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CONCRETE “EVERYTHING ENDS NOW”CD

(Irish Voodoo Records, Released June, 2017)

 

The fact that the title of the opening track of “Everything Ends Now”, the latest album from Albany, NY hardcore powerhouses Concrete is titled “Pure Strength” tells you everything you need to know about this album and the band’s sound. After a short intro, the song explodes with energy and their groove powers through like a steamroller crushing anything that foolishly chooses to stand in its way. This track sets the scene for an energetic showdown between the band and the listener and it has to be a tie as to who is having the most fun here as the music spills out and as the vicious shout of "Betrayal has a thousand fucking faces" rings out towards the end of the song it is clear that this album is going to be a hell of a ride. The bulldozing “No Sacrifice” follows with some metal riffs thrown into the mix as well as some fantastic double bass drumming and that just elevates up the bands power. “False Master” cranks up that metal feeling with some Slayer-esque riffs before morphing into a Merauder (and not just because of the similarity between this songs title and “Master Killer”) or Crown Of Thornz vibe with its mid-paced groove simply killing things, especially made for a pile on outro sequence of the song.

 

The quality continues tenfold with “Mortality” (probably the heaviest thing on the album, which is saying something) and “Exile” (a song that is ready made for the pit and reminded me of a heavier version of Leeway, in sound and in vibe) preceding the aural punch in the face that is “Gomorrah”. This track is bass heavy and sounds immense with a catchiness that rivals its heaviness and has a pure hardcore quality to it. The relentless groove of “On Thin Ice” and the mammoth paced ferocity of “Slave To None” keep the energy flowing before “Everything Ends Now” commences with “Unrivaled Hatred” and this track finishes things off in fine style with its punishing rhythms, insane solos and that ice cold groove. When the track ends with a roar of "Goodnight motherfuckers", it is clear that Concrete have done their job and done it well. With this album Concrete have a solid collection of songs that typifies the band’s sound and their energy with the music punching its way out from the speakers in an apt fashion, one that captures the raw power of the band perfectly.

 

https://irishvoodoorecords.bandcamp.com/album/everything-ends-now

 

-Gavin Brown 

SHOTS FIRED! SHOTS FIRED! “CALLES SANGRIENTO” EP (Released April, 2017)

 

There’s nothing Earth-shattering, life-changing, or even unique here, but that doesn’t mean that these guys aren’t worth hearing out! This Chicago-based, overtly proud Hispanic outfit uses musical abrasion to address a plethora of pressing social and/or political issues on this seven-song EP, starting off with a Trump sample and ripping into a critique of the ego and paradoxes exuded by the ever so popular and so great number 45. While such tracks tend to lean towards the heavier/hardcore side of punk in terms of sound, there are also several which could serve as a soundtrack for the “snotty punk” of today or yester-year. These tend to address somewhat lighter, mundane issues in an almost tongue-in-cheek manner, such as “Death Of A Bus Driver”, which is told from the vantage point of one who is intentionally passed by an unfoundedly self-righteous bus driver for not having a physical appearance which conforms to social norms. With such changes in seriousness on the record also comes a more raw and minimalistic sound, reminiscent of bands such as Even Worse, In Your Face, and Crucial Youth. Rather than presenting themselves as audacious poets by utilizing metaphors and obscure literary and/or historic references, which often elude the listener, Shots Fired! Shots Fired! tends to be as upfront, direct, and seemingly literal as one can be on this one. Further ensuring that their audience doesn’t miss the point, many songs repeat the same points in both English and Spanish. However, don’t despair – each verse is equally compelling and captivating! While this release is merely twenty minutes long, it is fun as well as refreshing in that, although it often addresses relevant and pressing issues, it doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously. Furthermore, its diversity in sound and subject matter helps it along. It will be interesting to see where this new outfit goes from here – maybe to your neck of the woods, be sure to check them out!   

 

https://shotsfiredshotsfired.bandcamp.com/releases

 

-Kicker Of Elves

2017 VANS WARPED TOUR WITH SICK OF IT ALL, WANTAGH, NY JULY 8, 2017 

PHOTOS BY: RICH ZOELLER

SOIA's Lou Koller

Being a hardcore “kid” and telling people you are going to the Vans Warped Tour can often get you the side eye, that weird look, or that “what the fuck is wrong with you man” response but this year everything just fell into place and with Sick Of It All playing close to home as well as maybe a couple of Aaron Judge homeruns away from the Atlantic Ocean how could I refuse?

 

In years past I have gone to the Warped Tour to hand out flyers for this website with the hopes of converting some Blink 182 fans into the next hardcore mosh warriors. (Slight sarcasm there folks) This was my first time dropping down some hard earned cash and partaking in what essentially is every fest I have ever been to… on corporate grade steroids. For those not familiar with Wantagh, NY it is home to Long Island’s most famous/popular beach called Jones Beach and this event was held in one of its parking lots. As soon as you walk in the first things you see are VENDORS… tent after tent selling merch for all the bands (and tons of other stuff) who are playing and that is A LOT! On the Warped website they have close to 100 bands listed for this tour which started in mid-June and runs through August 6th covering pretty much every nook and cranny of the US of A. With close to 70 out of those 100 bands playing on this date should give you an idea of the magnitude of what they are doing here. Basically this tour is DIY’s evil twin backed by sponsors out the wazoo but once again… with Sick of It All in the mix I just felt that need to head on out to the beach and represent for one of our music scenes flag-bearers.

 

Within this huge parking lot were multiple stages, most of which had ones right next to each other. One band would play and the following band’s crew would set up on the next stage over and as soon as band A finishes their set band B literally starts playing a few seconds later and things were pretty tight as far as the flow of bands on and off the stages. With so many bands I have never even heard of playing I did plenty of bopping around from stage to stage, checking out more Ramones style poppy punk in BARB WIRE DOLLS from LA to FUTURISTIC, a DJ from Arizona, FIRE FROM THE GODS from Texas who had an awesome singer who almost sounded like DMX doing hardcore at times to Pittsburgh’s ANTI-FLAG

SICK OF IT ALL took the stage a little bit before 4pm and opened with an old favorite in “Injustice System” as a nice crowd had gathered in front of their stage called the “Hard Rock” stage. For this tour there was some kind of lottery system where the set times for each band on each day were chosen randomly making for some interesting lineups and keeping track of bands online became kind of an important thing because of this. After “Injustice System” things were off and running as “Clobberin’ Time” led into “Road Less Traveled”. For the majority of their set SOIA got a really nice response with the assembled crowd doing their thing and really getting into their set. In between songs frontman Lou Koller made mention to the fact that they had to try and fit 30 years of songs into a short 25 minute set. For a band that is used to doing rigorous hour long sets night after night this tour in some ways must seem like a cakewalk. Who out there wouldn’t want to have a summer work schedule with all half days! “Take The Night Off”, the Craig led “Busted”, “DNC” and “Scratch The Surface” showed diversity within their set-list as overall they gave us a little bit of everything from a bunch of different albums. By the time their closing track “Step Down” was played you could see that the crowd had dwindled significantly which could be attributed to the fact that HATEBREED had gone on not too far away maybe 20 minutes into SOIA’s set. The ones who remained saw Lou jump over the barricade to get a little up close and personal sharing the microphone as he got mobbed by the faithful that hung around to the very end. Although SOIA was sharp and put on a typical top notch SOIA type set it is really hard to match the intensity of a packed indoor hardcore show. Warped provides a nice sized stage and an insanely loud sound system but can’t provide that special whatever it is that makes hardcore so damn special when played in a cramped space or a packed out club. With that said I am still glad I made the effort to come out on this day and see one of the all-time greats spread that hardcore gospel to the masses.

