Hart Gore/Mean Man's Dream

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Southern Lord's reissue program for all kind of 1980s era metal/punk/hardcore efforts seemingly lost to history continues with this double-disc monster, covering the first two albums by the Dutch band Gore from 1986 and 1987. Hearing the group's approach in light of later efforts -- an often-times powerful stomp and crunch, all instrumental and unafraid of immediate catchy riffs, with songs like "Out for Blood" and "Chainsaw" being standouts (the quick, scraping guitars starting the latter are shockingly great) -- makes a good case for the band being well ahead of its time; one gets the feeling that they could be on a bill with groups like Isis, Mogwai,f or Trans Am and nobody would blink. Add in a knack for blunt, often wry songtitles -- "Axe of Revenge," "He Knows You Are Alone," and "Meat Machine" are among the best -- to go with the band name and it's little surprise why there's still interest in the trio's work. Besides an excellent remastering job courtesy of Martijn Alsters -- both Pieter de Sury's guitars and Danny Arnold's drums sound especially spectacular, while Marij Hel's bass holds down the fort -- and an extensive band history with a slew of photographs, the reissue's main appeal lies in the bonus tracks on each disc, essentially consisting of alternate versions of each album drawn from demos, alternate takes, and live performances. Understandably varying sound quality aside, it's a treat to hear the band's work this way, especially in a live context -- enthusiastic crowd cheers show they weren't operating in a vacuum -- though some of the performances are little different from the final takes. Still, hearing vocals here and there does make for a definite change, even if, as on the version of "Search" added to Mean Man's Dream, they're more half-understandable howls than anything else.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 4:20
2 1:56
3 4:42
4 5:52
5 3:42
6 3:07
7 3:39
8 4:42
9 6:09
10 3:42
11 4:19
12 1:48
13 4:22
14 3:18
15 4:10
16 3:27
17 3:28
18 4:07
19 6:08
20 2:45
blue highlight denotes track pick