No Suicide, Mercenary God, No Submission
Spittle Records
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“Challenge” was released in 1981 on Bootleg, a record label born inside a record store in Pavia with the same name. “Challenge” keeps the original and uncompromising punk attitude alive. 3 groups: No Suicide (from the Udine province), Mercenary God (from Gemona), No Submission (from Treviso), all sick children of the industrious, rich and Christian Democratic north-eastern part of Italy. I read about them in “New Fahrenheit” (a controversial article about local rivalries, common backgrounds and eventually separate roads.) but I don’t know their music. Something tells me that “Challenge” is the record I was looking for, perhaps because of its very powerful cover with no slogans, and a circled “A”. I send the money in a sealed envelope and wait. When the package arrives, I open it, I put the record on the turntable and let the needle go. The first listen is enough to realize that this is a crucial release, a real “challenge”.

The challenge is against an indifferent market. The instrument is a sound that is already changing skin. No Suicide, Mercenary God and No Submission have nothing to do with Great Complotto, they are the other face of the northeastern underground. Punk is their background, (read “hardcore” for No Suicide) but for all of them there is a progressive detachment from the original material, including a common attitude towards the caustic sound coming from the harshest side of British wave. A classic example of “work in progress” able to generate great songs like “The Degraded Men” by No Submission (the band that later evolved into Wax Heroes), one of the peaks of Italian post-punk. Mercenary God will give birth to The Sex, while No Suicide with their tight hypnotic hardcore will disbanded soon. It’s 1981 when the rain clouds on the “Challenge” front cover seem to remind us that the wind is going to change soon.

3 bands, 11 songs, an unearthed piece of history 43 years after its first release. Thanks to this reissue, “Challenge” is now back on track. A different disc, today as then. (Luca Frazzi)