Saturday, September 5, 2009

Pressure Release - 1987-1989 Discography

Yet more great hardcore from the late '80s? Damn, it seems never-ending. This is a collection of just about every Pressure Release song recorded between 1987 and 1989, and i think it's a great document showing the progression of the band's sound through the years. From their 1987 demo and 1988 sessions when the band played raw, fast, pissed off hardcore in the style of their NY/CT contemporaries like Our Gang, True Colors and Wide Awake, to the more brooding and complex songs on their one and only 7" in 1989. And much like Collapse, Burn, Beyond and several other hardcore bands from the late '80s/early '90s, they called it quits just as things were getting interesting. So here you go. 29 tracks all cleaned up and brought back to life. Enjoy.

Pressure Release: 1987-1989 Collection

Original line-up

Doug Byrnes - vocals
Tom Kuntz - guitar
Sam Haffy - guitar
Alex Napeck - bass
Tae Park - drums

Sam left the band early on, and shortly after the recording of their "Prison of My Own" 7", Doug was replaced on vocals by Ben Smith.

The demo was recorded at the Music Box in NYC between Dec. 19-20 of 1987. Six tracks (if you count the intro) of raw, fast, blown-out hardcore with a weird reverb effect on the vocals that only adds to it's charm.

The tracks from the New Breed compilation tape (released in '89), the rehearsal tracks, and the tracks from the "X Marks the Spot" comp 7" (Smorgasbord Records) were all recorded at Don Fury Studios in 1988. The "X Marks the Spot" 7", which also featured tracks by Wide Awake and Up Front, was re-issued on CD in 1995 by Striving For Togetherness Records as part of a collection of out of print 7" releases. The various 1988 sessions are my personal favorite Pressure Release recordings.

The "Prison of My Own" 7" was originally released on New Age Records in 1989. This is the band's darkest and most experimental recordings, complete with synthesizers and layered guitar work. The band cites BL'AST! and Void as big influences during the recording of this record, and you can definitely pick up on that vibe. The 7" was originally recorded with Doug Byrnes on vocals, but when he was replaced by Ben Smith shortly after, Ben went in and re-recorded the vocals. Then (thankfully), in a pressing mix-up, the record was pressed with Doug's vocal track. Both versions of the 7" are in this collection. Both sound great but I prefer the Doug version.

Closing out the collection is a live set. I have no info on this set other than it was recorded in 1988. 2 of the tracks were left off due to various problems. The first track which was just so horribly recorded i couldn't bring myself to post it, and the song Brotherhood which was cut in half. If anyone has any info on this set, or any further Pressure Release info in general, please leave a comment.

I cleaned up all these recordings as best as possible, removing any tape hiss, and boosting levels so all the songs are roughly at the same volume. The demo and Don Fury tracks are still a bit rough sounding, but that's pretty much how they were recorded.

Thanks to all the fine folks over at Livewire for the help.

For some great Pressure Release stories, interviews, pictures etc., go to the Double Cross webzine and use the search function. Tons of great stuff.


  1. R.I.P.- Doug Byrnes. I recall Tom Kuntz had a cool DC-sounding band, post PR, called FUNHOUSE. Worth checking out their demo. I wonder whatever happened to Alex "SugarDandy" Napeck?

  2. freddy alva!

    i'll dig up some funhouse/hottinroof demos..

    -Tom k

  3. the live set was from aug or sept of '88, when the anthrax was still doing sunday matinees. i remember a bunch of us albany kids trying to get down to ct, so we could support no outlet, but every ride option feel through, sorry marty. i still have a grip of those old anthrax "upcoming show" flyers around here somewhere, good times for sure!

    can't thank you enough for all the hard work you put into this blog, it's amazing! please keep it up! also, if you have a rip of the original ydl demo "skins for skins", i would be much obliged...

  4. Awesome collection!! Love this fuckin band!!

  5. Anonynous, thanks for the info and kind words. I'll try and keep up the blog work as much as possible, but i won't let it die. That's for sure.

    If you can send me that YDL demo, that would be great. You can just send a link to my email. All music sent to me is greatly appreciated.


  6. Thanks for putting this up man!! one of the best bands to ever come out of NYC hands down!!

  7. Its hard to believe Doug died over 10 years ago. Pressure Release loved Albany. Albany loved pressure Release

  8. Pressure Release originally recorded the "X Marks the Spot" comp tracks at The Anthrax the same day that Up Front and Wide Awake recorded, but the band was unhappy with them and decided to go to Don Fury and re-record them.

  9. A Straight Edge band named Pressure Release, that sounds kind of weird. But I am not going to discuss that here. Still Hardcore is not in my top ten spot any way.

  10. The 7" had the same weird vibe as the Asoloution 7".The other stuff is really not worth commenting on at all!

  11. Insane, but I knew Doug from math class in High School, the nicest guy... always super friendly. Remember seeing them at Anthrax in CT. Amazing times... so great that this music was MADE!

  12. I doubt you'll ever see this Tom K, but I have a copy of the HTR demo done at NR Studios. I was the one who did the tracking on them demo, but with limited equipment and experience. Performance by the band was great! The demo done at a The Anthrax was nice and ther was another one done in NYC near 42nd street that was even better, don't remember the name of that studio. Tom, you probably still have copies of all the masters anyway, but let me know if you want copies of the basement sessions done at NR studios.