EXHUMED: Mercenary God CD-ROM

posted Monday Oct 16th, 2006

This week's excavation of lost music comes in the form of a newly released CD-ROM from Mercenary God, who were a sadly overlooked underground Italian band with a handful of uniquely out of place recordings in the wasteland of the early 80s. When most people think about Italian punk from the 'golden era,' only a handful of names generally come up: Tampax/Hitler SS, Ice & the Iced, The Gags, Mittageisen, and the legendary 'Great Complotto' comp LP. Of course, all of these are worthy of your attention, but Mercenary God seems to break the mold in vastly different directions with an album's worth of solid studio-recorded material. As luck would have it, and with a ravenous demand for more and more obscure music from this era, their officially released LP 'Burning Generation' on Big Star Rolling in 2004 generated new widespread interest in the band. Starting off as the Alternatives, they managed to secure a spot at the first Treviso Punk festival in 1980 with the Kandeggina Gang and The Mess among others, but quickly changed lineups and monikers and aligned their efforts to concentrate on the band primarily as Mercenary God. Basically, they were three teenagers who loved the abstract possibilites of playing music, but didn't quite accept the post-punk idealism. Yet, they remained individual enough to produce some exciting Italian music that has criminally slipped through the cracks due to their geographically isolated location and the barriers that came with their young age. Being natives of Gemona, where an earthquake had devastated the landscape only a few years prior to their formation had to have had quite an effect on these guys, and almost all of the photos of the band from their early days are shown in front of dilapidated buildings with rubble all around them. Although they were primarily influenced by the first-generation punk bands from England and the US, by the time they started playing together in 1979, their songs were devoid of any of the political leanings (with the exception of the song "Do the Khomeni"), and had a fresh and melodic stab at their idea of minimalist outsider rock'n roll.

This new enhanced CD package on Sins of Your Father, contains an easy interface with great quality color video footage (and not in a tiny format like the Alternative Animals CD-ROM) from Mercenary God's first public performance at an outdoor festival in 1980, lots of exclusive photos, and extensive reviews and pages from long-lost photocopied zines (including a full issue of Leave Home), all mostly in Italian. The audio content includes the four earliest tracks from their appearance on the 'Challenge' LP compilation (along with No Submission and No Suicide), all of which do not appear on the Burning Generation reissue. The other ten tracks consist of above average quality live material that barely overlaps the material on the reissue album, and show the band's brooding, more sinister cold wave side starting to emerge. Do yourself a favor and track down all you can by this truly original Italian punk band, and while you're at it, check out some free mp3s HERE, pick up the Burning Generation vinyl LP HERE, and get the enhanced CD-ROM HERE.

check out a short clip from the CD-ROM video here...