We all know what happens when hardcore crosses over into metal. But what do you get when Oi! goes marching into that same territory? Find out on Condemned to Combat Volume 13. Bang your shaven head!
In no particular order – Let’s start this one off with Alliance, a band from Ontario, Canada. Don’t know too much about these guys, but they’re damn solid. The metal aspect that my ears pick up with this band is mainly due to the drumming being so tight. They keep the music pretty punk rock overall, but the drummer rolls the shit out of the fills. There’s also some pretty slick guitar solos in there matched up with some UK82ish bass lines, plus a revved up cover of the immortal Warriors by Blitz. They did a quality demo prior to this LP which was on Rebellion Records and an EP in 2018 on the same label. As far as I know they’re still kickin’.
Next is Kriegs Legion from Detroit. This band features vets from the Detroit punk, Oi! and RAC scenes, with member having done stints in bands such as Rogues, Rival, Rebel Hell, and old school punk band Son of Sam. Channeling their inner Motor City Madman, Kriegs Legion does Ted Nugent proud and lay down some serious thrash. The drumming leans toward d-beat and there’s plenty of outrageous guitar solos. But the lyrics are what especially shine for me. Rather than your standard platitudes or sloganeering, KL delivers a coherent political outlook in their song writing. I guess when you’ve been around for several decades you have time to read a few books and actually develop an opinion of your own. Something exceedingly rare in politically tinged music. Their prior full length War Bastard was even heavier than this, but struck me as a little redundant. So here’s their 2016 EP The Anti-State War Machine. Both of those records were released by the once mighty Streetrock, and they did another LP on Grey Zone Records in 2017, Awaken the Iron. Pretty sure I have that one on vinyl, but I haven’t even listened to it. Shit, I need to tighten up.
Ultimo Asalto from Barcelona, Spain is a relentlessly driving Oi! band with some definite metallic tendencies. I think the dueling guitars style riffs and the thunderstorms-and-vocal-choir samples are the main contributors. This band seemed to get more metal with each subsequent release, so here’s their final album Mi Camino from 2008, on Randale Records. All the songs except one (the fantastically broken English track Outlaws Til the End) are in Spanish, so I can’t really speak to their content. But Ultimo Asalto‘s first album Nuestro Orgullo Pasado featured tunes such as El Oi! Es Violencia and Comando Mata-Jipis [kill hippies], which adequately set the tone. Add into the mix vocals that are pure fucking gravel, and you’ve got yourself some Spanish Oi! punching with maximum energy.
For the one-two punch combo I’ll follow that up with Odal Sieg, another amped up Spanish language band, this time from Chile – home to a little known treasure trove of skinhead music for those who aren’t afraid to go en español. Again I have next to zero info on these guys. They have several albums, so here’s one from mid-career (2001; on France’s Pit Records). But I can tell you for certain that they rip! Odal Sieg serves up essentially the same style of Oi!/RAC as Ultimo Asalto and from the same time period. So expect a nice dose of that late 90’s / early 00’s sound (a.k.a. the 90’s). With 13 songs, this record loses some steam around the middle stretch, but it picks up again toward the end, especially the long track Presente, Futuro y Final. And songs like Nuestra Lucha [Our Fight], title track Nuevos Guerreros [New Warriors], and Skinhead en Accion should paint a nice and ugly picture for those of us who no habla.
Here’s a regrettably short-lived band from Pittsburgh, Iron City Hooligans. They released two records, both on Rebellion. (I’m not shilling for Rebellion Records, by the way. This post is just playing out that way.) Debuting with a self titled full length in 2012, they followed that up in 2014 with this EP, Armored Saints. And apparently the thought was: Let’s lay down some more hardnosed, steel city, brickwall US Oi! – but this go ’round we’ll just have someone shred smoking molten guitar licks all over top of all that! I don’t know if there was a line up change between this record and the previous one, or if ICH just got drunk with Eddie Van Halen when they wrote these songs. Either way they slam it home with stone cold American Oi! There’s plenty of aggro and taking the piss with jams like Asshole and In the Dirt, the song re-recorded from their earlier release which really showcases the metallic bent of this record. Throw an Anti Nowhere League cover in there and you done crossed over, bootboy.
Bringing up the rear guard it’s Norwich, England’s Vengeance with their militant thrasher Forward Into War! from 1988. This was their second full length following 1986, and both were released by the immortal Rock-O-Rama. Vengeance shows us here what happens when classic British RAC goes full throttle on Lemmy‘s chopper. From the title track opener to the mandatory Bulldog, and on to Fight For Your Life and Hate You To Death, steel caps are flying and bald heads are banging. They do a straight up, classic Oi! tune second-to-last with Wake Up England before closing it out with another ripper, Out Of The Darkness. A non-stop pogo, no-fuckin-around album, from a vital period of RAC, with incredible cover art to boot. Colored fucking pencils!? Yes please.