During the late '80s and early '90s, there seemed to be very few honest-to-goodness punk bands still out there, crisscrossing the States in a broken down van. Sure, there were certainly some Seattle-based acts that were heavily influenced by punk (Nirvana, Mudhoney, etc.) -- but many favored long hair over spiky hairdos, and flannels over leather jackets. Not Total Chaos. Heavily influenced by GBH (both visually and musically), the California quartet specialized in punk played at speed metal tempos, and loaded with gobs of shout-along choruses. As its title states, the 2000 compilation, The Early Years: 1989-1993 focuses solely on the group's formative years, and includes such GBH tributes as "Riot City" and "Lives Are Squandered." Not all of the tracks here are pre-recorded (it seems like the further you get into Early Years, the worse the sound quality gets), but the set proves that Total Chaos stood firm in the not always punk-friendly climate of the late '80s and early '90s.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato