In 2014 Bane released “Don't Wait Up”, an album billed by band members as the final act in their collective story.  What followed the record's release was a 2 year long farewell tour in which Bane circumnavigated the globe twice, criss-crossing continents in what was lauded as their absolute "final backward glance" at the legacy of one of hardcore punk's most sentimental bands.  The tour culminated in their final 2 shows to sold out crowds at the Palladium in Worcester Mass in June, 2016.  Rumors and speculation soaked that final run of shows in 2016, with many fans feeling a sense that Bane couldn't truly be finished. 


It's now June of 2023, and having played just one show in the interim; a tribute show for the late Stu Maguire, Bane is back. With 1 return show announced and selling out almost immediately, a second show was quickly added, marking a kismet parallel to their 2 final dates in 2016.  Having secured tickets to both nights, I drove up to Boston that Saturday morning.  With a few hours to go before the show, I linked up with a friend of mine.  He had gone up to Boston with several people from PA, VA, and one who had flown in from Oregon to see Bane with the same friends he'd been going to shows with for so many years; a fairly clear example of what this band means to so many.


Since this isn't the first time Bane has thrown in the towel only to pick it back up and go another round or 3, there was a pinch of cynicism around this reunion from the "told you so" crowd, who for nearly 7 years have been saying Bane couldn't stay gone and would be back.  I'm not mad at ‘em for being right, but I think deep down, even those of us who believed it was done and dusted years ago knew that something else was coming. 

Immediately upon arrival I was struck by just how long the merch line was; it snaked up the stairs and through the crowd upstairs, a few hundred people long if I had to estimate.  I guess Michael Jordan is more popular with hardcore kids than I realized. I sort of meandered around checking out the venue and getting a sense of the place - the Roadrunner really is a great venue - very well planned out with great sound, good airflow with fans and AC to keep it cool inside, several bar areas, and most importantly, bathrooms, plenty of clean, spacious bathrooms.  In all honesty it felt a bit too sterile of a place for a hardcore show.


In the most appropriate way possible, Bane kicked off their comeback with "Swan Song".  Shit, the whole place felt that one for sure.  In between songs, there was a palpable anticipation for whatever note was going to be struck next, and a swell of electricity that would humble the most seasoned touring bands as each song started.  Although I was right up against the stage for most of the set, my thoughts kept pulling me out of the moment, back to the last time I saw Bane on that "final" tour in 2016 at the First Unitarian Church in Philly.  I fucking sang and dove my ass off both nights, convinced that would be the last time I'd get the chance to party with one of my favorite bands.  But here I was in 2023, and it was all happening again - in fact, it's going to happen again at This is Hardcore in August, Furnace Fest, and several other dates Bane has announced as well.  It almost felt like we'd been played for our emotions - but I think that's digging in a little too deep, and would be an unfair analysis of a band that just wants to start playing music again. 


Still, whatever thoughts I had in my addled brain didn't keep me from clawing my way over scores of people just to simply to grab a microphone and shout 2 or 3 words of "Speechless" to then front flip back onto those same bodies I had just emerged from.  I swear to fuck, stage dives are the best form of therapy the universe has to offer.  Go get some. The first night was rounded out with "Calling Hours", and it couldn't have been any more fitting to see the likeness of Stu Maguire lifted up above the crowd.  This was equal parts a welcome-back and loving tribute.  


For the second show the venue was a bit less full.  The large, mostly concrete hall felt a bit vacant; at least since having seen it packed out the previous night.  Even so, the crowd gave as much as they got, so the vibe was still on point.  It dawned on me that despite the better part of a decade having passed since the last time I saw this band live, it didn't feel like it.  Whether through the nostalgia of the songs, the faces in the crowd, or the familiar panic of having your hat kicked off your head by a rogue diver, Bane's return felt like a hardcore class reunion.  Although I may not have been hit by the holy spirit in the way I was at The Church in Philly some years back, Bane made their decision to resurrect, and I'm glad to have made the pilgrimage to get a glimpse at the second (third? fourth?) coming.


(Epitaph Records, Released May, 2023)


Drain is a hardcore band from Santa Cruz, CA that’s been leading the charge for West Coast hardcore amongst the new breed. Their fast, thrashy style has drawn comparisons to Suicidal Tendencies, Strife and other Cali classics, but with an influence from surfer culture that definitely seems to be shockingly underexplored territory for a genre obsessed with skateboarding. The two seem like such clear compadres to me that I wonder why it hasn’t happened sooner. Drain has gained a reputation for their high energy, exciting live shows and fun loving attitude! In many ways, it’s a breath of fresh air to have a hardcore band whose main selling point is having fun when the genre is renowned for being dark and dangerous.


Like many who will read this review, my collection of physical media ranges from NYHC bands yelling about gang violence to vegan straight edge bands screaming about animal slaughter and drug overdoses and don’t even get me started on Neglect! I like my gritty “real” music, but when the band on stage tells you that we’re here to have fun, it’s kinda nice that one of them really matches that vibe with their music. Drain first appeared on my radar before the pandemic when I encountered a two song demo that featured surf rock riffs in mosh-riff driven hardcore songs and cover art that looked like the Street Sharks on Bandcamp. I ended up seeing them on Long Island not too long after that and they really impressed me.


They had announced their signing to the legendary Revelation Records that week and their stage show was a testament to why they belonged there with such legendary acts as Youth Of Today, Gorilla Biscuits and Chain of Strength. About a year or two later, they dropped their debut full-length “California Cursed”, taking the hardcore world by storm and thoroughly kicking my ass in the process! When they made the jump to the even more influential Epitaph Records and announced a follow up album, I was excited and so was everyone else. Hype was through the roof and Drain’s unstoppable upward trajectory from the touring band playing to 50 people at Shakers Pub in Oakdale, NY to selling out the 1000 cap Brooklyn Monarch and billing high on fest dates was truly spectacular! And that brings us to date with their new record “Living Proof”. Seems like a long intro for a popular band many of us know, but I figured it was good context for my thoughts on the new record.


Most hardcore bands when they get to this level of popularity go in one of two directions: They try to appeal to the metal crowd or they turn into a pop punk band. Drain has opted to do neither as they stick to their guns on this new record. However, this “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it mentality” does come with a risk that the material may become stale. This leaves me with some slight mixed feelings on the record. As far as the actual album, it gives you exactly what you want. It’s bouncy, energetic and at a brisk 25 minutes, will never outstay its welcome. It’s to the point like all good hardcore. It’s filled with lyrics about either self-improvement, like the song “FTS (KYS)” about killing the toxic parts of yourself that drag you down or the title track about proving all the haters wrong about you, or songs about fakes and posers to be cut out of your life for the crime of being two faced, like on “Imposter” or “Watch You Burn.” There’s an interlude track featuring Shakewell which consists of a rap song that leads into a traditional hardcore mosh intro, and I actually prefer this to “California Cursed’s” equivalent track “Hollister Daydreamer”, as that song is an ominous acoustic piece while this one I think fits Drain’s vibe a lot better. This album is definitely a continuation of Drain’s infectious energy and positive outlook. Their vocalist Sammy is still probably my favorite part of Drain’s sound as the record leans into his large personality and cartoonish (in a good way) voice. He feels like a hype man that’s been tasked with fronting a band, he’s got the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. The downside to this is that the record is low on surprises. It feels a little safe and like Drain is very much staying the course. The only song that surprised me was a cover of the Descendents “Good Good Things”, as it stood out for sounding much different than the rest of the record for its more melodic sound and clean vocals. It was a very solid cover and it was the only true left hook that Drain threw at me on the album.


“Living Proof” is an album that will please Drain fans quite a bit and it’s definitely a good record to throw on your morning jog playlist. However, if you were hoping for some adventurous sonic evolution from Drain, you won’t find it here. It’s a decent follow up to “California Cursed”, and while it doesn’t feel as special to me, it’ll still deliver a fun time for anyone who’s into crowd surfing on a boogie board. What I will say is that Drain truly shines in a live setting for me and as such, I think the songs will sound better in that environment next time I go see them! Click HERE for literally everything you need to listen to or purchase this album.


-Riley Hogan 

FAHRENHEIT 451, CRAZY EDDIE, ENZIGURI, OVERSTAND @The Meadows, Brooklyn, NY June 10, 2023

"It's a celebration bitches". This show at The Meadows in Brooklyn was not your ordinary hardcore get together as it was in essence a birthday party for Lenny Bednarz, a long-time NYHC scene member who recently turned 50 years young. Lenny's list of bands he has been in includes Without A Cause, Well Excuse Me Princess, Dominican Day Parade as well as the last two bands on this bill in Crazy Eddie and F451. Making the door price only 5 bucks and ensuring it was an all-ages event helped gain a few more bodies in the crowd although the latter was hardly needed with an audience that was made up of people who probably get AARP junk mail sent to their homes on a regular basis. 


