The music of some bands is virtually indestructible. These include POISON IDEA, who belong to the finest U.S. hardcore punk bands. Formed in 1980, POISON IDEA combined the belligerent nihilism of bands like Dead Boys and Germs with the brutal energy of Discharge in order to create their own aggressive blend. When I discovered POISON IDEA in ca. 1984, I was blown away and within the shortest time I painted their logo on my old jacket. This love is ongoing, and due to this, I was very happy when I received this promo, especially since I sold the early records of POISON IDEA when I desperately needed money. As the title indicates, this compilation documents the band's earliest releases and captures a burly rawness. Of course, POISON IDEA was far away from brilliant achievements such as 'Feel The Darkness' or 'Latest Will And Testament', but particularly the 'Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes' 12" EP (by the way, the cover artwork shows the record collection of guitarist Tom 'Pig' Roberts, who died much too soon) indicates what will follow a few years later.
The compilation starts with the legendary 'Pick Your King' 7" EP that has been released in 1983 by Fatal Erection Records. At this time, hardcore punk had nothing to do with tattoos, muscles, tough guy bullshit and trendy hairstyles. It was all about attitude and energy and POISON IDEA had plenty of it. The songs are short and to the point without any extra frills. There is not much variety between the 13 cuts, but that was not important. It was more important to give expression to emotions and to let off steam if you know what I mean.
This compilation continues with the above-mentioned 'Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes' 12" EP that has been released one year later in 1984. POISON IDEA have evolved and had the chance to record the new songs in a better studio. Added to this is more variety, and ready is one of the hardcore punk milestones of the first half of the 1980's. It's good to hear that the music hasn't lost its momentum over the years. Just listen to 'Time To Go' or 'Thorn In My Side' and you will immediately know why this EP has a timeless quality. Not to forget Jerry A.'s powerful and charismatic vocals, which is still unparalleled on the punk scene.
Then we have four tracks that originate from the 'Drinking Is Great' 7" compilation and from the excellent 'Cleanse The Bacteria' compilation. All of these songs are top-notch and the great cover version of the Stooges classic 'I Gotta Right' reveals more influences of Portland's kings of punk. At the end of 'The Fatal Erection Years' there is a previously unreleased live show from 1983 which comprises 20 songs. Don't worry, the show has been recorded off the sound board, which means that the sound quality is far better than expected. This compilation is rounded off with a thick, fold-out booklet including rare photos, lyrics, flyers and extensive liner notes written by Jerry A. Overall, 'The Fatal Erection Years' makes me remember why I don't give a fuck about the current punk scene. If you are born too late, then you should add this to your collection. Or in the words of Jerry A., "I think these songs you have here are all cool. I hope you like them too. But really, I don't care if you do or not. It doesn't change nothing."