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In Effect Hardcore has always been a DIY operation run by a small group of friends who are passionate about the underground hardcore punk scene. We strive to get as many reviews on to the site as we can while balancing the other sections to put out regular updates. Over the past year the amount of submissions for review has become very hard to keep up with. This “REVIEWS” section of In Effect Hardcore will continue to have reviews posted like we always have but we will now also be including a “Quick Hits” style profile on certain releases that are sent in for review to try and maximize exposure for more bands. We apologize to the bands and labels who have sent in submissions in the past and were not responded to. With that said to submit a new release digitally (put out within the last 6 months) or to join the In Effect hardcore staff of writers please get in touch via email: InEffectHC@aol.com
V/A “UNDERDOGS II” COMPILATION
(Dog Years Records, Released December, 2018)
“Underdogs II” is a compilation tape of hardcore tunes by current bands that our friends at Dog Years Records think are worthy of our time and attention. Our friends at DYR are donating all proceeds from this collection to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network). That means you worthless pricks can feel good about yourselves when you purchase this, so go take some of that green paper stuff out of mommies wallet and send it to Dog Years. In return you will get 20 hardcore tunes from a variety of bands and in a variety of styles. When I was a wee lad, compilations were the one stop shop and gateway drug to discovering amazing music otherwise near impossible to track down. I come from the age of the dinosaur remember. Early compilations like the “Rodney on the Roq” series, “Hell Comes To Your House”, the “Big City” comps, the “Thrasher” comps, and “Flex Your Head” were incredibly important to exposing bands to far-away places. Who can deny "This is Boston Not L.A". or “NYHC The Way It Is" or "Where The Wild Things Are" are amazing records and vehicles used to deliver so many bands to so many people who never knew they even existed beforehand and might not have wanted to take a chance on a full EP or LP. Even later with comps like "Rebirth Of Hardcore 1999” and Youngblood's "Memories of Tomorrow" (shout out to Sean YB!). I was finding amazing bands that I would have otherwise missed. I am happy to report that “Underdogs” continues this tradition for me as I have found a few bands on here and I have already ordered some of their other releases. Let's check out some of the tastier tunes that tickled my tummy, alliteration not with-standing.
I will single out a few tracks I enjoyed. I will exclude covering bands who I have reviewed for In Effect in the past. So while I really dug the tracks by Spirits, Berthold City, and Raw Brigade, you can read more in depth opinions on them in my other reviews, so don't be lazy bitches and go read them. The first song is actually the first cut "Hiroshima Lovers" by Time and Pressure out of St. Louis, running 2:26. Not sure if these guys copped the name from a Mindset LP, but they play kick ass youth crew style hardcore done right. The song opens with a bass riff and flies from there. Kids will be lacing up their high tops and pulling on their hoods for this one. The second track I loved was "Under His Eye" by Dying For It at 2:06. DFI are a hardcore unit out of Northern California who play in more of an American Nightmare and Suicide File style and who have a killer female lead vocalist. This song is a fucking ripper jammed with melody. I played this one over and over and broke some shit. Track 14, "Flash In The Pan" by Terminal Nation running 1:37, kicks off with a slow drum beat before it speeds and slows in a unique fashion. There seems to be two vocalists here and one is clearly more pissed than the other. These cats are from Little Rock, Arkansas and by virtue of that alone I had to mention them. I dig their contribution here. The last track I'll cover is "Am I Wasting My Time?" by True Self out of Springfield , Missouri clocking in at 1:26. I really dig the vocalist here and the tune is great with a sweet breakdown. Some cool vocal echo is incorporated making the song a bit different. I think they have a unique sound but I've heard them compared to Turning Point which I don't hear on this tune but will certainly make me seek more from them.
You will find several other solid tracks here including some Bay Area tough girl hardcore delivered by the fantastic band Clueless, some blistering fastcore from Better Days, as well as great tunes by Burdened and Homesick. There are some great bands on here fronted by women of the core which I always want more of. There are some solid covers on here as well. The only thing I could do without was the live tracks. I mean it's hardcore, the live shows are rarely about precision playing and the recordings often confirm that, but other than that this is a great compilation that turned me on to a bunch of bands I had not yet heard of. This is largely a showcase of Missouri bands but there are bands from several other places as well. So do your civic duty you sniveling cunts and purchase this compilation, It's probably the only positive thing most of you will do this month and you can brag to your mommy all about it. Now get the fuck outta my face punk.
RUIN BY DESIGN “ASHES TO EMPOWERMENT”
(Released October, 2018)
This new full-length CD from Washington D.C.’s Ruin By Design is a heavy hitter right from the get go. “Incite” opens up with a big dirty bass line courtesy of Andrew Blitch and Brien Stewart coming straight in on the vocals. This song is likely to incite, at least, a fistfight. And who knows where things can go from there? The album cover itself speaks volumes with molotov cocktails flying around as any good riot scene should. Some of my favorite moments on this CD include “Arson”, with gang vocals and a thumping bass that keeps things at an excellent pace. “Seek No Favor” continues the trend, demanding a circle pit reminding you of the first time you heard The Circle Jerks. You get to take a step back and breathe from that circle pit you just walked away from when “Evidence” comes on. This song has an excellent Rival School/ Quicksand sound that fully demonstrates the range of this band’s musical capability, while “Resolution”, my favorite of the album with its noise-core intro and 4 chord breakdowns, gets your head bobbing and moving again. “Set The Pace” takes us back full circle pit and further promotes rebellion with it’s “We Will Not Cooperate!” gang-vocal choruses. And finally, “Crash Landing” is a great way to end this effort, with it’s in your face verses and chorus. If I were to have any criticism on this album, the singer could have let go and gone off the chain a bit more. I feel like artists are too critical of themselves, and that sometimes need a little more “Fuck it, it’s hardcore!” But, like my older brother got kicked out of third grade for saying “Opinions are like buttholes, everybody’s got one.” Anyways, the bottom line is if this band shows up in my area, I’m going to’ check them out. It’s just that simple.