OVERSTAND from Arizona was a nice surprise on this bill. They have Todd Hamilton from District 9 on guitar who along with Fahrenheit 451 were pretty much inseparable at times during their late 90's heyday as they shared bills, members and weed like one big happy family. Todd has been in Arizona for quite a while and played in the highly overlooked Broloaf with Overstand singer Ben Barnes. Good, fast hardcore with some gang vocals and nice breakdowns is was what we got out of Overstand on this day. Check out their debut 7 song EP which came out in February HERE.


ENZIGURI were up next. These guys have sneakily been around for over 8 years now and are always a fun band with a good positive vibe... think H20/Gorilla Biscuit style with some Bronx swagger added in. They dropped a new one in called "Sink Or Swim" which will be on a new record they are currently working on. Enziguri are always solid live, today was no different.


CRAZY EDDIE have been featured and mentioned on this site numerous times so if you don't know by now do some homework. Chucky Brown on vocals coming out with his trademark luchador mask tells you that Crazy Eddie is in the house and ready to get to work. The highlight of this set was seeing Armando from Fahrenheit 451 come up and sing his parts on "No Time To Waste" off of Crazy Eddie's last release that came out last June. A new 5 song 7" on Rockin' Rex Records is in the works so keep an eye out for that as well. 





FAHRENHEIT 451 were one of the most unique bands involved in the NYHC scene in the 90's throwing all sorts of influences into the blender on the way to producing multi-layered freshness that bangs just as hard today as it did then. Although they are not on the full blown reunion thing by any means it is great to see them come back with 4 of their 5 members with longtime friend and scene drummer Lou Medina sitting in these days behind the drum kit. Shout out to Coldfront! On top of that they debuted a brand new track called "New Year" which will be part of an upcoming 2 song release the band has planned with recording happening in July... the band's first new music in over 20 damn years! Birthday boy Lenny did the lead vocals for their cover of Fugazi's "Waiting Room" while Enziguri's Davey Hooligan did Myk Rivera's (District 9) spot on "No More Promises". I don't know how often F451 got together to practice ahead of this show but they sounded tight with no signs of rust on their wheels. As their set moved on the crowd kept getting a little closer, and a little more involved culminating in a really energetic stomp out for closing track "Afraid". Soon after Fahrenheit's set was over a "50" pinata was brought out along with a wiffle ball bat as dessert was soon served to the hungry hardcore folk that came out to see one of NY's old-school gems that still have plenty of shine on them. -CW




(End Hit Records, Released June, 2023)


Dave Smalley, Dave Smalley, Dave Smalley, Dave Smalley. On the real tip, the review could pretty much end right there. If you don't know then just use the Googler you sniveling shits. I don't need to list his resume to let you know that this guy has been at it for years with no signs of slowing down and that he has been breaking ground at the forefront of the music we love and many of its branches. The guy has pretty much engineered genres.  Mr. Smalley is back with his melodic hardcore troop featuring fellow East Coast punkers Tom McGrath, Garrett Rothman, Tony Bavaria, and Jim Bedorf. This is the second full length for Don't Sleep. Their last full length "Turn The Tide" came out in 2020 right while the world was going to shit.  It's a good LP and the feedback they received got the fellas to give her another go, so into the studio they went and popped out eight new tracks and a particularly tasty and earnest cover of "Runnin Down A Dream" by the legendary Tom Petty (RIP) and the Heartbreakers. I'm a sucker for a cover and this one rips. So yeah, Dave Smalley, great musicians, fast and melodic hardcore, what more could one want? I know, you fuckers want it all. So let's ramble about a couple of the tunes stuck in me noggin.


"Harrisburg Graves" running 2:46 kicks off the album and my list of earworms I want to shout out to. This one rambles in on a wild drum roll and then gallops down the melodic hardcore highway. Impeccable guitar work along with matching rhythm sections create a seamless union. Take notice of how meticulous this recording is. You'll get some whoa-ohs-ohs, and at around 1:35 a surprise quasi breakdown to allow for a little dance floor expression. Smalley says, "Now this is a ghost town", I think we can all relate in some way to the sentiments behind this song, well if you've had any longevity in the scene you can. "Outside In" at 2:46 arrives on some feedback and high hat smashing and rolls out another catchy AF melodic tune. "Take a look, don't stare at the lights, It's not too late to make it right".  I find myself singing along quite a bit with this record. I love the bass on this song and again the recording is insanely clean. "Time To Fight" clocking in at 2:45 is my third earworm and wraps up the release. I like this tune because, you know, fighting. Seriously though another beautifully played song. Each guy is just bringing his own thing and it all works so well together. There is no shortage of catchiness on this release yet each song has its own entity and the music doesn't blur together but it does blend, making the release one of those records you listen all the way through, every time. Good tunes abound, whether it's a not so subtle nod to Gen-X on the song "Generation" with its refrain of "Ready, Steady, Go" or the Elvis Costello/General Public vibes of "Love Is the Suture" or the Hot Water Music"ish" "20/20", there is no shortage. Of course the cover is placed perfectly in the middle which balances it all out. Don't sleep on Don't Sleep… come on... I had to… ahhh, fuck you!


There ‘ya go you fusty clotpoles. Melodic hardcore at its finest. Great both lyrically and musically. I was just reading the release and now I get it. This was produced by one time hardcoremins and Grammy, yes, GRAMMY nominated producers McFarland and Slovak. This gave Smalley and crew access to the best of the best and the collaboration turned out a complete success. Now if you had told me that beforehand, I would have been very skeptical… I mean it's not shocking news that Grammy and hardcore don't usually go hand in hand and are rarely if ever used in the same sentence, but then again we live in the age of Turnstile motherfuckers (Baltimore Represent!)  Now if you'll excuse me I have to go check in on all things ridiculous within our beloved scene on the Instagram. The drama and the struggle out there is REAL. Now will you puh-leez get the fuck off my lawn? Find this on Bandcamp or Spotify with 12” vinyl and CD’s available through End Hits Records.


-Core Junkie


(Metalville Records, Released May, 2023)


I was deep asleep, dreaming that it was 1987 and I was back in Freschester County, New York plotting out my tri-state area show map with colorful pins, to see which of the plethora of amazing upcoming shows my cronies and I would be attending. I had a fist full of flyers and Anthrax cards and the choices were endless. It's the closest to a wet dream I get. I was rudely awoken by my cat Wayne Rooney who decided to "knead the dough" aka my left ass cheek, with his razor claws. I noticed, there on my bedside table, was a package from IEHQ. I read the brief. The first full length from Kings Never Die hailing from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, so far so good. KND features dudes who have played in accomplished and ripping bands such as Wisdom in Chains, Biohazard, Dog Eat Dog and motherfucking MUCKY PUP!!!  Speaking of tri-state area bands and bills. There was a certain time when if you lived in a certain area, it seemed like Mucky Pup were on every show. My friends and I loved them and I don't think they get the historical props they deserve. I'm using my soapbox to throw a little shine. Now I digress because Kings is not any of those bands, it is its own beast and what we have here is 10 hardcore punk rock tunes delivered by a band of dudes who bring their vast experience and expertise to the table and lay it all out there for us to consume and judge. Onward we go into the tunage.


The first thing you're gonna notice is how fucking polished and amazing this sounds. I know I like my shit about to go off the rails. However for this band, for this release and for this brand of the core, it's perfect. I know I usually tell you 10 songs in X amount of minutes, well, I couldn't do the math because I'm too lazy to activate the calculator app and I have ADD.  My point being, I wasn't kidding, this is an album of anthems. Most of the songs are on the heavy side of three minutes, but none sound long. Let's just get this out of the way up front. This sounds amazing and these guys sound clean and tight as shit. Since this truly is an album of epic cuts, I'll do my usual highlight of a couple three of the earworms that stuck with me.  The first one happens to be the first one, "Stay True" running 3:26. This blueprint for hardcore life kicks off with a cool bass line then a toasty guitar lick and the song starts bouncing down the hardcore road before it quickly shifts gears and steps on the gas and heads down galloping core way.  There are several shifts in this song and you will be bobbing your head along with all of them. A positive message to kick things off. The next song that grabbed me was "Make Them Anymore" clocking in at a stealthy 2:22.  I dig the vocal stylings here and the way they deliver the title line. This song will have you rocking  but then there's a breakdown that will make you stage dive off your porch and mosh the shit out of your mailman. It's one of those slow brutal ones that gradually gets faster so as to whip the miscreants into a frenzy. It should be great live. Like the song says "I want more". The last song I will ramble a bit about is the final song, and yes it's an anthem. "Side By Side" is a beefy 3:48. It is a friendship anthem, a unity anthem, something Warzone might sing. I like the message here and the method of delivery. This song has a unique structure with the potential for massive sing-a-longs. I dig the underlying background vocals. There's even a sweet guitar solo thrown in for good measure.  A fine way to end the album. There are many really good songs on this offering. "All The Rats" is an intense instrumental song. "This One's For You" will give any street punk outfit or Misfits clone a run for its money in the WHOA OH OH department. I'm not sure why but it also makes me think of what a hardcore Coldplay might sound like. Not an insult. Yes, it's another anthem. Most LP's have one. This one has numerous.