After the SOIA set I walked over to see what Hatebreed had left and it was almost like walking into another dimension as they must have had double the crowd SOIA just played to and fully under frontman Jamey Jasta’s control. How many times have you been at a hardcore show and the singer tells everyone.. “Yo, yo, move the fuck up mother fuckers!” and everyone just kinds of stands there? When Jamey called for a circle pit to go around a Monster Energy Drink tent that was towards the back of the area for the audience and then got maybe 100 to 200 people to do this while losing their fucking minds made my jaw drop. I felt like I was dropped into a random European hard rock festival that you catch on You Tube. Hatebreed just had this huge, commanding presence that I have to admit was pretty damn impressive. The Warped Tour is not an underground hardcore tour by any stretch of the imagination but they did bring in a few names that got me interested and overall I am glad I went in a bucket list kind of way. It also made me think how thankful we should all be to have festivals like This Is Hardcore, Sound & Fury, the BNB Bowl, and United Blood amongst others that are run by the “kids” for the “kids”. -CW

INTRGRITY- “HOWLING, FOR THE NIGHTMARE SHALL CONSUME” LP

(Relapse Records, Release Date, July 14, 2017)

 

CLEVELAND ROCKS,  CLEVELAND ROCKS.....OHIO!!!!!!!!! Cleveland is pretty sweet nowadays with its, Lebron, Rock & Roll H.O.F., Micro-breweries, The Christmas Story House, and Polish Boys (both the food and the human type). It is not fodder for You Tube funnies anymore. However, I think someone forgot to tell Integrity front man, architect, and mainframe, Dwid Hellion because his outlook has not changed. The Oracle of Forest City returns with another one of his apocalyptic visions in the form of a new Integrity LP entitled "Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume" on Relapse Records. The group's first LP in four years. If Cleveland has gotten softer over that period of time, never fear, because Dwid has enlisted the invaluable assistance of Baltimore's own Dominic Romeo (Pulling Teeth, Slumlords, A389 Recs) as a partner in crime, replete with writing and guitar duties. If anyone out there could be a perfect fit for the job, it is Mr. Romeo, and if you asked him a couple years ago what his dream band gig would be, the answer would've probably been KISS, but second place would definitely have gone to Integrity. Integrity are a polarizing band that people seem to either love or hate. You don't hear a whole lot of folks say..."they're alright". There's that whole weird is it metal, hardcore, metalcore debate which is old and tired, and seriously, who gives a fuck anyways?  Good music is just that. I happen to be a guy who got the "In Contrast of Sin" 7" when it came out, and while production wise it's shit compared to the later work, if you listen to it, it is not that far away from anything that came after it.  This is just how Dwid was made, built or programmed. The crew have compiled ten songs on this offering clocking in just shy of a robust 48 minutes. So allow me now to put on my boots, grab a crucifix, a sword, some holy water and an encyclopedia so I can wade into the minds of this crew of maniacs to find out just what the hell is up with these new jams. Release the hounds!

 

The first song up is "Fallen to Destroy/Blood Sermon" @ 4:16. Eerie guitar and what appears to be some backwards talking intro the song with two names, and suddenly I am glad I remembered that cross. This tune is nearly a straight up black metal tune.  The guitar tone, the speed, it reminds me of wandering through the woods alone at night, in winter, listening to "Mother North" by Satyricon. If you haven't tried it, you should. The song ends with a signature "Vocal Test" type of howl from the Hellion himself.  A killer introduction to the new LP. If you were expecting rainbows and safe spaces, well, you're shit out of luck chump.

 

"Hymn for the Children of the Black Flame" @ 2:16, making it the shortest blast on the LP, starts almost immediately with a sick drum roll and divebomb into some crazy fret work, and another growl from the head beast. This song is blistering with insane solos over Slayer type rhythms and the demonic vocal stylings of Dwid. I like my shit short...ADD and all, so you know this is my track right here.

 

"I am the Spell" @ 2:55 starts off with a dirge and a few more divebombs thrown in for good measure before it launches into its galloping rhythm. This one is highlighted by Dom's insane solo work. Suddenly the tune slows it down a notch and gets into a grove that I can see inspiring many a shirtless sweaty fat guy, to try to lift his leg over his head for a sick kung-fu move, but he's only getting that shit knee high, and you know it. Sorry tubby.

 

"Die With Your Boots On" @ 2:58 is up next.  I'm glad I put mine on. This is Integrity at their utmost Iron Maiden. This is a great heavy metal tune...no core...no black...just good hard rock. Very much like Maiden and even Motorhead. It may simply be a coincidence that there is in fact a Maiden tune of the same name, as this is no cover song. This is a rocker. This may be radio friendly, well Sirius/XM for sure, and not just Liquid Metal or Faction either.

 

A melancholy guitar starts off "Serpent of the Crossroads" @ an epic 6:41. This song is just that…..an epic, so the sword came in handy.  You get about three and a half minutes of slow to mid-tempo music with Dwid getting the closest he comes to crooning.  At that point it turns into more of a battle. This song has an amazing back and forth between Dom and Dwid, almost as if they are arguing, with Dom speaking through the guitar, each making their points and counter points.  Sick tune.

 

"Unholy Salvaion of the Sabbatai Zevi" is the long-play of the LP @ 7:25, and now I'm glad I brought that encyclopedia.  Some creepy as church organs kick off the doomiest of the albums tracks. It does not get mired in the doom though as there are many time changes, solos and Dwid nuggets throughout. In retrospect, it is perfectly placed as a pivot point on the record.

 

"7 Reece Mews" is another epic @ 6:57 and if the previous song was doom, this is its gloomier cousin. This one has haunting guitars but the standout here is Dwid's vocals.  Most of the song is done in a style that can best be described as Mike Patton of Faith No More doing RV (look it up punks).  Very interesting experimentation on this track.

