This release was originally titled "Death To America". It was first scheduled to be recorded starting September 11, 2001, at New Alliance Studios in Boston. Recording was pushed back to 3 days in November, 2001, with the final recording finished over 3 days in February, 2002. Over 6 days in the studio, the band finished 29 tracks, including covers and outtakes. The band, with the expertise of engineer/producer Andrew Schneider (Blue Man Group, Cave In, Scissorfight, TREE) exploded every track to its most distorted form. Drawing from influences of neo-classic Japanese sonic assaults such as the Mainliner's masterpiece 'MAINLINERSONIC', High Rise - 'Desperado', Boris - 'Amplifier Worship' and the stereo-attack of MERZBOW and MASONNA, along with a myriad of domestic influences ranging from Negative Approach, Melvins and early Husker Du, to the visceral pop songs of Neutral Milk Hotel...Milligram pushed for memorable choruses amid the degenerated blasts of drums, guitars and vocals all pushed hard through glowing tubes, until they were deep into the red.
14 songs from THIS IS CLASS WAR were originally released in a limited pressing of 300 hand-stamped CDRs, sewn completely into cloth camoflage sleeves, with hand stamped, hand numbered digipaks, on TRAKTOR7.
The Small Stone version contains more than 30 minutes of additional music, including most of the outtakes, some remixes (drums and vox only, to illustrate that a majority of the distortion is on the drums) plus tracks of the ambient/noise (generated on a Mac G3/266, in SoundEdit) that used to be played before and during Milligram live sets.
Jonah Jenkins - vocals, Macintosh G3
Darryl Shepard - guitar, piano
Jeff Turlik, bass, guitar
Zeph Courtney, drums, distorted tamborine
-Smallstone's "Sucking The 70's" compilation. Milligram covers the
Cactus song "Rumblin' Man"...a remake, with lyrics of Link Wray's
instrumental 'Rumble'...the only song without vocals to ever be bannd
from the US airwaves for "lewdness".
-Milligram 7" vinyl on Superfi (UK)
Three unused songs from the sessions for THIS IS CLASS WAR. Milligram covers songs by The Dwarves, and Motorhead. The third song is an outtake.
Reviews for This is Class War...
The most brutal album since 'Reign In Blood'...this is the sound of a band caving in on itself.
Tim CatzFebruary, 2003
Jesus effinĂ Christ, I donĂt really know what to call this except, simply and unequivocally, the most brutal album IĂve ever heard. Lawdy mama this is some sick, downtuned, distilled anger, the literal sound of musical entropy while itĂs going down. If you wanna hear the sound of chaos overtaking a very tight, very talented band, the literal audio documentation of a band flying apart, hereĂs your chance, bub. And just so you donĂt think IĂm exaggerating, the band did literally break up before the albumĂs release. This is actually somewhat of a reissue, since This Is Class War was released in a limited art run of 300 CDRs packaged in a hand-sewn cloth sleeve on lead singer Jonah JenkinsĂs Traktor 7 album. However, even if you were one of the folks, like me, who couldnĂt wait for this version and bought that one, there are 13 bonus tracks (hint: the last one is buried way at the end of the disc ű yes, the return of the return of the return of the hidden bonus track) of outtakes, remixes, and some ambient, computer-generated noise that used to play before and during the bandĂs live shows exclusive to the Small Stone version to tempt you (as if you needed to be tempted to buy something this frigginĂ outstanding).
Anyway, if youĂre unfamiliar with this band, the language IĂm using (all this talk about brutality, anger, etc.) might lead you to believe this is a metal album, which it isnĂt. It is about as punk rock as can be, but I hesitate to use that term lest you think IĂm referring to the pop-laden pussyfooting which passes as punk rock these days. No, this is the sound of the real thing dragging its maggot-laden corpse from the earth where it currently lay, dead and buried, and itĂs damn near the heaviest slab of punk rock to ever make its way to tape. If the fifty-some seconds of ˘+2 Charisma÷ (a cover, apparently, of a band named La Gritona) donĂt make an exit wound in the back of your head, youĂre not paying attention.
