The Faction – “Dark Room”

“Music By Skaters For Skaters”

That was written on the label of one of The Faction’s demo tapes, and it sort of sums up the philosophy and sound of this early 1980s punk-metal band. All the band members were legit skateboarders, most notably guitarist Steve Caballero, who was also a member of the infamous Bones Brigade (of whom I was a fan back in my skating days, rocking my Powell Peralta deck on the half pipe).


Dark Room is a six-song EP/mini album released in 1985, the same year the initial version of the band broke up (they’ve reformed a few times since then). The musicianship is surprisingly good, as are Gavin O’Brien’s vocals, with the band’s backing vocals the only really noticeable shortcoming. The Faction are definitely punk rock, though the descriptions of them as hardcore seem like a pretty big stretch – if they’re moving in a direction that isn’t quite punk I’d have to say it’s metal, maybe thrash at times, especially on “Tongue Like a Battering Ram” with its fast guitars but hardcore vocal pacing. That song is some serious skater music and sounds a like like what we would have been listening to in the mid 1980s while waiting our turns on the ramp.

Apparently Dark Room is a pretty “collectible” record, though unfortunately my copy doesn’t include the insert, so it sucks being me. But that’s OK, because I bought it for the music, which is pretty cool and certainly takes me back a bit

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