“s/t” 7" (Black Water 011)
Portland’s Final Warning don’t crack the top five US Discharge-style hardcore bands of the 80s, and, as a band from Portland with their EP released by Fatal Erection, the inevitable comparison with “Pick Your King” seems a bit unfair. But I must say that this record is better than I had remembered. Herein phasered guitars mine the GBH/Varukers/Discharge songwriting seam. Something about the vocal delivery calls to mind Upright Citizens, too. The reissue’s gatefold sleeve and spot lacquer printing on the insert poster (or whatever it is) are a bit over the top, but whereas I often find these sort of appurtenances to be masks hiding otherwise mediocre records, in this case, the music speaks for itself. And get this: the mastering of the reissue is crisper and louder than the original vinyl. Astounded am I. This record isn’t shit-fi per se, but it’s a good bridge between the typical US and UK hardcore sounds circa 84. Oddly, there’s a CD reissue of this record with bonus live and compilation tracks out on a metal label—for some reason, latter-day bangers seem to think Final Warning was a crossover band. Nice try, dudes.