Screams From the Gutter [White & Purple Splatter Vinyl]

Raw Power

(LP - Back on Black #BOBV 901LPLTD)

Review by Eduardo Rivadavia

Raw Power's third album, Screams from the Gutter, is one of the all-time classics of the ‘80s crossover movement (the point where hardcore and metal first mashed, or moshed, together) and, for once, the numbers actually back up the critical praise, since the record sold an incredible 40,000 copies in America alone -- no mean feat for a little band from the outskirts of Modena, Italy! Yet, since forming in 1981, the quartet led by brothers Mauro and Giuseppe Codeluppi had quickly left its mark on the underground tape-trading networks that crisscrossed the planet in the pre-Internet days, so Raw Power's frantic antisocial hardcore anthems were seemingly only waiting for the proper metal-sized production standards to help them bridge the gap between those two fan bases and take the group to the next level. And so it came to pass that tracks like "State Oppression," "Joe's the Best," and "No Card" were made all the more enticing by Giuseppe's spine-shivering shrieks and flashy guitar solos, thus allowing Raw Power to sign, seal, and deliver the headbanging longhairs. At the same time, the group wisely balanced this tack with comparatively Spartan numbers ("My Boss," "Start a Fight," "We're All Gonna Die," etc.) that kept the safety-pinned faithful similarly and firmly hooked. And from one genre extreme to the other, amazing speed and intensity were ever the common ground, so by the end of the album's dizzying 17 songs in 25 minutes, it was abundantly clear that few bands this side of Discharge ever got as blistering and direct as Raw Power (perfect example being tracks like "Army" and "Police, Police"). Even New York's mighty crossover agents Agnostic Front seemed to have been inspired to overcome their metallic reservations after hearing this album, given their similar embrace of guitar solos and thrash riffing on 1986's Cause for Alarm. But let's not get too excited or sidetracked here: the bottom line is that Screams from the Gutter is every bit the classic watershed of legend (believe the hype!), and as seminal a document of ‘80s crossover as has ever been recorded.