EXPLOITED: Death before Dishonour: LP

A recent Czech pressing of the Exploited’s first foray into a more metal direction. The release is well put together, with a very good reproduction of the original sleeve (and inner sleeve). It’s one of those “so much ink and glue that you get a little high off the fumes when you cut open the seal” affairs, but I’ll let them have it. The vinyl is on some strange rotten orange color and has that distinct look and feel to it that all records coming out of the CZ have nowadays; a little thicker than most but somehow feeling inauthentic, like those CD-Rs somebody made to look like vinyl. The main problem I have with records coming out of that factory is that their cuts sound thin (with exceptions from very proactive labels), and this record certainly falls victim to weak mastering. Any punch this record has upon its original release is lost (but to be fair, 1987 wasn’t a great year for engineering on punk records). Now to review the actual record… well, you probably already know what you’re getting. The Exploited were a little past their heyday on this release and the jump to more of a crossover sound was probably an attempt to keep a new audience entertained. There are some cool ideas being played around with, but Wattie’s voice sounds blown-out and tired while most of the riffs suffer in their repetition. The funny thing is that while some bands were incorporating metal into punk to try to incorporate the aggressive elements of it, the Exploited sound more toned-down. This is certainly one best left to die-hards. 

 –Ian Wise (PHR, phr.cz)