art doesn’t borrow from black-and-white war photography, as it’s rawer, dirtier and more classic sounding than a good chunk of what Wolfbrigade and Discharge have offered since, and that includes some material that is undoubtedly excellent.
In the end, regardless of when it was recorded and how long it’s been sitting on the shelf, there’s something to be said for spontaneity, capturing the heart and soul of a composition on the fly, not over thinking and simply setting up and letting ‘er rip. The members of Dropzone may have been/probably were half in the bag when they created this monster, but sometimes all it takes in order to get to the heart of the matter is doing what’s already in your pickled heart.