Protest 100: Power Trip – ‘If Not Us Then Who’

Artist:          Power Trip

Song:           If Not Us Then Who

Album:        Nightmare Logic

Producer:    Arthur Rizk

Label:          Southern Lord

Year:           2017

Notes:
If you want change, you must create it. Sometimes it’s just that simple. At the very least you can rest assured nothing’s going to change without some degree of effort.

Riley Gale, Metal Hammer, 2018: “[Current politics] is just making things black and white, and that’s not the way the world operates. It’s not even black, white and grey. It’s hard for people to grasp that it’s a whole spectrum of colors – and that’s not some hippie fucking energy bullshit! People only wanna see it one way or the other, or some people are able to say, ‘Ah, it’s in between’, but really, it’s a million different things, a million perspectives. Reality as someone sees it, and how the masses perceive it and all this stuff, it’s all a very rich tapestry of what people have gone through in their lives to reach that viewpoint and to do all these things, so I think calling it ‘left’ and ‘right’ is so simplistic. I mean, you’re basically saying that our political spectrum should be easier than a standardized test that has four options, right? Like, really? Everything about our political system is just a true or false answer? ‘The left is true, the right is false’? It’s just really simple-minded to me. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’
If not for the warning it would have crashed straight through the back of his head.

Lyrics:
Get up,
Out of your cave and into the fire
Time’s short, this is our last resort
To get through to you, what have I got to do?
Who’s going to be the difference?
If not us,
Then who?
If not us, then who?

Sound off,
Take a look at your life, tell me to what do you aspire?
I want to know how far you’re willing to go
Can’t stop the force of ruin, this world will run through you
If not now, then when?
If not us, then who?
If not us, then who?

 —

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Power Trip – ‘Power Trip’

Artist:          Power Trip

Song:           Power Trip

Album:        Manifest Decimation

Producer:     Arthur Rizk

Label:          Southern Lord

Year:           2013

Notes:
These are perilous times. Lines have been drawn. Even if you haven’t drawn them, others are more than willing to let you know which side you’re on, often fueled by fabricated information. Their lies, your life. Your mind, not mine.

Riley Gale, Aug. 27, 2018 (Revolver): “This band was born out of the frustration that I was dealing with going into college in a time where we were involved in two wars. I’m sitting there going, ‘I’m going to see some fucked-up shit. I’m going to see something that 9/11 will pale in comparison to.’ I don’t know if it’s World War III. I don’t know if it’s some kind of food epidemic. I have this sense of impending doom — not that the human race will be wiped out, but it’s going to completely shift the status quo. It’s gonna make me being in a band completely irrelevant. It may turn it into a fight for survival. Who knows?”

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’
The solution as Rusty saw it was for the networks to re-empower the people. A wrong had been committed, justice must be done.

Lyrics:
Buy into the bullshit with your head as the price
The system is broken what choice can you make?
Pick up a gun, or catch some fucking chains

We ride as one
We’re ruled by none
As long as I’m free I’ll live illegally
Smoke and mirrors until they catch me
We ride as one
We’re ruled by none
Their lies, your life
Your mind, not mine

Earth’s moral compass pointed south
Forever broken, the good cast out
Join or die; there is only two sides to take:
The rebel evil or the police state

We ride as one
We’re ruled by none
As long as I’m free I’ll live illegally
Smoke and mirrors until they catch me
We ride as one
We’re ruled by none
Their lies, your life
Your mind, not mine
Not mine

Perennial paranoia:
A paradox for every thought
But the endless chase is better than being left to rot
Pride and fear has brought us here
A catalyst to an endless abyss
Every toe-tag; a price tag
I pledge deviance from under the flag

Their lies, your life
Your mind, not mine

 —

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Pro-Pain – ‘Contents Under Pressure’

Artist:          Pro-Pain

Song:           Contents Under Pressure

Album:        Contents Under Pressure

Producer:    Pro-Pain

Label:          Energy/Concrete

Year:           1996

Notes:
Formed from the remnants of Crumbsuckers, Pro-Pain made its intentions clear by titling their debut album ‘Foul Taste of Freedom.’ By the time ‘Contents Under Pressure’ was released four years later (with ‘The Truth Hurts’ in between), the needle hadn’t moved much. The central question posed by the title track remains relevant today given how en vogue it is to paint millennials as some sort of lazy, entitled, resource-draining plague on the country: Who made us this way? We didn’t create ourselves. And if we did, it’s even more on you olds.

