Somebody gave me the chance to own the earliest hardcore punk album coming out of Belgium, the 1984 album of ZYKLOME A called “Made In Belgium”. But since I’m not able to lay connections with the band members or label I’m obliged to interpret it on my own! I could write a book about this, but chose to pull the history-writing off with a short piece from my interpretation of this landmark record:
Lyrically this album’s way ahead of it’s time. The first song starts with a description of this country and it’s still actual until now. This broader sight or contextual sight they had about Belgium or the way they introduce it to the world is brief but to the point. It’s like they feel they have to introduce Belgium to an international public.
The second song starts with a fast riffing as if the music wants to empower the message that you have to change your life fast, isn’t this what’s youth all about? Fast and ominous looking changes?
Third song is a little merrier but the lyrics too; it’s about the fact that he hates this world but loves his own life. That’s an I-theist way of thinking and again the beginning of a more individualistic modern society in which hardcore punk is embedded!
The “Last War” song is a black and apocalyptic one but that’s a mindset a lot of Belgian Hardcore bands have!
“Atomic Power” is simply a criticism on atomic energy production and I feel that way too about atomic energy! It’s not ecologically responsible and safe to make energy that way.
The following song is about the paper filled and ‘fueled’ administration system of the government. If there’s something Punk doesn’t like it’s the government and so Hardcore punk that came out of that movement also doesn’t like it…
The dutch song “De Bommen Vallen” I have some questions about and would really like to interview or ask the band. It’s like the lyric writer was a veteran of war. The conclusion of the carnage of war is that all his friends are dead and that he thinks he was better of death also.
Over the the b-side of the record. The first b-side song “Computerized World” is really looking into the future and says a lot about the way we live nowadays and it’s only getting bigger and bigger the impact of computers on our lives. I’m surprised it was written in 1984 actually! Because if I remember it well computers were only in the beginning phase… So how could he already make such a great criticism about it?
How we are perceived by the masses is what the next songs about. But hardcore people also perceive the masses back with criticism, we might confuse them by our own way of life. And that’s something the masses or people get angry about. We face the angry faces and are called fools, wanted to be nailed in the hands and not wanted to be understood. I really think this is a great perception and is capturing the whole social status of hardcore punk people again in short but powerful words.
“Abort All Wars” is about the two world wars Belgium has been in the middle of. The lyric writer tries to understand and and make a war-analysis from a social point of view. People are infected by war and in particular the crowds have to fight and not the bourgeoisie, although it’s them who choose the enemy. Then he makes a weird twist saying that it’ll never happen to him. His stance is peace. Thinking about this twice, I believe he says he won’t go out and fight if there’s a war and that he won’t fall victim to the system and war machine of the government!
And then again a Dutch song. Lyrically still rooted in punk a lot. It’s about the reactions he gets from people regarding his looks and lifestyle. He counter-reacts by saying it’s their hate and that they are deaf to his words…. And that he lets those people nag about it and doesn’t care a lot about those reactions.
“Different Kind Of People” is a trashy fast, pissed and energetic song musically. They judge the rich and realize they didn’t make their riches by being good. They even get angry and generalize it to all people. Which may seem a bit sick but he just says; don’t let them step over you and be ready for every kind of person who wants to take control over you.
I disagree on the following song, school’s a good thing and luckily they did more than learning us to read and write. It might be correct that sometimes it’s indoctrination but you can always let go of that indoctrinated stuff later when you realize it wrong. But in a way I understand him too when he says that school is more than knowledge. They also prepare you for society and make you a system puppet, that is true but on the pure knowledge-side, school’s good I think…
“In The Night I Feel Free” start in a funny way and kinda reflects the feeling of the night to him in music! But then the punky guitars comes back in with a devastating pace, he still is a punk and anarchistic you see.
The final song is called “The End”. It’s a threat to close with.
So now comes my conclusion of this all. Getting this record only confirmed my theories about the (Belgian) Hardcore mentality. As I studied H8000 Hardcore (which is also very big beacon for Belgian Hardcore) I am already familiar with the ideas, characteristics and mentality but by listening to this, the foundations only solidified. As if the truth shined through already and this is proofing it. I could have also started with this record in constituting my opinion about hardcore in Belgium and realize the rest or later bands only followed and grafted upon this.
But now enough of that theoretic approach and time to get concrete in my vision of the Belgian scene (if there’s something national like that). In Belgium it’s not easy to live the Hardcore Punk life, never was and never will be. Because you have to realize the Belgian mainstream in the 80’s is for example very religiously inspired and that’s something Hardcore Punk denies. Another example of the conflict is that in Belgium mainstream people are still very closed and suspicious about different things or people. No need to tell the conclusion of how the conflict of the mainstream and punk arises! Yet another aspect is that -like Zyklome A says- Hardcore Punk is an American originated culture and that here society ain’t so free as over there. So people aren’t so free to be either. And here you really have to fight for your own cultural freedom. It’s not so easy and that lays a great shadow upon Hardcore over here…
A totally different aspect is that it’s hard to get on the map of Hardcore over here. A very small country that hasn’t got the strength of numbers! It’s like it’s very easy to sink into oblivion on a global scale!
But what’s a consequence of high standards we have in the school-system is intelligence and that’s in my opinion something that also typifies the Belgian scene and Hardcore. Kids are truly great critics and very enriching to talk too for instance.
So all prejudice aside, being into hardcore in Belgium and everywhere else in Europe and the rest of the Eastern hemisphere might be harder than in the States! Then why call us not HARDcore and blame us?
If you want to check this masterpiece out, don’t have to pay more than 250 old Belgian Francs like I did because the entire album is on the NOISE AND DISTORTION compilation CD that you can buy in several webstores.
The CD has also the 1983 split 7″ with MORAL DEMOLITION and a bunch of live tracks, but also every compilation song out there I think! It is a complete discography I think….
Too close with I’d like to describe as to why I feel this is the first Hardcore record from Belgian soil. There thin line between in the punk / thrash and hardcore triangle here. But it’s definitely originating Hardcore. Hardcore has always tried to make a message and ZYKLOME A does extensively with this album by means of the lyrics (look at the description of them above in this post). Musically it’s punk and sometimes fast trashy music but the hardcore somehow shines through musically too. Very hard to describe this so you’ll have to forgive me in not being able to… And buy this CD! Essential for anyone reading this!