Articles of Faith: Complete Vol 1 & 2

Articles of Faith: Complete Volume 1 Articles of Faith: Complete Volume 2

Articles of Faith: Complete Vol 1 1981-1983
Articles of Faith: Complete Vol 2 1983-1985

Label: Alternative Tentacles
Release Date: 2002
Recording Date: 1981-1985
Review Date: 2003
Articles of Faith

Vinyl snobs can snicker all they want, but CDs are here to stay, and you, the punk rock fan are the one who benefits by labels who re-issue back catalogs. Sure, these discs are being released on vinyl too, but you can bet your bottom dollar that CD sales are what is making it possible. That, and the good people at Alternative Tentacles.

Articles of Faith were one of the fiercest, most intelligent, and underappreciated bands to come out of the hardcore scene. They were sort of a split phenomena, based out of Chicago but with ties to D.C. Needless to say, Chicago bands get only a footnote in the history of punk, and Articles of Faith often gets overlooked. However, if you are looking for the atypical qualities in hardcore (like originality) you can start and stop with Articles of Faith.

Aggression. Every hardcore band has it, but most will be hard pressed to equal the intensity of Vic Bondi’s voice matched with the rest of the bands ferocity. An Articles of Faith song differs from your average generic hardcore band because you can actually remember a melody beyond the atonal screaming and chants that make up most of the genre, not to mention that the lyrics are subtle and thoughtful in stead of bludgeoning you over the head with rote dogma.

Fans of hardcore will find that these discs will stand up to anything being recorded today, so let’s talk about the re-issue qualities. The sound quality of the studio recordings shows no age (unlike my vinyl) and even the live tracks are good. The only thing missing in these releases is packaging. These two discs are no frills, and it’s a shame. Sure, the music is what is important, but why pass on the chance to preserve and disseminate the other aspects. What you get is low budget and ugly. Tiny photos and minimal commentary by Vic Bondi, who mostly seems to want to bitch about the Effigies, another Chicago outfit from the same era. An original A.O.F. release I own is more minimalist – just a two color cover with no liner notes, so it’s definitely an old habit. In any case it’s still a disappointment considering that this will likely be the last time these recordings are released. At this time the accompanying web site is not much more than a reprint of the liner notes. Fortunately, it is the music that matters.

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