(No official website.)
Style: protest, hard rock, British
Home: England (disbanded/deceased)
Members: Ian Stuart ~ vocals/guitar
Stigger ~ guitar/keyboard
Jon Herson ~ bass
Jon Burnley ~ drums
This might just be one of the best albums by Skrewdriver, featuring cult frontman Ian Stuart. It's the same under-produced highly distorted non-melodic guitars against an undescript rhythm section that marks much of their output. The secret being Stuarts's distinct crunchy voice & biting social commentary. Skrewdriver started as a typical anti-social angry punk band before a change of membership, predominantly in guitarist Stigger, brought a more hard rock sound. While Stuart's obsession with the British Nationalist movement & later his becoming a father figure to the White Supremecist movement turned his lyrical content from just anti-social to racial, eventually leading to his untimely murder. It put Stuart & Skrewdriver into the British & international spotlight & gave them a distinctiveness they hadn't had & probably wouldn't have gotten otherwise, but it also shrunk their fanbase & isolated them in the music community, let alone any community. Skrewdriver would be an on/off affair, while Stuart formed many side groups, such as work with Stigger, Rough Justice & the Klansmen, that would experiment with metal, rockabilly & folk or cracked country as its come to be known. The lyrics, though, always the focus over musical development. The problem is that most people, if they know Stuart & company at all, only tend to know him for his racialist views, the term used by the community versus the more common racist, but much of his recording output actually is not racialist at all. His beliefs on race were just one part of his personality & one thing to protest. Yet, people think that's all he knows & sings about & hate him fiercly for it. It's no different than saying everything George Harrison sang was related to Hare Krishna, even if "This Song" & "When We Was Fab" & "Sue Me Sue You Blues" have nothing to do with spirituality, while Hinduism has often been seen as a backwards pagan religion. The difference is nobody hates Harrison but many hate Stuart, so it doesn't matter if what they say about him is based on what he actually did or what they think he did. It's a case of not separating the stereotype from reality. But, then, those people are never going to listen to anything Stuart has done, no matter what, & its their loss. But, considering we iconize rap musicians who kill others or superstars who act like embarressing jerks in public, but yet Stuart who did neither is ostracized & murdered for his beliefs. This is sad how fame works, because much of his output, particularly with Skrewdriver, & certainly with the one-off Rough Justice, was actually aimed at universal problems, particularly the big brother government & the more modest disillusions of failed friendships. On this album there's not a single racialist line, while his pointed & unabashed criticisms are as powerful as Dylan, Baez & Guthrie, if not far more direct. His lyrics should be floated out at every protest. This is the album to float out. This album doesn't necessarily have the most poetic lyrics, the one album with Rough Justice is my recommendation for that, but the album congeals in a way that Skrewdriver albums don't always do. Stuart doesn't necessarily get as explicit on who he is talking about on some albums, but hits big themes such as pride in one's ideas & even teachers. In "The Strong Survive" Stuart sings: "However they hit us/we'll be back again/the strong survive/look at us baby/we're still alive". Or, in "Shining Down": "Don't tell me nothing can be done/with that attitude/nothing will be won." As for education, in "Voice Of Evil" he sings: "Crime in the classroom ... some call it a teacher/they'll try to tell you that north is south/they're making up stories ... they never stopped trying/to make you feel bad." There's also a cover of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid", which is a nice little inclusion & feels like it lyrically matches though I haven't considered if it really does or not & far better than his take of "Back In Black" on another album. "Backstabber" & "Warzone" are Stuart's take on bad personal relationships, thus rounding out the album with some personal notes.