Boomkat Product Review:
**2-disc, 29-track retrospective of feral Aussie punk starring two members of Dirty Three - most on CD for the first time** "It was the mid-80s and everything was going fine. Melbourne had launched the career of the legendary Birthday Party, but there were loads of other interesting and great things going on, like Sick Things for instance. Dugald McKenzie and Mick Turner were part of that extremely raw and intense band, whose ‘Committed To Suicide’ had changed so many lives. Mick had also played in The Moodists and was in Fungus Brains and some others. Also on the scene was Jim White, who was playing in several bands, including People With Chairs Up Their Noses and the Feral Dinosaurs. It was a small group of people playing in bands like these back in mid-80s Melbourne and probably only a matter of time before they played in the same band together. And so, they did. Venom P. Stinger attacked in a modified, somewhat streamlined hardcore punk style, with Mick’s burnt-and- twisted guitar tone setting them apart. Also unique was Jim White’s drumming, which appeared to be born of a drum roll that grows and grows until it has eclipsed the entire kit, played with casual aplomb while never sparing the rod to any aimed-for surface. Meanwhile, bassist Alan Secher-Jensen nailed these loosely divergent styles together with nice heavy root notes. Instead of the violent pile-up that occurred in every Sick Things recording, there was instead something more organized, though coming from unique and indeed, singular corners of approach: post-hardcore with a very individual style. Unchanged from Sick Things days, however, was frontman Dugald McKenzie, whose vocalizing was a ferocious, largely apolitical transference of personal experience, all about conveying the awful qualities of life with throaty sensuousness and dirty glee. A band with this kind of errant power fronted by a reprobate like Dugald, it made for madly entertaining music. Dugald lived as rough as he sang, and when he stopped showing up to rehearsals and gigs, the rest of the band continued on with Nick Palmer on the mic. He was good, but Venom P. Stinger wasn’t the same; something deeply psychotic was missing. For Mick and Jim, the next step was a band that didn’t rehearse at all. And a new chap named Warren Ellis had just hit town…"