Favourite Irish hardcore punk records Part 2

Our second contribution is from Jamie Grimes who has played with Debt, Easpa Measa and Serpents, and currently plays with the amazing Drainland, a band well worthy of your time. He also wrote and sang Sir Killalot's best song and put out the Crowd Control/Mob Rules split so he's cool with us.

Here's what Jamie chose:

My Name is Satan - Refuse to Kneel

Winter 1998. Bielefeld, Germany.It's freezing fucking cold.I'm standing in the dark with a can in my hand at a makeshift carpark opposite some youth centre that my band are playing. My friend Chris who used to be in Jobbykrust from Belfast has arrived, and is playing me practice tapes of his new band through some massive speaker in the boot of someone's car. It sounds good, sort of like Stalingrad or Ire or something. He's telling me they haven't decided on a name yet, but they're joking about calling it My Name is Satan. This name, added to the effect of the multiple beers and complete lack of anything remotely resembling sleep in the last two days reduces me to stitches of laughter. I presume good as it sounds that it might not ever get past a few practices, and after about 5 minutes later we turn it off and go back to getting shitfaced and watching bad European Crust bands.

It's crazy to think now that the first time I heard the band who would be responsible for what I genuinely believe is the best Irish Hardcore record ever, I was not really paying attention, because if there was ever a record that demands you sit up and listen fully, it's Refuse to Kneel. Seriously. It comes out of the gates after Mac's spoken word intro (no, it's not out of film, it was a piece written by him for the record) like a rhino on steroids and proceeds to trample everything in its' path. It's got everything you could want -that epic intro, intensity, total power and rage, amazing catchy songwriting, articulate lyrics, fast bits, slow bits..it's like Catharsis having a go at writing Master of Puppets. It's that good. And what made it that little more special was the fact that this was a bunch of my friends - not some bunch of random guys I saw a picture of in Heartattack, but my friends. The people who taped records off, got ratarsed with, and whose couches I crashed in Belfast whenever I went up. This was the real eye opener that it was time to fucking concentrate instead of just busting out the first few shoddily assembled riffs that came to mind.

It's hard to explain now in a climate where Ireland is full of Crowd Controls and Famines and Bacchuses and Divisons Ruins and what have you how completely alien this record was to the Irish "hardcore" (chortle) scene when it came out ten or so years ago. MNIS were like a dark storm cloud breaking over a sea of smiley popcore, shitty post-Slint indie rock, lame crust and bad mohican and spikes clad bullshit "old school" punk. To angry, alienated little fucks like me who wanted it louder, harder and faster (and were trying to do so in their own bands to little or no response), this record was a huge vindication. This was heavy shit at a time when folks here just were not interested, and I can tell you right fucking now they probably still wouldn't be if this band hadn't made this record. MNIS were the band that made the punk folks who normally didn't like heavy DIY hardcore take notice for a while. I've always been jealous of them for that.

The sad thing is this is the entire My Name is Satan discography. This is it. This is all there is. All these songs. There were never any unused tracks lying around, and I could be wrong but I don't think they evere wrote another song after these. So unfortunately any hope of unearthing some rare tracks is non existent. But the one bit of personal trivia I can tell you which you probably didn't know is this.. In the late 90s and early part of this record I worked in the Rejected store, which was also the default Rejected/Control (Mero's side label for heavier bands which pretty much just put out this and the Debt cd) headquarters for things being delivered and mailed out. At the same time as the cd, there had been talk of a vinyl version which unfortunately never transpired and was, I believe, to be coreleased by Rejected, some German label and possibly Enslaved in the UK if I remember correctly (though I'm old and my memory is fucked so that could be wrong).

Now, if you know anything about Belfast punk and Hardcore over the last two decades, you'll know Chris Black, MNIS's drummer, is something of a legend. For starters, he's the man who sold Courtney Love the Dennis the Menace jumper that Kurt Cobain wore for most of Nirvana's existence- and here's the proof:

Basically, everyone has a Chris Black story. They normally involve booze, nudity, violence, or some combination of all three.Indeed, at the time of the aforementioned roadside listening party that began this piece, Chris provided me with a few gems over the days that followed. So when the vinyl version of the MNIS LP was first being talked about, there was initially to be a limited edition zine with the copies sold in Ireland called My Name is Chris Black. The plan was to canvas various local scenesters and put together a bunch of their favourite Chris stories in zine form for the first 50 or so copies. Some of his band mates poo-pooed the idea however, as they felt it was kind of mean. In retrospect they were right. In the end, the first bunch of cds we sold had a badge stuffed into the tray instead.

MNIS only played a handful of gigs, of which I saw two, and one of them (in the cafe in Giros with Debt and Circle Again) was probably the best gig I've ever either seen or been involved in over the last decade. They were utterly intense in that cramped little space, and it was like being hit by a fucking truck. They went to the UK and broke up a little while later. Gary continued on with Kabinboy(who had co-existed with MNIS), Knifed, then Oak and now busts out Germs style punk in Weil Rats; Glynn went on to Dagda whose Threefold is my second favourite Irish hardcore record (and one so good that they never quite topped it), and has since forged a path as a reknowned graphic artist;Chris moved to the UK and played in Losing the Battle who broke up after the guitarist went batshit,m and is now in Waste of Rations; Trues is..uh..I have no idea what Trues is doing actually..and Garth was last seen elbowing giant skinheads in the face at a Madball gig in Dublin.

Refuse to Kneel is now a decade old. It's near impossible to find on cd now, being long sold out. In the meantime, if you can't be arsed searching obsessively for it, you can have a listen at this link - Gary allowed me to upload it last year:

My Name is Satan - Refuse to Kneel

It still sounds as fresh as it did on it's day of release, and has aged a whole heap better than some other Irish bands' releases. As Glynn would say.. CRUSHING POWER."

Jamie's own blogs can be found here:

OBJECTION! - music

SUBJECTION - non-music

SUBURBAN MAYHEM RECORDS - Jamie and his girlfriend Una's awesome record label

Thanks Jamie! And thanks to Gary for the picture.