Stalag 13

In Control

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The only album by southern California skatepunks Stalag 13, 1984's In Control, is a time capsule of post-hardcore, pre-grunge punk rock. Reissued in 2003 by the Dr Strange label, these 13 songs (in barely 21 minutes, and that's including the four bonus tracks not on the original vinyl!) rush past in a blur of hyper-speed guitars and whiplash tempo changes. What sets Stalag 13 apart from many of their scene contemporaries is their killer rhythm section; bassist John Morris and drummer Larry White, in comparison to most barely competent skatecore musicians, have genuine chops. Morris in particular drives the songs along as guitarists Dave Casillas and Blake Cruz blast pounding rhythm lines and quick, concise solos and singer Ron Baird howls the quasi-Straight Edge lyrics (song titles include "Clean Up Your Act," "In Control" and "I Don't Need It") in your basic hardcore scream. In Control is a better than average skate-punk document with a handful of particularly strong songs ? "Clean Up Your Act" and "What Are You Looking For" are minor classics of the genre ? but those who aren't already fans of the genre won't find much to change their minds.

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