HIILVIEW “THE LAW OF AVERAGES”
(Morning Wood Records, Released December, 2018)
When I first got the email to review this new release from the band Hillview, it peeked my interest. Not only because I would be stepping out of my “Hardcore Comfort Zone” a bit, but also because I heard that former member of the 90’s East LA punk band Union 13, guitar player Eddie Carasco, was playing guitar and doing vocals for this melodic punk act. The album kicks off with “The Law Of Averages” which starts with a guitar riff and drums that gives you an “Eye Of The Tiger” vibe. Then off to some fast pop punk reminiscent of Pennywise with some solid guitar soloing and a nice build-up toward the end. “Find The Way” is a good catchy tune that has cool bass lines and a melodic chorus. The best thing about this band, actually, is that they are somehow able to capture a taste of hardcore music along with some melodic pop punk without going All Out Emo! The band has some songs that have a Comeback Kid and Stretch Armstrong sound as well. Eddie’s voice has quite a bit of range and he has no problem demonstrating it. My favorite songs on this record are “No One Else to Blame” where the singer’s voice meshes well with the thumping bass sound leaving a hint of danger in the mix and “Why I Had To Leave” for the same reasons plus a cool “almost metal” guitar solo. The fastest and heaviest song, “Cages” gets a win from me because of its hardcore style gang vocals, chug parts and even a breakdown. The last song, “Cut Your Losses” cracked me up with the opening movie clip (Not giving it away!) and was a good way to end the record with a bouncy feel. Overall, this is much better than your average pop punk band. I can see myself throwing this record on when I’m in the car with my wife as a good happy medium. (She may not exactly be the fan of beatdown hardcore that I am) Hats off to this effort. It has many high points and I would recommend that people give it a listen.
ILL BLOOD “DEMO 2018” (Released November, 2018)
I was talking earlier with my eight year old about first impressions, specifically regarding him singing at his school's talent show. I told him of the importance of having a WOW factor to grab the audience's attention. Now two hours later as I'm writing this review, my words to my son have rang true. Austria's Ill Blood, a new hardcore/punk band have released their first demo simply titled “Demo 2018” and my first impression was how much it blew me away! I actually listened to it several times before starting to write just to absorb all its great energy. The first thing I noticed was the commanding and fast guitar work provided by duel guitarists Patrick and Vlad; along with the precise timing of Erik's bass, the amazing drumming skills of Yannick and the essential "in your face" vocals of Damien, which together made an impressive showing for a first release. The one issue I have with “Demo 2018” is that its way too short having only two songs and lasting less than 4 minutes which left me wishing there was more. However, the two tracks: “Ill Blood” and “Crossed The Line” were all it took to convince me that Ill Blood are the real deal and I will be eagerly awaiting some new music from these guys from Vienna hopefully sooner than later. I highly encourage those reading this to give this a listen and if you enjoy it as much as I do, help spread the word about them and once again prove to the doubters that hardcore is alive and well not only stateside but worldwide.
TORSO "BUILD AND BREAK" EP
(Revelation Records, Release Date January 11, 2019)
Torso from Oakland, CA are back with their latest... "Build And Break", a 4 song whirlwind of hardcore insanity... courtesy of everyone's old friend in Revelation Records. The last time we saw a new Torso release was in 2015 when they put out their lone full length in "Sono Pronta a Morire". I downloaded it and kind of forgot about it (my bad Torso) and (much) later while conducting a phone interview with the late great Todd "Youth" Schofield he went on in great length about how much he liked Torso after his own band (Fireburn) did a run of shows with them. The title track opens this EP up and hits hard. Torso have this gritty and grimy sound that if visualized would probably look like the graffiti covered dumpster out back overloaded with black trash bags and leaking of dumpster juice. It's fast and raw, has some nice breakdowns and has a ton of energy. Torso's sound is hard to nail down to a particular category as well which I applaud. They got the breakneck D Beat thing going on, the aforementioned breakdowns, some mid-paced stuff ("Repulsion") and Ethan's scratchy vocal approach which did take a few listens to get into. All of these aspects have them sounding quite original in a musical landscape that can at times feel like attack of the clones. "Grab A Shovel" and "Sick Of Fighting" round out the track listing here with everything coming in between 90 seconds and 2 minutes in length. "Build And Break" rocks, Revelation comes off looking cool here for staying in touch with the younger generation of hardcore and when the dust settles you are wondering what the **F** just happened as this hits and runs pretty damn fast in just a little under 8 minutes.
THIS MEANS WAR! "HEART STRINGS"
(Demons Run Amok, Release Date January 11, 2019)
While This Means War! may be a new name to some they are long in the tooth when it comes to being a part of successful hardcore punk bands in the Euro scene. "Punk from the Lowlands" aka Belgium and the Netherlands for the uninitiated. The idea for this band was started in 2016 while on tour with Agnostic Front where tour bus rides filled with street punk, Oi! and probably way too many beers laid the groundwork for what would become This Means War! Their debut EP was released in August of 2017 and provided a nice peak at what the old-timers were up to. With "Heart Strings" the band really lets their hair (or what's left of it) down with a full blown 11 song, almost 40 minute shot of punk rock adrenaline. From the opening track "Why We Fight" to the finale "Forever" they show their experience level with high quality punk tunes that show key elements of what makes a good punk band. Is it wrong to dub a punk rock band as "professional"?
Their songs are well played, have tons of hooks and sing-a-longs and a clear and steady vocal delivery is given by frontman Bert Van Dyck who you may remember from his days in Convict. "Pressure", "The Unseen", "What Are Friends For" and "Devil In Disguise" are standouts amongst a full album of solid tracks that had me revisiting "Heart Strings" repeatedly since getting my hands on it. With the relationships they have created throughout the years with their previous bands coupled with the strength of "Heart Strings" it would come as no surprise to see This Means War! catapult to prominence quickly within the hardcore punk ranks. For fans of Rancid, The Ramones, DKM, Street Dogs and just good old punk rock!
TOO MANY VOICES "CATCH ME IF YOU CAN"
(Released December 2018)
Long Island melodic 4 piece Too Many Voices return with 6 new songs and a cover of "Swan Street" by Dischord band 3. Melodic hardcore can mean different things to different ears. In this case think of Dischord Records, The Get Up Kids, Dag Nasty, and hardcore based tunes that have the right hook or groove that will get your head nodding. The last go around with these same 4 punks was 2015's "South Of Sunrise" and with "Catch Me If You Can" TMV add to an already growing set list of head nodders while adding even more diversity to their already diverse sound. "Can't Stop This Feeling" and "Head And Heart" are two extremely catchy songs that get things started with "Head And Heart" being the most blood pumping track of the 6 originals offered. Guitarist/singer Eric Svrida's voice ranges near and far to match the harder and softer feels TMV can employ. "Life On A Sandbar" has a slower more rock and roll vibe that I dubbed "the Quicksand song" before I fully grasped this record for what it is. This song reflects on life on their own personal sandbar which is Long Island complete with an intro of a LIRR train slowly creeping into a station as a fuzzy/eerie bass line leads into the track. A nice touch that will resonate with many Long Islanders who should automatically know the familiar sound when they hear it.
