FACTION, THE: Dark Room: 12”

While most folks know them as the mid-’80s skate punk band that Bones Brigade legend Steve Caballero played in, San Jose’s The Faction weren’t just a side project or a band of skaters playing in a punk band just for fun. Mixing up the tempos and incorporating a darker edge, they also weren’t a typical skate punk band. In fact, they resembled the 1983 iteration of their contemporaries D.I. in vibe and vocal delivery, much more than any skate punk band of the era. And while D.I. largely opted to lose their slower, darker songs in favor of faster and more melodic tunes in 1985, The Faction doubled down. Pushing the boundaries of solid, mid-tempo punk into the metal realm with scorching riffs, solos, and an even more sinister vibe (notwithstanding the all-time thrash-punk rager “Tongue Like a Battering Ram”), this EP ranks as one of 1985’s best punk releases, now thankfully available on vinyl again, courtesy of Milwaukee’s best! –Chad Williams (Beer City, beercity.com)