Thursday, December 13, 2012

Social Justice - "Unity Is Strength" CD (1998)

OK so here is the excellent "Unity is Strength" LP by "Social Justice" a late 1980's Hardcore band from California.  The band changed their name in the 90's to DOWNSET and under that guise were very popular with videos on MTV etc.  I was lucky enough to catch DOWNSET live back in June 1994 when they played Dublin with "Dog Eat Dog" - as support for "Biohazard".  The gig ended early after fighting between Biohazard and the bouncers.  If you were there you'll remember how crazy it all got!

The MP3s are ripped from the "Lost & Found Records" re-issue of the LP on CD, as pictured above. The original vinyl release is shown below.

From the band's Myspace page: 

"Formed in late 1986 in Bell Gardens, California with Jesse & Luis Garcia and Eddie LN?; playing a few backyard parties before the Garcia brothers moved to Sylmar, Ca. and through friendships via the hardcore, punk, and graffiti art scenes Rey Oropeza, David Acosta, and brothers, Jesse & Luis Garcia reformed and drove the San Fernando Valley band to quick notoriety in the local scene. Playing with local bands, the band gained scene notoriety very quickly. Recruiting Steve Sain after recording their first demos, they were rocking the local scene with bands such as Positive Approach, Misguided, and IDK, and sharing the stage with bands like Bad Religion NoFx, Pennywise, All, Slapshot, Insted, Inside Out, Uniform Choice, and many more playing in the best venues in LA at the time. Social Justice signed to Mystic Records in 1989 after a Bad Religion show to enable the first recorded 12 inch LP, "Unity Is Strength" recorded at the Bad Religion HQ of West Beach Studios in Hollywood, Ca, and Engineered by none other than Brett Gurewitz himself. Released on Safe Side (Mystic) records in 1989, and, and after change of paths of some members the band split and went their separate ways just after the release of the album, but it was far from over...

Rey decided to keep the band going and took time to find new players. Rey, Raul (drummer from Positive Approach), new members Don Ward on guitar and James Morris on bass started the band back up, but Raul's often absenteeism prompted them to find a new drummer. The new Social Justice recruited Chris Lee from the bands hometown of Sylmar. Chris was also into graffiti and punk, so the chemistry was right from the get go. The band set up shop in Chris' Sylmar backyard and even threw their first re-united show in the same spot! This first show introduced the band to new guitarist, Rogelio Lozano. The band had evolved to a new level quickly, and as a five-piece was quickly adopting a brazen hip hop / hardcore sound and the newer material proved it. Social Justice was at it again, playing shows with local bands like Stickman, Knowledge Threat, Strife, Jughead’s Revenge, Tres Flores, Das Klown, and more.

The band went and recorded their follow up EP, "I Refuse To Lose" in May of 1992 with the help of friend, Roy Z. This album was recorded at Silver Cloud Studios in Burbank, California. Released on the bands own, Justice Records, this was limited to only 500 pressings. (This formula of band, producer, studio, etc. would become the future downset formula) The new release captured the band at its peak. With a newer hip hop & hardcore crossover style the band was playing all over the Los Angeles County and once again dominated the SFV hardcore scene.

The band was obviously changing and growing. With the loss of Don Ward and back as a four piece the band went on to perform live on KXLU radio in Los Angeles. downset songs to be, "Body Cry", and "Breed The Killer" can be heard on this performance as well as covers by Hard Stance, and the ever loved, "Burning Fight" by Inside Out that downset went on to perform as well. The last documented Social Justice show was out in Riverside at a spot called Spanky's on November 28th 1992. Day's after this show the band decided to call it quits as the legendary valley hardcore act, and assumed the role of the crossover act, downset.

As downset. gained popularity in the mid nineties, demand for Social Justice material grew, Green records in Italy re-released the only official re-release of the 7 inch "I Refuse To Lose" in 1993 which included the “Burning Fight” track left off of the US Limited pressing. Another label from Europe, (Lost & Found) un-officially re-released the 12 inch, "Unity Is Strength" in 1995 on CD, and the track "Youth Unite" was included on both versions of the rare 2CD compilation "Golden Shower of 72 Hits" in 1995 with bands like Uniform Choice, Instead, Ignite, Sick of it All, Slapshot and more. The first 12” was also released in its entirety on a CD compilation called “A Time We'll Remember Vol.6” in 1999 with Stalag 13, Freeze, and Breakdown, There is also an extremely rare bootleg of the 1992 KXLU radio show, as well as videos of several 1988 and 1989 shows floating around and 1991 and 1992 shows in circulation.

In addition to downset. members went on to play numerous other bands including Cypress Hill, Sx10, Supervillain, Drunk With Power, Turnedown, Adema, Jodoh, Bottom Line, and others."


01 - Intro Don't Push Me Too Far
02 - Being Accepted
03 - Left Behind
04 - Youth Unite
05 - Unity Is Strength
06 - Walk Alone
07 - If You Never Try...
08 - You Can Say We're
09 - Wrong
10 - Social Justice

Download link:  Download here !

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