 

"Burning Beneath the Devil's Cross" brings it back down to a stealthy 3:03....and out comes the holy water. Drums, bass, then guitars and this pounding hardcore tune is running down the road. This is your quintessential driving song. Crank it up, hit the gas and I hope nobody cuts you off.

 

"String Up My Teeth" clocks in @ 4:18 and is easily the oddest and probably coolest track on the LP. It starts off normally with some nice whining guitar, and then kicks off into a sweet groove, and then, Dwid is kinda singing, and I'm kinda bopping my head along with the tune wondering what the fuck is going on, then suddenly the female back up vocals kick in "higher, higher" they shout and my fucking head explodes. A goddamn rock tune and I love it. Any jackwad reviewers who say this album lacks experiment should have their reviewer card revoked and their fucking heads checked.

 

The LP wraps up with the titular track "Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume" @ 6:46, and you know it's another epic with all of the calling cards we've come to expect from the band to keep it interesting until it ends in ear piercing sonic beam that subliminally told me to murder everyone, everywhere.

 

So there you have it punks.  The latest album from Integrity. There are various cool versions of this release, some with bonus tracks not covered in this review. Check ‘em out. This is a well rounded offering, with excellent musicianship throughout. The addition of Dom Romeo was a genius move by Mr. Hellion as they seemingly work extremely well together. Dwid's voice is as demonic as ever and I appreciate his experimenting on this release. If you think you know what you are getting, you may be in for a surprise or two here..... Oh, you will indeed get all of that, but you'll get a lot more as well. Don't be fooled by many of the reviews out there, for example the one I read on Stammermouth or whatever it's called. They simply "Googled" apocalyptic synonyms and threw them into a paragraph to describe this album sans anything regarding the songs contained therein. I often wonder if half these ass clowns even listen to the music they review.  Stick with good ole In Effect and props to dudes like No Echo, for better or worse, you know we'll be listening.

 

https://www.facebook.com/INTEGRITY.HT

 

-Core Junkie

BETTER DAYS “SUSSUDIO ARC” EP (Released April, 2017)

 

For all intents and purposes hardcore is not a particularly groundbreaking form of music.  It’s loud, fast, and aggressive and some of us are quite content with that. There’s not always a need to reinvent the wheel. In fact, if you just stick with what you know and do it well chances are you’ll produce something quite good. Better Days from St. Louis prove this with their most recent EP – “Sussudio Arc”.  It’s fun, it’s tight, it’s done well and with a sense of humor to boot. I mean, the first song is entitled “Better Days Takes Manhattan” which, of course, is a play on “Friday the 13th Part VIII – Jason Takes Manhattan”.  And they waste no time getting right into it with that first song and what follows are songs that are reminiscent of Kid Dynamite, early Comeback Kid, Lifetime and even early Suicidal Tendencies.

 

Almost all of the songs clock in at under 2 minutes and are chock full of speed and slower breakdown/sing along moments. Chris’ vocals have a more old school feel which helps to make their sound more distinctive. The guitars play well off of one another, with little leads inserted in various places along with solid bass lines and quick time changes revealing that these guys know how to play their instruments. Both “Jon Arbuckle” and “That’s Unfortunate” have fun disjointed starts that make you feel like you’re in a pinball machine only to give way to fast downhill parts that then give way to fun breakdowns.  “Wait for the Clap” starts fast just like the first track “Better Days Take Manhattan” giving way to another fun breakdown.  The last song, “Your Trough or Mine” starts slower than the others and has a fast and brief ending. It’s a fitting way to end the EP.

 

Having lived in St. Louis for three years I can say that being a hardcore kid or punk in the Midwest is a bit more challenging than on the coasts so go show these guys some love!  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Their EP is free and can be found by clicking the link below.

 

https://betterdays314.bandcamp.com/album/sussudio-arc-ep

 

-Scott Geminn

DONE DEAL EP (Prop 44 Records, Released June 2017)

 

Philadelphia's Done Deal serve up their first EP in what they say will be a series of EP's but if you want to get your hands on this one you are going to have get a little personal with these ruffians as physical CD's are all that they are making available. "I Shit You Not" leads off with about 30 seconds of feedback/distortion before we get the rest of the band to join in for about another 30 seconds to wrap up this first track. Blink and it's over boys and girls. Taking the title of this song into consideration along with the last two lines  of "I DON'T CAREEEEE!" convincingly shouted by frontman Gavin pretty much cements the fact that these guys got the pissed off part of their game on lockdown.

 

What jumps out at me from this EP is the guitar tone which I like a lot. I can describe it as somewhat deep and sludgey and blends well with the vocals which are also solid showing you can sing "hard" while not sounding like a death metal Cookie Monster. Done Deal walks a fine line between punk and hardcore with mostly mid-paced jams that could use a few more hooks in their songs to keep things fresh. This clocks in at only 8 minutes and for a quick sampling like this works well as it’s over before you know it. For a longer release though one would hope for a little more variety to keep your attention throughout. Some more speed/thrash like tracks would sound great with their sound. Done Deal appear to be a newer band who just played their first show in May and who I'd say are well ahead of the game with this nice debut. Get in touch below to find out how to cop yours.

 

https://www.facebook.com/DONEDEALPHILLYPUNK

 

-CW

 

THE VIRUS "SYSTEM FAILURE" 'CD 

(Evacuate Records, Released February 2017)

 

Recent travels brought me through Lancaster, PA... an area known more for its large Amish population rather than its punk rock population. In the downtown section of Lancaster lies a real deal punk rock record store called Angry, Young, and Poor which i have ordered from in the past online. Since I was in the area I figured, hey, why not stop in and check 'em out. The guy who ran the place told me he was in a band called The Virus, gave me a short history of the band (which spans decades) as well as a CD as I headed out the door. As he handed me the CD he did mention that "we play punk rock and were a little political".

 

"What Do You Want" kicks off this 12 song, 30 plus minute effort with a message of taking control of one’s life. "Paul" is listed as lead vocals with Z. Kolodziejski on lead guitar, Dave Preno on guitar, Tyler Capone on drums, and Josh Howard on bass. The music throughout here on "System Failure" is amazing, well thought out, and well played punk rock that probably would have been considered hardcore if the year was still 1982. Although I am not as well versed in the current punk rock genre as some I do get a Casualties type vibe here as well as "Apocalypse Now" era Final Conflict (minus the vocals). If I still had my time machine and ended up at a show with these guys sharing a stage with bands like Dead Kennedy's, Black Flag, and say Suicidal Tendencies I wouldn't think twice as they'd just fit right in. Modern era hardcore can range from bands sounding practically like death metal to a band sounding like The Virus… and I will pick this sound every single time.

