Faith had the misfortune of being a very good hardcore band living in the shadow of a great one, with a sibling connection that made comparisons inevitable. But from the beginning, Faith took a different, more introspective approach to hardcore and never really aspired to the scene- defining anthems of Minor Threat. The group formed in 1981 from the remains of first-wave DC bands S.O.A. and the Untouchables; its members would go on to countless other projects, including Ignition, the Warmers, Embrace, Manifesto, Rites of Spring and One Last Wish.
Faith’s first release was a split LP with Void. The record is dark and moody, with singer Alec MacKaye (yes, that’s the fraternal link) spitting out bitter lyrics in a gargly voice. Guitarist Mike Hampton, bassist Chris Bald and drummer Ivor Hanson provide a tight, chunky backdrop to these desperate rants. Not exactly More Songs About Chocolate and Girls.
Subject to Change benefits from the addition of a second guitarist, Eddie Janney, who joined in late 1982. The record is both lyrically and musically deeper than the first, and the songs emerge more as questions than complaints. (Both Faith records are available on a single CD.)
Only a planned city like Columbia, MD could have produced the unrestrained chaos that was Void. Raised in the suburbs on metal that was never quite heavy enough, then drawn south to Washington by the burgeoning harDCore scene, Void were the first true outsiders to become Dischord insiders. After three great practice cuts on Flex Your Head, Void exploded on its half of the Faith/Void album. While at times, it seems as though each member is playing a different song, when it all comes together, you can almost smell the smoke. And in a music scene allegedly free from guitar gods, there were many in DC who secretly worshipped at the altar of Bubba Dupree. Two decades later, it’s easy to forget that, in 1982, most metal other than Motörhead was off-limits to doctrinaire punks. Among the crossover pioneers, Void was not just influential, it was unmatched in its ferocity.