GBH is one of those second-wave British punk bands that seems to have had a lot of influence on current hardcore music. It’s hard to tell how much influence, though. Sometimes I wonder if bands like the Exploited and GBH are more popular now for their music or for their cool t-shirts and patches. So I don’t really want to get into a history lesson and debate the band’s place in punk rock history. What I’m more concerned with is how this, their first full-length album, measures up today. Because I know that the Exploited and Crass were awesome, but I just can’t get myself to listen to them anymore. So what about GBH? Well, listening to this re-issue of City Baby Attacked by Rats twenty years after its first release, I’m glad to find that it still holds up. Sure, there are a few too many wanking, metal guitar riffs, and sometimes the singer gets too close to belting out a Ronnie James Dio-style scream. But the songs are still fast as hell and the drummer keeps a tight control on the tempo of the songs. And if you have a heartbeat, this’ll make you want to pogo. So, yeah, it’s still good. With all the great hardcore that came out last year, though, I can think of about three dozen CDs I’d spend my money on before buying this twenty-year-old album. But since I got this one for free, I’m all for it.
–sean (Captain Oi)