Left for Dead


Thursday, October 30, 2014
Left For Dead – “Plant the Seed” from Left for Dead/Ochre 7″, Splitting Heads CD (1997 Phyte Records, 1998 No Idea Records respectively)



Left for Dead were quintessentially Canadian in their approach to hardcore, which is to say that they approached their craft with a pissedness that their American counterparts could only dream of. To that end, they played hardcore that was a lot faster than most American bands were playing at the time, taking an approach that was far more reminiscent of hardcore from a decade earlier.

If it does nothing else, this blog helps to illustrate the circuitous routes I take to bands that everyone else already knew about. In this case, while I knew about Left for Dead and maybe even had my hands on their split with Acrid at one point, they weren’t on my radar until years after their demise. Curiously, however, I bought everything I could get my hands on from The Swarm a.k.a. Knee Deep in the Dead (the band that came after). I think I maybe didn’t put it together. There were a lot of bands with similar names at the time, and I think it was pretty easy for me to file Left for Dead away in my brain with By the Throat and a million other bands with dead in their name.

Speaking of, it’s not a very cheery name to be sure, which sheds light on some of my hypocrisy, maybe. I will occasionally hear some yokel blathering on about how punk rock is all about nihilism and rejection, and this really gets my ire up. In these instances I want nothing more than to point out all of the ways in which hardcore punk can be beautiful, and strives to create a better world than the one handed to its inherents, and in these cases it’s easy to reach for positive hardcore. Left for Dead is hardly positive hardcore, nor are any of the myriad projects that vocalist Chris Colahan has been involved in, and for my money, nor is any Canadian hardcore that’s worth listening to.

Let’s face it, if there’s a place for positivity, then there’s probably a place for pessimism as well. If there is beauty to be embraced, certainly it’s not without bullshit to be rejected.

This is why the lyrics for “Plant the Seed” (a rager at one minute fifteen seconds) are full of depth, though they may seem cliched at first blush. They are about growing up and falling in, only to realize that life is waiting to “rip it from you and start again.” Basically, these are the sentiments of one hovering right around age twenty. For those of us looking at them from a considerable distance, it’s easy to want to write them off as post-adolescent angst, and I suppose they are, but that angst matters, especially for punks. If punk is about building and doing something different than the prescribed order, than it can be extremely alienating to feel forced to conform with society’s expectations. Conversely, for those who buy into those same expectations, it can be a rude awakening when, having “grown to be a fine young man,” the society in which they’ve grown doesn’t deliver on its promises of wealth and happiness. At a certain stage in life, this is extremely relevant, and to write it off is to be aloof.

Because they are a nineties hardcore band, word on the street is that Left for Dead are back playing shows and recording new material. These kinds of things can go either way. I’ll keep my eyes peeled and keep you posted.