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Korean Rock Recall: Relive Metal Band Samchung's Punk Period On The 1999 Hardcore Track 'Crucified' [AUDIO]

By Jeff Tobias | December 19, 2014 06:26 PM EST


At its outset, punk rock eyed its older half-brother, heavy metal, with suspicion.

Punk was meant to be the great equalizer--simple, straight-ahead music made by pissed-off amateurs. Whereas, you had to be at least halfway decent as a musician to play metal.

As time went on, punk (specifically hardcore) and metal made nice, particularly when punk bands found that their chops had calcified into genuine musical skills. The punk-metal crossover was born.

Samchung is an example of a band that found its way from hardcore roots to a thrashing future.

While their current output falls on the metal side of this continuum, their 1999 song "Crucified" is an example of the satisfaction that comes with simplicity.

Samchung have been an active presence in Korean music's louder corners since 1997.

"Crucified" was released on a three-inch mini-CD EP entitled "Life Is So Fucking Beautiful," a sentiment that we must trust to be at least partly ironic, judging by the cover art.

The band's staunchly negative approach is documented across the EP's nine tracks; towards the end, listeners are treated to the back-to-back one-two punch of "Piece of Shit" followed by "It's Fucking Full of Shit, Pt. 2."

Point taken, Samchung!

"Crucified" kicks off with those four open hi-hat hits we've grown to love, and the band lurches into a halftime swagger that wouldn't be out of place on a release from Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label.

The bass playing imbues the sauntering rhythm with bluesy attitude, solidifying Samchung's standing as the kind of swingin' hardcore, along the lines of Black Flag or NoMeansNo. Samchung are not an "uptight" band.

"Crucified" has two speeds, halftime and full-on.

That's all it needs! Both rhythms are satisfying, unpretentious and executed with just enough competence without becoming too tight or rigid. The chorus brings the gang-vocal goods, offering the song title chanted in such a way as to maximize fist-pumping. The vocals are bellowed with believable tough-guy belligerence.

By the song's minute-and-a-half point, Samchung has returned to thier halftime slog, a welcome contrast that is designed to alight audiences with the sort of communal violence for which these scenes are known.

If Samchung had approached this sort of music with the chops they've developed over the past 17 years, it might not have been as brutal, or rather brutish. They were clearly operating at the peak of their skills at the time of the recording, and "Crucified" benefits from this relatively primitive aggression.

Brevity is another strong point to this music. Metal is known for wedging indulgent solos or arbitrary bridges into its often-lengthy compositions.

There's no such filler contained on "Crucified." It's two minutes of perfectly executed punk.

Although Samchung have continued along a musically engaging path, there's plenty to enjoy in the music of their hardcore days. There's a vitality here that comes not with experience, but with a lack thereof.

Listen to Samchung's "Crucified" RIGHT HERE

Jeff Tobias is a composer, writer and musician currently living in Brooklyn, New York. As of late, he has been learning about early music and new card tricks.

Tagged :  Samchung, Crucified, Life Is So Fucking Beautiful, punk, Hardcore, Metal, crossover


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