Our top 10 Discharge songs list looks at the best songs of a groundbreaking English rock band that originated in the 1970s. Three years after the group’s formation in 1977, Discharge signed a recording contract with Clay Records. Clay Records was so fresh having it created at the same time by its founder Mike Stone. Discharge released its debut EP, Realities of War, in 1980. Amazingly, Mike Stones’ effort to sell the band’s records from the boot of his car paid off! Discharge became popular with its debut EP rising to number three on the UK Independent Albums chart.
The incredible performance by Discharge’s debut EP not only brought popularity to the band but also to Clay Records. Clay Records soon after became home to other reputable artists including G.B.H., Play Dead, and Demon. Discharge released two more EPs, Fight Back and Decontrol, through Clay Records the same year. The two EPs managed to rise to the UK Independent Albums chart, peaking at number four and two respectively. Discharge’s mainstream success in 1980 is highly credited to John Peel who played the band’s releases on BBC Radio 1.
The band went on to release two more EPs in 1981, both issued through Clay Records. Why managed to top the UK Independent Albums chart, while Never Again rose to the third spot on the same chart. Never Again also became the band’s first release to make it to the UK Albums chart, peaking at number sixty-four.
After the successful series of EP releases, the band was now ready to issue its debut album. Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing marked the band’s debut full-length studio album. The album was issued in 1982 through Clay Records. Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing catapulted the band to mainstream success, peaking at number two on the UK Independent Albums chart. The album is also the band’s highest-charting release on the UK Albums chart, peaking at number forty.
Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing is a timeless album having it lay the foundation for Discharge’s influence on the music scene. The album is best known for being pivotal in popularizing the D-beat, a music subgenre named after the band. Despite most of the songs from this album being shorter than two and a half minutes, its impact on the music scene remains immeasurable.
The album featured lyrical themes of political deception, capitalism, nihilism, horrors of war, and violence. “Protest and Survive,” “The Final Bloodbath,” and “Drunk with Power” are some of the best Discharge songs from the album. Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing went on to inspire both punk and metal bands of the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Discharge’s Album Releases over the Years
Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing saw the band share the spoils of the flourishing punk scene. Unstoppable in the game now, Discharge returned in 1983 with its sixth EP, Warning: Her Majesty’s Government Can Seriously Damage Your Health. The album remains fairly reminiscent of the band’s initial hardcore punk sound. Warning: Her Majesty’s Government Can Seriously Damage Your Health however was among the last purely punk-oriented releases by the band.
This followed the dwindling success of the punk scene in the 1980s. Eventually, the band blended its punk sound with metal influences in a struggle to remain relevant in the evolving music scene. Discharge released two singles and a compilation album, The Price of Silence between 1983 and 1984. The band was still undergoing some huge sonic changes without forgetting a change in its lineup. For example, the 1985 single release “Ignorance” saw Discharge take on some crossover thrash sonic influences.
In 1986, the band released its sophomore album, Grave New World. The album peaked at number eight on the UK Independent Albums chart. With Grave New World came a complete departure from the band’s usual hardcore punk sound. The album saw the band try out a blend of heavy metal and glam metal. Fans of the band disliked the transition in the band’s primary sound, leading the album to receive a slightly poor reception. The band was shaken by its inability to capitalize on its sophomore release forcing its lineup to disband only to return in 1990.
The band’s return was marked by the release of two live albums. One year later, that’s in 1991, Discharge released its third studio album, Massacre Divine. Massacre Divine’s heavy metal sound seemed to be inspired by the success of bands like AC/DC, Venom, and Motörhead. Unfortunately, the album failed to impress most of the band’s fans who were still mad at the band’s shift from its hardcore punk sound.
Later in 1993, Discharge released its fourth studio album, Shootin’ Up the World. The album saw the band take on some heavy sounds reminiscent of its 1985 single “Ignorance.” Would the thrash metal sound of the album mollify the band’s fans? It’s a big no for any diehard fan of the band. Enough proof is the album’s poor reception in the mainstream despite Discharge’s tireless efforts.
The band’s hard push for the appreciation of its metal sound was never welcomed by the band’s fans forcing it to disband. Discharge reunited in the early 2000s, with the hope of rekindling its popularity and lost glory. Luckily, the band’s return was marked by a revival of its politically charged punk sound. The gamble paid off! Even though its 2002 eponymous fifth studio album was a commercial success, fans of the band were at last thrilled by Discharge’s move.
Later in 2008, the band issued its sixth studio album, Disensitise. The album was preceded by two EPs; Discharge/MG15 in 2005 and Beginning of the End in 2006. Disensitise was issued through Ville Records which was a shift from Sanctuary Records, the label that issued the band’s fifth album. Once again, the album released two EPs Japan 09 in 2009 and New World Order in 2016. End of Days, issued in 2016 through Nuclear Blast, marks the band’s most recent studio album.