Track 5 "Solitary Man" is another standout track, again with an upbeat tempo and a catchy chorus which TMV seem to do time and time again. With 24 total minutes of music to absorb "Catch Me If You Can" is neither too short nor too long and plays nicely straight through with the cover song of "Swan Street" blending in nicely as they make it one of their own. Since this recording TMV has added vocalist D.J. Meisse to further their use of vocal harmonies that has become more a part of their sound since their last release back in 2015. With "Catch Me If You Can" Too Many Voices up their game delivering a quality product with a fresh sound that makes for a great change of pace if your muddled down with the same old same old hardcore sounds.
PERFECT WORLD "DEMO 2018" (Released August 2018)
"If I can make it there I'm gonna make it anywhere" is a well-known line from Frank Sinatra's famous "New York, New York" song and making it in NY is something these 5 transplants could very well be on their way to doing. Perfect World formed in 2018 and their members come to us from New Orleans, Memphis, Saint Louis, Jersey, Rhode Island and all call NYC home now.
4 tracks in a little over 5 minutes is what were served up. "Explaining Myself" is the opening track and also the longest at 2:02 in length. The first 45 seconds really did a great job at reeling me in with a classic NYHC style stomp intro before the vocals kick in and really ramp this song up. An impressive start. "Reaching Out" is up next and although only 59 seconds long is able to sneak in some nice mosh around the middle of the song. "Push" is another shorty coming in at just 50 seconds. Here we see Perfect World slow down from the break neck pace of the first two songs to deliver a mid-tempo banger that deals with the last moments of a loved ones life. "Breaking News" is the closer and comes out blazing as another fast paced track before things quickly slow down for a crushing mid-paced chorus that goes "Here's a truth you don't want to hear. We're living in a state of fear. I know it's sorry and it's not right. Hold your breath we're being buried alive". This song chugs along with a great choppy beat for the next 40 seconds before fading out to wrap this bad boy up.
I really liked this debut effort from Perfect World as they bring forth a lot of NYHC influences but also keep their sound fresh and distinctive. The guitar tone they got on here is razor sharp and there were some nice guitar parts that caught my ear as well... something I don't always catch on initial listens to a new demo/album. This is a really small sample size so anointing Perfect World the next big thing may be a bit premature but damn they are on the right track. Before I sign off here I also have to mention that Perfect World have a hotline!?! Call them at 1-833-SICK-NYC and hear a recorded message tell you their upcoming shows, listen to a song off of this demo or leave the band a message. Would love to hear some of the messages they are getting. An EP is up next, no time frame, label or much else is known yet but when it does get out there we will get you that info. For now dig into these 4 tracks and see if Perfect World is some new music for you to get down with. Available on cassette and also for “name your price” on Bandcamp, click below.
NOWHERE ROADS "TOIL EVERY SECOND" EP
(Coin Toss Records, Released December, 2018)
A late 2018 hardcore gem may have snuck under many people's radars and I am here to hopefully shed some light on the newly released "Toil Every Second", the first effort from PA/Jersey outfit Nowhere Roads. Sporting a strong "current and ex-members of" resume including names like Floorpunch, Edgewise, and Wisdom In Chains is nothing to just push aside so we get that out there and up front early on in this review.
"The Earth Is Still Flat" comes storming out of the gate with a fury and a message aimed at the online trolling community who take their shots anonymously and often pay no price for their actions. A stomping chorus of "Screen name your disguise, Trolling every line, Clickbait culture swine, Justify your lies" is delivered with such passion that you get the feeling that their lead singer Keats has a personal issue with some rando "anonymous" out there in cyberspace. Aside from the lyrics this song absolutely rips and is a great way to open this thing up. "Uncivilized" checks in next and there is no letup in the initial surge created on track one. Nowhere Roads keep the intensity level high on these 4 tracks playing a primarily fast style but are also very well suited to slow things down, show us some groove and melody while maintaining their hard edge. "Should we stay asleep? Because we're so tired, Remain on our backs, and give up living... come on!" is a memorable line in a track that seems to be a jaded look at current day society. "Time Stand Still" takes on the topic of missing someone that was close. The gang style vocals towards the end... "I don't want to waste my time"... fill your speakers and exemplify the overall "full" sound Nowhere Roads got on this recording. "Toil Every Second" has a big sound to it (while not being too polished) and this song in particular stood out to me showcasing that. "Dirt On A Grave" brings the message of "you're only dead if you want to be" by telling us not to live in the past. The last minute of this song has an absolutely devastating stomp and sing-a-long that is destined to be a crowd favorite.
This EP is only 9 minutes in length but has the feel of something much longer. There is a lot of substance here. The fullness of the recording, Keats' excellent vocal deliveries, well thought out lyrics and overall performance by the band. Trying to decipher what the cool cover artwork means adds to the overall attraction as well. This is some real deal new band shit to get behind ladies and gents. The last two tracks show a Bane influence and after that I am kind of lost in trying to pin band names to tie in with what Nowhere Roads is doing musically... and that's a great thing. Although they don't sound like them I can see fans of Chain Of Strength liking this and "Age Of Quarrel" era Cro-Mags people liking this as well. Nowhere Roads are virtually brand new having only started playing shows recently after about a year at the drawing board/laboratory or wherever it is they created these songs. "Toil Every Second" is a fantastic coming out party that shows they are here and open for business. Hopefully more good things like this await us in the near future as it appears they have a very bright future ahead of them.
HOPE THROUGH HOSTILITY “WHAT THIS MEANS TO ME” (Released November 2018)
Well, I don’t know what they are putting in the water over there in Europe but they need to bottle it up and send some over here! This new album from London, England’s Hope Through Hostility hits like someone stuffed a can of soda in a tube sock and cracked you with it like Sean Penn in Bad Boys. I’m hearing all kinds of musical influences coming from this record. “What This Means To Me” starts with a heavy guitar riff, right into some slow pit music. Then, it’s like Mark from Shutdown rapping over Death Before Dishonor with some Bloodlet and Razorblade Handgrenade thrown in there. It’s crazy! Some notable points that stood out for me when listening to this 8-song full length are “People Poacher”, whose heavy guitar intro and spoken word breakdown kick the rest of the song into high gear. The song “Chunky” is exactly as the title indicates with its guitar sound and double bass drumming. I get a hint of Sick Of It All’s “Sanctuary” while listening to parts of “Stimulus Package”, which also changes things up a bit with this record. And that’s what this band’s second full length is all about, mixing it up. “No Long Talk” features guest vocals from Louis of Ironed Out and Ammo from Life Betrays Us and has a mean stomp part at the end. And “Without A Fight” is just straight up pit music, my friend. Overall, this record is really frigging good. The back and forth vocals between George and Gee mix very well with this style of hardcore that touches on all genres. Go to their Bandcamp page (see link below) and download it immediately. You will thank me for it.
