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July 13, 2024

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Verbal Abuse
"Just An American Band" / "Live In '84" (Beer City Records)

By: Vinnie Apicella

Faster, louder, and arguably poorer than most in their class, Verbal Abuse was amongst the earlier ranks of American Hardcore and affected such influential follow ups as D.R.I., Overkill, and Slayer. Back in a time when spent energy resulted in songs against governmental abuse, societal bias, bad people and "Buds" of all sorts, bands like The Exploited, GBH, Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front, and Verbal Abuse took the idea of Punk Rock unrest and blew it to bits in a hailstorm of flying sweat, spit, and steel toed boots. Beer City combines prime-era VA with a two on one reissue containing 26 tracks split between their '83 "Just An American Band" release and "Live In '84." The sound quality is chaotic at best -- and much can be explained by the band member blurbs contained therein about VA's early season struggles -- and delightfully underground, if not slightly frustrating for the dead level volume. As of '2001, Verbal Abuse lived on. Where they are now is anybody's guess but suffice to say, Verbal Abuse, as an ideal and by product of our tormented existence, the words and music live on with every f-slinging deviant and malcontent living for himself. Most tunes are repeated live from the studio tracking, though there's a raunchy version of Sabbath's "Paranoid" and the closing "I Wanna Be Me" to add an extra blister to the preceding in-studio burn. The tunes are on and again, quick, short bursts of aggression without relying on too much Reagan-era ragging so many had earlier adopted. Instead, they're more like the D.R.I.'s and Circle Jerk, early Black Flag types chirping about the everyday with forty second blasts of minimum wage malaise and weekend warrior type shit. And Verbal Abuse has shared bills with bands like 7 Seconds, D.R.I., and The Dead Kennedys back in the day, so someone heard what they were saying-- they probably weren't listening to either of these albums, but luckily, the reissue comes with words, black and white photos and cleverly done club bill centerfold collage so at least we can see what we might otherwise had missed.
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