Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., June 11, 2004
Dresden 45Paradise Lost (Expanded) (Arclight)
In the sprawl of economically depressed mid-Eighties Houston, hardcore was often the catharsis of choice for disenfranchised suburban teens. High schoolers themselves when the band started in 1985, Dresden 45 became one of the most beloved acts to emerge from this era. Following in the footsteps of H-town expatriates D.R.I., D45 fused punk rage to the loud, fast rules of thrash with a militaristic precision. Vocalist Brumby Boylston was a classic punk screamer, while guitarist Patrick Godbey threw down ramming speed guitar solos owing a lot more to Eddie Van Halen than Johnny Thunders. The quartet's unrelenting disgust at the lingering threat of annihilation ("Coexistence") and unrestrained greed ("Live for $") that epitomized the Reagan era make this expanded reissue of their sole album a trip back in time. Dresden 45 also paid homage to Minor Threat with rails against nicotine ("Smoke") and heroin ("Mainlined"). While their world-view was bleak and violent, their scream-along choruses and exhortations not to let the bastards win fostered an aural camaraderie. This was evident at shows during the band's late-Eighties heyday. Paradise Lost doesn't capture Dresden 45's live ferocity as well as it could've, but keep in mind it was recorded at a studio that normally did country songs and radio jingles. Sentimental Eighties refugees who've forgotten what it feels like to be 17 and pissed off should look into this.