NOT LIKE YOU ZINE: Photo Issue #2
(Released November 2018)
Mike who does Not Like You Zine (as well as Not Like You Records) has a lengthy hardcore punk resume. He is an East Coast transplant that has lived in New Mexico for quite some time now. He also owns and runs a comic book store in Albuquerque called Astro Zombies. To date Not Like You has put out 7 regular issues of their zine with this being the second photo issue. Outside of a short introduction this is 40 pages of band and skate photos from Mike's own camera that date back to the early 90's through 2018. Bands include Madball (front cover), Youth Of Today, Fury, Judge, The Business, Fugazi, Avail, Cro-Mags, JFA, Dag Nasty, Murphy's Law, Agent Orange, Negative Approach, Gorilla Biscuits, Burn and more from shows Mike attended all over the US. Some pages have 4 photos per page and others are laid out full page where you could tear it out and hang it on your wall like a mini-poster. Nice print job with super clear black and white photos and good quality paper. What else can I say except that this is just a bunch of cool photos (close to 90 in all) crammed into a nice looking zine from a dude who has been supporting the DIY underground culture for decades. Send him 4 bucks and postage via PayPal (in the US) and he will send you a copy of his latest photo issue.
MEPHISKAPHELES, NO REDEEMING SOCIAL VALUE, URBAN WASTE, OUT LIVE DEATH, FLAK JACKET @AMITYVILLE MUSIC HALL, AMITYVILLE, NY DECEMBER 15th, 2018
PHOTOS BY: ALEX RUD
FLAK JACKET from nearby Huntington are a new name to me but have been around since the turn of the century and have a bunch of releases out in that time. They opened to a nearly empty club and gave a solid performance with their singer and then guitarist jumping down off the stage and just jamming out and jumping around where the crowd usually is. Always love seeing a band give their all when the crowd is either staring back at them or in this case not there. Overall their style draws from a few areas but a West Coast punk vibe was definitely evident in the short time they played. As their set moved along more people started to show up and pay attention to what they were doing. Their last song was called “Let’s Go Rangers!” and had a repeated “Let’s Go Rangers!” chant which caught the attention of the slowly growing crowd and was their best received song of their set.
More LI locals in OUT LIVE DEATH were up next. Earlier this year they put out a solid full length in "Has The Past Taught Us Nothing?". We haven't seen O.L.D. much in 2018 after that album's release probably due to at least one lineup change that I am aware of which is a shame because they are a really good live band which they showed from their very first song on this night. Their bassist who used to sing for Mutiny Abroad was a madman jumping all over during their set which helped set the tone and get some of the crowd going too. "We Ain't Dead Yet" off of the new one closed out their close to 30 minute set. Out Live Death are a nice band who like most hardcore bands are better live than they are on recordings which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. This night was without a doubt one of their more lively sets that I have seen out of them as well. If they would just be able to play more shows outside of their Long Island home area I could see people really getting into them.
URBAN WASTE: PHOTO BY: ALEX RUD
URBAN WASTE, the band whose history dates back to the early 1980's took the stage next. Their guitarist Johnny "Waste" Kelly is the lone member left from those old days. What makes UW unique from other “let’s get the old band back together” bands is that they have released new music since their reformation and it is pretty much dead on with their old style. Check out their “Waste Crew” EP from 2015 HERE for proof. It also seems like they are not afraid to take on any bill or most any spot on any bill as they can be closer to the opening band or as high as the headliner if you check out their flyers from the last couple of years. The current lineup is solid with Josh Waste on vocals who shows each and every time I've seen them that he can get a crowd juiced up. Stooley Kutchakokov (say that slow a few times and you will get it) on drums and Nonlee on bass bring a strong rhythm section with the live energy apparent as well. Tonight was no different than the handful of other times I have seen UW in recent years with each member simply going off and nailing song after song making them a really fun band to watch. The passion is obviously still there for the Waste Crew in 2018 and I have a lot of respect for this band and their current day lineup.
NO REDEEMING SOCIAL VALUE: PHOTO BY: ALEX RUD
This was only the second NO REDEEMING SOCIAL VALUE show of 2018 as they have spent a decent amount of their free time writing and recording for a new album due out in 2019. "Wasted For Life" is the title of the upcoming album as well as a great new song which they played here on this night along with another solid new one titled "Rat Bones". Mixed in were all the No Redeeming hits that you would expect like "More Tattoos" (inked up version), "No Regrets" (extended version), "Skinheads Rule" (skinhead version), "Still Drinking" (non-Olde English version), “Fabio” (I can’t believe it’s not butter version) and more like the closer "Microwave" (Hot Pocket version). NRSV rocked the party with a huge assist going to a mostly drunken crowd that went bananas for their entire set with people flying all over the small AMH dance floor. The Miller brothers (vocals and guitar) and crew have been at this now for 30 plus years and the one constant is that their live shows were always about the F.U.N. first and foremost and not a damn thing has changed in that regard.
MEPHISKAPHELES: PHOTO BY: ALEX RUD
MEPHISKAPHELES (Satan’s favorite ska band) were the third NY band in a row on this night to already have a long and solid career under their belts with their first release coming out way back in 1991. Visually they stand out with a bass player who plays a stand-up bass, two horn players and a charismatic frontman who goes by “Invidious aka the Nubian Nightmare” leading the way. Musically they really stand out bringing an upbeat ska vibe and went at it for close to an hour on this night. Their drummer is Wayne Dunton and this guy is an absolutely SICK drummer… sick to the point that I had to take one song off from watching anything but this guy wail away on his kit. After being tipped off that this guy is a professional drummer (thanks Seeweed) I found out that he has played in numerous Broadway shows including Lion King, Hairspray and Cats (meow). Not being a ska fan for usually more than a few songs I have to give credit here as Mephiskapheles simply brought the heat and opened my eyes and ears. Before this show if you would have said the name Mephiskaphelis to me the first thought that would come to mind was a house party I went to a million years ago in the Bronx hosted by their old keyboard player. When the party ran out of beer the majority of the attendees left to go get more but never returned as local law enforcement issues came into play. Now, all these years later I have a more positive memory to build off of!
NOTHNG NEW “DEMO 2018” (Released March, 18)
Chris sent me a few demos and told me to pick which one I wanted to review. I chose this one! Nothing New is, ironically, a relatively new band from Copenhagen, Denmark. However, their sound is just as their title indicates. It is nothing new at all. This thing sounds like I dug it up out of an old cassette rack next to some of my old Agnostic Front tapes.