 

Fast, catchy and with that edge that makes it "hardcore punk" or even "street punk" if you will. Enough of the labels though as "System Failure" has quickly become an early summer favorite. "Breakdown" is track 3 starting off with a sound bite of a girl saying "the outter shell of him came back but everything on the inside was dead" before this furious drum and bass lead in to a blistering fast track that is one of my favorites. The song takes on the topic of soldiers returning from war. This is also not the only song where The Virus use a sound bite to introduce a song and it's a cool and effective way of leading you in to what a song is about. Although the songs are largely rooted in current events they don't necessarily cram their  opinions down your throat which is refreshing as aggressive soapbox preaching can easily become a reason to move on to the next band. The topics touched upon here run from government failure in the title track "we need a plague, reset the stage", weapon build ups in "Bombs For Our Children", and class war in "Burn It Down" ("the rich are shitting on the working class, it's a cycle that never ends"). Other favorites here include "No Peace", the slower "Burn It Down" and the closer "Pacifist". For many that cry out for more message in the music this is a good place to look. The Virus may not make you feel all warm and fuzzy after listening to what they have to say but isn't this music genre supposed to ruffle some feathers? With a long history in place long before I found The Virus it is hard to play catch up to what has come before "System Failure". Focusing in on just this release though I am glad I came across this album as it's a nice 30 minute slice of what I grew up with and hopefully there is more to come from these scene vets.

 

https://thevirus.bandcamp.com

 

-CW 

ENZIGURI “UPTOWN BOOGIE DOWN” CD

(Released April, 2017)

 

Thirteen tracks of anthemic hardcore that is clearly New York in origin, but not 1980’s mosh NY in the vein of Raw Deal or Cro-Mags, but more like “My Life My Way” era Agnostic Front meets “Nothing To Prove” era H20. It’s a style with a lot of potential, but two things hold this back. First, I find the recording to be non-dynamic. I’m reviewing this from the Bandcamp site, so that may be a factor, but it’s just not an energetic recording that makes me want to bounce off walls. There are definitely some sections in here that would sound cool live, a breakdown here and there, and some riffs at times; but it’s just a bit flat and this recording as I’m listening to it. The second thing that holds me back is the vocals, and it’s not that the vocalist doesn’t fit or that he isn’t passionate, I think both those components are there; it’s the style. The singer sings along with the melody of the tracks, on the beats, it’s really a sing along style, and it’s just not my thing. Indecently, I think how the backing vocals were done was one of the better traits of this record. If I had to give any input for future efforts, I would encourage them to spend more on a better recording with maybe 3 or 4 songs for an EP, as the bones are there for something solid.

 

https://enzigurinyc.bandcamp.com/album/uptown-boogie-down-2017

 

-Jim Moo Cow 

GUTTER GROOVE HARDCORE FANZINE

(Issue #2, Released Spring, 2017)

 

After a year and change since issue 1 the Gutter Groove team from Denmark return with a nice full sized 32 page effort crammed with some nice work. The intro to this issue starts off with a look at New York Horse Core... and no, that is not a typo... with photos of both Harley (Cro-Mags) and Rick (25 Ta Life) both on horses. The introduction part is a little bit slap stick comedy along with general news about this issue. Also included here are old pics of Roger (Agnostic Front) holding up a machine gun to Vinnie Stigma's neck and Freddy Madball and Crown Of Thornz' Ezec walking down the street with a baseball bat with the subtitle "that's the way we walk in New York". The comedy angle lacks a little in this part but they are still some cool photos that the editors obviously wanted to get included in this issue.

 

The All Out War interview with lead singer Mike Score which kicks off the interviews here is by far the best read here. The Gutter crew caught up with Mike before a show where they talked for about 40 minutes on a wide range of topics and were cut short eventually by Mike having to go do a sound check. This interview strays away from the typical line of questioning usually given to hardcore bands.  Mike talking about being a history teacher, raising his children and his thoughts on religion are highlights here. If they didn't get cut off by that sound check who knows what else they would have touched on. Great job with this one. Florida's Malice At The Palace also give a nice interview joking around about the 2004 NBA brawl that spawned this bands name and other NBA tidbits including what the band would be ready to do to play the opening song at an NBA all star game. Also included are interviews with Foreseen, Weekend Nachos, Lodges, and True Colors as well as a short piece on this guy who took photos of Integrity back in 1990... which is not really an Integrity interview with Integrity but rather an Integrity interview with some guy who took some photos of Integrity. Either way, Integrity is still listed on the cover like they are one of the bands interviewed so that's a 15 yard penalty for unsportsmanlike zine editing. Fanzine reviews and record reviews are also included here as well as a piece called The Mean, The Bad, and The Angry which takes an angry look at Europe's hardest bands. Gutter Groove's layout is DIY, old-school all the way with cut and paste boxes laid over photos of the bands giving this a made at my friend’s house feel. Nice job.

 

http://guttergroove.bigcartel.com

 

-CW

THE LAST STAND "THIS IS REAL" EP

(Irish Voodoo Records, Released June, 2017)

 

NY's The Last Stand return with some new music after their debut full length came out in early 2013. Next up for them is "This Is Real" which contains 4 new tracks and 2 covers by some legendary bands you may have heard of before but more on that in just a little bit. Leading things off here is the title track which is a nice fast paced jam that shows this band’s true colors delivering some well-played NYHC. I definitely hear some Leeway influences here as well as Sick Of It All which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who is already familiar with this band. Although it's been 4 years since "The Time Is Now" was released it is not like it has been a dormant period in this bands history as they make the rounds in the NY area club scene regularly. The vocals on this first track are very clear and when making out the lyrics you can focus in on the message at hand which is their dedication to hardcore music and the scene. "Every time we take the stage, every time we shake your hand, every time we speak our minds, we are The Last Stand". A nice blend of message and music delivered up nice kicks off this thing with a bang and is also a clear cut favorite on this short EP.

 

Track 2 is "The Ride" which serves up some more of that traditional style NYHC. If you follow this site and read my reviews I sometimes talk about a bands song writing formula. The Last Stand have a very solid formula and these 4 tracks pretty much stay within the guidelines they have created. All 4 tracks are 2 minutes and change with choppy drum beats, a solid and clear vocal delivery often leading to the big payoff which would be a sick breakdown and when I hear it here I can just envision a crowd feeling a track like this and just getting loose.

 

"Path Of The Righteous" starts off with some guitar feedback, with the drums and then bass joining in as this song builds for about half a minute before a big gang vocal chant of “BRING IT DOWN” hits. This is a serviceable track that I like but at the same time does not hit as hard as the other 3 we are given here. When played live it would be cool to have some mashed up sound bites of Jules Winnfield of Pulp Fiction fame dropping his "the path of the righteous man..." speech as a backdrop early on as the song builds. Have no idea what I am talking about here? Google!

