Gudon “Zannin Sieja” (Kagai Mosou 002)

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Some translations: “Zannin” means “barbarous / boorish / brutal / butcherly / cruel.” “Seija” is “holy man” or “saint.” Gudon means “crass or crassness / inanity / vacuity / insipience / thick-headedness.” And you can tell by listening to this flexi.

A williwaw of noise and feedback, Gudon’s flexi stands out from the rest of the band’s multitudinous recordings. Their later material includes classic Japanese thrash, with their tracks on v/a “Hang the Sucker #2” LP as one of the highlights of traditional late ‘80s Japanese hardcore. And their earlier material, from around the time of this flexi is relatively pedestrian lo-fi fast hardcore that appeared on demos and cassette compilations such as the faintingly obscure v/a “Hiroshima Street Punks 2 / Stop World War 3.” None of it sounds like “Zannin Seija,” edging more toward an amalgam of UK ‘82 chaospunk meeting UK ‘86 early thrash.

In the first version of this article, published in Game of the Arseholes #5, I wrote, “This flexi is a pissraw live recording from inside a garbage can full of short-circuiting Marshalls rolling down Mt. Fuji.” That’s still true. The vocals are filthed in a moldy shag rug of distortion, red-lined and rough. Gudon, from Hiroshima, had a guitar sound far different from the overdriven fuzz of Kyushu noise-core, but this tempestuous recording is the closest the band gets to that sound, with feedback melding with chainsaw rawness. The insistent drums keep the music driving forward even as the vocals and guitar drop out, leaving behind only contrails of squealing feedback. The third and fourth tracks have a slightly different recording quality from the first two, best described as the sound becoming more amorphous, with each instrument less defined against the others. The fourth, and longest, track has a guitar solo like a Shinkansen, which serves to give the song a shape and define its melody from beneath the froth.


Crass, as one of the definitions of Gudon, seems rather appropriate considering their early artwork and song titles. The ‘84 “Fushuu” demo sleeve has a sub-Vomit Visions picture of a stocking-clad woman serving up a turd, with the caption “Do you eat?” And “Zannin Seija” edges into the top ten punk picture sleeves ever with its crude drawing of zombified Jesus Christ doin’ the dog with a zombified Mary Magdalene (one assumes) in front of a crucifix. (J.C. is apparently the barbarous saint.) Included on the flexi is the song “Cock,” with “Torture,” “Happy Genocide,” and, uh, “Bottomless Bog” on the “Fushuu” demo. And we must never forget the incantation from the “Howling Communication” EP: Egger! Egger! Dusty Bitch Give Me Cold Meat!

In my experience, this one-sided record is the third or fourth rarest on this list, but it is still at least a bill or two more expensive than the next closest contender. For some reason, “Zannin Seija” seems less sought-after than many other Japanese hc classics, which is the collector’s loss. For sheer uniqueness and out-of-nowhere what-the-fuckness, this flexi is a bargain at any price. Unfortunately, the excellent 2xLP discography of the band released by Partners in Crime a couple years ago excluded the flexi, “Fushuu” demo, the “Hiroshima Street Punks 2 / Stop World War 3” cassette comp, and the “Freak Complex / Final Shout” demo. The latter is particularly rough, with lacerated-throat vocals and a distorted bass sound that should be the stuff of legend. I think these tracks are all available on a Japanese-only CD, but I’ve never seen it so I can’t be certain. Anyone out there have a copy? As a final note, Gudon’s bassist, Guy, runs the estimable Blood Sucker Records, and the guitarist on the flexi and all the early cassette-only material, Zigyaku, is the genius, virtuoso, avatar behind Half Years, Crück, Bastard, and Judgement.



             Gudon flexi labeldrawing from the insert to the "Fushuu" demo