Discharge’s Accolades and Legacy
Discharge remains one of the most impactful bands in the history of hardcore punk. Despite its quick bemused delight, the band helped pioneer the D-beat genre which is closely related to crust punk. Other bands that imitated Discharge’s D-beat sound include Disclose, Doom, and Final Conflict. Discharge also impacted metal bands like Napalm Death, Metallica, and Sepultura, thanks to its groundbreaking debut album. Here we present to you the ten best Discharge songs of all time.
#10 – Ignorance
Ushering us to the top 10 Discharge songs list is the phenomenal hit “Ignorance.” The song was released as a single in 1985. “Ignorance” saw the band take on some thrash metal sonic influences. However, the song still featured some hardcore punk sounds. “Ignorance” would later be issued on the band’s 1987 compilation album, 1980-1986.
The song saw the band take on the themes of political deception. “Ignorance” was just one of the few songs that signaled the band’s shift from punk-influenced sounds to some metal vibes. The song peaked at number seven on the UK Independent Singles chart.
#9 – The More I See
After the release of its debut album, the band embarked on releasing some career-defining EPs. One of the band’s most influential EPs is its 1984 release Never Again. Never Again is home to the ninth pick of our ten best Discharge songs, “The More I See.” “The More I See” features some deep punk heritage spiced with some elements of metal.
The song’s central theme is violence, making the record feel like an extension of the band’s debut album. “The More I See” is one of the songs covered by the heavy metal band Metallica. The song was a success peaking at number three on the UK Independent Singles chart.
#8 – Fight Back
The eighth spot on our top 10 Discharge songs list goes to the aggressive hit “Fight Back.”
“Fight Back” comes to show how themes of war/violence and political deception influenced the band’s successful years. This punk-influenced song is featured on the band’s 1980 five-track EP of the same name. “Fight Back” is among the biggest Discharge songs covered by the crust punk band Masakari.
#7 – New World Order
An honest review about the ten best Discharge songs would always touch on punk-influenced hits that the band issued after its amazing comeback to its hardcore punk roots. That’s why we feature the hardcore punk hit “New World Order.” One can’t help but notice the revived energy seen on this record, especially on our number seven pick.
The ferocious vocals of Jeff Janiak and tremendous instrumentation in the song showcase the fine work of art of a once popular punk band rejuvenated. “New World Order” is just one of the few magical hits from the band’s 2016 LP, End of Days. The album’s success is credited to the band’s original members, bassist Rainy and guitarists Bones and Tezz who helped rekindle Discharge’s lost hardcore punk sound.
#6 – Decontrol
Number six on our top 10 Discharge songs list is the ravishing hit “Decontrol.” The song is featured on the band’s third EP of the same name. “Decontrol” features some abrasive but inspirational guitar riffs that make its whole tune quite stunning. However, it is the band’s signature D-beat sound on the drums that makes “Decontrol” a unique release and a song worthwhile featuring on the ten best Discharge songs. Easy to say, “Decontrol” is among the band’s career-defining hits.
#5- Ain’t No Feeble Bastard
In 1981, Discharge released its chart-topping EP, Why. Thanks to songs like “Ain’t No Feeble Bastard” this aggressive album beat all odds to top the UK Independent Albums chart. In this hit, Discharge delivers some raw hardcore punk sound that prepared the band for its forthcoming big break with its debut album.
While the band later issued its most successful record the following year, songs like “Ain’t No Feeble Bastard” remain pivotal to the band’s popularity, especially in the UK. The song was covered by the heavy metal band Soulfly in 1998, just a year after the band’s formation.
#4- Protest and Survive
After issuing the chart-topping EP, Why, Discharge released its groundbreaking debut album, Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing. The album is home to the fourth hit on our ten best Discharge songs list, “Protest and Survive.” With songs like “Protest and Survive,” the band remained true to its hardcore punk sonic vibes. The song was covered eight years later by the heavy metal band Anthrax and featured on the album, Persistence of Time.
#3- Free Speech for the Dumb
The third pick on our top 10 Discharge songs list is the rip-roaring hit “Free Speech for the Dumb.” “Free Speech for the Dumb” is among the biggest releases featured on the band’s debut album Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing. The song is yet another politically-influenced release. Metallica covered “Free Speech for the Dumb” in 1998.
#2- Realities of War
“Realities of War” is one of the monumental releases by Discharge from the band’s foundational years. The song is among the hits on the band’s first EP of the same name, and the first release by Clay Records. The song is among the few hits from Discharge that got some airplay on BBC Radio 1 in 1980.
“Realities of War” makes it to the number two spot of our top 10 Discharge songs that’s to its immense work in helping bridge the ‘70s punk era to the ‘80s scene. It is the strong punk vibes that helped Discharge jumpstart its career, with the EP peaking at number five on the UK Independent Albums chart.
#1- State Violence State Control
Number one on our top 10 Discharge songs list is the enthralling hit “State Violence State Control.” The song is the biggest hit from the band’s debut album, Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing. “State Violence State Control” is one of the songs that showed the band’s Motörhead-inspired musical power. The song showcases the best of the band’s hardcore punk sonic influences just before the genre’s twinkling star started dimming as a result of the flourishing ‘80s heavy metal scene. “State Violence State Control” went on to peak at number four on the UK Independent Singles chart.
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