The opening track, “Self-Sabotage”, opens with a riff that will have you creepy crawling and skankin’ old school like it’s ‘83 all over again, when suddenly the guitars drop out and leave you with a hard bass line. This band’s overall sound, especially the singer, can probably be best described as an Exploited meets Sheer Terror’s bastard son. “Violent Episode” jumps right in with a guitar riff that is just as brutal as the lyrics describing a person who has lost all control. The stomp feel of “Nothing New” (track) will give you flashbacks of the A7 days, even though you probably weren’t even born yet! “Still Standing” reminds me of something I would hear on the Misfits “Legacy Of Brutality” record, which is just fine with me. My personal favorite 2 tracks are “Isolated” and “Rearview Mentality”, which tells me they took the “save the best for last” approach, which could have backfired on them. To me that takes some balls. And that’s exactly what they bring to the table here. Instantly, a circle pit broke out in my head as soon as “Isolated” came on. Not to mention how “Rearview Mentality” opens up with a dirty ass bass line that sounds like it came out of Harley Flanagan’s rig itself and had me throwin’ some arms around for the rest of the song.
Overall, this “Demo 2018” gets an A! The quality was raw, but not muffled, and had good volume levels throughout. I feel they did a great job of fusing NY/LA/England early hardcore punk into one record. If this is just a taste of what’s to come, then Europe and the rest of us Yankees best be prepared!
THE NEW YORK HARDCORE CHRONICLES FILM 1.5 (Released December 2018)
NYC based director Drew Stone is back for another installment of his NYHC Chronicles Film. This is version 1.5 with the original having come out in May of 2017. Using the 1.5 in the title is appropriate here as this film is not a clean slate starting with new topics but more of a continuation of the same ideas brought up in the original film. New interviews and superbly shot live footage (mostly from the October 2017 Raybeez Memorial Show in NYC) is the reason you will be forking over your hard earned cash when it comes down to decision time on buying this or not. After some short on the street clips of people introducing the film Madball's "Hardcore Lives" starts coming out of your speakers while old photos and flyers randomly pan across your screen setting the viewer up for what to expect over the next 60 minutes. The blueprint for 1.5 is very similar to that of the original with various NY band members and scenesters recounting the old days with some splashes of some more current day events sprinkled in. Standouts in 1.5 include famed producer Don Fury, Louie Beato of Carnivore/Agnostic Front, Harley Flanagan, Bobby Hamel from Biohazard and Billy Milano (S.O.D.)... who tells an old story of saving members of Anthrax and Metallica from a possible beatdown at CBGB's. The crossover style of hardcore is once again looked at in depth and covers about 15 minutes in total. From there the film moves towards the topic of the streets of NYC which morphs into the connection between graffiti and the members of the hardcore scene with Ezec from Crown Of Thornz, renowned writer MQ and Gavin Van Vlack (Burn, Absolution and more) making the biggest impressions here.
Straight Edge is up next and gets close to 10 minutes in coverage with Civ, Walter, and Sammy (Gorilla Biscuits) giving their take along with Mike Judge, Porcell and Ray Of Today representing the edge as well. The story of how many of NYHC's icons turned to sobriety and clean living after being well known for the complete opposite is told well by Ray in this segment. Craig, Armand, and Lou from Sick Of It All are the last band interviewed in individual segments and are spliced together nicely. The question of "Is Hardcore Dead" closes out 1.5 nicely with quick sound bites of people's responses coming and going in an almost rapid fire type of way. I initially popped this on at 1am in the morning and figured I might watch the first 15 minutes before going to sleep but I couldn't turn it off and went all in for the full 63 minutes. My second run through this proved hard to turn off as well. With close to 3 hours of film laid out to us over the first two Chronicles installments Mr. Stone has built a solid foundation to build off of. Hopefully there will be more of these films that expand out to include more eras, topics, and fresh faces as well as the ones that have not gotten into the first two films. For the serious NYHC historian or fan this is a steal from either iTunes or Amazon at either the rental price of 5 bucks or the "buy it digitally" price of 10 bucks. Watch the trailer HERE.
MADBALL, FIGHTS & FIRES, BAR FIGHT, DEAD HANDS @ FROG & FIDDLE, CHELTENHAM, UK DEC 7, 2018 WRITTEN BY: GAVIN BROWN, PHOTOS BY: ADAM CHANDLER
When it was announced that NYHC legends Madball would be hitting the intimate confines of the Frog & Fiddle in the town of Cheltenham on the U.K. leg of their current European tour, fans rejoiced that such a revered hardcore band would be gracing the venue, which it turns out is the perfect place to host a hardcore gig with its intimate, up close vibe. The tour hit regular stop off cities in Britain such as Birmingham (for a gig with Napalm Death, Doom and Broken Teeth no less), Glasgow and London but the chance to see them in such a small venue in a town that doesn't host that many hardcore shows (shoutout to the promoters who put on the show), let alone Madball was too good to miss.
Starting the night off were Birmingham band DEAD HANDS who combined grindcore and complex metal riffing with an explosive hardcore energy in a way that was reminiscent of say Siege colliding with Dillinger Escape Plan with the bands frontman climbing over the barrier to stalk the front of the stage. He was soon joined by the bassist while the bands guitarist and drummer pummeled the audience that was growing with their riffs and pounding rhythms back up on the stage. The band blasted through their set with energetic glee and by the time they finished, it was safe to say that they had started the night off with a bang.
Swiftly following Dead Hands were local boys BAR FIGHT who seemed delighted to be playing a hometown show and took the opportunity playing to a now packed house, to show the crowd exactly what they are made of. With a raucous set they showed that they are named perfectly, with a healthy portion of the crowd going berserk at the front as soon as they started. That berserk nature carried on throughout the bands highly energetic set with vocalist Steve barely standing still as he barked out the bands lyrics. Songs like “Scum” and “Away Days” were played with a passion that can’t be beaten at a hardcore show and the energy of the band was palatable with the crowd acting in kind. Their songs and how they were delivered also contained an element of anthemic quality over a beatdown heavy groove and when their short, sharp set was over, the crowd considered themselves fully warmed up for what was to follow later.
FIGHTS & FIRES were up next and were the most melodically leaning band on the bill tonight. Their set more than packed a punch and they definitely hold their own against the heavier side of the rest of the bands. Cracking out songs from their latest album “Live Life Like A Tourist” alongside some choice older favourites, the band sizzled with a vivacity throughout their tight set. Fights & Fires play punky hardcore with a catchiness that will have their songs stick in your head for an age. Following Bar Fights explosive set was a difficult task but Fights & Fires definitely were up for the challenge and like Bar Fight, played with passion from start to finish with a strong singalong vibe. A brilliant set by a brilliant band, captured in their best environment live on stage.
