Detroit is home to the mecca of the music industry, spanning a long history of both rock, rap, and the obvious, hardcore music that struck harder, moved faster, and took less mercy than any other city in the United States. Able to instill fear into their enemies, Negative Approach formed in 1981 under the guise of John Brannon and Pete Zelewski, and as the line-ups changed and the boundaries shifted, Negative Approach slowly became signed on Touch and Go records and formed several different line-ups before releasing their first, self titled 7” record. With John Brannon leading the vocals, Chris “Opie” Moore on the percussion, Rob McCulloch on the guitar, and Graham McCulloch on the bass, Negative Approach became one of the founding fathers of hardcore music.
Located in the motor city capital of the world, Negative Approach cut their teeth in the hardcore scene by playing basement shows and doing tours with other surrounding bands at the time. One of the biggest movements in the 1980’s, Negative Approach moved in the same shadowy scenes as Necros, Black Flag, OFF! And even The Meat Puppets which while Negative Approach had a short career span before re-launching back in 2006, would still be followed by so many and claimed as to be one of the originators of hardcore music.
Negative Approach 7” comes as a lightning bolt that only lasts two-seconds over nine-minutes long and never shows a single second of mercy. From one track to the next, Negative Approach 7” is a constant pounding that assaults the ears with the power-hungry screams of Brannon and the abrasiveness of the instruments. As Negative Approach performs a mad-man like style on the musical front, the energy levels go through the roof and show no signs of stopping. From the first second of “Can’t Tell No One,” Negative Approach makes it known that they are going to be stomping, kicking, and punching their way through their debut release.
No track present on Negative Approach 7” reaches over the two-minute mark and tracks like “pressure,” “Why Be Something That You’re Not,” an “Fair Warning” are over so incredibly quick that it appears that Negative Approach is following the Get-In-And-Get-Out approach that other hardcode bands of this era were also doing. Negative Approach floods the ears of anyone caught in the blast radius and decides to break down any barriers that stand in their way. Without warning they crush the audience and sprint out just as quickly as they appeared. They personified youth rage and continually delivered a belligerent attitude with their tracks that captured the immense fun that came along with listening and performing hardcore music.
Negative Approach were just one of the many spotlight performers that contained an atom bomb’s worth of energy and the final closing track, “Negative Approach” makes it incredibly clear that the band had no problem giving every ounce of energy into one single movement. As Brannon nearly shrieks into the microphone, “Risk you take are calculated, though you think are all outdated. You’ve done nothing but make me laugh, cause you’re not ready to accept a negative approach, negative approach.” Incredibly hostile, incredibly forceful, but incredible on all fronts, Negative Approach makes for a sucker-punch to the system that begs to be played at high volume and to be moshed to once again, just as it was back in 1982.