1982 saw GBH’s first LP, City Baby Attacked By Rats. The album was marked lyrically with harsh criticism of British and European culture, typical of UK punk. It was also full of violence, morbidity (especially in reference to the song “Passenger On The Menu”, which describes in graphic detail the experiences of the passengers on the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571), atheism, nihilism, social anarchism, and generalised absurdity. However not political, the album’s lyrics do seem remarkably socially aware. This kind of content would later follow up in later GBH releases. Musically, the album was loud, and fast, with most songs staying under three minutes, typical of the hardcore punk genre. This is also a trademark of future GBH releases.
In 1983 the band changed their name to simply GBH, arguably just because the word “Charged” in front of their name had dropped from the lingo of many of their fans. (The name change was announced at a gig in the now defunct ‘Golden Eagle’ public house, where GBH were playing along with ex-Hawkwind sax player Nik Turner’s ‘Inner City Unit’).
GBH are known to be pioneers of the UK82 second wave of British punk rock in the 1980s, along with fellow pioneers Discharge, Broken Bones, The Exploited, The Varukers. and The Skeptix.
The band has, for the most part, kept true to its original punk rock roots since its formation, unlike many other former punk bands, especially hardcore bands, who later formed the Post-Punk genre of the mid to late 80s. However the band has experimented with, alongside many other hardcore punk bands, notably The Exploited, a bit of what is known as metal crossover. Metal Crossover is when punk bands use riffs of heavy metal in their music, usually just as a break in the monotony of the traditional two and three chord, punk rock sound. Some punk rock purists argue that when punk bands do this they break from the original punk sound, and therefore become simply metal bands. The band, though, maintains that they are, in fact, still a punk rock band. However, the band has done this quite a lot, especially experimenting with it heavily in their 1992 release Church of the Truly Warped. This sound carried over even into their latest LPs. However, they have been falling back more on their original punk rock sound roots recently.
The band is still active and touring, even among many circulating rumours about a break up. The band maintains a strong cult following both in England and the rest of Europe, as well as in America and Japan, where some say that punk is still in its elementary to mid-stages.