MADBALL 12/7/18. PHOTO BY: ADAM CHANDLER
The soothing soul sounds of “My Girl” by The Temptations was played over the PA just before the headliners MADBALL took to the stage in what had an air of calm before the inevitable hardcore maelstrom. When that maelstrom arrived, Madball did what they do best and simply tore the place apart. As soon as their familiar intro music faded out it was clear that the energy level in the room increased tenfold as they blasted straight into “Rev Up” from their new album “For The Cause” with the hunger of a band who both live and love what they do. From then on, it was a nonstop barrage of hardcore anthems with “We The People”, “Can't Stop Won't Stop” and “Hold It Down” being early highlights. “Set It Off” was revisited to ecstatic cheers with the album’s title track, “Smell The Bacon”, “Across Your Face” and “Lockdown” delivered with the same vitality as when they first dropped to the obvious glee and roar of the crowd who never stopped all the time Madball played. It has to be said that Freddy Cricien still has the same vivacity as when I first saw Madball on the “Streets Of Hate” tour back in 1995. He was the perfect host at tonight’s show and a huge part of what makes a Madball show a joy to witness. He comments that it's "definitely Friday night" in response to the raucous crowd’s reaction and his love for the European fans at this second to last show of the tour.
Hoya Roc too gets a shout out and a deserved hero’s welcome. He demonstrated what a beast he is on the bass, laying down that groove with style. The groove that he and relentless drummer Mike Justian have is sublime. The band’s live guitarist (rocking a Napalm Death shirt) completed the tightness of the Madball live unit with a focused performance with all four members delivering flawless performances. “For My Enemies”, “Look My Way” and “Infiltrate The System” were all further highlights when they were played and the crowds enthusiasm never wavered which added to the fun. “Doc Marten Stomp” and a brilliantly rousing version of “Pride (Times Are Changing)” finished things off fantastically before Cricien bellowed "Hardcore Still Lives" to cheers and applause before leaving the stage and the audience completely battered. Suffice to say this was a gig that will live long in the memory for anyone in attendance and that is a testament to the power of a live Madball show, an experience that won't be forgotten in a hurry. As Cricien stated with an impassioned cry halfway through their set, "This is our culture, this is for the streets" and Madball definitely showed the power of hardcore to the Cheltenham faithful tonight.
GREAT REVERSALS “STALACTITE”
(Dropping Bombs, Released November, 2018)
Whatever musical tastes one may have, chances are they are a fan of an artist/band from Detroit, Michigan. I am happy to say I can add another to my list and I am very excited to be doing my first review of a band from this area. Great Reversals came together in 2009 with the sole purpose of "replicating the spirit of the 90"s hardcore that is the foundation of their sound". With the release of “Stalictite”, the band has successfully met that mission statement by bringing the listener back to an era of hardcore that seems like a lifetime ago. This release contains 6 solid songs and a play time of around 17 minutes, Track titles are: “No Mind”, “Blood And Bone”, “Stalactite”, “The Rattlesnake King”, “Shrine To Demons”, and “Little Did You Know”. “Stalactite” was crafted with a raw yet polished sound infusing the band's own hardcore elements of breakdowns, heavy riffs and in your face vocals. Where they differ from many bands in the genre is their masterful wordsmanship which is present in all 6 songs on this LP. If you are like me and like to read and dissect the lyrics, these definitely are thought provoking. For example, the lyrics to “Blood And Bone” make me visualize a medieval king writing in his memoirs after a battle. Song interpretation aside, what is most important is that Great Reversals have released a complete package with “Stalactite”. It's Detroit, it's hardcore and it's a fine release to round out the year. Available online to stream or on 12” single sided vinyl with a screen printed B side from Dropping Bombs in the US and Ugly & Proud Records in Europe.
COMBATANT “WITNESS TO DESTRUCTION”
(Released November, 2018)
Hailing from the great Northern state of Maine comes Combatant with their brand spanking new full length. I have only been to Maine twice but have read all of Stephen King's novels and I love me some lobster (lawb-stah), so I'd say I'm pretty much an expert on all things "Pine Tree State". Combatant is bringing us nine ripping tunes, none of which runs longer than 1:44. These tunes are politically tinged and socially critical without being alienating or too smart for their own good. Sonically, these fellas fall somewhere between the aforementioned, Vacationland, Agnostic Front, “Victim In Pain”, and the United Kingdom circa 1982. I hollered at my boys, The Walking Dude, Randall Flagg, hotel proprietor, Jack Torrance and dancing clown, Pennywise for a listening party (pick up a book you illiterate dicks). Now let's move on and single out some of our favorite cuts.
First songs usually set the tone for an album. This one starts off with "Sheer Hell" clocking in at a brisk and fantastic 1:10. Hard driving guitar and gruff vocal styling hammer this ripping tune home. It's short, it's fast, and it's pissed. The production is perfect for the core, aka, not overly polished. They even squeeze in a wicked guitar solo to add a spit shine to it. The tone has been set and I am ready to consume more of this core. "Blind Trust" at 1:20 kicks off with a guitar and drum beat that harkens back to that UK 82 thing I mentioned earlier. This is another machine gun paced tune with creative guitar work sprinkled throughout. This one will inspire those slam dancers out there to stir up the pit without any kick boxing or jiu jitsu maneuvers to dodge. An odd guitar tone which sounds like the beginning of Misfits, "American Nightmare" starts off "It's Too Late" running 1:08. This pounding ripper contains some killer bass riffage. It's a hardcore burst of fury firing on all cylinders. "It's too late for you...It's too late!!" Word. "Torture Games" at 1:18 is another melt your face off tune. It kicks off with that same guitar tone and I am expecting Danzig to jump in doing his best Elvis impersonation. Thank Odin that is not the case. Tyler is not about the pomp and circumstance. He is more the rip your throat out vocalist. This one is a back and forth song full of piss and vinegar. It sounds as if all the band members are simultaneously losing their minds but somehow coming together to form a song. These guys won't let you catch your breath.
This LP is all go, no slow. From the opening salvo, to the drive of the titular cut "Witness To Destruction" to the militaristic drum beat on the final cut "It Can Happen Here" these motherfuckers do not let up. They will beat your ass with straight up no thrills hardcore punk rock, the way it was meant to be played. There is no "beatdown" in this beat down and no spirit of ‘88 posturing and filler. If you want something that could fit in early 80’s NYHC , look no further. Combatant is carrying the torch for short, fast and loud and doing a great job in light of being from Maine which has historically been hit or miss with their music and their scene. Maine is popular for Acadia, antiquing and food shacks (if you don't know, you don't know), but Combatant is fixing to make it a hardcore hot spot. They have a few releases out there, so please check out some of their awesome contributions to the genre. Grab a lobster roll, kick the Maine coon out of the room and hardcore your lousy asses off ‘ya cunts. Available digitally on Bandcamp (link below), cassette from Chiller Than Most and soon to be 12” vinyl from Not Like You Records.
