Punk icons Discharge are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their 1980 debut single Realities Of War by announcing the release of a new anthology.

The band, formed in Stoke on Trent in 1977, will release Protest And Survive – The Anthology through BMG on February 21.

They have already given fans a taste of it by sharing an unreleased track, Descending Into Madness.

Recorded back in 2002 with original vocalist Kelvin, it is as unrelenting as anything the band delivered in their heyday.
Founding member Tezz Roberts explains: “As we were writing the tunes for the 2002 album, me and Bones felt that Kelvin was not doing too much to contribute, so we didn’t really know how it was going turn out until the demo.

“We did it in Stoke and let me tell you, we breathed a sigh of relief when we heard his voice was back! It’s not the finished product but you get the gist of it!”

Known for their raw, uncompromising sound, Discharge are a band so important they invented a whole new sub-genre of punk, D-beat, which has influenced both extreme metal and punk.

They still perform around the world at everywhere from club shows to festivals, and are recognised as one of the godfathers of the political and anarcho-punk scenes.

Protest And Survive – The Anthology will be released as a 2CD digipack and double splatter gatefold vinyl LP. It is a 53-track collection spanning their entire career.

Heavily championed by John Peel in their early years, they clocked up several chart singles and albums and went on to influence metal bands like Metallica and Celtic Frost, as well as punk acts like Rancid.

The original line-up of Discharge.

Not for the faint of heart, they remain true to their ‘noise not music’ mantra and still detonate a sound akin to a bomb going off, to equal the heavy-weight lyrical themes of war, oppression and corruption.
Discharge’s first single, Realities of War, was a huge hit upon release, especially when it was picked up for regular rotation by Peel, and it spent 44 weeks in the then-important UK Independent Chart, where it peaked at a very respectable No. 5.

Its jagged aural attack was then honed to a razor-sharp edge for the second EP, Fight Back, which saw the band developing not only their sound but their social conscience, with frontman Cal’s impassioned lyrics raging against authority, corrupt institutions and the injustices of war.

Their black-and-white imagery, minimalist production values and pacifist stance all crossed over with the anarcho punk scene that was growing in the wake of Crass.

Discharge’s sonic assault continues to blow audiences away to this day. Pic: Gary Welford.

It was third  EP, Decontrol, issued through Clay in late 1980, that saw them realise their full potential and become a genuine force to be reckoned with, while 1982’s Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing LP is seen by many as the pinnacle of the band’s aural bombardment.
What Discharge unleashed has reverberated for four decades, with no signs of abatement. They are still as influential as ever – on all extreme music, not just punk .

Protest And Survive – The Anthology is crammed full of their most revered tracks, alongside a slew of rare and unreleased music.

Gary Welford
ipamusic.co.uk owner