The Exploited: 1980-83

Raging against the machine.

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Emerging from the second wave of punk, The Exploited were fronted by the angry and extravagantly Mohicaned Wattie. Their first album, Punks Not Dead, is a relentless stream of bile, from the sloganeering title track to I Believe In Anarchy (‘Crass is just a bunch of fuckin’ wankers’).

The sound is somewhere between metal and hardcore, with the bass mixed higher than the distorted guitar, and the song titles generally form the chorus. In the case of Sex & Violence the title is the lyric – repeated for five minutes.

There are occasional moments of levity, such as when they try to sort out the riff to Blown To Bits or sing the Star Spangled Banner followed by copious vomiting. The bile is just as acrid on Troops Of Tomorrow, although the sound is closer to Motörhead and the song titles are often down to one word (Disorder, Alternative, Rapist).

The title track is a Vibrators cover that’s more menacing than the original thanks to Wattie’s double-tracked vocals and some deliberate guitar effects. By 1983’s Let Start A War…, ex-squaddie Wattie was the only original member left and the sound had got murkier again. The theme is the same Falklands War that enraged Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters on The Final Cut, but any similarity ends there.

The fourth album in this box set is a collection of singles, half of which are different versions of album tracks, and includes Fuck The Mods sung to the tune of Jingle Bells./o:p

Hugh Fielder

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.