So there you have it. Kings Never Die. If you like big hardcore like AF, SOIA, Wisdom, Terror, and even H2O with a little more whiskey and a little less corn syrup. This is a solid line up for this group I believe is a continuation from their last EP. This is a solid album from start to finish. Go buy it and check them out if and when, ya dig? Do kings never die? I'm not sure, but I do know there was a coronation recently for that inbred, ears like jug handle having, posh ponce, Charles. Now that mumsie finally kicked the bucket that absolute tool and his gender neutral partner Chameleon Balls are actually going to be King and Queen... yikes. So here's an idea you lowly subjects. It would be a bloody good time for y'all to play chase the paparazzi or take a jolly good walking tour of that tunnel between England and France. Say hello to the ghost of Diana, pip pip cheerio, and get the fuck off my lawn! Click HERE to check out “All The Rats” on Spotify and for more info check out KND’s own dedicated website.


-Core Junkie

INCENDIARY “CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT PAIN” (Closed Casket Activities, Released May, 2023)


Incendiary is a band that needs no introduction at this point. Hailing from New York’s golden suburbs of Long Island, where both me and our head honcho Chris call home, Incendiary is a band that gets respect from even the hardest of city heads who previously wrote off most of LIHC for not being as ‘hard’ as the city hardcore bands. Since 2007, the band has carved their own uncompromising path to hardcore popularity by never touring, playing little more than weekenders and one off dates until their run with Glassjaw last year, and putting out some of the most generation-defining hardcore albums and splits with some of modern hardcore’s heaviest hitters. Incendiary was some of my first experiences in a sold out 200 cap venue, and one of the first of the heavier more metal influenced hardcore bands I listened to when I was in high school, when “The Cost Of Living”, an all-time favorite of mine, came out. I remember the album cycle for their last album “Thousand Mile Stare” vividly and the exciting shows they played. Every Incendiary record has been a home run, with each one better than the last. It’s safe to say my expectations were high for the new one!


Incendiary comes out swinging with the title alone, “Change The Way You Think About Pain”. Truly one of the best album titles I’ve heard in a while. It’s ominous, dark and I would soon find out that it summarized many of the album’s central themes nicely. It sets the tone for what’s in store with Incendiary’s most haunting and apocalyptic album yet.


The album starts off with a bang with the lead single and opening track “Bite The Hook”. The ominous metallic riffing and the chorus of background vocals build up an atmosphere of anxiety and distress which compliments the lyrics Brendan is singing which seem to discuss constant failure and self doubt. Probably some of the most instantly relatable lyrics I’ve heard so far this year with the chorus of “It never stops or goes away, I rip the weeds from my garden every day” really driving home the themes of constant toil and struggle.


The second track “Jesus Bones” continues the darker tone of the album. I’ve heard Incendiary play this song a few times before it was released, in fact I saw them debut it on their tour with Glassjaw last year. The main riff of this song is so dissonant and sour in a way you’d expect from a chaotic hardcore band like Deadguy but the song still sticks to Incendiary’s tight groove-driven guns. Absolutely incredible song! The other two singles “Echo Of Nothing” and “Lie Of Liberty” continue the political themes we’ve come to expect from Incendiary and they’re angrier than ever! With ”Echo Of Nothing’s” cries of “Every window deserves a brick” as well as the following track “Host/Parasite” chanting “We will steal, we will ache, we will starve, we will break!” Incendiary wants you to know and understand that they’re out for blood. “Lie Of Liberty” is a song that calls out American Nationalists, the types of people who enthusiastically support the police, form militias and openly cry for and sometimes even commit violence against political protestors they disagree with. With what I’ve seen over the past few years of loyal dogs of the US government posturing as somehow “anti-establishment”, the message of this song is something I can get behind. I can also get behind the subtle shoegaze influence of this song, with the dissonant and airy rhythm guitar and a guitar lead that’s rare in hardcore and definitely references something more melodic but equally noisey like Dinosaur Jr. Given that Brendan was wearing a Slowdive shirt the first time I saw Incendiary, I’m not as surprised as others may be, but it’s a nice touch to Incendiary’s sound.


Getting into some of the deeper cuts, “CTE” opens with one of the heaviest mosh riffs I’ve heard this year and when the song gets going, they really lean into Brendan’s famed rap-like vocal flow. “Collision” follows that up by ending the song with the sick breakdown instead of opening with it and the apocalyptic guitar chords that build up to it truly get my adrenaline pumping! The song closes with one of my favorite lines on the record: “I’d rather die than give a fucking inch!” But if you wish to discuss scary mosh pit songs, “Rats In The Cellar” is an entire song of fight riffs punctuated by reverb soaked vocals and samples of what sounds like a riot in the background. This song is all kinds of chaos that keeps the record driving forward at a point where many other bands fumble the ball and start to lose steam. The penultimate track, “Satosha (Illusion Of The Self)” features a rare frenetic performance from drummer Dan Lomeli, with the opening crashing of tom fills and blast beats sounding more like something from a Dillinger Escape Plan record compared to his usual tight and controlled grooves and it stands out in a really cool way. Over this technical drum performance are these foreboding descending guitar riffs that sound like something off an old school death metal track from the likes of Morbid Angel or Deicide. The breakdown on this track is easily the most insane on the record with whammy pedal screeches elevating this track to a Defcon 5 level threat to anyone standing within striking distance of the pit! The frustration and anxiety of the lyrics add to the track’s intensity as Brendan describes white knuckled attempts to scale impossible mountains that serve as obstacles to his goals. The track ends with a huge riff that swings in an almost bluesy fashion and adds to the songs’ eclectic and diverse palate.


The title track closes out the record with Incendiary’s longest song to date, only a few seconds off from being a square 5 minutes. For a lot of other bands that’s not much; but for hardcore standards, it’s borderline progressive rock. It kicks off with a similar speed and ferocity to the previous track that drives all the way until the halfway point of the song, though this riff trends closer to Incendiary’s more obvious influences like Indecision, V.O.D. and 108 than the metalcore and death metal inspiration on the previous track. At that point, there’s a beat changeup and the track moves into this second section that calls back to the spacey Deftones-esque metalgaze of “Lie Of Liberty” earlier on the record, fading the record out on a chilling final note. It’s rare that the long closing track is my favorite track on the album as most bands overdo it with 10 minute songs that are boring, overdone, and not to be played live. Incendiary could play this song live and I’d be excited about it! I was instantly impressed with this song and it wraps up the album beautifully.


For one reason or another, to be frank, I found a lot of new music underwhelming outside of a handful of reliable heavy hitters and a few exciting new bands. Incendiary has put out one of the few albums that made me feel alive this year. Track for track for track, they deliver and even exceed my expectations! They strike a rare balance between updating your sound and retaining the formula that’s proven to work. They bring meaningful lyric content and channel the cathartic release that I came to the hardcore scene desperately seeking when I was younger. Incendiary continues to be everything that has ever been cool to me about hardcore music and I can’t recommend this album enough! Click HERE for a very thorough tree-link that will lead you down an Incendiary rabbit hole to the music, merch and more.


-Riley Hogan 


(Wasteland Productions, Released May, 2023)


Born in Queens NY over 40 years ago the legend of Urban Waste carries on in 2023 with the release of "What Else Is New?!" which contains 11 tracks; 9 of which are brand spanking new with one of UW's unofficial anthems in "Waste Crew" and the mosh inducing "Who Won?" both getting makeovers on this beautifully produced slab 'o wax. The production really jumps out here as I've never heard Urban Waste this clean and polished and it sounds incredible. As with all of the new music UW has put out since ramping back up over a decade ago their new songs stay true to what the band started out as back in the early 80's despite guitarist Johnny Waste being the lone member from those early days. Singer Josh Waste and drummer Stooley Kutchakokov along with their newest member Vinnie Carriero on bass absolutely slay at delivering breakneck speed hardcore with tons of hooks, choppy beats and sing-a-long parts to keep the 20 plus minutes of play time here fresh and vibrant from start to finish with Johnny adding in some frenetic leads along the way as well. Standout tracks include "Too Baked To Skate" which is a salute to Murphy's Law, "Be The Change" (sung by bassist Vinnie) which pays respect to another UW bassist in Andy Apathy who passed away in 2002, the urgent "Carbon Copy", and "Pressure Mounting". "What Else Is New?!" is a well put together old-school hardcore punk album with a modern feel thanks in part to that previously mentioned slick production job courtesy of Sabella Studios which apparently burned down and relocated to Long Island since this record was completed. Urban Waste has limited 12" vinyl copies that you can cop direct from them. For streaming options including Spotify, Apple, ITunes and Deezer click HERE.




