Rites Of Spring

Picture of Rites Of Spring

End On End

Rites Of Spring - End On End ©1991 Dischord
1. Spring
2. Deeper Than Inside
3. For Want Of
4. Hain's Point
5. All There Is
6. Drink Deep
7. Other Way Around
8. Theme
9. By Design
10. Remainder
11. Persistant Vision
12. Nudes
13. End On End
14. All Through A Life
15. Hidden Wheel
16. In Silence/Words Away
17. Patience

As the hardcore scene of the early 80s slowly morphed, faded and/or developed through the middle of decade, much of the violence of the early days quietly shifted into a more introspective look at the world rather than a brutal one. The prolific DC scene saw Minor Threat part ways and spawn various outcropping bands. Meanwhile, other bands sprung up to revitalize the scene with a new "Emo-core" style that eschewed the violent tendencies of earlier hardcore. One of the frontrunners of this scene was Rites of Spring, who would ultimately provide today's Fugazi with one half of its lineup.

Rites of Spring featured singer/guitarist Guy Picciotto and drummer Brendan Canty as well as bassist Michael Fellows and second guitarist Eddie Janney. Their bumrush approach to hardcore was a fantastic and exciting blend of pure manic emotion and adrenaline. The band released two efforts on Dischord records, a self titled 1985 LP and a 1987 EP called All Through a Life. Dischord, as is their tendency, reissued both releases on one disc in 1991, calling it End on End. Thus, one gets the entire overview of the band's recorded output on one disc.

Rites of Spring were legendary for their handful of live shows put on during their existence. The energy displayed on this CD was manifested in a lot of ruined equipment and Guy's particular own style of completely submitting to the rush of musical energy. Although End on End might not completely capture the band's insane vigor, it does do a good job of hinting at it. The songs that originally appeared on the first LP are constantly wheeling on the edge of losing control, toeing the line between pure insanity and self-control. The teetering vibe does much to emphasize the lyrics and emotional quality of the music. Guy in particular is manic, his voice often sounding like he was throwing every ounce of his soul into every single word. Occasionally his voice sounds so raw that you'll find yourself hitting the sore throat medicine on his behalf. Canty's drumming is also riding that edge of complete disarray, offering his most frantic, kinetic playing on record. The production unfortunately muddles up the guitars a bit, but the leads and interplay still is quite audible. The band showed great ability to arrange their songs and propel them forward in the frenzy. The songs from All Through a Life are considerably muted in comparison, drawing towards a cleaner, slower motif. There is a sense of dropoff in intensity due to that. However, the tracks are still high quality.

Rites of Spring proved early on that emotionally driven music needn't revolve around sweaters, weak melodic ventures and crying onstage. The purity of Guy's intense delivery made any listener feel as though he really meant every single scream, cry and shout. The band probably only had one truly honest, heartfelt album in them and it may be to our fortune that Rites of Spring ended so that Guy and Brendan could ultimately reconvene in Fugazi. While Rites of Spring gets less attention, they deserve considerable notice as the other half of the "Origins-of-Fugazi" axis. End on End is a vital historical document for fans of hardcore music.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 06/2002

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