Thursday, July 30, 2015

UNBROKEN - "And/Fall on Proverb"

Photo by Rich Cook

Amidst recent new releases by Retox, Narrows, and Hot Nerds, Three One G Records looks back in time now to present a very special reissue. September 11th, the label will reissue the record that began it all: the very first Three One G release, Unbroken's "And/Fall on Proverb" seven-inch.

Originally released in 1994, Unbroken's "And/Fall on Proverb" seven-inch is the release that kicked everything off for Three One G, the San Diego label that would go on to define an entire aesthetic of irreverence over the next two decades, via releases by bands like The Locust, Cattle Decapitation, Black Dice, Arab on Radar, and The Blood Brothers. Three One G founder Justin Pearson has cited Unbroken as one of his most crucial influences, and getting the opportunity to release the Unbroken record is the very thing that inspired him to start Three One G. 

Three One G would make its name, from the '90s up through the present day, by spitting in the face of the mainstream and the underground alike, defying the rules of both establishments. As label boss and as a member of many bands on the label (Struggle, Swing Kids, The Crimson Curse, The Locust, Head Wound City, Some Girls, All Leather, Retox, and more) Pearson has bucked the system and set new trends that expand the rules of punk – whether dressing as a bug, dabbling in electronic music, putting out oddly-shaped records with outrageous cover art, acting in films, or famously trolling Jerry Springer by kissing a man on national TV. 

The rebellious spirit now synonymous with Three One G can be traced back to Unbroken and the impression the band made on the young Pearson. On paper a straight-edge, metallic hardcore band from San Diego, Unbroken challenged all the stereotypes of that scene. In an era where XXL t-shirts and pants were the hardcore uniform, Unbroken rocked pompadours and collared shirts. Where aggressive, self-righteous lyrics were the norm, Unbroken found lyrical inspiration in Joy Division and The Smiths. Where other straight-edge bands stuck with their own kind, Unbroken favored diverse bills, playing equally with Gravity Records bands like Heroin and Clikatat Ikatowi, as with Undertow and Mean Season.

A 2008 cover story in Alternative Press named Unbroken one of "23 Bands Who Shaped Punk," alongside Crass, Bad Brains, Black Flag, Cro-Mags, Bikini Kill, and Fugazi. From that article: 

"By the time Unbroken disbanded in 1995, their bleak, introspective lyrics and greaser look influenced two bands which changed the trajectory of modern hardcore: American Nightmare's suicide-note lyrics begat a generation of hardcore kids fixated on their own sadness, and Eighteen Visions' Morrissey-meets-Hollywood style was the template for metalcore fashion." 

While Unbroken's 1994 full-length Life. Love. Regret. is widely considered an essential album in the history of hardcore, the two songs on the "And/Fall on Proverb" seven-inch, released that same year, rip forth with the same urgency. The songs resonate today, as fresh and real as ever. 

Three One G's upcoming September 11th reissue sees the seven-inch pressed on gold vinyl.

Pre-order, here.

Listen to "Fall on Proverb," here.

Read more about Justin Pearson and Three One G Records, here.