G.B.H. – Race Against Time – The Complete Clay Recordings – Review


Race Against Time: The Complete Clay Recordings (Sanctuary)
by Jim Kaz

Listening to early G.B.H. for the first time is like doing a straight shot of gasoline with a Clorox chaser: The furious energy strikes fever and tingles the spine. During the late ’70s, Britain’s original punk scene had all but fizzled out while the avant-garde, post-punk sounds of the art-school crowd dominated the indie scene. But soon, punks fed-up with the artier set started forming bands, and the results were louder, faster, and dare I say, more metal. Spiky nihilists Discharge and political blowhards The Exploited were at the head of the pack, but the band with by far the best songs – and the baddest haircuts – had to be G.B.H.

This three-disc box set consists of the band’s catalog from its first label, Clay Records. Opening with the title track, things don’t let up until track nine, the humorously bizarre and experimental “Alcohol,” a hidden track culled from the band’s debut EP, Leather, Bristles, Studs and Acne. The band’s first proper album, City Baby Attacked By Rats, is represented here in all its trashy glory, and still stands as G.B.H.’s finest hour, with tracks like “Time Bomb,” “Maniac,” and the iconic “Sick Boy.” The set also includes City Baby’s Revenge, plus a messy live album that hasn’t been available for a long time (with negligible sound quality, it’s not too difficult to see why). With this set comes a color booklet that details bits of the band’s history, and it’s all tucked neatly into a deluxe little box.

This set is the definitive article on prime-era of G.B.H., and for the low price, is a damn fine comp. For die-hards who’ve already have most of this stuff, I’d recommend the recent digipack reissues from Captain Oi! that include bonus tracks and meticulously reproduced packaging that replicates the original vinyl releases. Either way, G.B.H.’s punk/metal assault is still as relevant as ever.