I always enjoyed Chino Horde (pre-Green Day) but considered them to be firmly in the middle of the 90s emo pack. They have their moments (boy, do they have their moments) but two discs of their effective emotive hardcore is too much for one sitting, and perhaps a little un-necessary. At least it does give folk a chance to catch it all in one simple package.
The LP itself suffers with weak production but shows a band competently racing through some Revolution Summer styled emo. There is some good stuff here like the aggressive Arson which blasts on through emphatically to the sobbing finale “I JUST WANT TO FUCKING LIVE!”. Very reminiscent of bands like Rain, but it’s been a long long time since I listened to this album and I can see why because it hasn’t aged very well unfortunately for the most part.
As this comp does contain “Everything”, you get the formative days of chuggy post-hardcore, very early 90s and none too inspiring. The first 7″ on File-13 is entirely dispensable but serves a purpose to fill in some gaps as to how they arrived at their later sound. Fortunately at the back end of this, you get to the Chino Horde blasters. This kicks off with “Composite” which has to be turned up loud to generate the necessary effect, with the cheapo 90s production, but rumbles with ominous effective, spoken word, “The machine to which your life is sold” – very mid 90s – and – “PULL THE TRIGGER! PULL THE TRIGGER!” – very grungemo. The vocals in this one are off the hook when he starts bellowing. Then we hit the final Council 7″ and this is where the gold is, my favourite minutes of Chino Horde’s output. Suddenly the band dissolve their lumpen, mid-paced hardcore in favour of flailing, desperate emo awesomeness. Whereever this came from I am not sure but I am guessing an affection for Amber Inn and Current (who they shared a record with). “Feels Like Leaving” is so fast and full of impact, the guitars force onwards at quite a rate til everything drops out for one of the perfect 90s breakdowns, distant spoken vocals, guitars jangling threateningly for moments, tension building, insistent simple drum beat… vocals back… and into the repetitious yelled finale. “Shut Hands” follows it with a killer intro and sails into a wave of crashing guitars and emoted vocals. This one also drops out before coming back with all guns blazing into a riotous finale. They pretty much had the template down here, killer. And all was wrapped up with the appropriate “This is Done”. This one kicks off slowly and mostly consists of the title yelled over and over before disintegrating into feedback and squeals and dropped drum sticks. I fucking love music that sounds like this.
Something this record severely lacks is liner notes. There is absolutely nothing – no dates, no indication of what releases the songs from, no photographs, no words from members or friends. I think this is a missed trick with any discography. It feels like a record that wants to retain the 90s roots of anonymity and mystery, yet it’s also compiling the obscure works of a long forgotten band which is a concept at polar opposites of the 90s emo aesthetic.
In summary, all you really need is the “This is Done” 7″ on Council which is a perfect artefact of the era, but if you enjoy their sound and have had a job tracking everything down in the past then this LP serves a fine purpose.