 

The last of the 4 originals is "Still Bleeding" which starts off with this awesome fuzzy sounding bass intro for about 20 seconds before the drums come in kicking off an all-out thrasher of a jam with an amazing sing-a-long chorus that leads out with a monster of a breakdown and is by far my favorite track here.

 

"Big Mouth" by Gorilla Biscuits is track 5. Usually I am not impressed with cover songs on studio recordings but TLS deliver a nice version here putting their own stamp of sorts on this old classic. Track 6 is "Choose To Be" originally done by Youth Of Today. This track was recorded back during their "The Time Is Now" sessions and was supposed to be on a compilation that never materialized and now serves as an additional layer as to why you should check this EP out. The vinyl version of this release will have the 4 originals and also comes with a download code to get the cover songs. The CD version will contain all 6 tracks. After a long wait The Last Stand return and do not disappoint us showing why they deserve more attention in a NY scene that is dominated by many all-time greats. Follow the links below to secure your copy now.

 

http://irishvoodoorecords.com

 

https://irishvoodoorecords.bandcamp.com/album/this-is-real

 

-CW

THE NEW YORK HARDCORE CHRONICLES FILM

(Released May, 2017)

 

The highly anticipated and talked about “New York Hardcore Chronicles Film” by Drew Stone is finally out on the streets, some select smaller theatres on specific dates and available for you to get into your grubby little hands via DVD and major online outlets. The 1 hour and 46 minutes on display here starts off by making a clear statement that “this is NOT the history of New York Hardcore” which essentially cleanses Mr. Stone of any wrong doing by leaving specific people, sub-scenes, sub-genres, or time periods out… and with a history that spans decades it is nearly impossible to squeeze everything into a 2 hour feature. What follows here is a short summary of what stood out the most while watching this film.

 

We start out outside of NYC’s Webster Hall prior to the Black ‘N Blue Bowl where BNB’s “Cuz’n ” Joe and various people attending the show are shown in short interviews about NYHC and what it means to them. Hardcore is rarely documented in such high def quality and right from the get-go you get this overall feel of a quality production which runs right through the final seconds of this film. From here we move just a few blocks away to the corner of Avenue A and 7th Street as they interview both Roger Miret and Vinnie Stigma of Agnostic Front outside the old A7 Club which is now a bar known as Niagra. Old times are reminisced along with old photos and videos painting a picture of the hard times that were endured in the early stages of a new scene that Roger says had 30 people at the most. A more current day clip of Murphy’s Law playing the Niagra club ties the old to the new and closes out the segment nicely.

 

From there it’s back to the streets to show people the famed NYHC symbol and various people are asked if they know the symbols origin. In one of my favorite chapters here they interview Kevin Crowley, singer of the long defunct and underrated The Abused who is this symbols creator. In a very humble and insightful piece Kevin digs out old sketches and explains how the symbol came to be. When making a film about NYHC there are obvious avenues and channels you have to explore… just because. This was not one of them and its inclusion documents a piece of history most never knew of or have long forgotten. From there we move on down to Florida where they visit old scenester Randal Underwood who shows us his huge collection of candid photos from the early days of NYHC. It seems like his garage is a museum dedicated to old flyers, photos and memorabilia like no other and is another segment that would not be an obvious choice when drawing up blueprints for a film of this magnitude but a great inclusion to say the least.

 

“Spray Paint The Walls” follows and is a chapter dedicated to graffiti and its impact on the hardcore scene from band logos, the formation of the DMS crew as well as interviews with many of the people in the scene that were not only in the bands, but also making a name for themselves on the streets with fat caps and Pilot markers. Ezec from Skarhead/Crown Of Thornz who is always a great interview steals this segment which shouldn’t be much of a surprise to many.

Harley Flanagan in "The Crossover" chapter of the NYHC Chronicles Film

In the mid to late 1980’s heavy metal influences made their way into the hardcore scene and the term “crossover” was born. Bands like the Crumbsuckers, Bio-Hazard, Leeway, Nuclear Assault, and the Cro-Mags’ Harley Flanagan pop up in this segment along with Howie Abrams (In Effect Records) to break down that time period. Harley is interviewed in a studio and explains that he feels that “The Age Of Quarrel” and not “Best Wishes” was the first real crossover album. Wearing his bass he then starts jamming and showing how “World Peace” has a Motorhead type of vibe, “Malfunction” has more of a Black Sabbath feel, and how no other hardcore bands at the time had an intro similar to the one in “We Gotta Know”. An amazing and insightful chapter (mostly due to Flanagan) to say the least with some good points made by Crumbsucker Gary Meskil made within it.

 

The chapter titled “Youth Crew” which follows shortly after the crossover segment focuses on interviews with Ray and Porcell from Youth Of Today as well as Walter and Civ from Gorilla Biscuits and Mike Judge. The major players in this chapter tell a story of how they didn’t feel the need to fit in with the crossover style that was becoming so popular and how they wanted to get back to basics with a more pure unfiltered hardcore style. This particular chapter… although important runs closer to 20 minutes in length and is the lone chapter that seems to drag here. Straight Edge and the Youth Crew movement that seemingly go hand in hand is subject matter that has layer upon layer to it and is obviously hard to break down in a short time.

Craig Setari in "The Journeyman" chapter of the NYHC Chronicles Film

Things start to wind down with “The Journeyman” which is a segment that focuses in first on Sick Of It All bassist Craig “Ahead” Setari and then morphs into a deeper look at Sick Of it All with interviews with his fellow bandmates Lou Koller and Armand Majidi. “The Journeyman” title is due to the long list of bands Craig had played in prior to joining Sick Of It All. What makes this segment stand out is the fact that they travel to upstate NY to visit Craig at his home which just happens to be on a rural farm. They even ask his mom… “Mom Ahead” some questions which she answers in a cute “mom” way as she talks about her memories of Craig’s youth. Pure gold here. Craig is as humble as they come and you can’t help but be happy for the man as he is living out his lifelong dream and providing all of us with great music on his journey through life.

 

At this point the film starts to close out with the question of “Is Hardcore Dead?” posed to various people with all of them obviously saying no. After watching close to 2 hours of proof that it isn’t it would be foolish for anyone to say that it is. The point being made by some here is that “maybe it is dead for you” if you are a person that chose to walk away from it. Credits start rolling shortly after this and we close things out. “The New York Hardcore Chronicles Film” is a snapshot of various moments in NYHC history and obviously people can sit there after the fact and say “hey they should have put in this guy or that guy” and in some cases they have very valid points but as stated earlier to try and cram decades of history into a 2 hour film is a tall order and maybe sets all of this up for a follow up film. Time will tell but for now sit back and let’s enjoy what we are given here. It is rare to see hardcore and NYHC in particular presented in such a high end way as it is here.

