Thursday, February 21, 2008

Guyver-1: The Bio-Weapon

I don't know all that much about this band, except that they were another good mid-90s screamo/hardcore band. And what more could you want?

Fourfa has Guyver-1 at the end of his list of the best 'hardcore emo' records for their s/t 7", which he describes with extreme concision as:

"a little late in the game, but still fantastically good hardcore"

The rest of that list, by the way, is made up of such other fantastic hardcore records as Heroin, Swing Kids, Reach Out and Mohinder. So whatever you may think of Andy Radin's arbitrary classifications, and interpretation of scene history (personally, I think it's a great resource and very excellently written), you should get a good idea of what the band sounds like.

It's typically abrasive-yet-melodic hardcore emo, yet with a certain twist. Here's blend's description of that 7" from Zen and the Art of Face Punching:

"Super frantic early screamo from none other than San Diego. Very similar to Swing Kids, Antioch Arrow, Clikatat Ikatowi and Heroin (theres gotta be something in the water there). The funny thing about this record is the Grandmaster Flash and Sugar Hill Gang records playing in the background of the recording... Very similar to the Indian Summer song Angry Son, with the Bessie Smith record playing... Funny, and then the band cuts your entrails out with a swift razor sharp blast and youre not laughing anymore.... until the next break when you can hear more old school hip-hop. Yay."

Download: Guyver-One - 7"

Now, while the 7" is an awesome record - "balls to the walls" to use blend's words again - Guyver-1 did also have a full-length record, entitled Obsessed With.... It's nowhere near as good as the 7", but I really don't think it's all that bad, and in fact it's quite good.

I can't say all that much about it now because - ironically - the burned CD copy I have won't play in my stereo at the moment, but trust me that it's worth a listen. I guess I intended writing a sizeable apologia for the album, yet for now I can't offer much more than a vague description

Obsessed With... lacks a lot of the focus and energy of the s/t 7", but that's not to say that it doesn't have its moments of viscera and punch. At times - and indeed, often - the abrasiveness gives way to a lot of quiet, instrumental passages, including, in one case I think, a piano. I rememeber listening to this a while ago and thinking that Obsessed With... represented accordingly the valuable progressive trend in hardcore - that is, the willingness to bring in different artistic styles to aid the expression of what, in essence, is a very singular, intense sound.

Unfortunately this occurs at the expense of Guyver-1's characteristic, and musically impressive, intensity. Maybe this particular of hardcore is best listened to only on 7"s - there are other albums which wander a little bit too, like Merel's s/t, or Clikatat Ikatowi's Orchestrated and Conducted.... The Swing Kids disco provides a kind of half-exception to that rule, as it works as an excellent, cohesive (albeit very short) album, but it is actually only a collection of 7"s and parts of 7"s. Equally, the lengthy Mohinder discography delivers the Guyver-esque abrasiveness in a long sequence of bursts. You can judge for yourself whether Guyver's attempt to translate abrasive and intensive mid 90s hardcore into a real album works or falls flat...

Download: Guyver-One - Obsessed With...

Edit: go here for scans of all the artwork from the 7"


Jared Dillon said...

their 7" is one of my favorite records in my own collection, and probably one of the best examples of emo ever.

Ricardo said...

thanks!! this is great.

you find the Honeywell demo tape?

here we are:

Nick said...

Oh cool! I saw these guys first show (I think) on a trip to San Diego in ... 1995? Maybe? No idea where my copy of this went. I had a shirt to, but I wore it out.

gabbagabbahey said...

I thought this post might get a good response, the 7" at least is a really, really good piece of hardcore...

- ricardo
thanks for that Honeywell demo, the link isn't working quite right now, but I'll give it a listen to when I can. Is it any good?!

- nick
especially cool to hear from someone who actually saw these guys at the time. I guess 1995 makes sense if they were "a little late in the game"!

If anybody knows anything about the artwork for this stuff, that'd be cool to know too. I think, for some reason, that the picture might be the 7" cover but I'm not sure.

blend77 said...

hey gabba! Of course Guyver One 7" gets a good response. Its one of those time capsules of a great scene.

I have the cover of the guyver one 7" and it is black with stylized Japanese writing in silver and the Band name in red... the inserts were great pics of the actual comic character Guyver One, one on acetate, and unfortunately I lost that one long ago as I had hanging on my wall in various places throughout my life. Theres another insert of the Guyver One robot with all of his pieces labelled as well.

The back cover has silhouettes of breakdeancers on the bottom and the Inchworm records logo and address.

I will scan it and get it up for you. Its always been one of my favorite covers.

Ricardo, thanks for Honeywell, were you a member? If so, good work. I havent visited Honeywell in a while and always got into their sound.

Ricardo said...

No,Im not a member.
I found the demo in this blog:

But you must know it already.So I must thank you, because your blogs (Zen Face,Hxc for nerds,Mostly blue skies,etc.)made me knew scenes and bands I like.

Blend wich is the 7" from Absinthe, I do have the 10" from your post.

Excuse my english.

proven hollow said...

i had a demo tape from this band when i think they were called IG-88. i think this was them. i also had a somewhat funny story i heard about them i'm not sure if it's true or not. but apparently one of the guys would hang out with his friends and record conversations, then play back those intimate private conversations during the shows? probably lost alot of friends that way. again i can't vouch for it's truthfullness, but when i see guyver-1, i think of ig88, and then i think of that story.

Anonymous said...

Curious to compare these two... thx!

Darren said...

hey liking the new posts very much, though I had the mohinder stuff, this guyver-1 stuff is great! not been on much, nice to come back to something good

gabbagabbahey said...

thanks, glad you like them.
Do you know Swing Kids at all? The best of this kind of music, although I've never posted them because they're generally fairly well known.

Darren said...

Yep, Swing Kids absolutely rule! I know what you mean though, and although its great, its a shame their collected works are so little. What do you think of the locust?

gabbagabbahey said...

the Locust are good; saw them in Dublin last year, loudest gig I've ever been to! Mostly went to see Justin Pearson in the flesh (well, actually, full-body suit and balaclava)
but they're not the kind of band I'd listen to, if you know what I mean.

Darren said...

yeah they're pretty extreme, I'd imagine they would be awesome live though, your a lucky guy!

Darren said...

Oh and just out of curiosity have you heard of a band called party of helicopters?

gabbagabbahey said...

heard the name, but not the music. I like some Harriet the Spy, and Troubleman is a good label, so I'd imagine it might be good stuff...

The Locust gig was in Whelans, same small-ish place I've seen Fight Like Apes, Ham Sandwich and Dan Deacon all in. But that was the only gig I tried to stand as far from the front as possible! A good experience though.

Renata said...

Good post.

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thuglifebaldwin said...

i saw the locust in 99 or so, back before they started wearing stupid uniforms/ski masks on stage. they were ok then but its a style of music that is very much trapped in that doesnt age well.

someone mentioned IG-88? im pretty sure that band changed their name to ex-ignota and didnt have much if anything to do with guyver one.

swing kids were a good, maybe even great band, but i dont worship them like some people do. for me, they werent even the best band playing this stuff (angel hair was).

as for guyver one, i like the 7 and lp equally.