Dead Silence were (are?) a Boulder-based rad-lib peace punk band of the type that permeated the 80's punk scene to an almost overwhelming degree at one point. At its best rad-lib punk (or conservative skinhead punk for that matter) combines innovative lyrics (or at least stirring sloganeering) with engaging rock und roll, well played - and rehearsed. Examples of this are early Dead Kennedys, MC5 and Skrewdriver (the other extreme). At its worst, it's merely some budding politicians who have picked up instruments, transcribed the latest cause into "lyrics" as the easiest means for self-affirmation and since there was an anti-critical stance in the mid'80s punk underground a lot bands got away with this. The Big Boys said "start a band" but some people shoulda thought twice. It's..y'know, pick up yer guitar and practice sometime why doncha instead of reading MRR or PETA pamphlets.
Dead Silence falls somewheres in between those extremes. Most of the songs aren't worth but a listen or two but they make a little money with "Patriot's Fight", a mid-tempo, 6/8 rhythm'ed coarse-throated rant about what? being drafted to go fight in Nicaragua? which thankfully didn't happen but I guess that was the politics of the time. Reminds me of UK hardcore of the time - Exploited and such.
The other cut is their Crass-wanna-be song, "Mad Scientist's Ball" which starts with a tape from one of those awfully boring and excrutiating PETA tapes people used to play before shows - but it's decent generic hardcore and I digit the perhaps unintentionally minimalist (because they didn't know enough to do anything else?) baseline and guitar break that's incidentally supporting the political lyrics.
They aren't the most original group of their time nor do they have a way of "innertaining while eddicating" like early Dead Kennedys (and Sex Pistols, UK Subs, etc.) but it's some way 'kay hardcore from Unclean Records - home of NOTA and early Rhythm Pigs (and their Boulder contemperarities Anti-Scrunti Faction)
The album's cover features the grim after-affects of a hanging and the title song, "Stress" addresses the suicide of a "roommate" (presumably depicted on the cover). If only the band were willing to explore
this theme further or with perhaps a bit more zeal and intelligence. Instead this title song is just another "anti-" song and anti-suicide? who can't get behind that one (Hemlock Society and Hunter Thompson excluded)?
Um, that's Bear (bass and milk container), Vulture (vocals and duh pose), Ted Silence (of course the drummer, couldn't you tell?) and Steve (aka "Steeeeevvvvee on guitar").
"Mad Scientist's Ball"
- Here's some more MP3s from an early incarnation of Dead Silence and an interview in which they trash all the "sellouts" like Black Flag who I might say, with all undue respect, they aren't fit to clean the bottom of Greg Ginn's sandals but I'll be nice and chalk it up to the folly of yoot.
- A short history of the semi-great Unclean Records who started in Boulder and moved to Austin