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Yeah / First & Magical (2-CD)


They phoned me at work. They asked me if I could write an introduction to their upcoming compilation album. My last donut went down and I stifled a yawn. Thinking that the album has not a hope in hell of ever being released, I said, 'Let me get back to you on that," and hung up. Over the following days I, of course, wrote nothing. I thought that in this day and age of Summer Smash Hits and Ultimate Poprock Tribute Specials a compilation album is but a dismal conclusion to some artist's fifteen minutes of fame or a simple vehicle to take money away from customers. Someone releasing a compilation album actually worth a damn sounded like, don't know, a joke of Utopian proportions.

Unbeknownst to me, things however were falling together in rapid fashion. Somewhere along the line, the band and their label had come to a conclusion of things of necessary importance and the album was in process of serious preparation. And I, still somewhat guided by cynicism and suspicion, hadn't written a word. In fact, I have spent a few years of trying to get away from writing about music, therefore the mere idea of penning down few words to the booklet of a CD felt off-putting. However, I'm patently right saying that this double CD makes a great difference. It is not even a compilation CD as such, but a re-release of Xysma's entire back catalogue; from their oddball studio sessions to the first official demo tape and the three first albums originally released by rather miniscule a label, Comeback Records.

In 1988 or something, after listening to a countless number of rehearsal tapes that their vocalist Janitor (a.k.a. Joãnitor) week after week pushed my way it dawned on me that they had quite an interesting band in the making. Triggered by such bands as Napalm Death, Sore Throat and Carcass; Xysma (or Repulse, as they were called back then) in the relatively narrow and quickly worn-out grindcore scene had the enthusiasm and determination to make it happen. And they had a plethora of impressive songs lined up in their roster; songs that did not require a half dozen plays before you begun to get a grip on them. Sure, they were short motherfuckers, the songs were, but they carried some serious weight and value. Also, quite soon Xysma broke down barriers between Grindcore, Death Metal and the more traditional Heavy Metal, thus created something very much of their own.

Bearing in mind that we are dealing with the Xysma material around the year 1990, a span of something like four years in total, and disregarding the subsequent releases (namely; "Deluxe", "Lotto", "Singles" and "Girl On The Beach", all released by Spinefarm Records) we still have exceptionally broad-ranging material in our hands, travelling from blood-ripping grindcore to death-rasping hippie shit ending up somewhere in the region of downright groovy fucking music.

Xysma's influence on whole bunch of music genres goes probably beyond anything we can even dare to comprehend, I could easily put down several bands (influential in their own right, sometimes) who at some points of their careers were either powered by Xysma's musical insight or rode their karma, and then there were all the others who just threw their hands up in almost idolatrous worship. Venturing into clear-cut Rock'n'Roll rendering, hence a tad more commercial approach, Xysma shook off the general outlines of Metal music in later times, but most likely "Swarming Of The Maggots" demo and the albums "Above The Mind Of Morbidity", "Yeah" and "First & Magical" were the milestones that made the most indelible impression on the scene.

Even if this CD is merely a survey of one band's yesteryears, it soundly beats the wishy-washy Rock and Metal music of today and, as corny as it sounds, paves the way for untold generations. Not that I'd urge you to listen to this album until your very death, but it will save you in many troubled times, when you need a rest from the fucking shit you've secretly fallen into or when you simply want to enthuse over one of the finest metal music ever existed.

So, I'll leave you here now, crank the music up and relish it, or chop two thick white lines on the lid of the CD case. Have it your way.


Janitor Muurinen
Vesa Iitti
Olli Nurminen
Teppo Pulli
Kalle Taivainen

the hard side of life
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