Saturday, November 21, 2015

In Your Face

1988 was an important year for New York hardcore. A lot of important and classic bands dropped demos during this year. The most obvious and famous demo being Raw Deal's. Beside Raw Deal, there was Dmize, Biohazard, Beyond, and In Your Face to name a few. 1988 was important for NYHC for two reasons. First, it featured arguably some of the darkest and most interesting content to come out of the scene. Second, it was the scene's death throe crop of bands. In only a few years, many of the people in the scene would move on to crossover metal or post-hardcore bands. 1988 was the beginning of the end for NYHC's golden generation.

In Your Face hailed from Long Island. They were around from 1988 - 1993. They played a style of hardcore that featured a lot of crossover riffs and pacing in their music. This isn't surprising given that they were likely influenced by fellow Long Island residents the Crumbsuckers. Their first demo features an odd mix of style to it. There are elements of crossover, melodic punk, and straight NYHC. For this reason the In Your Face demo is worthy of attention. The lyrics are abrasive and often very immature (see below) but the riffs more than make up for it, adding a certain level of gravitas that the band would otherwise be lacking. The band's later catalogue could warrant comparison to Token Entry and Gorilla Biscuits.

That 1988 demo is something special however. You can tell they put everything into it. They didn't have a clear idea of how they wanted to sound or what they wanted to talk about, they just knew they had to put something out. That's the most beautiful part of it. There was a clear goal in what they were making; the goal was simply to make something. 99.99% of the time when something is made for its own sake, it usually doesn't come out well. The reason is because the band insulates itself and end up lacking consideration for outside influences. In the case of In Your Face; the band knew they were going to have crossover riffs like the Crumbsuckers, they knew they were going to have melodic parts / songs, and they knew they were going to speak their minds. The downside for In Your Face is that we ended up with lyrics like "because of you I might get AIDS".

What has followed In Your Face through the years is their infamous song "Faggot Stomp". Yes, on the band's demo there is a song that calls for gay people to be beaten. The band has since apologized for the writing of this song. A lot can be said about this song and it really is inexcusable. I will simply make two points. First, the music to this song is incredible. If any other band wrote the music to this song, bands would constantly be covering it to this day. What makes an intro special is if it can compel a crowd to start moving. It sets a pace. On this song, when the guitar kicks in followed by the rhythm section coming in, all hell breaks loose. The second point is about the lyrical content. There is no justifying a song called "Faggot Stomp". However it can be argued that in 80's NYHC it was a more acceptable opinion to hate gays (this was covered in our post on CAFAAM). To briefly summarize, in the 1980s gays were closely linked to AIDS. A great deal of the infections were in NYC and SF. Until 1985, AIDS was actually referred to as GRID (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency). The gay community had been cast out as pariahs for a disease that society didn't fully understand. None of this justifies hating gay people. Perpetuating hatred by virtue of prejudices stemming from something people don't know about is wrong. It wasn't until heterosexuals began to get infected at a larger rate that the medical community renamed the disease AIDS (all of this is discussed at length in Randy Shilts' And The Band Played On). The point is the mindset of 1980s NYHC bought into the hysteria that gay people were bad. In Your Face are not an outlier in this scene.

Taken from CAFAAM #2 (available here on JA)

Attached is their entire discography

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