Bastards Of The Nation (Demerit)
From Music-China Wiki
|Title:||Bastards Of The Nation|
|Release Date:||2008, June 1st|
|Label:||Maybe Mars Records|
|Catalog No.:||MM 6.1|
|Language:||English with some Chinese|
All songs written by Spike, arranged by Demerit
- Fight Your Apathy
- Bastard of The Nation
- Bye Bye My Country
- Live or Die
- Beijing Is Not My Home
- World has Become A Battlefield
- T.Z. Generation
- Fuck The Schemers
- Voice of The People
- (c) SmartShanghai.com, Morgan Short, June 17, 2008
Originally formed in Qingdao in 2004, Beijing-based Demerit are one of the more forward-thinking Chinese punk bands, and their latest album "Bastards of a Nation (2008)" shows them mimicking the direction of the newly popular third (or fourth or fifth or sixth) generation of the oi / "streepunk" genre in the US -- diversified style and more complex song arrangements, but a return to the performing intensity of earlier hardcore and oi movements of the early 80s. And, of course, a return to the 70's UK punk uniform: leather G.B.H. jackets, dyed Mohawks, ripped t-shirts, bullet belts, bondage pants, etc.
An earnest, anthemic, and hyper-political hardcore album, "Bastards of a Nation" is, on first listen, pretty much in the realm of the current representatives of hardcore to the masses in the US -- A Global Threat, The Unseen, and The Casualties. Demerit keep it dense and heavy with metalish riff here and there, and break it up with melodic breaks, choral backing vocals, and even some clapping action in there ("Fight Your Apathy"). The arrangements were well-conceived and varied, and the musicianship is great -- particularly the guitar work -- and there's some interesting changes in there. Throughout the album I had the feeling that the guitarist learned his stuff doing Iron Maiden licks and then switched up when the singer lent him a Choking Victim album. I enjoyed it overall, and bits and pieces reminded me of Leftover Crack, particularity "TZ Generation," and "Fuck the Schemers." Fans of that band's many variations -- INDK et. al. -- and fans of the newer US east coast hardcore, won't be disappointed.
The standout tracks on the album are the title track "Bastards of a Nation," "Bye Bye My Country," and "Beijing is Not My Home." And this brings us to another interesting thing about Demerit (besides the fact that they were interviewed by the Washington Post). They're currently on tour promoting this, their second album, but the rumor is that their lyrical content, presumably the three aforementioned songs, have forced a delay of the album because of their anti-government content. In "Bastards of a Nation" they sing, "why the fuck am I loyal to you / we don't wanna be your victim of greed / sick of you, no future for us / how many people die in famine," which seems pretty inflammatory to say the least. In "Bye Bye My Country" they sing, "I can't believe the red sky. How much blood has been shed, in pursuit of freedom? / You can't stop, you kill for greed, money and pride let your children starve / is it worth the cost?"
The song "Beijing is Not My Home" -- my favorite song on the album -- echoes the sentiments of displacement and marginalization many bands feel living in Beijing (or so I hear) and is a really powerful answer to another punk band's song "Come Down to Beijing" by Brain Failure.
- (c) that's Beijing Magazine Online, Berwin Song, June 21, 2008
It’s been noted that as a live band, Demerit never turned many heads, which is fair enough. Even as Midi mainstays, they certainly weren’t particularly big news until Maybe Mars hooked them up with a high-profile (at least for China) producer in the form of Brian Hardgroove, aka Public Enemy’s bandleader (a connection made from PE’s local appearance at the Beijing Pop Festival last September). Kudos then, to the band and to Maybe Mars for truly taking Beijing’s music scene to the next level – to the realm of the record.
From the opening moments of Bastards of the Nation, it’s clear that the album has truly raised the bar for Chinese album production. The album’s lead track is as great as any intro track (and appropriately titled "Intro"), though clearly infused by Hardgroove’s presence behind the decks (why else would a Martin Luther King, Jr. sample be in there?). Certainly, there’s no harm in a little outside help – most of the songs on Bastards are new takes on tracks from Demerit’s 2006 demo effort, Never Say Die, and Hardgroove’s guidance brings out the best in the band’s sound. Guitar solos rip, while lead singer Spike’s punk roar is perfectly suited for both hardcore rants (the title track) and poppier anthems (the sparkling "Fight for Your Apathy"). The biggest revelation is the closing track, "Voice of the People," done acoustically (the raging plugged-in version similarly closes out "Never Say Die"). A staple in the band’s catalog, the song supposedly inspired D-22’s Punks on Wood series. It’s now recorded for the ages under Hardgroove’s spotless guidance, and it’s a true master stroke. This is easily one of the best punk albums made thus far in China.