Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Detroit, Michigan. Home of Negative Approach, Cold As Life, and 8 Mile Road's Eminem. When people think about Detroit, they think about abject poverty, rampant crime, and an overall despair. People around the USA think Detroit is a pretty terrible place to visit and worse to live in. When you hear Negative Approach and Cold As Life, that's what you're hearing. You hear the pained and despondent viewpoint of people who grew up in a desolate wasteland. That being said, there are parties in hell.

RZL DZL (obviously pronounced Razzle Dazzle), formed by Will Atkin & Haroun Khan, is the expression of two guys who grew up in Detroit but didn't see the world around them as a hell. Instead, they took Detroit and made it their playground. A place to go to house parties, chase girls, and hang out with their friends. Detroit wasn't the world breaking them down into some creature of nihilism like it did to Negative Approach's John Brannon. Instead, the anomie that Detroit presented for the duo gave them carte blanche to have a good time wherever they could find it.

RZL DZL quickly made a home at Boston's Lockin Out Records where their sound (which is the sole heir to the Beastie Boys' Polly Wog Stew legacy), loud persona, and their "ready to party" mentality made them the darlings of the label and the hardcore community. RZL DZL's live show, which features Will, Haroun, and a rotating backing band known as "The Dazzlers", is an unpredictable and wild experience. This is especially true in Texas, a place that RZL DZL has made their adopted home, where the band's shows have included doughnut throwing fights, pool toys, costume parties, a volcano vaporizer ready to go on stage, and an airhorn playing continuously on a loop through the entire set.

The truth about RZL DZL is that they are a Detroit band that exists as the antithesis to what is believed about Detroit. That is not to say they are not true sons of the city, they are. One of the most important tenets of hardcore punk is the rejection of social expectations and norms. Being from Detroit, it is expected of bands to be bleak and tortured. RZL DZL is the rejection of this expectation. They took what was happening in Detroit and they had fun with it.

Included is their Both compilation, their debut LP Strictly Saucers, and the lesser-heard BRZL tape.


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