Christ On Parade – A Mind is a Terrible Thing [Remaster] (2018) REVIEW

The legacy of East Bay hardcore punk band Christ On Parade is most often portrayed as a vibrant vision of politically-charged punk rock but their brilliance didn’t lie ‘in your face’ catch phrase-core. Their music was strangely holistic compared to the brevity of their brethren (Crucifix, Conflict) of the era; The greater experience of their 1987 full-length posited a call-and-response duet that first exposed the listener to injustice and then a very personal aftermath. Not intent on fighting and forgetting, ‘A Mind is a Terrible Thing’ is a document of societal injustice and mental dissolution in the face of myriad frustrations. The freshly aware, pissed, and empathetic humanist represented inside and out within an extended hardcore opus twice as long as your average mid-80’s hardcore punk LP.

The rot of the Reagan years and the incensed, but slowly dying, California hardcore scene bled out a surprisingly comprehensive and worldly vision of all things hardcore across the 44 minutes of ‘A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste’ and it has always been a daunting and affecting listen. It is nearly a world apart from their ‘Sounds of Nature’ 12″ EP from 1985 that flirted with the earliest fringes of crust punk. Always music of pure protest and aggression, the stylistic progression of Christ On Parade stood at a crossroad between the post-1983 apexes of the metallic clangor of New York hardcore, the melodically sound minimalism of California’s various scenes and appeared equally influenced by the building momentum across the pond. Their full-length appeared as a collision of those influences resembling Articles of Faith, Adrenalin OD, and Rudimentary Peni.

The sole LP from a small handful of flexi and 7″ records released by the short-lived San Francisco based Mind Matter Recordings and with no reissue since ‘A Mind is a Terrible Thing’ in it’s remastered form is a beautiful thing. Not only valuable for it’s provenance (Noah Landis of Neurosis was a member) or it’s progressive political expression but most crucial as an example of hardcore punk’s ability to create an affecting, varied and brutally honest listening experience. Christ On Parade were oddly human in an era of would-be punk ‘rock stars’ and incessantly cruel anarcho-preachers. They were also unafraid to experiment as the bulk of ‘A Mind is a Terrible Thing’ features a bevvy of moods, sounds, pacing and experimentation that Bay Area hardcore became known for.

Chances are you’ve either had a decaying copy of this for decades, a shitty bootleg, or slowly disintegrating mp3’s stolen from early 2000’s file-sharing programs and it’s about time you give up the ghost on all of that because this remaster sounds better. It really is pristine in capturing the ‘Adolescents’ esque twang-and-roll of the original production without losing any of the crackly low budget fury that characterized the band’s sound. If you’ve never heard it at all and have some greater curiosity for US hardcore and crust influenced hardcore it should be a great ride to take. ‘Sounds of Nature’ is a reasonable replacement listen if you’re a little more tough guy or crossover leaning.

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Artist Christ on Parade
Type Album
Released 1987 [Original] May 25th, 2018 [Remaster]
BUY/LISTEN on Neurot Recordings’ Bandcamp! Christ on Parade on Neurot Recordings’ Website
Genres
Hardcore Punk

Insanity is a sane reaction. 4.0/5.0

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