From the Cradle to the Grave

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Like most of their albums, the Subhuman's From the Cradle to the Grave is about how society traps people when they are young into a life of obedience, work slavery, and conformity. Mostly, this relatively ambitious failure of a record sticks to this common theme, and though its lyrics are very much the usual, it's the music that's really the problem. There are almost no hooks on this record. After the second song, "Waste of Breath," which isn't bad, the rest of the record turns into punk prog rock. Many British bands from this period tried to pull off a whole side of a record devoted to one epic song, always with some very serious political theme that deserved length. Though Conflict and Crass had failed attempts at this sort of opus, nothing they ever came up with was as ponderous as the Subhumans' "From the Cradle to the Grave," which fills the whole B-side of this record. This awful, endless song includes a messed-up sounding reggae beat and then, later on, an army-like snare drum beat. (Perhaps this is to symbolize how people are forced military-style into conformist roles from an early age.) The last part of this opus is moody and rather quiet and it doesn't work at all. This record is also lengthy for the Subhumans, and very difficult to listen to. Only the most dedicated fans should bother with it.

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