"SSD are easily one of the five best hardcore bands that ever walked the earth. When Black Flag created hardcore* in the late 1970s and then blazed a trail across the US in 1980, they planted seeds as they went. SSD were one of their finest offspring. They brought an intensity into the scene that rivaled even Flag's, and -that- is saying something. Minor Threat were the Beatles of the early Straight Edge HC scene, and SSD were the Stones; darker, meaner, scarier. The members of SSD have very good reason to be proud of their band, and proud of their records. However, in this case, pride has festered into sheer arrogance.
SSD released four records during their existence: The Kids Will Have Their Say, Get It Away, How We Rock, and Break It Up. While some are better than others (Get It Away is easily their swansong,) each is a classic. Yes, even Break It Up, which contained nary a single hardcore song. It's still a great "rock" album. In any case, rather than re-issue each record in its entirety, TAANG chose instead to release this horrible mish-mash of a "KTEL Presents: SSDecontrol's Greatest Hits" package. I waited and waited for the true re-issues to appear, but they never came. Eventually, one day I happened across the official X-Claim (a moniker certain Boston HC bands released their records under in the early 1980s) website, and I noticed Al Barile's name attatched to it. (Al was the guitarist, songwriter, and primary force behind SSD... he now has a band called Gage.) I emailed him, offering my condolences at how TAANG obviously screwed him over with the botched Power CD. To my surprise and dismay, Al responded by telling me that Power was primarily -his- idea. He said that he "didn't want the original SSD records to be tarnished by re-releasing them." "If you were there at the time, you were part of the scene and you already have the records. If you weren't, you have no reason to own them now." I hope no one reading this needs me to point out what a colossal mountain of elitist, arrogant bull**** that is. Sadly, I later read an interview (relatively recent at the time) with singer Springa and discovered that he has the same attitude as Al.
Newcomers to hardcore could learn a lot from those old SSD records, if they were only re-issued in their entirety, with the original cover art, lyrics, and liner notes. But no, SSD says that they don't deserve them because they were born too late. Thanks a lot, guys. Thanks for this hamfisted trainwreck of a mess titled "Power."
EDIT: *OK, I acknowledge that "Black Flag created hardcore" is a loaded statement. If you read my other reviews you'll see that I'm well aware that credit also goes to other bands such as The Middle Class or the Bad Brains and even the Germs. That said, Black Flag's history goes all the way back to 1976 when they were known as Panic... and more so than those other bands, they were definitely the first to get out and tour and bring hardcore to a lot of people for the first time."
SSD Are Mean!
Seattle Brat | Seattle, Wa USA | 06/27/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"More like, "Diluted Power". This CD does a major disservice to the people who want to hear this band. SS Decontrol had some have some really powerful songs on their first two records (and some really weak crap not too long after that). I just find it hilariously hypocritical that the band themselves supposedly "sabotaged" this release by refusing to offer their complete early recordings in the original configurations to new listeners. I mean, come on! Let's be honest, there isn't some massive audience out there craving SSD. The relatively few who care about this band deserve better this hodge-podge slop. Even the "liner notes" are insulting (a brief paragraph - illuminating nothing - that reads like the first draft written on the back of a napkin). From what I hear, these guys don't even walk the old walk anymore. Straight edge. Ha ha! And don't forget they REALLY made a serious stab at MOR radio cheese as soon as they had a chance, with lyrics not worthy of Night Ranger ("You take me higher! You're my desire!"). So since that failed (because they were terrible at it!), they can become "principled" again now? Funny! I guess everyone has a right to be bitter. Too bad they aren't at least big enough to want to share some of their youthful inspiration with people today. Elitist to the end. Dumb."
I concur-- bring the original releases to CD
B. L. Trudell | Burbank, California USA | 10/07/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"We need the original releases in chronological order. There's no sense including poor live recordings while omitting perfectly good studio tracks. "Power" is like a pizza with no tomato sauce."
Bring back the original releases!
Seattle Brat | 06/10/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I loved SSD, flaws and all and was looking forward to this reissue. Sadly, this is quite a dissapointment, actually it is a mess. The original records in their original order of release made sense, you could chart the progress of one of Boston's greatest ever hardcore bands, this CD gives you little if any clue as what the fuss was about. I understand that bandleader Al Barile wanted this CD done in this way but I honestly can't imagine why. He has done his band a disservice by releasing this hodgepodge of poorly selected, badly programmed yet great "period" hardcore songs. I guess I'll just burn my vinyl to CD and hope that "they" see the error of their ways.As an aside, Mr. Jay O'Toole's review of this CD was one of the most ignorant things I have ever read. If he had actually been around Boston or DC in the early 80's he would certainly have known that none of the bands there were formed mearly to get laid! The music and the movement were the only reasons those scenes existed...but I guess he knows better..."
Some classic early 80's hardcore on this cd
Seattle Brat | 08/21/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"SDD were one of the pioneer bands of the East Coast HC scene. Their stuff has been virtually impossible to find since the day it came out till this compilation came along. Thanks Taang! On here you'll find basically 4 records - the SSD discography - plus extra bits. included is the classic Get It Away EP considered by many - Pushead for example - to be the best HC record ever made and boy is it ever brutal! That EP - SSDs 2nd - is worth the price of this cd by itself. The rest of POWER? It's cool but varies alot both in style and quality as you would expect. We get first tape in the garage through to swansong. Some stuff is great and some stuff, well.... like their basically posthumous Break It Up stuff is pretty boring im my opinion - but that's what the next track button is for, right? I was quite impressed with the How We Rock songs. I'd never seen or heard that record but I do remember reading a review years ago in Maximum R'N'R which gave it a bagging - WRONG! Add in a couple of extra rare live tracks - from shows and lineups I dream of having been to - and this cd shows what SSD were all about. With 29 tracks - not in any sort of time or record order - this is good value and contains a slice of punk history some of which should not be missed."