In 1982, remnants of the hardcore band The Fix teamed up with Tesco Vee, the frontman of the legendary punk band the Meatmen. The result was Blight. Practicing in a basement in Lansing, Michigan, the band created a sound that redefined the hardcore sound. Four months later, the band was over, with a sparse recorded legacy.
Raw Hardcore Noise Rock
Detroit: The Dream Is Dead - The Collected Works of a Midwest Hardcore Noise Band 1982 spans the entire short career of Blight, consisting of their nine-song self-titled EP, a pair of four-track demos, and a 16-minute live set from a Detroit show where Blight opened up for the Dead Kennedys.
From the opening track, "Blight", it's immediately apparent that this is something completely different, even in today's punk scene. Blight has a sound that's menacing and powerful. Sludgy guitars and drum lines carry themselves along, complimented by Tesco Vee's guttural vocals. The songs aren't fast, but they never drag. They sound like they are exactly the speed they need to be to contain the power of the music and carry it forward.
Almost every song on Detroit: The Dream is Dead sounds like a machine, or an assembly line. As many of the songs carry themselves forward, they sound like there is only one way they could ever be interpreted. It's almost mechanical, occasionally interrupted by vocals, or in the case of "Seven Winds Over The Gobi Desert", an electrified, distorted trumpet.
The Sound Still Rings True
Blight was, at the time, a statement on the state of the nation without meaning to be. When the band was practicing and recording, America was facing a recession, and the blue-collar factory workers in Lansing were facing unemployment. When you put the album in that environment, you realize where the trudging mechanical despair stems from. It's perfect that Touch and Go Records has decided to release this compilation now with this title, because it's the perfect soundtrack for the current economy in Detroit as well.