 

http://www.thenewyorkhardcorechroniclesfilm.com

 

-CW

THE NYHC CHRONICLES FILM (Screening) @PhilaMOCA, Philadelphia, PA June 2, 2017

 

It bears saying that 2 hours of Vinny and Roger from Agnostic Front just telling stories would have been enough for me; one of the best moments in the doc came from them talking about the way the Lower East Side used to be while mocking a flip flop laden dad in cargo shorts...“There goes the neighborhood!”

 

I was happy to see 30 or so people inside the small arts space of PhilaMOCA already seated and ready for the screening of Drew Stone's NYHC Chronicles Film. The movie seemed to really capture the grit, aggression and realness that most would associate with the New York Hardcore scene of the early– mid 80s. I have to admit I was skeptical that one film could jam 3 decades of hardcore history into a running time that falls just short of 2 hours, but to Drew's credit he did pretty well despite a few omissions (some more obvious than others) and the shoe-horning of Metallica's Kirk Hammet to give his 2 cents. Overall though, the amount of ground covered in this documentary was impressive. Detailing the evolution of a time and place that has influenced a world beyond itself, the NYHC Chronicles documentary was a multi-chapter breakdown of where, what, and who comprised the scene to which so many of us attribute the causation of hardcore as we know it.

 

 JUNE 2ND SCREENING OF THE NYHC CHRONICLES FILM IN PHILADELPHIA. PHOTOS BY: JOSH DERR

Yet there was more to the showing than simply watching the film. The Philly based podcasters of Cinepunx.com had been advertising that they were to lead a Q and A with director Drew Stone and living legend Mike Judge. However when it came time for this portion of the night's events, Mike Judge was nowhere to be found and the Cinepunx guys turned back into a pumpkin, barely getting a word in edgewise while Drew fielded the Q and A on his own. This quick programming adjustment felt a bit scattershot as something more structured had been expected. Fortunately though, Danny Schuler from Biohazard and Rob Nunzio of Antidote both did right by the crowd and showed up to field questions about their experiences in the early days of New York Hardcore since Mr. Judge couldn't make it.

 

Q & A SESSION: FROM RIGHT: NUNZIO, DANNY SCHULER, DREW STONE & CINEPUNX STAFF

I really enjoyed the film, and I think it showcases the spirit and essence of a scene we all look to as the catalyst for so much of what we think of as “hardcore.” That said, I have to kick down the 4th wall. I don't want to make this negative or take anything away from the film, but I would be a phony to ignore something that really bugged me. There were a few instances in the question and answer portion where things got a little self-aggrandizing. This was most obvious about halfway through the Q and A when Drew sort of stopped the whole thing and called out to the crowd “Isn't anyone going to ask me how I got Kirk Hammet into the movie?!” Nobody said a word. The vibe I felt was that most in attendance had the same feeling I did of “That dude seemed way out of place in the film, but hey, he's in Metallica and to know he gives a shit about the scene is kinda cool.” But when he got no response from the audience, Drew turned to the Cinepunx guys and jokingly told them to ask him the question – which would have been funny had they not been sitting quietly on stage like neglected step children at an event they helped orchestrate. This humble bragging to me was a full role reversal from the scene I had just spent 2 hours watching play out on the screen in front of me; but hey, I don't know anyone in Metallica so maybe I'd be just as stoked to talk about it too – who knows?

 

The Q and A continued with mention of the Cro-Mags, why Paul from Sheer Terror wasn't in the doc, and how Drew and the guys from Biohazard got away with filming on the Brooklyn Bridge without a permit – all great to hear.

 

Once things wrapped up, I bought my copy of the film, thanked Drew for his hard work in documenting a time and place that means so much to our scene, and walked out happy to have been there. I recommend checking it out – it's produced well, and while omitting some things, it sheds light on some corners of the scene that may have been forgotten otherwise, and for that you've got to have some respect. Thanks to Drew Stone, PhilaMOCA, Cinepunx, and everyone that showed up to support independent film making and hardcore.

 

-Josh Derr

LIONS CAGE “RAW” DEMO 2017 (Released May, 2017)

 

Dirty, gritty, and a “Raw” recording make this 3 song demo sound like a rehearsal tape. Cymbal crashes dominate and tom tom beats are accompanied by growling guitars and somewhat distant or distorted and snarling vocals. Not much bass audibly present in what sounds like a simple four track mix. There's but one very short, discordant guitar lead on “Breaking Our Backs”. This “demo” makes me feel like I'm actually at their band practice, sitting on a filthy, beer stained couch in their dank, dark rehearsal room....but I’m not, yet I wish I was. Just because Lion's Cage didn't seem to spend a ton of (or any) time on a sleek, proper studio recording or fancy artwork (it's a photocopied cassette cover of their shaved-head, screaming singer -Bobby - who actually looks as if he's caged and poised to attack) doesn't mean this demo isn't completely kickass. This is a total burner that captures the essence of bands like Krackdown, Life's Blood or SFA. For its sound quality it's quite lean, as noted… the strengths are in the songwriting and arrangements, sincerity of lyrical delivery that easily overcomes the shortcomings of sonic purity. All 3 tracks bleed honesty and extreme angst. While many bands may try to impress with ultra-produced, multitrack studio magic Brooklyn's Lion's Cage keep it simple, but pack a knockout punch right from the opener “Pay The Price”. When the drummer (Rob) switches to mid-tempo tribal beats during slam parts on “Your Voice/ Smash ‘Em All” you know the Lion's about to charge out of the cage and into the pit - all teeth and claws. If the simplistic, straight-forward, approach with heavy doses of passion is intended by Lion's Cage then they hit the bullseye. Certainly, future recordings will have to be a bit more sonically mature for their many qualities to really shine through. Awesome effort. Not for those that like “polished”, or pretentious hardcore. This demo is filthy and for real. An awesome 5 minute and 30 second burst of rage. I liked it so much I bought it for $4.00 on Bandcamp.

 

https://thelionscagenyhc.bandcamp.com

 

-Al Cinder 

DOWN FOR LIFE MAGAZINE ISSUE #3

(Released April, 2017)

 

From the ashes of the sadly defunct punk magazine Big Cheese comes the defiant Down For Life, a new mag that thankfully has hardcore as its main focus with a helping of punk and crossover for good measure. Now on its third issue, the magazine has gone from strength to strength since its introduction onto newsstands last year and has proved to be a lifesaver for hardcore fans when it comes to getting their hardcore print fix.

 

The two previous editions of Down For Life have featured the mighty Sick Of It All and Suicidal Tendencies as cover stars and the latest edition features New York's finest Madball as the main focus of the issue with an extensive feature, interviews and a live review of their recent show at London’s Wembley Arena. Add to this, extensive and interesting features on the varied likes of Leeway, Scream, Turning Point, 7 Seconds, Sheer Terror and a fascinating  interview with Gorilla Biscuits, Quicksand and now Youth Of Today man Walter Schreifels and you have an issue that you can't put down. It's not just classic bands they feature in the magazine though with newer bands like Higher Power, Power Trip and Code Orange all present alongside introductions to bands that you need to check out like Guilt Trip, Arms Race, Mizery, Jesus Piece and Malevolence and I can't forget the extensive coverage of awesome bands from this very website.

