By the time this trio of albums saw the light of day, I had pretty much written GBH off as another casualty to the dreaded “crossover” trend of punk, so listening to the Captain Oi’s recent spate of reissues from their back catalogue has been an interesting crash course in what I missed the first time ’round. While the two albums that followed City Baby’s Revenge were serviceable compared to the band’s “classic” period, the first of the three albums being discussed here, A Fridge Too Far, is actually quite solid, recalling earlier efforts by delivering solid punk tunes with a surprising level of aggression, given they’d been slogging it out for nigh on eight years by the time it was recorded. There was also at this point precious little of the “metal” that portended so many of their peers’ descent into the maelstrom of utter suckdom during the same time period. Sadly, the same cannot be said about their next release, From Here to Reality. Although their lyrical content remained firmly rooted in both the topical and the absurd rather than the obtusely satanic, musically they finally embraced the metal influence with open arms, a move which by some would be argued as “progression,” but by others would be viewed as a complete reversion to the very tenets punk rock was reacting against. While their efforts in the world of metal weren’t abysmal, per se, it just wasn’t GBH any more than glam metal was Discharge. By the time of the last of these releases, Church of the Truly Warped, they were a totally different kinda band, one that these ears find considerably less interesting, and though they’ve recently reverted to a more “punk” sound, they just ain’t been the same since. All is not lost, however, for although they did, indeed, slide down the slippery metal slope, they apparently did manage to crank out three more albums of note between City Baby’s Revenge and From Here to Reality than previously thought, upping the ante to five albums upon which they can hang their legacy.
–jimmy (Captain Oi)