(RTF & Daze, Released April, 2023)


Out of New Jersey comes Bayway, with their EP “The Newport Sessions”. The band identify as rap infused hardcore, along the lines of Fury of Five and E-Town Concrete. The EP dispenses three tracks of top level hardcore/hip-hop, along with a short intro. “Corner Store”, the intro, gives you no indication of what you are about to be hit with. When the machine gun opening kicks off, followed by singer Jay Way shouting out “You’ve been took, motherfucker!” from the second track, “World Of Suffering”, you know you’re about to get your ass kicked hard by this band. And this song does just that. From hard moshable riffs to furious drumming and perfected with a mix of hardcore and death metal vocals, this song epitomizes what tough hardcore should sound like. I couldn’t stop playing this song while I wrote the review. The third track, “God Forgive Me” is where the band adds the hip-hop element and are joined on vocals by Stikman from Fury Of Five. The vocal trade-offs between Stikman and Jay Way flow naturally, giving the impression they have been doing this longer than this one time. The band does a great job on this song by giving it that 90’s hardcore/hip-hop sound, yet making it sound relevant in today’s scene. The guttural death vocals towards the end are a nice touch too. “Cease II Exist” finishes off the EP with another taste of the two combined music genres. It’s faster, especially in the vocal department, but it pumps you up quickly and leaves you wishing there were more tracks to listen to. If you are having a bad day or lack any motivation to start your day, throw this EP on. If it doesn’t change your mood for the better or uplift your spirits, then you’re probably dead. Let’s hope they do a full length record next time around. Available on cassette through RTF and Daze… follow this link-tree for more info.


-Dave Cafferty


(Triple B Records, Released May, 2023)


Never Ending Game bring their A- game with beatdown fury and much more with their latest album “Outcry” and it sees the Detroit band maintaining their high energy hardcore over the records eleven songs, which take in a number of different styles throughout the duration of the album.


Those styles include a welcome abundance of catchy melodies, which are right at home alongside some truly killer grooves and they even throw in a few metal guitar flourishes in there too, and it’s all topped off with some truly huge breakdowns and a vibrant energy throughout. This mix of different hardcore (and beyond) styles really adds up to an enjoyable listening experience and Never Ending Game have upped their game on “Outcry” for sure.


From the opening rush of Outrcry’s title track onwards, the highlights on this album are plentiful and include the vicious “Never Die” (which features guest appearances from Justice Tripp and Sam Trapkin of Trapped Under Ice/Angel Du$t), the brilliantly titled and brutal “Hate Today… Die Tomorrow”, the anthemic “Tank On E”, the non-stop hardcore vitriol of “Victory”, the melancholy but triumphant “Goin’ Thru Some Things” (which has echoes of Suicidal Tendencies classic “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow” and ends on a beautifully heartbreaking note and the death metal meets hardcore stomp of “Fire Of The Heart”, and that is just to name a few from an album packed full of similar highlights.


In keeping with the energy that is brought all through the album, “Outcry” commences perfectly with the epic and atmospheric “Something Wrong” and it is clear that Never Ending Game have created a collection of awesome songs with this album,  with a number of different musical avenues explored throughout its duration. “Outcry” is an album that shows off the power of the music of Never Ending Game, and is packed full of different influences and styles, all of which are delivered with passion and energy which ultimately results in a vibrant and vital album. Find this on Bandcamp or Spotify with CD and 12” vinyl copies available through Triple B Records.


-Gavin Brown 


(Released May, 2023)


Sometimes the task of a simple review can be tricky. The chore itself is quite simple. Listen, think, listen some more, think again and write. But do we all want to be considered for judgment after one moment, one listen? I would suppose not. I’m ranting here, but trust me, there is a point. Critiques, particularly record reviews, could be based on the output of an act, the sum of the parts, not simply one example. This is what I keep going back to when listening to the new EP from Chicago's Wrong War. Before we continue, full disclosure. I’m a born and bred Chicagoan so bias is inevitable and expected. Moving on. Wrong War is born of a solid pedigree consisting of members from the bands Current, Ottawa, Calvary, The Phenoms, and Salvo Beta. Wrong War’s foundation consists of melodic hardcore punk (or is it hardcore with punk stylings?) with politically charged lyrics and a dose of rage best suited for youngsters and upstarts. Wrong War issued two solid LP’s in 2020 and 2022, respectively, full of melody, aggression and classic hardcore influences. Not as chaotic as Black Flag, but with threads of 7 Seconds and Fugazi while representing the best qualities of said bands. Their newest EP “On Further Reflection” continues the same trajectory as their earlier releases, but with a more defined and mature approach. The riffing is more detailed and creative, while not allowing speed and angst to smother a well written song. The opener “On Further Reflection” blends the successful elements of 7 Seconds, Fugazi and DC hardcore with a tempered approach. “The Call” picks up the pace with more melody and speed leaning toward Dag Nasty and hints of Rites of Spring. The closer, “Darkness Flag Unfurls”, ends the EP with an urgency similar to Good Riddance. While “On Further Reflection” independently is a solid effort, when considered as a part of catalog, it makes perfect sense and continues the creative evolution of a band. Upon first listen (see what I did there) I wasn’t as thrilled as I was with previous Wrong War recordings. So, I went back, started from the beginning and listened to their discography and it kind of clicked. This is a great EP that shows a natural progression from a band that is steeped in talent and tradition. The title, “On Further Reflection,” works perfectly within their catalog. Expert craftsmanship, well constructed songs with a refined delivery. That’s the Chicago way. Listen to "On Further Reflection" on Bandcamp by clicking HERE


-John Tekiala



I got to review Drop Off Point’s last self-titled EP back in July of 2022. I remember they are part of the New Zealand hardcore scene, are influenced by NYHC music and I loved the EP. I was happy to see they were still together and have released a new record. This time around, their sound is tighter and musically, they have grown as a band including adding a new singer in Mikey Walker. The songs are well-written, sung with conviction and I love the New York vibe in their music. “People Die” comes out swinging and sets the tone for the EP. The lyrics are angry, dark and powerful, making it such a great song. The lyrics, “It might not be the end we want, but it’s the end that we deserve” impacted me in an enlightening way. “Papamoa Alleyways” is a fun sing-a-long about the old days of drinking, brotherhood and good times. “Rat Race” opens with a Hoya Roc introduction and rips into a riff that would make Madball proud. This track screams NYHC through and through with its tough sounding vocals and broadcasting a hard edge NY sound. I loved this song the first time I listened to it and it went on my workout playlist immediately. “Bridge City Crew”, the title track is an interesting song about the New Zealand hardcore scene and the band’s roots. It’s likable and will have you singing it in your head for the rest of the day. “Hamtown Smakdown” finishes up and is a cover song by an old New Zealand hardcore band called Vendetta who Drop Off Point’s guitarist Bones Carter joined in the late 90’s. This rousing anthem shows the kind of commitment that Vendetta had to the hardcore scene and it is pretty cool to see Drop Off Point breathe new life into it especially considering Bones played with Vendetta in the late 90’s. I would love to see the band release a full length album and tour North America. Support underground hardcore because this is where the future of hardcore lives and you get to discover great bands like Drop Off Point. Check this out on Spotify.  


-Dave Cafferty 


(Convulse Records, Released March, 2023)


Gel is a hardcore punk band out of New Jersey that has been taking the hardcore world by storm recently. From a massive US tour with High On Fire and Municipal Waste to two sold out record release shows in New York City (one in Brooklyn, one in Queens), the band has been seeing exponential growth in the past few years. In fact, I feel like they weren’t nearly as big pre-pandemic as they are now and it seems that they’re poised to get bigger. As such, it only makes sense that this is the time to drop a new album of fresh new material for the fans to get stoked on, that record being “Only Constant”.