Where Milligram differs from the usual punkers is that Jenkins has a very strong voice. This isnĂt always apparent since the vocals have to fend for themselves among the layers of distortion and destruction, but during the moments when they fight their way to the surface and break momentarily free, this becomes an inarguable point. Strong and rich with soul when they need to be and raw from screaming anger the rest of the time, theyĂre technically and emotionally miles ahead of most others adorning current recordings.
But enough about good stuff ű letĂs get back to ugliness, which is really the focus of this album. Perhaps the ultimate statement of the bandĂs worldview comes late in the proceedings in the form of the excruciating bonus track ˘Death to America,÷ a twelve-and-a-half maelstrom consisting solely of a few uber-distorted guitar notes played over and over and over, feeding back and bleeding into one another when the mood hits. Imagine a cross between Earth and side two of Black FlagĂs My War with all of the instruments except the guitar stripped away and youĂre close but not quite there. An utterly pummeling statement of purpose from a band thatĂs way too good to be gone, but hey, if youĂre gonna break up, you might as well record the sound of your band breaking up, right?
Brian VarneyFebruary, 2003
There's been a huge buzz in the past few months about the Traktor7 issue of Milligram's This is Class War. Limited to an edition of 300, the lucky owners of this deluxe CD have been throwing around terms like "album of the year" and "classic" and "sought over 20 years from now." Well, that's enough to pique anyone's interest, and yet you have to wonder if this is one of those "instant classics" that end up gathering dust in a couple of years. My familiarity with Boston's Milligram has been limited to only a couple of tunes, so I was glad to see Small Stone step up to reissue this bad boy for the rest of us, complete with bonus tracks adding up to over 30 extra minutes of music. And let me tell ya, all the praise for this record is well deserved!!
It's brutal, sick, and punishing as hell, combining diverse influences such as Japanese noise, punk, doom, psychedelia, stoner, and even underground pop. The production is startling, with a distorted drum sound that virtually takes over the disc. I doubt if you've ever heard anything like it. And lets not forget that delicious tube tone, beloved by all who take sound quality seriously. Yep, This is Class War (originally entitled Death to America) is indeed a classic.
The first half of the record - with a track list highlighted in black on the back of the CD - replicates the Traktor7 issue. 'Let's Kill' starts things off with a damaging early Helmet feel, giving you a taste of those mondo-distorted drums. The following songs are short, punky, and furious, gradually introducing an artier strain; Jonah Jenkins' remarkable vocals recall David Yow's work with Jesus Lizard and Scratch Acid. 'I Know, I'm Sorry' sounds like it could have been written by 'Funhouse'-era Iggy, while '+2 Charisma' makes you grind your teeth like the best early 80s west coast punk can do.
Gradually, the song lengths increase as the songs themselves become more psychedelic. 'Summer of Lies' is spacier, stonier, more melodic, and even introduces a piano! 'Nice Problem' sounds like a nastier version of something by Boston stoners Roadsaw; not surprising, considering that guitarist Darryl Sheppard was in that band. By the end things get downright doomy, best exemplified by the instro 'The Resentinel,' with its slow tempo and plunging power chords.
The last half of the disc is far more than a collection of second-rate outtakes. 'Baikal Depths' and 'Baikal Shallows' are ambient and experimental, totally different than anything that's come so far. Some of the following tunes, with titles like 'A Mess on Strom Thurmond's Dress,' are weird, psychedelic, swirling pieces that recall the Melvins' more unstructured ramblings. The disc ends with one of their best songs, 'My Own Private Altamont,' which trails off into a studio snippet of Milligram screwing around with Pink Floyd's 'Money.'
