Sound: Minor Threat are often considered one of the greatest bands in hardcore punk. With their loud, aggresive, fast, and relentless sound, they are no doubt one of the defining bands of the genre. MT came out of the DC hardcore scene in the early 80's, and are still held in high regard today as one of the most influential punk bands ever. This album is a complete collection of the band's recordings, all packed into 40 minutes of fury.
The first two EP's (S/T and In My Eyes) are similar in sound, as well as two other songs (Stand Up and a cover of Wire's 12XU). These are done in typical hardcore fashion; loud, raw, fast, aggresive, and powerful. Then we have the Out Of Step LP, their only full album release. This shows the band venturing into new territory, with the addition of a second guitarist, these songs have a bit more to them than the previous ones, though both are good. They retain the same aggresive, angry, loud, and raw sound, but a fresher sound, just as the 1-minute frenzies begin to become slightly tiresome. To end off the album, the Salad Days EP. This is nothing like any of their previous work, featuring no distortion, slower songs, less relentless anger, and have a much more pop-ish feel to them. These songs are still great, and represent Minor Threat's, and more specifically Ian MacKaye's, departure from hardcore. Still great songs though. Their sound shares similarities with many hardcore punk bands, but they also have their own thing going on, making them sound unique and stand out among the rest. I'll give their sound a 9. // 9
Lyrics: Ian MacKaye is a great lyricist. I can personally relate to many of his lyrics, as I share many similar experiences. Ian covers many topics in the first few songs, including his views on drugs and alcohol that would become known as "straight edge". Out Of Step features lyrics mainly about friendships, which I can definetly relate to. The title track on Salad Days is Ian's declaration of departure from hardcore, and introduction to new things such as his later projects including Embrace and Fugazi. Overall I like the lyrics, there are better lyricists out there, but Ian is still good. The lyrics fit perfectly with the music, throughout the album. Ian's vocal skills are good, but like most hardcore singers, not great. His voice suits the music, for sure, but there's nothing amazing vocally here. He gets what he needs to across the way he can, that's about all I can say. Lyrics get an 8. // 8
Overall Impression: Minor Threat, in my opinion, are one of the best hardcore bands, even one of the best punk bands in general. Out of all the early DC hardcore punk bands, besdies Bad Brains, Minor Threat are no doubt the best. Even in comparison to other hardcore legends (Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys, The Germs, and many others), Minor Threat still hold their place as one of the best. Standout tracks are Filler, I Don't Wanna Hear It, Minor Threat, In My Eyes, Steppin' Stone, Betray, It Follows, Cashing In, and Salad Days, though there isn't one bad song on this album (in my opinion), and every song is worth the listen. I love the energy, the ability to relate, and the entire mood and feel of the album, I don't really know how to describe it. Being a fan, I can't really say there's anything I hate about it. I would buy this album again, no doubt. It's one of my all-time favourites. My overall impression deserves a 10. // 10