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’ —
Doug rejoined the circle in the sand, placed his frisbee in his lap, and dumped the contents of his baggie into it.

Lyrics:
This court is in session
So stand erect
The case persecution
Of generation X

A taste of pollution
To make you choke
En masse execution
Behind the smoke

Discarded and thrown by the wayside
Endorse this punishable act
Blame us if we are what you made us
Die slowly but leave us intact

They buried the treasure
And burned the map
They cut down the trees
And drank the sap

The earth is a prison
With nowhere to go
Contents under pressure
It’s bound to blow

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Power Trip – ‘Divine Apprehension’

P100 – Divine Apprehension

Artist:          Power Trip

Song:           Divine Apprehension

Album:        Opening Fire: 2008-14

Producer:    Arthur Rizk

Label:          Dark Operative

Year:           2018

Notes:
This song is the first track (with ‘Suffer No Fool’ and a cover of Prong’s ‘Brainwave’) on Power Trip’s self-titled 7”, released Dec. 30, 2011, through Lockin’ Out Records. It was rereleased in 2018 as part of the bands ‘Opening Fire: 2008-14’ compilation.

In 2013 vocalist Riley Gale told The Quietus that “songs like ‘Hammer of Doubt’, ‘Divine Apprehension,’ and others, often at times boil down to ‘You think you know how it is, but you really have no idea’ – plenty of songs about war and our demise at our own hands. But ultimately, I just want to write songs that make people think about something in a way they may not have thought of before.” RIP Riley.

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
The entire circle would be made whole again; rival schools trying to outdo each other rather than facing a common problem together.

Lyrics:

It’s a fine line between faith and ignorance
You cross that line and then you piss all over it
You sell salvation, infested with corruption and lies
Faith-healer, just a madman sickening minds
Idealism as an illness and it must be erased
When all humanity is at stake
Beyond all your greatest efforts
Modern horrors untold
Divine apprehension persists against its greatest foes
(Let’s go)

Pummel fear into the defenseless
Weaken the mind into something senseless
Say it empowers but they become more helpless
And with that power they become more reckless

You see your vision of the truth is so narrow, you’re blind
Soothsayer, just a madman spreading lies
I watch you tremble as the cracks in your foundation break
From the rot of souls’ decay

Divine apprehension resists against the greater force

Orthodox, obliterate
Evangelist, eliminate
Demagogue, I decimate     

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Refused – ‘Worms of the Senses / Faculties of the Skull

P100 – Worms of the Senses/Faculties of the Skull

Artist:          Refused

Song:           Worms of the Senses/Faculties of the Skull

Album:        The Shape of Punk to Come: A Chimerical Bombination in 12 Bursts

Producer:    Eskil Lövström, Andreas Nilsson, Pelle Henricsson

Label:          Burning Heart

Year:           1998

Notes:
Refused are Swedish. Refused broke up just months after this album’s release, chronicling the spiral in one of my favorite music documentaries ever. The band believed that for punk to remain punk its presentation would have to change. There was no hope of getting a message through on a sound that had been corporately coopted. But there was still plenty of message to share. The move was a tactical one, aimed at maintaining pressure on corporate overlords who had done naught but steal from the poor, uneducated, and sick  

Go to the bottom of the post to watch the aforementioned documentary, ‘Refused Are Fucking Dead’

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
Similar lulls had occurred before and were part of why the high-tech wizardry had been developed: to keep people’s senses engaged even when nothing was happening to stimulate them.

Lyrics
They told me that the classics never go out of style but, they do, they do.
Somehow baby, I never thought that we do too.

I got a bone to pick with capitalism and a few to break
Grab us by the throat and shake the life away
Human life is not commodity, figures, statistics or make believe

And yeah, I like eating excrement, not getting paid for it
Play the guilt, play the fear & play the anxiety
And yeah, I like eating excrement, not getting paid for it
Play the guilt, play the fear & play the anxiety

Seduced by the opportunity and robbed of hope
Alien nation is not commodity, figures, statistics or make believe

Yeah!
One more time. Oh!

