During the mid-'80s, Louisville, Kentucky's Squirrel Bait were recording the kind of bottom heavy, metal inspired punk that later became a hallmark of grunge. Their self-titled debut album sports both minimal, hardcore fare and anthemic, guitar drenched material, linking the group not only to fellow metal-tinged punk bands like Black Flag and Hüsker Dü, but to epic rock meisters like Rush and Judas Priest as well. Vocalist Peter Searcy and guitarist David Grubbs match Hüsker Dü's excoriating vocal style and reverb riddled guitar attack on standout tracks like "Hammering So Hard," "Thursday," "Sun God," and "The Final Chapter," as well as on thrashier numbers like "When I Fall," "Mixed Blessing," and "Disguise." Drummer Ben Daughtrey's rather un-punk like, chops-driven playing unified the band's sound here, and in the process helped set Squirrel Bait apart from their peers. When debut metal and punk albums tended to myopically burn with the barrage of choice, Squirrel Bait's maiden release upped the ante by combining a bristling hard rock/punk blend with dynamic and passionate performances.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook