Tankcrimes has re-released the 1987 debut album, Ashes to Ashes, by Los Angeles, California’s hardcore punk quartet Final Conflict. With the thrash of D.R.I. and Institutionalized-era Suicidal Tendencies, the grit of Black Flag, the metal of Amebix and Crucifix, the d-beat of Doom and Discharge, and the far left political stances of bands like Oi Polloi and Propagandhi, Final Conflict doesn’t just one of the first successful crossover bands of the genre, but also a band that has truly made its mark on the scene. In fact, having formed in 1983, and having remained active for most of that time, it is not at all surprising that Tankcrimes sought to re-release this seminal hardcore punk band’s first LP.
The Ashes to Ashes reissue is available on vinyl LP and 2CD set. As I understand it, the vinyl includes a 12x12 24-page booklet and foldout poster, and the CD set includes the band’s 1985 demo material. This is the third official release of Ashes to Ashes – first on Pusmort (1987), then on Relapse Records (2004), and now on Tankcrimes (2014). There is a reason this album has been revisited in this way – it is an important piece of hardcore punk history, and is just as relevant to today’s political, social and economic climate as it was when it first came out, if not more so.
With pummeling drums, prominent low end, tight yet dirty chord progressions, impressive notework, and punk-as-fuck vocals, Final Conflict’s fourteen-song debut goes through what are arguably some of their best songs – “Apocalypse Now!”, “Private War,” “Abolish Police,” “What Kind of Future?”, “Political Glory,” and “Self-Righteous Pigs.”
Over the course of the last thirty years Final Conflict has released a couple of full-length albums, a handful of 7” EPs, and contributed cover songs for Germs and Dead Kennedys tributes. Even so, Ashes to Ashes remains their standout release. And it is probably one for any serious collector of punk records.