Marginalize away the joy and sell us boredom

And yeah, I like working doing nothing, not making anything
Blame the poor, blame the uneducated & blame the sick
And yeah, I like working doing nothing, not making anything
Blame the poor, blame the uneducated & blame the sick

I got a bone to pick and a few to break

[Faculties of the Skull]

I took the first bus out of Coca-Cola city
It made me feel all nauseous & shitty
I took the first bus out of Shell town
Cos they didn’t want me all hanging around

Yeah! Yeah! I took the first bus
Yeah, baby! I took the first bus

I took the first bus out of Coca-Cola city
It made me feel all nauseous & shitty
I took the first bus out of Shell town
Cos they didn’t want me all hanging around

Yeah! Yeah! I took the first bus

Let’s take the first bus out of here
Let’s take the first bus out of here
Let’s take the first bus out of here

Let’s take the first bus out of here
Let’s take the first bus out of here
Let’s take the first bus out of here
Let’s go!
Yeah!

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Crumbsuckers – ‘Just Sit There’

Artist:          Crumbsuckers

Song:           Just Sit There

Album:        Life of Dreams

Producer:    Norman Dunn

Label:          Combat

Year:           1986

Notes:
This song is what it sounds like it is, a condemnation of those willing to just sit around when there’s stuff to fix, with a bonus parting shot at the fat cats running the system.

I remember the day in 1986 I bought ‘Life of Dreams.’ My friend Dan and I drove to the next town up the coast to check out its record store, having already gone scorched-earth on the bins in our hometown. The place had a great metal section (I had bought my first issue of Kerrang! there on a previous visit) and among the new eye-catching titles on hand were ‘Life of Dreams’ and Agnostic Front’s ‘Cause for Alarm,’ which he bought. We went back to his house, dubbed each onto cassette so we could both enjoy them fully, and called it a win, punk (Dan) and metal (me) having found the music in between: hardcore.

Go to the bottom of the post to see Mr. Bungle performing ‘Just Sit There’ earlier this year in Brooklyn.

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
Such a long face nowadays. Just sitting there.

Lyrics
Sit there and let destruction take its course
Sit there and let nothing occupy your mind
But, I know that there’s something left inside
Yes I know what the future will provide

It’s up to us to fight the war
As Ronnie screws up more and more
But he don’t care his life is past
It’s up to us to make things last

Sit there and let destruction take its course
Sit there and let nothing occupy your mind
But, I know that there’s something left inside
Yes I know what the future will provide

Brainwashed by hates and fears
Jeopardizing precious years
Fancy cars and diamond rings
For they live the life of kings.

SIT THERE!

 

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Cro-Mags – ‘We Gotta Know’

Artist:          Cro-Mags

Song:           We Gotta Know

Album:        The Age of Quarrel

Producer:    Chris Williamson

Label:          Profile

Year:           1986

Notes:
Cro-Mags came out swinging, ‘We Gotta Know’ being the first track on the band’s debut album, ‘The Age of Quarrel.’ The album’s title is derived from the Hindu expression for the current age, Kali Yuga (the final age before the annihilation of the universes), and even back in 1986 the call was out for us to use our brains and see through the lies perpetrated from above. “You’ve got young people that are confused, making mistakes and looking for the truth, looking for answers,” bass player Harley Flanagan said in his autobiography ‘Hard-Core: Life of My Own’ regarding the lyrics he and vocalist John Joseph wrote for Cro-Mags’ debut.

Go to the bottom of the post to see Refused feat. Joseph performing ‘We Gotta Know’ and Bad Brains’ ‘Attitude’.

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
“I know. I know, Captain. Ain’t a goddamn word of truth to any of it. But you buggin’ out freaked those muthafuckas down below. And we gotta give them something.”

Lyrics
Strugglin’ in the streets just trying to survive
Searchin’ for the truth is just keepin’ us alive
Gotta break these shackles gotta break these chains
Said the only way we’ll do it is if we use our brains
Said there’s gotta be some meaning to the purpose of life
I know there must be more than the struggle and strife
Cause I’m looking for the answers and I need a clue
Cause my mind’s so disturbed now what do I do?

Notice everywhere there’s mass confusion and packs of lies
We gotta know!
We’re starin’ down our enemies in the eyes
We gotta know!
These are the days of the cheaters and the cheated
We gotta know!
But we’re not gonna bend you know we won’t be defeated
We gotta know!

Strugglin’ in the streets just trying to survive
Searchin’ for the truth is just keepin’ us alive
Gotta break these shackles gotta break these chain
Said the only way we’ll do it is if we use our brains
Said there’s gotta be some meaning to the purpose of life
I know there must be more than the struggle and strife
Cause I’m looking for the answers and I need a clue
Cause my mind’s so disturbed now what do I do?
Cause my minds so disturbed now
What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?