TERROR "TOTAL RETALIATION"
(Pure Noise Records. Released September. 2018)
Alongside Agnostic Front, Sick Of It All and Madball stands Terror as (arguably) the biggest names in American Hardcore. With "Total Retaliation", the bands 7th proper full length, Terror further cement their legacy. Since 2002, the band has toured and released music incessantly and have seemingly gotten bigger and better with each release. "Total Retaliation" does not re-invent the wheel, and it doesn't have to. With 13 tracks clocking in at 28 minutes there is no time wasted. A hardcore record that isn't looking for hits or singalongs – it is looking to move you! These are some of the strongest and most memorable songs from the band since 2010's landmark "Keepers Of The Faith" LP. Some of my favorite tracks are the opener "This World Never Wanted Me", the killer title track, "In Spite Of These Times" and the LP’s strong closer "Resistant To The Changes". This record has a fantastic recording to boot. Long live Terror.
RAGE BATARD s/t 12" LP (Released May, 2018)
If you have an angry skinhead egg on your album cover with fresh graffiti letters you better bet your ass In Effect Hardcore is gonna sit up and take notice! Lyon, France is the birthplace of 4 piece Rage Batard which translates to Rage Bastard (thanks Google). Before hitting the play button for the opening track "Bosse!" I just WANTED to like this offering so damn much as this had the look and feel of one of those old and obscure NYHC demos (or 7”s), the kind that was really fucking good, but for whatever reason didn't make the jump into the spotlight at the time. Look up the 1989 New Breed cassette comp for some examples of bands that fit this billing! Thankfully that opening track was just the beginning to an album that delivered just what I wanted as Rage Batard have an old-school hardcore sound with some Oi! and punk vibes dropped in as well to round things out some. The recording is not too polished and the rough around the edges sound adds to this 11 song full lengths allure. Rage Batard do have a basic formula that they stick to throughout and they aren't reinventing the hardcore punk wheel per say... it is what it is as they say, but we like what it is! Originally released in 2017 on vinyl, this made its Bandcamp debut earlier this year which hopefully means they are already working on whatever is next.
BLASTPOINT EP (Released April, 2018)
Blastpoint, the Portland, Oregon band who combine hardcore with more thrashier metal elements prove on their self-titled debut EP that they are aptly named. The quartet, feature members who have served time in bruising Boston bands Wrecking Crew and Ramallah so they definitely have the hardcore pedigree there and waste no time in creating aural violence across the EPs four tracks with a fast and furious approach to their songs and prove that Blastpoint are a force to be reckoned with and even more importantly aren't messing about with their sound.
Blastpoint starts off with “Untold Truths”, an opening track that begins with a statement of intent drum filled and piercing guitar riffing intro that is reminiscent of the brutal nature of the beginning of “Hammer Smashed Face” by Cannibal Corpse. Death metal though, this is not and the song immediately gains more traction and morphs into a raw, precise and bulldozing hardcore anthem very much in the vein of Agnostic Front and Warzone (particularly in the vocals of frontman Glenn) with added breakdown elements to the track mixing it up a bit with the pace and it certainly starts the EP off with a bang
“Tomorrow's Clown” continues this pace and adds more metallic riffing initially but again, the hardcore fury comes to the forefront early on, taking on anything that comes in its path as the track flies by in under two minutes. The next thing you know the track is quickly followed by the grooving “Swallowed Shards”, another fast paced stomp before the bruising hardcore of “Conquest” rounds things off brilliantly. This closing swing of the bat is the only track that passes the two minute mark (by a matter of seconds!) and is just as fast and energetic as what has preceded it and is the perfect choice to finish the EP off.
Blastpoint is definitely short but sweet and is over before you realize but this is perfect for putting the EP on again and again and it's definitely made for repeated listens. The band have made a positive start and the energy they give off is relentless and inspiring as their next output will be worth checking out for sure.
BOOZE & GLORY “CHAPTER IV”
(Pirates Press Records, Released November, 2018)
Let me first tell you what Booze & Glory are not. They are not a straight edge band. They are significantly less fucked up than the Anti-Heros. Their production is sleeker than that of the Templars. They are not overtly political, nor do their lyrics cover particularly iconoclastic topics. But with all of that out of the way, regarding what not to expect, you are left with a highly enjoyable 13 song effort from the UK stalwarts that are Booze & Glory.
If you didn’t catch these guys at the 2015 Black N’ Blue Bowl (it’s ok, I wasn’t there yet either), Booze & Glory has been consistently playing their brand of melodic punk rock, in the vein of Cock Sparrer, for the past ten years. They hail from England but have a significant international presence due to their extensive touring, hitting four continents in the past year. This album was originally released in Europe in 2017 but is now available in the US via Pirates Press. Preliminary listening indicated that “Days, Months, Years” and “Blood From A Stone” were the most obvious earworms. But once I was able to stop listening to the Gravediggaz long enough to give this thing a few back to back spins, I soon had most of the songs stuck in my head for days on end. None of these songs are shorter than three minutes, with at least one being over five. So if you appreciate traditional song structures with repeated verse and choruses, come along for the ride.
The album opens with "Days, Months, Years" which is an appropriate showcase for their style, and even features a key change at 3:05, almost like the one in Black Train Jack’s - “Handouts.” “Blood From A Stone” is perhaps the strongest track overall and features heart-stopping female guest vocals from Valasia. Her verse lends a bit of nuance to the theme of the tune, which celebrates weekend escapades as a distraction from a draining work week. But “it’s late Friday night, I’m stuck here pulling pint after pint, waiting for the last order’s bell to ring, I’d rather be anywhere but here,” is a subtle reminder that one working person’s venue for blowing off steam may be another’s job and chore. “Blood From A Stone” is immediately followed by “Fool’s Paradise,” creating what is probably the strongest 1-2 punch on the album.The overall feel is accessible, and I can see this album appealing to multitudes across genres. Per an interview with Dying Scene, Mark is also a big Northern Soul guy which I can see reflected in their melodic sensibilities. Booze & Glory is touring the US this spring with the Dropkick Murphy’s if you want to check them out live, though there are unfortunately no NYC dates and nothing closer than Poughkeepsie. For fans of Cock Sparrer, Discipline, the Vanilla Muffins and everything in between.
