Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Generation of Vipers 12"

1. Ventricle
2. One Year too Early
3. The Way, The Truth and The Life
4. Side of
5. Tried & True
6. Voice of the Generation
Landmark Records 1997ish (1994)
24 minutes, 42MB, 256k MP3

When trying to figure out what to put up here, I'll do a quick search and make sure no one has already put forth the effort and beat me to it. I found another "Generation of Vipers" (who in all fairness have probably never heard of this one seeing as the AR outfit predates them by a decade and didn't do much) At first I was excited that I wouldn't have to spend an hour encoding and slicing this one up, but it wasn't meant to be. I pressed play on their myspace page and Neurisis downtuned sludge happened. Not awful by any means, but not what I was looking for.

Generation of Vipers is a band that has caused more arguments, made more friends and enemies and upset more people than any band of our time. It has done so because it is an utterly frank, no-holds barred dissection of America. In other words of you, your parents, your neighbors and your children.

Those are pretty heady words for a band that wasn't around more than a year and didn't play but a handful of shows in and around their hometown of Little Rock, AR. Like a lot of the bands that came out of AR in the early 90s (ie, Econochrist, Chino Horde, 12ft6, William Martyr 17, Benchmark, etc.) Generation of Vipers had riffs and personality to spare. Musically, they (and again, pretty much everyone from Little Rock) were pretty heavily influenced by Current and did the mid to up tempo hardcore with impassioned vocals with more of a meat (vegan of course; can't forget this was the PC-90's) and potatoes composition.

They were one of those "Should have, could have" bands that broke up before their time that all the Little Rock bands would talk up while on tour. A friend played me a battered cassette of these songs before the LP came out and "One Year Too Early" floored me.

Sadly, the drummer Chris was killed in a car accident. There's mention of him here, and File 13 records (then a mainstay of the Little Rock hardcore scene) did the "We've Lost Beauty" compilation LP in his honor.

Chris also played drums in William Martyr 17. Other members of Generation of Vipers played in bands such as Chino Horde and Thumbnail among others.

One thing that I'm realizing now that I'm going back and scrutinizing these records is that people did not know how to sequence DATs for shit. I can't imagine that many of these bands wanted between 4-7 seconds of dead space between songs. When DIY record labels started getting really prevelant in the late 80's/early 90's, digital was just starting to come into its own and the technology was not nearly as user intuitive as it is today. Digital's main advantage at that point was professed to be audio quality as opposed to ease of editing. Someone (like myself) being able to encode music and trim dead bits off of rendered waveforms was unheard of 15 years ago and so we had DAT tapes, which had digital audio with the ease of use of a cassette. CD-burners were large, expensive pieces of gear that only higher end studios had. CDRs were $5 each and every other one that you tried to burn would throw a glitch or an error. Most masters were sent in on DAT tapes, and they SUCKED. I could go into detail about how this is one of the factors that initially caused the whole return to analog, but long story short: not all DATs would play on all machines. There were also new formats coming down the pipe so quickly and for a while it was a free for all. (All of this was part of the initial impetus for Albini's Electrical Audio studios and his outspoken stance on analog.) Sometimes you'd record something on one machine, and it couldn't be played back on another. As you can guess, the difficulty also extends to sequencing the records. I definitely trimmed some dead air from this 12" and that My Lai 7". I also was able to get better levels, so this and all subsequent posts shouldn't sound all crappy and quiet.

Anyhow, aren't you glad that you just read all of that? Here's the music. I'll shut up now.

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