GUNS, THE: Self-titled: 2 x LP

The Guns were an early hardcore band not only noteworthy for offering up two smoking tracks on The New Hope compilation, Cleveland’s answer to Flex Your Head and This Is Boston, Not L.A., but also because at the time of those recordings it was a two-member band and neither of them were yet old enough for high school. With the addition of bassist Sean Saley, the band recorded a full-length showcasing a band that was tight and able to work well at making a creative niche for themselves within hardcore’s often rigid template. It was originally offered to Enigma, but ultimately ended up being shelved, though it did end up being unceremoniously bootlegged as part of another band’s release to fill space. Lineup changes that included a guitarist capable of playing leads, slight stylistic changes in direction, breakups, and the later deaths of both original members within the span of a decade seemed sure to leave the band in the “could’ve been” pages of punk history with little more than an unreleased album, a smattering of comp tracks, and a later full-length “reunion” album. Released by Tom Dark (brother of original member Scott Eakin) and the folks at Smog Veil, this seeks to rectify the dearth of material available from the band by unleashing a double-LP set that includes forty-three tracks comprised of the unreleased album, comp tracks, outtakes, demo tracks, rehearsal recordings, a radio session, and assorted live recordings covering the band’s career, plus some great liner notes from Saley and Dark to give some historical perspective. The sound varies from studio to boombox quality, the latter of which might be a bit raw for those accustomed to modern sonic fidelity standards, but none so bad that they are unlistenable. A definite must for both historians and fans of the genre, this is a fine showcase and a fitting attempt to give propers to a band quite deserving.

 –jimmy (Smog Veil)