Various Artists

This Is the A.L.F.

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A CD reissue for one of the most crucial anarcho-punk compilations of the '80s (and beyond), repackaged with all of the vinyl's bells and whistles painstakingly reproduced and, though twenty-plus years have elapsed since its initial appearance, the music retains every iota of its original relevance. Pieced together by Conflict (whose "Meat Means Murder" is one of the many highlights), This Is the A.L.F. raised funds for, and awareness of, the Animal Liberation Front, the more militant wing of the British animal rights movement, at a time when the cause was only slowly percolating onto the political agenda. It would be years more before any true victories could be recorded by the movement, but public opinion was definitely shifting, shocked into action by the graphic photographs and accounts that were finally being seen and heard outside of the laboratories. Featuring contributions from some of the true giants of the British anarcho-punk movement, including Chumbawamba, Crass, Poison Girls, the Icons of Filth and the Lost Cherrees, it's a violent listen, fiercely committed to its theme and unsparing in its imagery. But it's a strikingly enjoyable album as well, swinging from the mutant Gang of Four-style funk of Flux of Pink Indians' "Sick Butchers" to the shrieking thrash of Dirt's "Slaughterhouse Rock," intercut with some often startling spoken word interludes and, for anybody who requires further information, a fabulous booklet detailing both the history and the aims of the A.L.F. itself.

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