Pinoy punks IOV show us we have learned nothing from history after 30 years

Rick Olivares

Posted at Nov 02 2017 09:10 PM

MANILA -- The darn good "Another Destructive Century," the one and only album of 1980s Filipino punk outfit Intoxication of Violence (or I.O.V. for short), has just been re-released. Now whether you are a fan of Pinoy punk rock or original Pilipino music (regardless what genre), then this is something you must get and give a serious listen.

The late great independent punk rock label Twisted Red Cross released 16 cassette tape albums back in the 1980s. The first one I bought at Harrison Plaza back during my high school days was "Rescue Ladders and Human Barricades." 

I can’t begin to tell you what I felt when the album’s first track – “Modern Fishballs” by Urban Bandits – began playing. Suffice to say, it took a hold on me. For someone weaned on music and who got into punk rock as soon as it hit our shores, it was an incandescent moment. This was something our (as a people) own.

I picked up a few successive releases – "Brave New World Live," Urban Bandits’ "Independence Day," Fatal Response's "Rescue Ladders and Human Barricade," and George Imbecile and the Idiots’ "Fascinating World of Garbage." It cost money to buy these cassettes and I had to go all the way either to Farmer’s Plaza, Harrison Plaza, or A-Z Records to buy them.

I never got to get I.O.V.’s "Another Destructive Century." Not until a few weeks ago, except this time it was on vinyl release. And 30 years since its initial release from Twisted Red Cross, this time through the combined efforts of Delusion of Terror, Love from Hate, Suinotarius (an indie label based in Italy but owned by Filipinos), Still Ill Records, and Middle Finger Records.

Of all the re-issued TRC albums, I like the I.O.V. re-issue the best. I like how it comes with not only the lyric sheet as an insert, but also has a smaller print of the cover (with an advert for punkrecords.com in the back). Furthermore, the consortium of independent labels has released the record in four different colors – black, red, red with yellow splatter, and red with white splatter. There’s even a limited edition test press as well! There’s something for the fan and the die-hard collector. Me? I got the red with white splatter and am fine with it. 

Listening to and looking at "Another Destructive Century," it is eerily amazing how it seems that nothing has changed.

If you look at the cover, there’s a skeletal band performing to a skeletal audience. Behind them is a mushroom cloud from a nuclear detonation. There’s a bomb on its way down towards the audience one who has a swastika on its skull. 

The songs are just as timely. Furthermore, it’s amazing how the band was geo-politically aware for that time. The lead off song, “Lebanese Child,” is about the sad innocent victims of war. Vagrancy is about cops doing illegal searches and when you think of the extra judicial killings today, it’s absolutely chilling. Yet on Side B, I.O.V. sings “Social Cancer” that talks about the drug menace to society. 

Another song, “Gorbachev’s Attack” refers to the former Russian leader. Yet by the same token, you can actually substitute Vladimir Putin’s name in there for the latest Russian aggression (Chechnya, Crimea).

A lot of the early Filipino punk bands were influenced by British punk more than American punk (I prefer the latter by the way) and it shows with the TRC bands, especially I.O.V., that at times reminds me of GBH with the angry guitar assault and vocals that hiss and spit out venom. 

I.O.V.’s "Another Destructive Century" may be 30 years old. And yet, despite the rawness of something that was nascent for that time, it sounds relevant to this day. And we should pay heed because apparently, we never learned anything from history.

For details on how to get this seminal record, check out the Facebook pages of Delusion of Terror, Love from Hate, Suinotarius, Still Ill Records, and Middle Finger Records.