I’ve seen Gel live numerous times and they put on a good show, but I have to admit, I had severe writer’s block with this review. Between the time I accepted the job and the time I finished the closing track, I felt that I didn’t have as much to say about the record as I thought I would. I was slightly underwhelmed in a sense. I feel like recently, we’ve had a wave of bands that brought more nuanced and diverse sounds to the traditionally meat and potatoes, thrash and bash hardcore table like High Vis; or other bands like Missing Link that are just so unrelentingly pissed off that you can’t sit still while they’re playing; or Jesus Piece who is highly adept at doing both of those things simultaneously. Gel is definitely pissed off, but they stick to a much rootsier approach to the genre. There’s only so many ways to describe 3 chords and angry lyrics for me. Sometimes, it’s just self-explanatory to the listener whether the band did it right or not. In many ways, that’s the point of hardcore and punk rock, to have that everyman appeal. Sometimes that comes at the cost of a record being one-dimensional.


That’s not to say that “Only Constant” is devoid of creativity or originality. I like the ominous guitar riff and furious drumming underneath the chorus of “Attainable”, as well as the noisy guitars on the opener “Honed Blade” and the slow mosh part in “Snake Skin”. Gel’s drummer, Zach Miller, was the recording engineer on this record and he made it sound really good, with deep sludgy bass, punchy drums and a tasteful amount of reverb on the vocals and distorted guitars. There’s a lot of lyrics about cutting out toxic influences from your life that I think are well written and I think that many listeners will connect with those lyrics. There are lots of things to like about the record.


As far as things I don’t like, the track “Calling Card” comes to mind. There’s a lot of 90’s hardcore CD’s I have which include an interlude track or hidden track full of phone calls from friends, fans and sometimes even haters. “Calling Card” is one of these. While sometimes, these tracks are good for a few funny quotes (listen to the Disembodied/Brothers Keeper Split for an example), I personally, mostly find tracks like this annoying and they tend to feel like filler. “Calling Card” is hardly an exception as I’m not really sure what these voicemail ramblings add to the theme of the album and while its 2 minute runtime wouldn’t be considered overstaying its welcome on other records, it’s actually longer than 95% of the songs on this album. However, I will give the song points for mixing things up with a cool hip-hop beat underneath it that adds a much welcome variety to this record at the halfway point. The album closer “Composure” unfortunately also represents a pacing failure to me. The song slowly fades out into static, which is a common way to close an album, especially in loud styles like punk rock and hardocre. However, the fade out takes up nearly two thirds of the song. The song is only 3 minutes long but it’s the longest song on the record so much like “Calling Card,” it feels like it drags considerably despite its seemingly innocuous length. On an album that only runs 16 minutes in length, there is no time for filler. I understand in such a famously to the point genre as hardcore punk, that it’s often a struggle to fill the runtime of a full length album; however, I wouldn’t have docked them any points for cutting one or two of the longer tracks. One of my favorite hardcore records of the past decade is “Unsilent Death” by Nails and despite having 10 full songs, that album is even shorter than Gel’s album, clocking in at a blink and you’ll miss it 14 minutes!


Overall, I’m a little bit ambivalent about this record. I think a lot of it sounds one dimensional, which is a common issue with hardcore and punk music, and I think some of Gel’s attempts to add variety are a mixed bag. Some of the curveballs I really liked, some of them I was bored by. I do have to give Gel credit for crafting an instantly recognizable sound and I especially have to applaud their drummer, who I think has a bright future recording and producing this kind of music. I think he has great instincts for what punk rock and hardcore records should sound like. I also do appreciate that their singer got personal with a lot of the lyrics on this album as I’ve always felt that this music is great for raw catharsis. I think diehard fans of Gel will find what they’re looking for on this record, so don’t let me deter you if you think you’d like this record. For me, I think it’s just okay. Follow this link-tree link for all of your Gel needs including streaming, physical copies, show tickets, videos and more!  


-Riley Hogan


(Backbite Records, Released May, 2023)


By A Storm are from Oldenburg, Germany and consider themselves old-school hardcore. This is the band’s third release and first full length album. They have videos for the songs “Get Inside”, “We Carry On” and “Beware Of The Underdogs” off this release which can be seen on You Tube. Overall, this is not a bad record. The opening track, “Modern Men” through me off a little because the vocals don’t coincide with the rest of the album. It sounds more like something along the lines of a Champion or a Carry On song, which doesn’t coincide with the rest of the record. The majority of the other songs are sung with a deeper, raw and grittier voice and reinforced by a harder sounding band. It’s a good song, but they would have been better off to open with the follow-up track, “We Carry On” to get the listener’s attention and pull them in right out of the starting gate. It’s a harder, edgier song and gives you a better idea what their sound is about. Other noteworthy songs that fall into this category and showcase the band’s harder side are “Believe”, “Friends Like You”, “Hate Squad” and “Rebuild”. Any of these songs could be found on any hardcore lover’s playlist. “Get Inside” is a dose of high speed ferocity and will get stuck in your head after one listen. “Too Late” and the title track “Beware Of The Underdogs” are a couple more durable songs with a hard edge, but have a Terror feel to them when it comes to the choruses. If you need a short blast of fast and intense hardcore, look no further than “Divided We Fall” which is 49 seconds of true old school hardcore. “I Defy” is a fitting song to end the record, as it sums up the band’s diversity throughout the album, instead of coming across as another generic sounding hardcore band. The singer’s intensity throughout the record is a big plus and is supported by players who are in it for the love of hardcore. This is definitely worth adding to your collection. Follow this link-tree for more info including how to get this on vinyl or compact disc. For streaming check out their Bandcamp page.


-Dave Cafferty


(Upstate Records, Released March 2023)


"Stronger Together/Women Of The Pit" is a new CD/digital compilation featuring 16 bands from around the world who all have female members or are made up entirely by female members. The global reach here is incredible with the bulk of the bands coming from the US of A but also represented are; Poland (Unbeaten) Canada (Alien Boys) Indonesia (Disobey) Peru (Tomar Control) Scotland (Bratakus) Ukraine (Death Pill) and, Argentina (Punicion). Adding to the pro-woman theme here is the fact that all profits from this release will go to Global Fund For Women, an international organization that promotes gender equality in over 150 countries.


"Women Of The Pit" comes out swinging as the first 10 minutes really show the diversity that lies within as Poland's Unbeaten deliver a heavy but catchy ass beater of a track in "Love Means Loyalty" before NY's Kartel deliver a catchy street punk anthem in "Punaladas". Vancouver BC's Alien Boys follow with the infectious "Night Danger" with its Misfits like feel before Disobey straight outta of Medan Indonesia drop in "Lantang Menentang" which gives off Comeback Kid feels. Although this comp leans a little towards the punk rock side of things it does have a little something for everyone with bands like Kirkby Kiss, Concrete Ties, Death Pill and Punicion delivering up more of the heavier crunch style while War On Women, MAAFA and Necrotic Society drop their own unique styles in to add to this releases diversity.


Overall this compilation is well thought out and presented. The flow of songs separates the different styles of punk and hardcore and the mastering courtesy of the legendary Don Fury lays an even field with no sonic peaks or valleys. Physical copy compilations like this one seriously need to make a comeback as I found a half dozen bands that were not on my radar and probably wouldn't have been had this not been put out. I have come across my share of digital only comps in recent years and there is just something about having a real deal copy in your hands. Get this in your hands today! You can find this digitally through Bandcamp or through Upstate Records for compact discs.




(Flatspot Records, Released April, 2023)


Scowl out of Santa Cruz California are one of the hottest names in the hardcore scene right now and with the release of their new 5 song/10 minute "Pyschic Dance Machine" EP the momentum they have been building should keep growing as this new one sees Scowl dive deeper into areas they merely dipped their toes in on with their previous effort. Scowl's rise can be attributed in part to their relentless tour schedule, a fashion minded as well as versatile singer and what seems like wave after wave of merch that often steps outside of the standard color palettes and designs used by many hardcore punk bands. Scowl keeps it fresh in more ways than one.


In late 2021 they released their debut album titled "How Flowers Grow" which when broken down was catchy straight forward hardcore along the lines of Negative Approach, Breakdown and Sheer Terror. The lone "monkey wrench" track thrown into the mix was the amazing "Seeds To Sow" which sounded nothing like any of the other tracks on that release complete with saxophone and lead singer Kat Moss showing she can more than hold her own in the vocal department on a track that you could just vision getting some run outside of the hardcore/punk realm. Showing an affinity for this track Scowl placed it smack dab in the middle of "How Flowers Grow" and it was wildly popular with the music video currently at 90k views on You Tube.


