Raging from the city that spanned the White Panther Party resistance team and one of the biggest industries for backbones; Negative Approach has no comprehension of the word mercy. The group was a fast and loose punk band that achieved a national ranking for their ability to have short tracks, teeth-kicking abrasiveness, and a stage performance that became exacerbated through instruments.
Their 1983 release Tied Down was a collection of early stepping-stones to what would form the fundamentals and groundwork for harder music coming from the basements. The banshee-esque screams are hellish and reign almost as bells with a resonance behind them. The instrumentals as carousels that spin faster and faster until the bearings feel as if they are coming off and becoming shredded in the wake. Negative Approach has always been on tour, will always be on tour, and has no problem staying mobile. They fit their musical style and are able to adapt quickly within these consistently shifting environments.
From one area of dissection to the next, Tied Down is only reaching 16 total minutes. A usual rodeo for Negative Approach and most punk records of this time. It is straight-forward, but still able to be accepted for the sheer animosity that it displays each time. Tight as screws, Negative Approach marches the self-titled track “Tied Down” through the main lane in a frantic, but grasping mess. Nothing is as exhilarating as hearing a one-two step on the percussion and seeing bodies on top of bodies. It sparks the childlike wonder of danger that relies heavily on the movement of a crowd.
And crowd control is their greatest ally as “Hypocrite” stomps into this romping room where the chorus explains, “I can’t believe, I can’t believe in you.” Each time Negative Approach seems to be slowing, reaching a point where the heaviness of the record finally becomes lifted; they pounce. Attacking as a vicious and unapologetic push, Tied Down continues to impress through the explosiveness of the record. The smoke settles but the pain lingers on as the PTSD of battle continues to replay over and over again as the needle on the record eventually stops.
Negative Approach might just be one of the hardest hitting groups of the early 80’s. While hair metal swept the nation, Tied Down was taking an underground network by storm and giving the youth their say and purpose. More than what half could say, all through screaming and violent performances.