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NIHILISTICS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Nihilistics EP7 (Visionary) 1982
Nihilistics (Brain Eater) 1983
Bad ... Dirty ... Hate (Visionary) 1989
Fuck the Human Race (Visionary) 1990
13th Anniversary (Visionary/Dutch East India Trading) 1991
Fuck Guns & Roses What About the Nihilistics (Dutch East India Trading) 1992
Truth (Confirmin' the Vermin) EP7 (Visionary) 2000
Al-Qaida Detonator (Visionary) 2002

The Nihilistics were a stupid, obnoxious hardcore band from Long Island, New York. Their lyrics were predictable banalities, and their attitudinizing was irritating. That's the bad news. The good news: the Nihilistics album is pretty good (even if the preceding five-song 7-inch — which was later appended to the debut album and reissued as 13th Anniversary — is much better). However full of it their ideas may have been, the band members (singer Ron Rancid, guitarist Chris T., bassist Mike King and drummer Troy) at least believed in them and advanced them with all the passion of the errantly self-righteous. Emotional commitment does count for something, even if that commitment is to a credo like "Take it from me man...fuck the human race" (a line from "My Creed" which provided the title of a subsequent album). People hate hardcore precisely for stuff like this, but the Nihilistics went far enough to almost make it work.

After a five-year hiatus, Rancid and King scraped off the cobwebs and exhumed the band's corpse, ready to pour some corrosive spit from the original punk bucket on the positive 'core and straight-edge generation. The message on Bad...Dirty...Hate (as opposed to "good clean fun") is that life and people suck. In a few cases, Rancid manages to tweeze a slender path between sincerely deranged hatred and absurdly grotesque humor; meanwhile, guitarist Ajax Lepinski slices through the din on "Story Box" and "Punisher." Returning more to the age of punk rather than hardcore, the Nihilistics keep the emphasis on attitude and hybrid tempos, not speed and tightness. "Sub-liminal," "Big Fun" and "The Good Life" all prove the band's competent musicianship while promoting its demented viewpoint.

Besides the grungy "Sorry Hairy Tail" and the rockabilly bass-lined "Vexation," Fuck the Human Race (stickered in stores as Feed the Human Race) includes between-song antics like Rancid's crank calls to a morgue (his day job). Not as generally gripping as the previous LP, but still entertaining.

Fuck Guns & Roses roars with undiminished fervor and more wisdom and solid (well, semi-solid) social criticism than one would expect from such blustery profanity. "You're Born — You're Bored" is as good a motto as any, and Rancid bellows it with conviction. "The Nihilist" doesn't demonstrate an exact awareness of the philosophy for which the band is named, but the five-line "Futile Waste" very nearly does. And while bagging on johns, "Shit n' Blood" introduces an excellent coinage, the disease "hatetheworldacitis."

[John Leland/Marlene Goldman/Ira Robbins]