Let me begin by saying I have a soft spot for early '80s hardcore. There was something special that happened in those few short years that not only changed the face of punk rock forever, but also changed the face of all aggressive music to come. Everybody knows Minor Threat, Black Flag, Bad Brains, et al., but there were a lot of equally good bands that either fell through the cracks or were never too well known to begin with. The Fix could easily have gone the way of many other early '80s hardcore bands and been forgotten, but thankfully Touch & Go Records has released a discography CD for this exhilarating band.
The Fix was to the Midwest hardcore scene and Touch & Go what Minor Threat was to the D.C. scene and Dischord. And The Fix is a prime example of hardcore punk in its early stages. But At the Speed of Twisted Thought is far more than just a history lesson. It is a blast of unpolished aggression that sounds as fresh today as the day it was recorded. It captures the true spirit of hardcore, and speaks volumes at a time when the genre has become dominated by endless breakdowns and tough-guy posturing.
The discography is made up of the songs from a couple of 7"s, an EP, some outtakes, and a live tape - all of these are from the 1980-1981 time period. The two 7"s are what really jump out at me, particularly the first three tracks: "Vengeance," "In This Town," and "Cos the Elite". It's rare I come across punk that's this ferocious and this exciting from any era, and it doesn't surprise me at all that this comes straight out of what I consider the "golden age" of hardcore. Floor punchers and girl pants wearers listen up: this is real hardcore, some of the truest you will ever hear. 95% of the bands you love wouldn't exist if it weren't for bands like The Fix.
My only complaint is that most of the live tracks are the same songs that the disc starts out with. I understand the live shows were a major part of the scene, but this seems pretty redundant. The regular versions sound way better anyway. In fact, everything but the live tracks has a really good production for their era. It's really gritty and lo-fi, yet you can hear everything, including the bass! In other words, it sounds incredible. In terms of production, this is far superior to most Black Flag recordings I have heard. Whoever recorded the 7"s, in particular, really knew what they were doing. These Michigan boys really lucked out, because the songs are killer and the production makes them sound even better.
I am so glad someone had the idea preserve the works of this amazing hardcore band that abruptly called it quits on New Year's Day in 1982. It benefits youngsters like me who didn't have the fortune of being alive when all the craziness of the '80s hardcore scene went down. And regardless of the year all of this is from, this is some lovely, unadulterated hardcore punk, completely untainted by lame metal riffs and breakdowns.
8.7 / 10
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