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Man Is the Bastard

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Claremont, Los Angeles CA, United States (1991 – 1997)

Man is the Bastard were a pioneering hardcore punk band who contributed the name, and perhaps also the ethos, to the punk subgenre known as powerviolence. Based in Claremont, California, the band existed from 1991 to 1997, releasing many vinyl records on DIY-punk labels from around the world.

In stark contrast to other punk musicians, MITB made the move of displacing the electric guitar from its long reign as the primary instrument of punk aggression. In turn, they made room within their revolutionary spirit for progressive bass chords and scales, for industrial noise (field recordings and power electronics), and for member Henry Barnes’ “Amps for Christ” and homemade guitar reconfigurations.

The bass-heavy configuration was found in earlier projects by founding members Joel Connel and Eric Wood, who recorded under such monikers as Cyclops and Neanderthal. Their thematic emphasis on the primitive and mythological would continue in MITB records such as “Sum of the Men” and the split album with Bleeding Rectum. The fullest expression of these concerns appeared with the 7” record entitled “Backward Species,” which combined an almost anthropological/New Historicist approach to humanity’s violent practices. Songs such as “Kuro Treatment” and “Heretic’s Fork” are exemplary.

But their lyrical violence was balanced by their adamant avocation of progressive ideals.

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