The explosion of West Coast hardcore punk rock in the 1980s is mostly chronicled to the activities in California, but Arizona had something going on too. JFA and the Meat Puppets are the names most people associate with Phoenix area hardcore. Still, another group called Last Option is an underappreciated forefather of the Copper State hardcore sound. Their brief existence (1986-1990) yielded two releases and several tours but still left a notable impact on local East Valley kids of the next generation who’ve credited the quartet’s music for shaping their viewpoints. On a larger scale, their work has received nods from two icons of underground DIY culture with respected graphic artist, Pushead, Thrasher Magazine review of Last Option’s breakneck fast Over Time 7″ and John Peel’s BBC 1 show showcasing their crossover sound from the Burning LP (hear Peel introduce the band here). In a nutshell, Last Option’s legacy is summarized with heavy, blasting guitar with a battery onslaught over lyrics that eschew positive thinking, assertiveness, and introspect. To summarize further, before there was Terror, there were these guys.
2020 brings the band’s reformation and new LP from Last Option after a chance meeting between original members, Jeff Bowers and Dave Schaller in Orange County. Their new Get Action Be Sane! clearly shows age hasn’t diminished their aptitude for “bringing it” and captures the intensity of their salad days. Combining the metallic hardcore crunch echoed across the NYHC movement with the urgency of the Over Time EP, Get Action Be Sane! should be under hardcore fan’s radar this year. Along with a slew of new songs, the band’s re-work a handful of tracks from the Burning LP, bringing their past work into the light. The crunching guitar work of Schaller and Bower’s barking vocals on re-recordings of “Bring Me Down” and “Burning” fit into today’s hardcore realm with the possibility of even becoming a speed metal if the guitars and drums speed up a bit. Another new technique into an older group is the gang vocals backing Bowers on “Set It Off,” too.“Only Child” is the choice cut on this track with Schaller’s straight ahead riffing over the battery power of Last Option 2020-era drummer Rob Miller. The rest of the LP is a solid re-introduction of one of the better groups to roam within the American underground.
Stream Get Action Be Sane! here.