UNITED MUTATION: Dark Self Image: LP

This collection is a fitting tribute to one of D.C.’s most overlooked bands. United Mutation played fast and hard during the early days of D.C. punk. UM’s thrash-velocity hardcore beats and gravel-tinged vocals helped develop speed in the nation’s capitol. This collection compiles tracks from recording sessions for several of the band’s singles. Songs from Fugitive Family and Kyo Ki, and Götterdämmerung 7”s appear on the LP along with six previously unreleased tracks. That’s twenty-six short blasts of furious punk with growling vocals the likes of which became a standard in punk and grind. The album comes with a twenty-four page booklet worth the price of purchase. The art direction of the band has its own merit. Collage-style flyers and album covers evoke the era of politically charged punk without being derivative. The artwork is bleak and often minimalistic without using typical imagery. Sci-fi and political themes clash for quick jabs of sarcastic humor and Reagan-era commentary. The whole thing comes on quality paper stock. It feels like getting an art book in the mail. Radio Raheem has produced a nice product: a lost document from the early punk era with a hint of indecipherable transmission from another planet mixed in. The band played a lot of shows but never traveled much out of the D.C. area. Hopefully this excellent LP will shine light on a criminally underrated band. This is one of the most important and full-on look-backs to come out in a while. Don’t miss this one. –Billups Allen (Radio Raheem)