Go Blue, Go Die (Smog Veil)

As Smog Veil founder Frank Mauceri points out in the liner notes to this, his latest document of nascent Cleveland punk, the Agitated's one-year career was as short, chaotic, and heedless as their 60-second blasts of gutter thrash.

With singer Mike Mohawk slurring and spitting his way through a trainwreck of rapid-fire riffing, breathless drumming, and oceans of the cheapest beer these dudes' weary livers could stand, the Agitated were a sneering snapshot of early hardcore. Yeah, the playing is often suspect, the sound quality is even worse, and somehow this band manages to fuck up a classic like Motörhead's "Iron Fist." But judging this disc on those merits is like critiquing the smoothness of a shot of moonshine. What matters is the force with which this stuff hits, and on cuts like the bare-knuckle "Almost Straight Edge," the barely comprehensible "Outta My Way," and the loud, triumphant take on MC5's "Kick Out the Jams," this 1,000-watt band is a blackout-in-waiting.

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