I noticed the huge interest in my hardline legacy post on a Portuguese messageboard, well I like their legacy too and also think it is very inspiring. So that’s why I make this post.Let’s start with the find; I saw this LP on ebay and it was the first time I got a hint of its existence and I even thought I had every hardline records release. Well the contrary was true, so I really wanted it because I find this very intriguing. But It wasn’t a good time to buy it, but I know a good guy who had it and made him an offer. So here it is, Raid “Above The Law” LP
The LP is actually a compilation LP from several recording sessions over a time-span of 3 years, starting in 1989. This LP also has a CD version as I recently discovered.
The music is for it’s time very hard, if not to say it is the hardest stuff coming from the early nineties. I like the music a lot as I said before in the first hardline post. Raid don’t sound old as Vegan Reich and Statement might do.
As I told you before there is a necessary trend in hardcore to make music harder and harder. Well, these guys were ahead of their game. And many bands followed. Hearing this makes many pieces of the puzzle come together. The music is raw and energetic and is the closest to hardcore as I knew it in the late nineties. . If you want to understand 90’s hardcore you really need this. That’s why I’m sharing this with you.But a sidenote I really need to say that this originated in the USA and that European bands only followed . Many things originate in the States and it has always been like this in modern times, but it is mainly Europe who is associated with vegan staright-edge. Well, probably because it lasted longer over here.
But I’m drifting away from the review. The lyrics are really clear and to the point. Let’s run them over in chronological order:
The song “liberation” is probably the most foundational song. And hits the core of what they are trying to achieve. Liberation of the mind through self discipline and edification as the answer.
But I doubt these two elements; first of all, liberty is a state of mind. Whether you are a working class person, you can feel free but another person would not feel free in the same situation. So liberty is a personal thing. They somehow connect self discipline to liberty. This is because of their vision that needs a lot of self discipline. They have challenged themselves with their goals and do everything within possibility to reach those goals of an animal free diet and drug free living.
Secondly, edification always brings answers therefore it is education. If it wouldn’t then why would you read or learn and study? So this is rather a cliché.
And then a song about abortion. They are against it; they find it too convenient to do. Therefore the title “Convenience”.
Also the songs “A Craving”, “Cultured Sadism”, “Unleashed” and “Words Of War” are from the 1990 recording session. Songs about eating animals, mankind as the most sadistic species on earth and the fact the are unleashed.
The least interesting session in my opinion. Because the lyrics aren’t rational enough but rather factual.
As you will read, the last recording session (1991) is the most rational approach to their ethics. They got more abstract because they needed to I think. They are also the more mature songs, but probably also their final songs. Anyway, this is how I interpret them:
In the first song “Blood Green” they make a switch, they turn around things a 180 degrees. Nature is considered the thing to tame and control, well they say that it is humanity who needs to be controlled instead. To use more difficult words, we must go from anthropocentricity to eco-centricity. Because mankind is the cancer of the planet.The next three songs seems to contain a existential process: The title-track is called “Above The Law”. This new set of ethics and struggle for protection of innocent life is really typifies the movement. They aren’t considered above the law by the settled institutions but in the local circles they are, because of the new set of ethics. This ethical superiority sets them above the law. And they try to start with the local scene as a cornerstone for their movement. But do have the ambition to conquer the world.
Well, in the following song “Curse Of Empathy” they realize that their compassion and empathy for innocent life puts them in a martyr position that’s very similar to stories the majority of western civilization is nurtured with. This mechanism of violate what’s different or what changes the ethics is really embedded in western society. As already happened with the Martyr, you all know. This is the curse as they call it. They say that in modern society after the hippies and the world wars they have rights, such as freedom of expression but also the right to change the ethics. But somehow this is and has always been violated by the masses in the beginning.
And they respond to this with aggression, they want to revenge those who violate another beings rights by giving the same in return. “Under the axe” is the song that expresses that aggression. ‘Eye for an eye’ ethics is what is defended here. Get the logic? Another aspect is of course the drugs that are used. “Your warning” is pinpointing the confining freedom when you use drugs. You think you are free but it’s actually the drugs who are free within you. The take over your actions, thoughts and behaviour.