Condemned 84 on crusade

CONDEMNED 84: The Crusade Continues…

Release year: 2023
Label: Askania Productions

I wager that if you ask a bunch of skinheads which band best embodies the skinhead style sonically, Condemned 84 would be quite high on that list. Having been active since the early 80’s, and since 1984 with the current moniker, they’ve been one of the mainstays of the oi! scene, having always provided the goods on their albums and never having compromised in their style or attitude. And now, with their 8th full-length album, the UK legends prove you don’t have to reinvent yourself to keep things going.

Honestly: pair this with any album from the group’s back catalogue, and you’ll be hard pressed to find much development or evolution in sound or style. Condemned 84 have been dealing in the same kind of gruff, no-nonsense skinhead punk rock ever since their very first releases.

I don’t know if the term “brickwall oi!” was used first in conjunction with Condemned 84, but there’s no band in the world who embody the concept better. And The Crusade Continues… is – like any item in the back catalogue – perfect proof of this.

In other words, rough and abrasive skinhead oi! is the name of the game. Hard riffs are violently hammered from the guitars, the drums beat a steady and even monotonous backbone; over these vocalist Kev snarls with his trademark vocals lyrics of working class plight. Groove? Swing? Finesse? None of that to be found here. Condemned 84’s music is not so much chiseled from stone as hewn with a pickaxe. This is straight to the point aggro, an unconvoluted fist to the face – no frills, no fancy choreography.

And that’s what I – and legions of punks & skins across the world – love about Condemned 84. They’re like a steam engine rolling on relentlessly, through whatever obstacle you put in their way. They turn their brand of straightforward, brutal expression almost into an art form. Sometimes less truly is more: adding extra flair, groove or nuances to Condemned 84 would just ruin it.

For anyone familiar with the group, The Crusade Continues… will feel instantly familiar. In essence, nothing has changed. The group offer 13 new skinhead tunes, all of which are solid but none of which will rival the group’s most essential songs. In other words, fans will be more than satisfied, casual listeners might be better off with either the singles collection released by Rebellion Records some years ago, or the best of compilation album released by Dim Records and 84 Records almost 20 years ago.

But, honestly, at this stage of their career, I don’t think Condemned 84 are looking to break much new ground, either stylistically or when it comes to audience. They know what they excel at, and they know who their audience is, and The Crusade Continues… testifies they’re content with serving another helping of what they do best to people who appreciate it best. There’s nothing wrong with that.

And yes, we do appreciate it. The Crusade Continues… is a fine latter day release. I think it might be their best album since 1995’s Amongst The Thugs – although in the group’s even discography, it’s pretty much arbitrary in what order you put the albums. Despite not rising to equal the group’s finest, tracks such as Attitude and Resurrection – and most others on the album – will bear repeated listens, and will certainly work well in a live setting.

The CD version of the album comes with a DVD containing three gigs (Ipswich 2020, Boston 2010 and Norway 2006). Hampered by rather crummy sound, the DVD isn’t a must have, but a nice addition worth a spin. The main attraction is of course the album itself, which provides good value for money.

Visit Condemned 84 on their official website or Facebook

One thought on “Condemned 84 on crusade

  1. Many thanks for the review gents…Your suport in honesty is much appreciated…We’ll post it on our fcbk, website, social medias…Regards Condemned 84


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