RAMOMS/DAD BRAINS "MERRY XMAS" SPLIT 7"
(Pirates Press Records, Release Date December 7, 2018)
Goofy fun split with Southern California's Dad Brains and Ramoms from Philly doing 4 Christmas inspired tracks just in time for the holidays. Dad Brains are up first with "Grinch" which is well thought out lyrically while comparing someone acting like a dick in the pit with the fabled green Mr. Grinch from the children's Christmas tale. Musically these dads shred with this track having a Youth Of Today feel before they tell the Grinch to "make a change" at the end of this song. "It's Christmas Time" is essentially a cover of Suicidal Tendencies' "Institutionalized" with the same music but lyrics that reflect a frustrated dad around Christmas time. In place of a Pepsi he is seeking out a La Croix sparkling water which his wife tells him they are out of. Again, well thought out lyrically, and played pretty much to a tee to the original.
The 4 piece all female Ramoms come at us with "Lego Blocks" and a Ramones cover of "Merry Christmas... I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight". On the "Dads" tracks they went for an old-school hardcore sound and true to the Ramoms name they have a definite Ramones vibe going on. "Lego Blocks" also caters to the punk rock parent with a chorus of "I'm building with Lego blocks, my methods are unorthodox". The cover song here is what you would expect and well done.
I have to admit that I went in to writing this review thinking this was going to be just some Weird Al type of silly parody that was timed out perfectly for some Christmas cashing in but after a couple of listens they flipped me as this is a pretty cool release, particularly on the Dads side as they put a lot of creativity into their lyrics that have all sorts of references to old-school hardcore.
UPSTATE RECORDS "VOLUME ll" CD
(Upstate Records, Released November 2018)
Upstate Records... the upstart label from Upstate New York hit us with their second CD compilation of 2018 with "Volume ll" featuring 26 songs from 26 bands that are primarily from the US East Coast but are also from as far away as places like France, Australia, Brazil, and even...Indiana! Straight up I love the idea of the CD comp making a comeback as it's a great way to get a sample of many bands all in one spot… one stop shopping if you will. If you like a band you look them up to find more and if not you just move along to the next band. In the 1990's the CD comp (along with its friends the cassette comp, the 7" comp, and the 12" comp) were staples in a pre-internet world where it was not as easy to find new music. ***End of half-assed history lesson***
The 26 songs here run well over an hour in length and are almost exclusive to the type of hardcore that has tuned down guitars, throaty, gruff, or gravely vocals and not a lot in the way of bursts of speed, although there are some spots sprinkled within. Translation: this is some rough and tough metalcore ladies and gentleman. Although this was mostly a tough listen for myself I would still recommend this for people who are more in tune with this style of hardcore. At only 10 bucks and a few extra bucks for shipping this would make a great stocking stuffer for any aspiring crowd killers in your family. Click that Bandcamp link below to get a full list of bands and tracks and click the CD cover above to find out how to order.
KING NINE “DEATH RATTLE”
(Closed Casket Activities, Released November 2018)
When your band forms and a few months later your first gig is in Brooklyn opening for Bane, Backtrack and several well established bands, it’s safe to assume you are going places. This was exactly the case for Long Island's King Nine who took the NYHC scene by storm in 2011. With a demo, a full length and an EP already under their belt, King Nine return with their newest full length titled “Death Rattle”. Packed with 11 powerhouse tracks fueled with savage breakdowns, a combination of beatdown infused drums and bass and finalized with angry vocals, fans will be happy that the four year wait since the band's last album was released is finally over. “Death Rattle” has a heaviness that will appeal to fans beyond the hardcore realm and into the metal world with a sound that has undoubtedly crossed over and blended great aspects of both. Several tracks really stand out for me: “Twisted Thoughts”; “Gift Of Life” and “No Dreams” but honestly all of them prove that King Nine are still at the top of their game.
For the latecomers this is a great introduction to one of the more fierce sounding hardcore bands out there today as one listen to “Death Rattle” and you'll figure out quickly why this band has played with some of the biggest names in heavy music as well as many festivals and shows over the last seven years.
THE VERDICT "HOTIS HUMANI GENERIS" DEMO
(Edgewood Records, Released October, 2018)
The Verdict are a new band out of Richmond, VA that at first catch the eye simply because there are so damn many of them! The cover of their new "Hotis Humani Generis" demo has a photo of 9 of the 12 members of The Verdict who come from all areas of the Virginia hardcore scene. Bands like Break Away, Red Vision, Downfall, Watchdogs, Shattered Xistence and Neuromancer are all represented in The Verdict who are playing a straight forward meat and potatoes type of hardcore that isn't too hard to tie to bands like Floorpunch, One Life Crew and In Cold Blood. After a few listens I would say this is good, well played hardcore but I was definitely not blown away or overly wowed by the 7 or so minutes that are served up here. What I do like is the idea of this being a fluid project where band members/singers can be moved in or out song to song, something Skarhead did well early on in their career. The Verdict are a band to keep an eye on. Will they be a local hit only in their home area because of all their connections to their other bands or will they grow outwards beyond their local scene? Time will tell but for now this is just a short demo and is really not a lot to go on but I can definitely see them becoming a band that will stand out and catch the attention of many. Cassette copies of this are out there and for digital downloaders find it on their Bandcamp page for 5 bucks.
BORN SINNER DEMO 2018 (Released September 2018)
There are certain bands that are really easy to get into and groove on. This is not always easy to find in a genre as visceral and abrasive as hardcore music. Born Sinner, while undeniably NYHC in its sound, is just one of those bands. Sometimes a band’s first release lacks in terms of quality; not as tight sounding, rather muffled. There’s none of that here… it’s tight and polished and full of fun listening moments that reveal that these guys can play and have something good to offer. There’s a groovy metallic sound here that never ventures too far into the realm of metal. Also, they steer clear of deep guttural vocals which enables them to retain that hardcore edge reminiscent of bands like Turnstile, Underdog and Bold. Born Sinner is just good clean hardcore coming out of NYC. All four songs are solid and interesting. “Jury Duty” gets things quickly started with plenty of groove and a nice breakdown towards the end. “All The Things” just moves things forward and has a nice pace that makes for good moshing, head bopping, and they even throw a nice solo in there for good measure. “Dying In The Streets” is another good song with good hardcore angst on display in their lyrics: “You ask me why I’m so angry, just take a look around and ask me again.” Lastly, things close out with “Perception Is Reality” which starts slow but builds up into a nice quick paced explosion which slows down and leads into a strong yelling chorus “Perceptiooooon is Reality!” This is just good hardcore. Go check these guys out! You won’t be disappointed.