With "Pyschic Dance Machine" Scowl holds on to the core foundation (pun intended) of what they have already built but also add in layers of 90's-esque alternative rock to the mix that isn't necessarily that surprising of a move considering the positive reaction to "Seeds To Sow". Opening track "Shot Down" pairs both old and new Scowl together with fast hardcore blending nicely into a catchy chorus. The title track is up next and is one of the two tracks getting some extra attention with its mid-paced, alt-rock/radio friendly style that comes with an accompanying music video which you can view HERE. I applaud Scowl for taking some chances and broadening their horizons but for me this track is good but not all that special. The track to track diversity here is intense with "Wired" flipping right back to full on hardcore mode while "Opening Night" is the second of the more "alternative" tracks with its bouncy upbeat feel. This one is super catchy and I really dig it while at the same time I can see people either pointing the sellout finger or pulling Scowl in for a giant embrace depending on their take. Landing a spot on the mainstream Coachella fest, previously opening for Limp Bizkit and merch collaborations with Pabst Blue Ribbon point to the fact that Scowl is open to taking their music outside of the hardcore/punk world which can be like opening a can of worms in an ultra-protective music genre . “Sold Out” finishes things up with a minute and a half of angry/raging Scowl and pretty much divides this EP down the middle with 2 songs falling under the “newer” style, 2 under the “older” style and the opener which is kind of a mix of both. The Scowl story is far from complete though as I feel this is just the start of a musical progression that could see a Turnstile like ascension in their future. Will we view “Pyschic Dance Routine” in 5 years in a “hey remember when Scowl used to be a hardcore band” type of way or will they just take their current mix of multiple genres and refine it to create something unique and potentially groundbreaking? The future is unwritten ladies and gentleman, tune in to find out. Find this on multiple streaming services including Bandcamp or on 12” vinyl and cassette through Flatspot Records.



(Safe Inside/Heroes And Martyrs, Released March 2023)


Ill Communication come to us from the small mountainous town of Tehachapi, California which is tucked away well inland and over 100 miles Northeast of Los Angeles. The band's recorded history dates back to 2017 and consists of quality but short releases. Compared to their previous work; "Doomsday Brigade" at 11 songs in just over 20 minutes is the musical equivalent of sitting down for a big meal on an empty stomach and is just the type of release this band needed to garner more attention outside of their home area. I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this album a few months back and I am not exaggerating when I say I have listened to "Doomsday Brigade" start to finish in excess of 30 times now. 

In a recent interview we did with Ill Communication frontman Andy Franchere he stated that "the mission was to do an album and not a collection of songs thrown together" and that there was a calculated formula to the type and length of songs to write and how to sequence the record. While deep diving into Ill Communication's debut full length those very aspects came to the forefront even before the interview happened as there is an obvious flow here with the first 3 songs "Forever War, Forever Ill", "Neanderthal Nation" and "Flip The Switch" all being mid-paced groove oriented tracks before the trio of "Well Represented", "Soul Brains & Guts", and "Audio Algebra" introduce more of the speed element without losing the previously mentioned groove which runs throughout this album. "Doomsday Brigade" is also a family affair of sorts with 7 of the 11 songs having guest vocal appearances from friends of the band from various musical backgrounds. These little nuances help add to the album's fresh feel and flow with no stale moments along the way as this is a play start to finish type of album which can at times be hard to track down in the hardcore music genre. The band went into the recording process with 17 songs demo'd but trimmed things down to accomplish their mission of putting out a well flowing album. 

Things wrap up with "The Ill Deal"; a friendship song that pushes the narrative of making time for friends and hang out time no matter how hectic your schedule or life may be. "What's the deal? It's ill to get time!" Ill Communication's ability to throw all of their influences into a blender and not come out sounding like a rehash of all those bands is their true superhero power. Their eclectic range of influences lists Beyond, 7 Seconds, Retaliate and Praise as a teaser but deep down I can't help but think what these guys' record collections must look like as East Coast to West Coast true hardcore punk flows throughout the veins of this amazing album. Find this on multiple streaming services by clicking HERE. 12" vinyl is available through Safe Inside Records with CD and cassette versions available through Heroes And Martyrs with the CD version containing all of Ill Communication's previous releases. 




(Flatspot Records, Released April, 2023)


Bad Blood may be a new Buffalo hardcore band, but the members are no strangers to the world of hardcore. Comprising of Scott Vogel of Terror, along with guitarists Eric Ellman and Mason Hutchins of Violent Way, bassist Greg Vinal of Exhibition and drummer Nick Terlecky of Violent Way, these veterans deliver on their first EP, entitled, “The Bad Kind Decides”. Whenever I see a band with Scott Vogel in it, I know right away I won’t be disappointed. Whether it’s a new Terror or Buried Alive record, or any one of his other projects, you are guaranteed it is money well spent. Bad Blood is no different. The guitar feedback and riff intro of the opener, “716 Bust”, gives you the sense that something is about to go off and it doesn’t take long to find out how right you are. Half-way through the song, the band sucker punch you with a blast of fast, old style hardcore that rattles your brain and leaves you disoriented. “Fear Is All” gives you a chance to catch your breath for about thirty seconds, before the next punch is thrown. Scott vocally destroys the listener on this song; spitting venomous lyrics, fueled by aggressive playing and working the listener up into a frenzied state.


The band continues the beat down of your auditory senses and doesn’t let up a bit with “Lost To Sin”. The sheer speed and intensity the song is played at, coupled with fierce and brutal sounding vocals would stir a riot in any mosh pit. “Apology Denied” takes you back to the early days of Terror, something that would fit nicely on the “One With The Underdogs” or “Always The Hard Way” records. It has that raw L.A. hardcore sound Scott and company started back in the early 2000’s. The video on You Tube for the song is even shot like the early Terror videos, giving one the impression he is giving props to his roots. On the last song on the EP, “The Bad Kind”, the band mixes NYHC and Boston hardcore and create a unique sound of their own on this one. It’s fast, energized and leaves you wanting more of the same. I can see this being a strong candidate for their next video. From the opening track, this EP grabs you by the throat and tosses you around for just over eleven minutes, before dropping you to the floor and leaving you gasping for air. This is hardcore personified. After one listen, you will feel like you went five rounds with an MMA fighter and wishing for more. Bad Blood make their mark with this record and I can only hope they release a full length album in the near future. This should be in every hardcore coinsurer’s collection. Find this on multiple streaming services including Bandcamp.


-Dave Cafferty 


(Triple B Records, Released February, 2023)


I continue to be blown away by the amount of amazing and talented hardcore/punk bands that come out of the Buffalo NY area. The newest band on my radar is Exhibition, whose style is composed of a heavy sound, metallic riffs and vocals that combine aggressive hardcore and at times an almost death metal type growl. Exhibition have put out their debut full length album called “The Last Laugh” and it is impressive. The sound brings me right back to the late 80's crossover; I'd best describe it as a Cryptic Slaughter meets Terror vibe. Having only being around for a few, short years, band members Brett - vocals; Mason - guitar; Goo - guitar; Nick - drums and Greg - bass are no strangers to the scene and to the stage. As I mentioned earlier, I am very impressed with “The Last Laugh” but the three songs that really stick out as favorites are: “On The Run”; “The Fire” and their cover of “Crucified”. Just learning of Exhibition and seeing that they have already played with such greats as Combust, Mindforce and Buried Alive, it's a safe bet to say this band has a bright future tearing up stages and causing havoc on the dance floors. Check this out on multiple streaming services including Bandcamp or head on over to Triple B Records to grab a 12” vinyl copy.


-Chris Beman


(Upstate records, Released February, 2023)


I’ll admit up front that I’m not a huge fan of rap-core or whatever it might be called nowadays. Yeah I liked the classic Biohazard records, but it honestly just didn’t have the staying power of regular hardcore. Why? Prolly because it’s really not my generation's thing and I find that too much of the rap-hardcore crossover stuff is too predictable and too cheesy lyrically. The hardcore side tends to give up too much leverage to the rap side and in the end just doesn’t have the power and energy that hardcore brings. Illmatic is the first band who have made a record with the rap-hardcore fusion that I find works and works well. Detroit hardcore has that grimey, dirty sound that sounds so hard and nasty… AND pairing it up with some equally grimey and nasty hip-hop is a recipe for greatness. These guys have put the time in to make the two genres mix perfectly. The hardcore isn’t sacrificed to make the sound more of an accompaniment for the hip-hop side and vise versa making this record the best of both worlds, No dead spots, or songs you want to skip over due to the tightness and flow to the songs. Find this on multiple streaming services including Bandcamp and on compact disc through Upstate Records.


-Rod Orchard


(MT Records, Released December, 2022)


It's a good problem to have when writing a review and one (or more) song is so good that you’re compelled to listen repeatedly. Like the protagonist in Paul Beatty's “Slumberland”, I'm pre-disposed to listen to the same song 100 times, and here this applies to the last two songs on My Turn – “Modern Life’s Massacre”: "State Of Grace" and "Search For Light." If you manage to get unstuck from those two songs, there is plenty of other great moments throughout the EP.


