Savage Republic – Procession: An Aural History 1981-2010

January 01, 1970



Back in its ‘80s heyday, Savage Republic
was one of the few rock acts that could genuinely be called challenging. Led
primarily by guitarist Bruce Licher, the L.A.-based ensemble combined the
tribal throb of early industrial music, the steady drive of Krautrock and the
angular melodic jangle of postpunk into a noisy, vibrant stew that’s as capable
of soothing as scorching. Vocals were kept to a minimum, often blurted or
shouted more than sung, and instrumental virtuosity took a back seat to
ensemble energy and intensity. Though the band itself found little by way of
mainstream success (despite having a song included on the soundtrack of The Silence of the Lambs), it garnered
enough of a loyal cult following to be not only fondly remembered, but
influential on acts as varied as Neurosis and Wilderness.


Procession: An Aural
History 1981-2010
collects tracks from across the band’s career, drawing
mostly from its Reagan-era LPs and 45s, but also including cuts from its recent
reunion work. Mostly, but hardly entirely, instrumental, the collection ranges
from atmospheric, accessible tracks like the plangent “Andelusia,” “Siam” and “The
Birds of Pork” to the jagged “Siege” and “Tabula Rasa” and the very Killing
Joke-esque “1938.” Occasional forays into the group’s version of pop, a la
“Walking Backwards” and the sardonic “Viva La Rock N’ Roll,” sound entirely
organic, incorporating the band’s established sonics into a tighter, more
easily digestible (but still unsettling) format. The Republic’s ability to add
diversity to its distinctive style boasts a degree of imagination that means
this music holds up well and sounds as relevant now as it was mindblowing in
the 80s.


Underscoring that notion is a bonus live disk, recorded at a
Spanish festival in 2010, that shows the band (minus Licher but with his
blessing) as fiery and creative as ever – check the sublime opener “Year of
Exile” or the cheerily goofy “Trek.” Ultimately Procession is almost a teaser, a mere hint of what Savage Republic
is capable. Hopefully this collection serves as a calling card to set us up for
a full-on reissue campaign for the band’s entire catalog.


DOWNLOAD: “Andelusia,” “Tabula Rasa,” “The Bird of Pork,”

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