If you want safe and predictable, then you'd better shop elsewhere. This music is like a Cro-Magnon chief blasted out of his head on mushrooms, sucking the marrow out of a femur from the chief of a neighboring clan: brutal, intense, and vision inducing. Sadly, Milligram is no more. Get their swansong and get buzzed.
Kevin McHughsFebruary, 2003Hellridemusic.com
It's a bitter sweet revelation when you come across a band that's gone the way of the Dodo. No matter how inspired or cool the sound, it's hard coming to terms with the fact there'll be nothing else to look forward to. But that's the only sour note to be found on this posthumous release from these recently divorced distortionists.
Like the degenerate ramblings of the Melvins or an early Husker Du, Milligram are far heavier than they look. With its ripped-to-fuck riffs, gut-busting vocals, and drumming that sounds like it's been fed through an amp doused with fuel and set ablaze, 'Class War' is about as aggressive as grunge gets without an onstage flame thrower. It's a shame they're gone.
Alexander MilasJune, 2003
Welcome to the terrifying world of Boston's Milligram which just has to be included of its extreme brutal intensity. If you are a fan of Merzbow, Mainliner, Sleep, Boris, Negative Approach, Jesus Lizard, Helmet or other such bands then this will be all familiar territory for you.The first song "Let's kill" sets the mood for what Milligram is all about - chaotic, noisey and very pissed off. I'm not going to do track for track run through just know that the album is furious, this platter is an anthem to insanity, hatred, fuck-ups, paranoia and the end of the world. Each track features an interesting mix of bewildering technicality and simplistic monotone riffing. "This is class war" has been released on Smallstone Records and includes outtakes, remixes (just the vox and drums to feel the distorted vibration)for more than a half hour which are in my opinion just fillers except for the outstanding "My own private Altamont", a irresistible groove prompting to break some skulls, smash some heads and simply kill 'em all. Their world was maybe too terrifying, because the band broke up last year.
This record is the dictionary definition of psychotic! With possibly the greatest start to an album ever in the shape of the appropriately-titled "Let's Kill", a brilliantly carefree production job where they must've just thought, "Fuck it - distort everything!" that makes everything sound diamond hard as opposed to an ineffectual sludgy soup and a band that are simultaneously flailing about the place whilst still remaining as one rock-solid unit, then you've got a good 'un in your shit-stained hands.
The icing on the cake for me is Jonah Jenkins' vocals. Imagine Kyuss' John Garcia if his formative years had been spent listening to rather more Black Flag than Black Sabbath. Yeah - THAT fucking good. He's happy to belch out a varied and vicious roar on the first couple of tracks, but by "Let's Pretend We Don't Know Each Other" his voice is in full flight, providing a ruthlessly catchy melody that counterpoints the hurtling tune beautifully.
In fact, the first half of the album is a pummelling, hectic headlong dive into the moshpit, taking the logical middle ground between heads down Motorhead-style punk rock metal, mixed in with an unhealthy dose of Melvins oddness, as absolutely pummelling riffs give way beneath math-rock at its most blatantly heavy. There is a propensity towards shorter tracks in the first half of the record, each like short, sharp kicks to the solar plexus, which makes the later slower and longer ones feel like the band are stepping off the gas a bit. This version of the album also comes with a bunch of studio out-takes, which I think were out-takes for a reason, being as they are a series of interesting but pointless noise-scapes and wibbles. "Death To America" appears to be 12 minutes of guitarist Darryl Shepard (ex of Roadsaw! Cool!) tuning up, but things come full circle with a magnificently slower, lower and meaner version of "My Own Private Altamont", the 'lost' track that was missed off the EP compilation out on Overcome recently. Listen to this to hear each band-member giving their all one final time.
It's not subtle, it's pretty clever and it fucking rocks. If this doesn't kick-start those endorphins in your brain, you're a fucking corpse.
PS - Needless to say (perhaps), after putting out such a great album, Milligram have promptly split up. Arse!