You may already recognize the vocals from Apostolis’s other projects Ghetto Gospel and The Big Takeover. Like with Ghetto Gospel, there’s something about the riffs that reminds me of PA hardcore, plus elements of Madball, Snapcase, Path Of Resistance and the End It demo woven into the mix. While I’m digging the riffs in opener “Indian Eyes” and the well-constructed title track that follows, I like the last four songs the best. Track 3, “Breaks My Heart,” is the first song I can think of that rhymes “cliché” and “passé” which is a welcome respite from hardcore’s ubiquitous “friend/end” pairing.


Raw lyrical themes are threaded throughout the EP, including on “Anguish And Pain” up next. The two last tracks are both highlights: “State Of Grace” abounds with creative flourishes and short moments that you wish would reappear later, but that’s part of the magic of this release that nothing is overemphasized. “Search For Light” is your last chance to mosh, featuring head-nodding riffs and a well-placed China cymbal. Skip the anguish and pain of missing this one, and search for the whole thing here on Bandcamp.


-Becky McAuley

TORENA “EVIL EYEZ” (Daze, Released March, 2023)


I got to tell you folks. In my opinion, a lot of the new releases that have been coming out post COVID have been phenomenal. My guess is that America finally got out of its “emo” phase just before lockdowns hit. Then you throw that mental health nightmare into the mix, and you have yourself some angry, aggressive new releases. One of these releases just found its way into my inbox. I am talking about the new EP from California hardcore outfit, Torena, called “Evil Eyez”. I knew I was going to like this one the second I looked at the cover.


Right from the opening chug riff, “Bleed” hit just right. Just moments after the rest of the band joins in, singer Julien Urias jumps right in with his strong, throaty vocals, thus demonstrating a full-blown assault on your auditory system. Aside from the heaviness, there is groove and some good breakdown action here… a very good way to open an album, if you ask me. Next up is track two, “Stand Your Ground”. Right from the opening snare hits, you know this is going to be one hell of a song, and it is. Packed with groovy guitar chugs from vocalist Julien and Dante Demons, this song is just as heavy as the first. With a slow breakdown and a stomp part at the end, this song just rocks. Then comes, “I’m Still Here”. It’s fast and furious guitar riffs and snare hits solidify this song as a key player. Then the song keeps up the pace with a nice circle pit riff before an abrupt ending. All of that is packed into a minute and a half.


Next up is track four, “Slave No More”. In my opinion this is the best song on this release. It has a great opening riff, powerful vocals, and a solid rhythm section. Some added bass sludge during the interlude helped make the final ending crescendo even heavier. Then the added metal riffs and slowed ending added many layers of depth to this track. And finally, they close this release with the song “Trigger”. This is another standout track. It has all the elements of a classic hardcore banger up until the ending which fades into a reggae jam before ending. All in all, this was an impressive EP. The artwork is awesome, the production and quality of the recording was excellent, the music was killer, and I hope to catch them this year if they come to the East Coast. Find this on multiple streaming services including Bandcamp with CD’s and other merch available through Daze.


-Brian Espitia

FINAL STRUGGLE “JOIN THE RIOT” (Released January, 2023)


The best part about writing music reviews is you get exposure to bands from overseas you’d normally never hear about. When I think of Italian punk rock, I think of Raw Power and the impact they made on the punk/hardcore scene back in the day. Final Struggle puts Italy back on the map with the release of their EP, “Join The Riot”. The album offers seven tracks of sheer, hard-edged punk/hardcore, with a little metal thrown in to keep things interesting.


The EP kicks off with an instrumental intro that lets you know you are about to get your ass kicked by some serious hardcore players and it sets the tempo for what is to come. When “Unnecessary Surgery” follows up the intro, you are drawn in immediately to the intensity this band brings to the table. From the quick off the mark drumming, to the mosh-worthy guitar riffs and edgy bass playing, this song is the blueprint of a great hardcore track. Not to mention, the band is fronted by a maniac vocalist who breathes life into every song. “Egocide” keeps the attack raging forward with a slow and menacing upsurge, before slamming your senses into overdrive and making you want to smash something or someone. The band changes things up on the next two songs, “Willy (Fly Free)” and “Join The Riot”. This is where they showcase their metal influences and combine them nicely with their punk and hardcore roots. I could see the title track being the band’s last song at a show, whipping the already exhausted crowd into one last aggressive frenzied pit. “New Idol” is like an upcoming tornado. The slow build-up of the intro is the warning sign, before you are hit with that opening riff that throws you into the middle of the storm, until the song slows down again and the tornado passes. The band ends the EP with an ominous outro, signaling the end of a first-class record. This EP has everything you look for when seeking out new and worthy hardcore punk music. The drummer is incredibly talented and plays comparable to the style of Matt Byrne of Hatebreed and Nick Jett of Terror, two of the best hardcore drummers in my opinion. This is a record you will listen to over and over again and appreciate a little more with each listen. And mad props to Matteo Boschini for one of the sickest album artwork covers. It sums up Final Struggle’s music and message. I for one would love to see this come out on vinyl. Check it out on Bandcamp or Spotify.


-Dave Cafferty


(Trip Machine Labs, Released December, 2022)


The golden era of NYHC demos hit its apogee around 1988 or so; it seemed that every time I walked into Some records before/during or after a Sunday matinee at CBGB’s, there was always a freshly copied TDK/Sony tape with Xeroxed covers from some new band awaiting my eager ears. The newly released At All Cost “Nothing Comes Easy” LP compiling their ‘88 and ‘90 demos is a prime example of those days. The pre-requisite intro jam, personal (but not emo) lyrics, that “Yonkers bounce” a la Raw Deal/Breakdown coupled with youthful enthusiasm that reminds me of what, at its core, what it all meant: it was music played by teens meant for other teens in a very specific geographical location. Listening to these recordings brings back me to those salad days but one need not have come from that era to enjoy the raw sonic fury of these crucial jams. Click HERE to find this on Bandcamp or HERE to grab one on 12” vinyl through Trip Machine Labs.


-Freddy Alva


(NMZ Zine, Released November, 2022)


Ozone from the Lone Star state hook up with Chicago’s New Morality Zine for their latest release entitled “Hard Core From Fort Worth Texas” and it is a vibrant and energetic listen that showcases the power of the band nothing short of effectively. As the title of this album proudly declares, the band are from Fort Worth, Texas and of course play hardcore but it is done with a whole host of punk and metal and even some hip-hop influences thrown in there too to create an intriguing melding of sounds, which are never anything but completely engaging.


Ozone excel in this vibrant mix and while tracks like “Killing Me” and “Stay Away” are nothing but straight up hardcore, the more eclectic likes of opening track “Call The Shots”, the metal tinged “Pushin’ On” and the stomping boogie of “Nothing New” add diversity to the bands hardcore sound. There is a rawness to the music on this LP but it works and gives the sound a proper live feel without sounding too lo-fi and rendering it like some sort of bad quality live show, instead it adds an energetic vibe to the music of Ozone, and the band definitely benefit from this.


Ultimately, “Hard Core From Fort Worth Texas” delivers what it sets out to do and while there are those moments of other styles that creep in and add a wide range of eclecticism to the sound of Ozone, the bands hardcore stylings ring true throughout this record. Whether or not a crisper production would take something away from the band’s sound and vibe remains to be seen… for now though, their sound works well and this album is an enjoyable listening experience that shows off the power of Ozone. 12” vinyl copies from NMZ are currently sold out but you can still find this on Bandcamp and other streaming services. 


-Gavin Brown




LA's TODAY FOREVER FANZINE made a great first impression on us last year with their debut effort and now with their second issue available it's obvious that they are building a head full of steam in the small but extremely dedicated world of DIY hardcore punk zines. Issue #2 contains 72 quality pages armed with both hardcore "smarts" and an amazing layout. The questions within the interviews are well thought out and the overall "look" of Today Forever makes this hard to put down with amazing pictures flowing from page to page. The high-quality print job on thick ass glossy pages gives this a Barnes & Novel type feel... not something you see often in this genre of music.


The lineup of bands interviewed is a mixed bag of West Coast/East Coast (and one UK act), melodic and heavy... with names such as Fury Of Five, Scowl, Angel Du$t, Bent Blue, Nothing, Praise, Chemical Fix, Rejection Pact, and High Vis being the big hitters listed on the cover but not listed are shorter "10 Questions With" interviews with xGateKeeperx, No Plan, Twist Of Cain, Hard Feelings and Big Deal. A show review section including coverage of December's "For The Children" benefit as well as other features entitled "Top 3 Bottom 3" and "Last Call" round out the coverage. Fairly priced at 12.95 considering the amount of content and the quality... shipping will add a few bucks more on. Only 300 copies were made so act fast. Issue #1 sold out and it is hard to think that issue #2 would not have the same outcome. Click HERE for more info.