 

As if that wasn't enough, Down For Life is packed full of news, interviews and reviews (both album and live with Life Of Agony and Bloodclot featured in the former and the  Persistence Tour and Sound Of Revolution in the latter). Considering that the staff is headed up by the well-respected likes of Ian Glasper, Mark Freebase and James Sherry amongst many other talented writers you know that the quality of the writing is both passionate and real and you know they tell it like it is and from the heart. Down For Life is a must for any hardcore fan across the globe and it covers the whole spectrum of the genre (the feature on European hardcore greats from the likes of Reality Slap and Backfire in particular is immense) and sheds light on bands that wouldn't get much attention in the mainstream which is the way it should be. This is from the underground, for the underground and any fan of hardcore should seek this issue out and every one from then on in. Down For Life is available online as well so don't hesitate and get your copy now.

 

http://www.downforlifezine.com

 

-Gavin Brown 

LET RAGE! “EP 1” (Released March, 2017)

 

I was contacted by the In Effect mothership and presented with the opportunity to do another hardcore punk rock and roll review for their most excellent web zine . The transmission was kind of distorted and was breaking up. I managed to decipher the phrases "new band", "short EP, up your alley", "Let Rage", and "Timmy Chunks on vocals"..... Whoah, whoah, whoah, whoah, stop the clock Ronnie. Did I hear new band and Tim Chunks on vocals??  Are you fucking kidding me?  Will I review it?? You're goddamn right I'll review it. I may marry it. Shit man, I may roll this motherfucker up and smoke it. So yes, I'm in and Tim Chunks is fronting a new project called Let Rage! No that was not a typo, nor was it auto-correct. The band is LET RAGE!, not Let's Rage as I have heard a few times now you uncreative imps. Ponder it for a minute. Let it sink in.  Think outside of the box punks. Mr. Chunks fronts a four piece here and the first EP is four songs clocking in around 7 minutes. Defintely up my alleyway.

 

The EP opens up with "Timmy's Doing Drugs" running a lean 2:18. Lean yes, yet it is the longest song on this release. The tune starts off with a quick drum beat followed by 3 lone guitar notes before a powerslide down the frets kicks into a driving guitar followed by Tim shouting "LET RAGE".  With that the song is steaming off into hardcore punk bliss. The song is funny...and then again, not so funny, especially when you are old like me. It's about growing older and medications of one variety or the next that become necessities or at least perceived and pushed as such. It's a ripper of a tune. Shout out to Viagra! The band is tight and Tim sounds great… a bit "gruffer", but he still has that Chunks sound.

 

The second song is "Soda Pop And Cigarettes" running 1:38 and it is dedicated to Brad, and I'd like to announce here today, so were those last to sentences I wrote. This one starts with a muted harmonic guitar bit and with a quick shout of "pick it up", the song is rockin’. You can see Tim's time with Green Day has left and impression as this song could easily be something they put on a record. It definitely has that Bay Area feel to me as I can hear some Op Ivy tones and Rancid vibes. This one could be a radio summer jam as Tim really croons his way through it. Let’s hope some magic punk dust blew off of Green Day and onto Tim and it blows up because I really dig the tune.

 

An odd drum beat/tone is met with some chunky fuzzy guitar strums at the start of the third cut, "Teenage Altar Boy" at 1:58. Another fret slide and this one takes off speeding down the road. Holy shit, this one has it all. Did I hear shouts of Oi Oi Oi? Is that a fucking breakdown made to inspire the sick pit moves of tomorrow? Is Tim doing that talky singy thing like in an old school Mike just wants a Pepsi/ Ian is fucking or playing golf way? This is the song of the release for me. It is fast, pissed and quite lyrically sharp. It has all of the elements to get my fat ass up and moving........ around my desk.... snappin’ pencils like mad bro. Seriously though, kick ass song.

 

The final song is "No Clout" at a blistering 1:48. This is a straight up, fast hardcore tune. The stand out here is the bass intro...and as a matter of fact the bass throughout the song is just sick. I usually don't pay much mind to the bass, but shit man, I was like, listen to this here motherfuking bass! The bass player is one Deana Montoya, so cheers Deana, nice work. While I am at it the whole band is spot on with Byron Miller working those aformentioned frets, and Herman Ibarra beating those skins, to round out the band. 

 

This is a great first release from these guys. I am not sure what their plans are but hopefully they crank out some more stuff because this sounds exciting to me. If you haven't guessed I am a sucker for anything with Chunks in it, be it, Token Entry, Redemption 87, Felix, Green Day videos, my dreams, TMI? Sorry… I digress. On the real though, this release is fast and fun and will appeal to a broad swath of dirty underground dwellers and maybe some clean folk as well. Check this shit out punks, you won't be disappointed. Mothership I am going rogue. Junkie out!

 

https://letrage.bandcamp.com/releases

 

-Core Junkie

VICE “THANKS FOR NOTHING” EP (Released June, 2017)

 

Staten Island NY’s VICE announced almost a year ago that they would be breaking up and since then have played only 2 shows with a grand finale send-off set up for July 8th at the Great Kills Knights Of Columbus in their home borough. Kind of fitting for a band that for 7 years lived and breathed the DIY mantra getting into the van to tour non-stop, making their own shirts, and making a bunch of friends and enemies along the way. Anyone who has to endure life via the Staten Island Expressway is sure to end up with an enemy or two but that goes without saying. VICE’s swan song is a 2 song effort and gives us zero surprises as the 2 songs here… “Pressure” and “Lemmings” are done in the typical beat you over the head VICE fashion complete with dark and angry lyrics that paint a picture of little or no hope. “Pressure” (the opener) is an absolute burner of a track with tempo changes and catchy choppy breakdowns, bursts of speed and then back to those choppy parts again with the last minute or so slowing down for a sing-a-long part that would for sure be one of this band’s new anthems if they were to stay the course. “The pressure of life… is crushing me”.

 

“Lemmings” kicks off with one of those insane 10,000 miles per hour blast bursts that this band always seemed to be in love with before slowing down some to maybe 5,000 miles per hour where the groove to this track starts for me. The last minute of this song absolutely crushes with this almost Slayer meets Indecision like riff set to the lyrics of “You can’t control me, you can’t shut me out, cause I stand by every word I say and everything I believe in, cause that’s just what I’m about”. VICE goes out strong with these 2 powerful tracks that stay true to what they are all about, both musically and lyrically. Angry, pissed off kids, making angry pissed off music.

