In 1986 Conflict were in a strong position not only musically but politically too.
First up, thrash music was emerging as a notable scene. For the first time Punk and Metal were truly crossing over.
Secondly, with Crass now being largely defunct Conflict were their natural successors. Although Conflict could never realistically equal material Crass released they were the best exponents of anarcho punk in 1986.
The Ungovernable Force is the band caught at the absolute right time. Intially the music is difficult to take in unless you’ve already trained your ears via outfits like Napalm Death and Crass.
The fact that you can link Napalm Death with Crass via Conflict in a way nails the bridge they occupied.
You Cannot Win is a soundscape that intros The Ungovernable Force. News clips. Demo rallies. Voice overs, then a very well pitched guitar riff and searing female near operatic vocals. It sets the album up very well and may actually induce goosebumps.
The Ungovernable Farce then kicks the album open proper. Rattling instruments and a raw vocal. Heavier than Crass ever sounded but you sense the nod.
A Piss In The Ocean bleeds straight in with no pause between tracks. Punk values are questioned. The spoken vocal now really heavily apes Crass – but it does sound very accomplished. The riff cheekily mutates into a Sex Pistols riff and the sound is very strong.
C.R.A.S.S. steals Crass riffs and lyrics. It’s a tribute to the ultimate anarcho punk outfit.
Custom Rock lauches with rolling drums and a near dreamy guitar. Its build is superb. There must be a better way. Most of tracks are under two minutes but this does not stop them from being mini-epics.
1986, The Battle Continues again uses a Crass formula. Spoken lyric and angular angry music. You feel the pent up anger rise. Half way through the track explodes with a real fury.
Mental Mania looms in with militaristic drums. The tracks quells and zooms to news clips about the 80’s riots. A reminder that in the 1980’s riots were not about J.D.Sports.
The Ungovernable Force pogs in. Short bass stabs before full-on fury. The track musically is accomplished. A short change of musical direction gives the kind of energy that would result in choas at Conflict gigs.
They Said That continues the musical and vocal fury. It descends into chaos midway and sustains the feedback until…
Force Or Service has a hook, catchy and lively. Police mockery that again reflects the mid 80’s well. Humour develops with mock Police chanting we eat kentucky fried chicken.
The Arrest gives advice about arrest and is with reflection another track of its time.
Statement sounds exactly what Crass may have sounded like had they not folded. An instrumental that really is very well put together. For the first real time Conflict sound like musicians and it’s a gloriuosly evocative sound that is not at all full-on.
The Day Before howls in. Controlled anger that spills over into pure rage. An anti war track that does not hold back “When you hear the four minute warning – IT”S TOO FUCKING LATE”… briefly a burst of dub reggae adds to what already is a stand-out track.
This is the A.L.F. focuses on animal rights. Again the band sound like a metal Crass and they do it particularly well.
To Be Continued… closes the album with a sombre vibe. Piano. Muted guitar. Unexpected soft vocal. The band that vented their fury about Thatcher, riots, brutal policing, animal rights and nuclear weapons leave us with a soft track that delivers a chill…