PDX Compilation Volume 2: Black Water Records

V/A PDX Compilation Volume 2 Black Water Records

Mags and I have both spent significant time in the Rose City down the years. Portland has always been something of a focal point for the American crust and peace punk scenes. Black Water Records’ PDX Compilation Volume 2 certainly affirms that the current crop are keeping the spirit alive.

The second installment of the series is a uniformly solid affair featuring Arctic Flowers, Moral Hex, Bellicose Minds and Funeral Parade. Arctic Flowers’ Reveries was an instant classic, blazing through its first 2 pressings in no  time at all. Their contribution, “Crusaders + Banshees” starts off the A-side and confirms why Reveries was so acclaimed. The track is an amalgam of peace punk with, perhaps, a bit of Weirdos and Avengers thrown in for good measure.

Moral Hex finish off the A-side with “Mortality”. The tracks gloomy intro gives way to a surging Joy  Division bass line and some angular guitar work.  Tanya’s vocals invoke memories Siouxsie or perhaps Rubella Ballet and the result is a delicious serving of death rock influenced peace punk.

Bellicose Minds kick off the B-side with my favorite track of the compilation “Tension Building”.  A martial drum beat is coupled with an early Cure bass line. The surging rhythm section are welded to angular guitar work and the result is a dark punk gem. Funeral Parade cap off the the affair with “For You” also found on their 2010 demo of the same name. This is pure dark punk invoking memories of giants like The Dark, early TSOL, and just a hint of Revelations era Killing Joke.

Black Water Records get things right with the 2nd volume of their PDX series. I’ll be looking forward to volume 3 and encourage readers to explore the 4 excellent bands featured on the comp.

– Captain of Games

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