Grave New World

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Discharge's baffling and disheartening fall from grace achieved its shocking and unquestioned nadir with 1986's Grave New World -- an album so far removed from the band's seminal hardcore origins, stylistically and philosophically speaking, that it really might as well have been credited to a different band. Sure, the omens of change and decay had long been in the air, as unending lineup changes had gradually altered the group's chemistry and musical formula, making each single beginning with 1983's "The Price of Silence" sound safer, cleaner, while separating them by ever longer periods of inactivity. And yet, not even 1985's drum machine-powered "Ignorance" single (later to inspire Ministry's "Jesus Built My Hot Rod") could have prepared long-suffering Discharge fans for the band's full-fledged dive into glam-metal territory with Grave New World. Vocalist Cal has since blamed a personal rediscovery of Led Zeppelin for the ill-fated decision to swap his hoarse shouting for a piercing, whiney falsetto, and his bandmates have also cited growing frustrations with the state of punk rock when defending the record's cleaner sound and commercial metal inclinations. But none of these excuses made it sound any better -- not for fans, not for Discharge! What's more, the band soon learned this the hard way, on tour, where they frequently had to contend with irate fans bent on assaulting them on-stage! No surprisingly, Discharge officially broke up shortly thereafter.