This planet’s turnin’ into a hell
And I figured out that things don’t really look too well
Reactions coming they’re already starting to show
But the question is who’ll go with the flow
You know there’s gonna, be a fight!
Cause somebody’s always tryin’ to keep ya
From doing the right
There’s always gonna be somebody
Comin’ no matter where you go
So now you know why we gotta know
We gotta now!

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Earth Crisis – ‘Breed the Killers’

Artist:          Earth Crisis

Song:           Breed the Killers

Album:        Breed the Killers

Producer:    Andy Sneap

Label:          Roadrunner

Year:           1998

Notes:
Think, dammit! It’s not too late!! Renounce the hate. Take action. Change. Syracuse’s Earth Crisis asked a lot on their third full-length (and only Roadrunner) release. But not any more than they were doing themselves. And not any more than any of the rest of us can do if we simply decide to.

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
He decided to wait a few minutes, the full effect of everything already consumed having not yet taken hold.

Lyrics
Designed to deceive myths of supremacy.
A climate ingrained of fear and disdain. Spawning murderers since
time began. Borders redefined, the aggressors rule.
Demons have their day of every race in every land. Survivors of massacres
live on enslaved. One half of the world in five centuries has been under
European supremacist rule. Hatred forced into each
of all our minds. There’s still time to set ourselves free.
Hatred forced into each of all our minds. There’s still time to
set ourselves free. Architects of conspiracies created to subjugate.
Conquered peoples by believing their oppression is divine will.
Breed the killers of the lies. Unveil the truth throughout the past.
Until achievements are known.
Until inventions are known.
Until contributions are known humanity lives in lies.
Hatred forced into each of all our minds.
There’s still time to set ourselves free.
Hatred forced into each of all our minds.
There’s still time to set ourselves free.

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Power Trip – ‘Manifest Decimation’

Artist:          Power Trip

Song:           Manifest Decimation

Album:        Manifest Decimation

Producer:    Arthur Rizk

Label:          Southern Lord

Year:           2013

Notes:
Check the time stamp on this one. Yes, things are worse now. But the oppressor has always been active. The shepherd can be the wolf. Vigilance is a full-time job. Nothing changes without it. Look away and the game is reset.

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
More troubling than their transparency is that they include simple gestures and turns of phrase most use naturally and unconsciously, but which he contemplates as if they were some secret code of behavioral control that he alone has tapped into.

Lyrics
Under the boot of great oppression we slither and crawl.
On the path for annihilation but in the name of god?
Manifest Decimation, we stumble and fall.
Manifest Decimation, to suppress us all.

Under the boot of great oppression, a dark figure conquers us.
Manifest Decimation, when all hope is crushed.

Crushed.

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.

Protest 100: Dropdead – ‘Torches’

Artist:          Dropdead

Song:           Torches

Album:        Demo 2019

Producer:    Trevor Vaughn

Label:          Armageddon Label

Year:           2019

Notes:
Dropdead have been performing Rhode Island political hardcore (their label) on a DIY basis since 1991, touring the US, Europe, Australia, and Japan along the way. Anti-authoritarianism, pacifism, and animal rights are among their focuses, but ‘Torches’ seems uniquely crafted for the here and now. The song has since been included on the band’s 23-songs-in-24-minutes new album, produced by Kurt Ballou, who also has remixed the band’s 1990s output.

Excerpt from ‘Unreality’  —
That shifty little fuck decided I was ‘the man’ or something. He was gonna torch me!”

Lyrics
Hail the leader of racists
Bow down to his wisdom so vain
Demagogue rules from his throne made of gold
While the common man suffers in vain

Self serving rule of the pious
Feeding their greed til their gain
Crushed under foot, society falls
Again and again, again and again

The time has now come to rise from your knees
Hatred is with us again
Torches of bigotry alight in the streets
Igniting the hatred of man

Fascist messiah, leader of fools
Rules from his kingdom of lies
Army of ignorance, violence rules
They execute those who defy

Behold the church of bigotry
Where the fools in power reign
While blood runs red within the street
Where the activists were slain

They use Nazi propaganda
Disguised as country pride
To divide and and rule the populace
Pure hatred… glorified

‘Protest 100’s mission is two-fold: dispelling the myth that heavy metal is a brainless, socially unaware music genre, and raising awareness of the issues facing our country in the Nov. 3, 2020 election. The path won’t be exclusively metal—some punk and rap and other stuff will be in here too, including the classics—and is not a ranking. All songs are songs I’ve heard while putting this list together, ordered in a manner designed to entertain and educate.