Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Libyan Hit Squad - Death Metal in Jerusalem

My time as a reviewer for Under the Volcano was a mixed blessing. I'd typically get 20-30 CDs in the mail that I had to review in 10-14 days. I hated most of them. Between the relentless barrage of emo, the constant stream of crappy punk and the odd indie-rock/singer-songwriter disc, I was lucky if I found 5 CDs that I liked. On the other hand, it was a respected punk zine that asked for a higher standard of writing, and I got to interview Jello Biafra and Buzz Osborne from The Melvins. I also learned a lot from my editor, Rich Black, and I still write for him at

I remember when I got the CD version of Libyan Hit Squad's 7"EP, with the above letter, in my UTV package. Honestly, I rolled my eyes - "Oh, no, not ANOTHER shitty punk band! Ugh!" Finally, I dredged my way through reviews to the L's. I cringed as I put the CD in the player and...well, here's what I wrote:

Holy fucking shit!!! This way-too-short four song EP kicks off with an amphetamine-fueled cover of "The Witch" by The Sonics, and doesn't let up until the end, by which time the Hit Squad has left your body full of drill holes as food for vultures somewhere in the Sahara. The following three songs rage alcoholic blasts of early '80's Hardcore Punk fury, like the MC5 if they had been influenced by Black Flag's Damaged. Just when I was afraid of what the next crappy Punk Rock album would bring me, I got this slab of intense raving genius. Thank you, Libyan Hit Squad.

I think I contacted the band through MySpace and, next thing I knew, bassist/vocalist Craig Englund was calling me from Florida to shoot the breeze about music, our relative "scenes" and whatever else we had to say. We quickly became friends and my band, Ultrabastard!, took a trip to FL to play a mini-tour set up by the LHS guys.

We couldn't have asked for better hosts. Craig, drummer Shawn Starkey and their friend, Ryan, let us stay in their house. Guitarist Chad Puntel didn't live there, but he'd stop by to hang out. They're some of the nicest, most genuine people I've ever met and I feel very fortunate to have them as friends.

The images and music were uploaded with Craig Englund's consent. Thank you, Craig!

Libyan Hit Squad
Death Metal in Jerusalem 7"
(Bony Orbit)

Sample track:

Mirror Ball

Visit LHS on MySpace!


  1. I love Craig and all the bands music

  2. LIBYAN HIT SQUAD is punks best
    See them LIVE

  3. We were fortunate enough to play with Libyan Hit Squad while on tour through Florida and supporting The Murder Junkies.

    I was so blown away by this band (by far one of the best bands we've played with)... that I was instantly hooked!! To see them live is to appreciate the intensity of their music. I'm stoked to find the music here downloadable (cause I don't have a record player).

    Thanks for the tunes... and a great review of an amazing band!

    bassist for Stuck Backwards

  4. Nate, thanks for your comment. I'm glad you found their music here! I'll be getting their LP, Fiji, up very soon!