 

https://vicexnyhc.bandcamp.com/album/t4n

 

-CW

JESUS PIECE/MALICE AT THE PALACE “SPLIT” EP (Bridge Nine Records, Released May, 2017)

 

Bridge Nine has been one of the best represented labels in hardcore for a long time and with the decision to release a Jesus Piece/Malice At The Palace split, it's not hard to see why. The choice to put these 2 bands on a record together seems really natural to me; both are younger bands who capture the spirit of hardcore through bomb dropping breakdowns while keeping the fun in what they do! It's a solid fit!

 

The album art on this one is indicative of what lies within. Several angelic figures are pictured a la St. Peter's Cathedral, however upon closer inspection you notice one is about to lose an arrow into another's head as it looks upward in defiance; one is making out with a dragon/serpent creature, and another lies (presumably) dead while shackled to a wall. So yeah, get ready for some heavy music.

 

Less than 20 seconds into my first listen of this barn burner I very nearly shoved my computer off the desk to call it a “fake ass mother fucker.” Jesus Piece comes out hammer-in-hand to smash your eardrums with 2 songs in the aggressive beatdown style they've come to be known for; while Malice At The Palace bats clean up, fresh off a full length LP, with 2 of their own breakdown laden tracks.

 

Both of these bands earned their reputations in the scene hard and fast, turning the heads of young show goers and garnering respect from the older set with brutality on records as well as the stage, and these 4 songs are a continuation in that vein. Jesus Piece has been busy touring their asses off, so to get some new tunes from them is great! It's also rad to see a band like Malice push out 2 additional tracks not long after releasing a full length to show us just how hard they're working – which gets mad respect from me!

 

Both bands nailed it on this one and Bridge Nine continues their killing spree! Out now… I recommend you pick it up, you fake ass mother fucker.

 

https://bridge9.bandcamp.com/album/split-10

 

-Josh Derr 

CHEECH “OLD FRIENDS” 7” EP

(WTF Records, Released April, 2017)

 

Run, don’t walk, errrr, I mean Google this band; Cheech. You will not be disappointed. Need a good album to start your summer? Pick this up now. Cheech from Boston, Mass…. Seriously, it has been a long time since I started and finished a new album and was ready to run on repeat for a while. Cheech’s “Old Friends” is that one. And check this out…..the EP is the original four songs plus four more hard ass “bonus” cuts. Why have I not listened to these guys before? No fucking excuse.

 

When I first heard it, I was drawn to the vocals. I started to make my comparisons to Blood for Blood and Sheer Terror. A mix of raw emotion, beatdown and angst that destroys any suckers that would enter the pit unprepared so brace up. The first four songs (“War of 84”, “Outta Time”, “Jumped The Shark”, “Old Friends Die Hard”) are from the original vinyl 7’ version of this release and fucking knock. No stupid ass lyrics or whiny vocals… only hard breakdowns, group vocals and a groove that floats between thrash, Oi!, hardcore punk and some metal. I am a sucker for cover songs and the ode to lost friends, “Old Friends Die Hard” (Bulldog Courage) does not disappoint. Shit, there’s even an instrumental here. Dafuq?  Again, I listened to this and knew I was lucky to catch a winner to review. Looking forward to the opportunity to see these guys sometime given the chance. I am kicking myself for not having experienced this band earlier. Don’t make the same mistake. Remember you don’t support the scene if you don’t support your local scene!

 

https://cheech.bandcamp.com/album/old-friends-ep-2017

 

-J Spec

HCPP FANZINE ISSUE #1 (Released May 2017)

 

When you purchase a zine, you don't always know what you're going to get content-wise. There may have been a particular interview or feature that drew you to that issue, but the author's taste and inclusions might not fully corroborate with your own. Not so with HCPP Fanzine #1, where you know exactly what you're in for: an entire zine reflecting on the legacy of Carl The Mosher, told by the people who knew him best, and some of us who only knew him a little bit. This is an ingenious and well researched project, especially for someone not based in the US to have assembled. It's also a good reminder that if you don't do something in hardcore, someone else will. I've been meaning to finish transcribing a Carl interview from 2006 and release a special issue with its contents, but now I'm thinking of incorporating the results into a future Double Rabies instead.

 

Anyway, it's also important for someone to tell Carl's side of the story. Over the past decade we've witnessed a concerted effort to minimize his contributions on Wikipedia and the like. Many bands have undergone legendary beefs and partings, but I still back the fuck out of all three Twilite Records releases, including the unauthorized Icemen contribution. Sometimes it's up to the younger generation to weigh in on how one's musical output will be remembered: and not just remembered, but imitated and referenced until it imbues a later lexicon, based on the quality of the songs that remain.

 

HCPP Fanzine #1 opens with an interview with Daniel Derella from Underdog regarding Carl's stint in the band, and is followed by conversations with Justin Flemm, Ed Sherry and Ilko Nechev of Dynamo. If you've ever heard the M13 – “Path Of Perfection” demo, it makes sense that it was recorded in Carl's mom’s kitchen, though that conclusion may be influenced by the poor quality of my MP3's. The second half of the zine contains shorter anecdotes by 40 different people, kicked off by Freddy Alva and featuring everyone from Ray Cappo to Bob Riley. The contents range from general remembrances and descriptions of Carl’s mosh prowess to genuinely humorous vignettes. These quotes are roughly arranged in chronological order, leading off with sources who attended shows with Carl back in the day, and ending with some younger aficionados from the modern era. 

 

My favorite stories are too good to spoil here, but a car related tale is particularly notable, as is the revelation from Craig Setari that Carl played semipro baseball in Puerto Rico. I mentioned something to Carl once about him living in Andy Pettitte's hometown and asked if they were neighbors. He laughed and said that out there, everyone is neighbors, but I wish I’d had the opportunity to talk baseball with him more frequently. And speaking of discerning taste, I was struck by multiple younger people in the zine who mentioned Dynamo. Growing up I haven’t seen a lot of Dynamo enthusiasts in my time, but I’m glad these songs are finally getting their due, along with the more widely renowned Icemen material.

 

This is a half-size, 32 page zine with a NYC themed layout, including an old style transit map on the back, which is also where each copy is hand numbered. While the layouts are clean and orderly in the first half, my only criticism is that that the background in the second half can be slightly distracting at times, which is ridiculous coming from me, since my own layouts in my own zines often have way too much going on. My only other request is for Edo to produce these in slightly larger print runs. When I started writing this review, the second press was already sold out, and I was unsure if people reading this would be able to procure a copy. Luckily a third batch has recently been produced, plus I believe there are still a few copies being distributed in the New York area.

 

Contact: edohcpp@gmail.com or Instagram.com/edohcpp

 

-Becky McAuley