VATICAN COMMANDOS - Hit Squad For God - EP
Once you’ve scratched the surface, the 80s US hardcore era is a deep rabbit hole of discovery with plenty of deep cuts. The Connecticut scene in particular produced a healthy contingent of great, yet under-appreciated hardcore punk bands. You might think of 76% Uncertain, Reflex From Pain, or White Pigs. Another of CT’s major gems was Vatican Commandos. The band’s debut EP, Hit Squad For God, features some badass tattoo flash-style cover art, which is an early work by Vince Rancid, who also did artwork for Raw Power and MDC. Vatican Commandos had some interesting affiliations with a few pop culture figures. Most notably, their guitarist (credited as “M.H.”) is electronic music superstar Moby. Moby’s sole songwriting credit on this EP is the 35-second track, “Wonder Bread,” which astute punkers will remember as the track Vatican Commandos contributed to the Big City compilation. The song starts off with the silly notion of Wonder Bread being fun to eat, but then takes a dark shift in tone and becomes a comment about the danger of processed foods that will kill off everyone in your neighborhood. Most of the songs on this EP share a similar dark sense of humor through the lens of suburban existence, with other ripping tracks like “Housewives On Valium.” Musically, Vatican Commandos play with energetic urgency at the ripping fast tempos we all crave, but with a sense of musicality not unlike their peers CIA. The slower paced tempos are heavy, and it’s possible the Commandos were influential on the mosh-inducing hardcore in the years to follow. Italian-based label Radiation took on the job of getting this record reissued, and thankfully Hit Squad For God is back in print. If you need a dose of long-lost, ripping US hardcore, then make sure you snag this 7”.