YO PHILLY, In Effect was in the house! This was the first chance I’ve ever had to see GB live and I bought the 7” when it came out! So, to say that my taint was tickled every time I thought about this trip to Philly to see GB still doesn’t properly describe my level of stoke. Not to mention my first time seeing a show at the infamous “church” in Philly AND a straight up proper Sunday matinee? SHEEEEEEIIIIT, I’m f’n going dude. Joe Hardcore knows what’s up and put together, yet another, epic modern lineup that accentuated GB’s pioneering sound. The venue choice was spot on and thus, graduated this show to the level of monumental instantly upon arrival. This was “night 2” of the GB weekend of shows at the “church”. The First Unitarian Church, built in the 1800’s, is one of those cool urban gothic church buildings that you can tell the builders put tons of love and detail into this community’s place of worship. I was impressed that such an established city church has supported the hardcore scene for so long so I looked up the beliefs of the First Unitarian Church and this is what their general “.com” site says about their “flock”: “Some of our members identify themselves as Christian, while others identify as atheists, agnostics, humanists, Jewish, Muslim, and pagan. We welcome people of all faiths.” That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout. Their co-existence outlook totally corresponds with the flock of hardcore, doesn’t it? Much respect to this church for their understanding and acceptance to our faith. So, if anyone from the headquarters at the First Unitarian Church organization is reading, just go ahead and add us as well so it should read from here on out as “….while others identify as atheists, agnostics, humanists, Jewish, Muslim, pagan, and hardcore.”


So here we are on a special Sunday afternoon service. I walk down the stairs into the basement and the venue opens up at the bottom. It is much bigger than I thought it was going to be so plenty of room for a proper show, glancing over at the sound system, I figured out quickly that this shit is going to be pumpin’. First merch booth I saw was Dead City Records. I stopped by and introduced myself to John who runs it. I bought from him last time I was in Brooklyn for the Triple B weekender in December ’21 and I’ve ordered shirts and stickers from him a couple of times as well. Always cool to see legit hardcore merch at shows. He didn’t have any Xerox zines available at this show unfortunately. I still buy those when I see them. I grew up on those, it was our “internet” back in the 80’s.


First up were local heavies, HARD TURF. My girl, Harmony, flew up with me to see the show and she loves her some Helmet and after a couple of songs of theirs she gives me a thumbs up. Totally tuned down Snapcase/Helmet vibe going on live and doing it well. Great way to warm things up on a cold Sunday afternoon, also added points for Hard Turf for a member sporting an “Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band” t-shirt. 




Second up was DEAD LAST from Long Island. I’ll have to admit I totally slept on their 2021 release on Streets Of Hate and that was quickly fixed once I got back to Florida. Holy shit (no pun intended), these guys were awesome, despite being down a guitarist they had a killer OG/NYHC sound. They decided it was best to keep their set very short, great call guys. 



Dead Last was followed up by COMBUST (Cash Only Records) which we all know at this point for being at the forefront of, what seems to be, a recent surge in OGHC. Are we ready to say “revival” yet people? I’ve seen Combust several times at this point, last time was on a tour stop at an American Legion in Tallahassee, FL in ’22. These guys are just getting better and better, indisputable classic NYHC sound and can hold their own with any of the legends IMO. They threw in a cover of Minor Threat’s “Seeing Red,” nice touch. 



I was also looking forward to seeing RAW BRIGADE again which is another of today’s hardcore greats playing that OGHC stuff I like. Their vocalist (Carlos) always brings it hard live showing tons of emotion and passion for what he has to say. I also noticed Andrew, vocalist from Combust, filling in on bass during the set which was a cool addition.




Up next was NYHC icons, KILL YOUR IDOLS, and this was a much better playing field over the first time I saw them at the ‘21 Triple B weekender in Brooklyn. That Brooklyn show was more of a karate meet and KYI just don’t go that way, ya know? This time they were in their element for sure and totally showed me what they are made of. They’re icons for a reason and I’m stoked I got to witness the reason why this time.




I was having so much fun my face was hurting from my cheesy grin I was sporting all day. I was completely stoked out of f’n mind. All of a sudden, GORILLA BISCUITS were up next, the time went by way too fast that day I just wanted it to keep going. But the time had come for me to finally see the mighty Gorilla Biscuits. Set started off classic with the live horns so you know what kicked off the set. The sound was on point but no matter how good the vocals were in the mix all day; the PA just couldn’t keep up with all of us screaming out every lyric to almost every song. If the plug got pulled on us that night, it would’ve easily been like that Minor Threat show back in the day when the whole crowd just sang along to the backline because they couldn’t hear Ian. People, this experience was spiritual for me. This was just incredible and, yeah, I know, I didn’t get to see them live back when I first “got that attitude” in the late 80’s. But I still got that attitude and GB still preaches it no matter if it’s 1988 or 2023. I got to see one of my favorite drummers, Lukie Luke. The main thing that sealed the deal for me with the early bands like Side By Side, Youth Of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Warzone, Up Front, etc and so on were the drummers. Seeing Luke play GB’s version of Warzone’s “As One” was a treat. GB ended up playing two more covers, Judge’s “New York Crew” and Minor Threat’s “Minor Threat.” Before they played “Minor Threat” Civ pointed out to the flock that if anyone didn’t know this next song then you should just leave the worship service now. Word! All in all, it was the greatest sing-a-long sweat-fest I’ve ever witnessed. Shout out to Pat at Duda’s Distro, he had some choice vintage band t-shirts and records. And it was cool to meet Clint from Nashville who we shared a flight from and back to Nashville over the weekend. He was one of the lucky ones that got to see both GB shows that weekend. Not being able to see Pagan Babies on their home turf the day before was a bit of a bummer but that’s just me being greedy, right? Philly is the real deal. I will be back for another epic lineup Joe puts together ASAP. Thanks to all the bands and event staff that made the show possible.



AGGROS “RISE OF THE AGGROS” (Released March, 2023)


Hey kids. You know that band that all of us old guys loved? That band that changed the game and single handedly grew hardcore beyond what any of us thought it could and would be? That band that made, quite possibly the greatest NYHC record of all time… and quite possibly the most important?  You know that band that blew us all completely away then spent the next several decades doing their best to tarnish that golden space we held them in. The band that took a wrecking ball to the pedestal we put them on. The band that almost became a parody of itself. Well, my oversimplification of their situation coupled with my melodramatics notwithstanding, the one member of that band we really hadn't heard from and the one I personally have been waiting for to get back in the game, Parris Mayhew, has broken his musical silence. Parris does so in the form of an instrumental hardcore project by the name of Aggros with "Rise of the Aggros" being the Aggros’ first “proper” release… a self-released LP… DIY style. This long anticipated release comes in the form of a five song offering. There's colorful vinyl versions, CD’s, downloads, etc. (see links below) Parris does the majority of the heavy lifting on this but has recruited such stalwarts as Chuck Lenihan of the Crumbsuckers who adds sickening lead flourishes on "Chaos Magic", kicking the already great song up a notch or two from the version Parris let us hear when the single and video was initially released in late 2020. Roy Mayorga is also on board, and if you don't know, he has a resume a mile long (including Nausea, Stone Sour, and Ministry), and he adds his powerful skins beating to "Fear View Mirror" an amazing song infused with piano, crazy hooks, and peaceful as a sleeping kitten outro.  Parris recruited drummer Cobz, making his quasi debut to assist on here as well. Cobz is clearly a great choice.


This is the part of the review where my usual shtick is to pick a few of my favorite tracks and write some nonsense as to why I felt this way or that way, yadda yadda. I don't really feel right doing that for this release. In all honesty, all 5 songs on here are epic. The musicianship is next level throughout. Many of us from a certain generation, Generation X, love wide varieties of music spanning decades… oh, and we also love to sit on the sidelines and watch the world burn. I am not sure about the world bit, but Parris has an eclectic and broad reaching taste in music. You can hear a lot of influences throughout this release… everything from Black Flag to Type O to Bad Brains to Rush and on and on. The song structures can give you an aneurysm… but in a good way. It's like if Rush was formed 15 years later on the Lower East Side of NYC. I think Parris is forging a new genre here, maybe Rushcore or maybe Classical Hardcore. I say the latter because I listen to this release in the way I listen to classical music… interpreting each song as it affects me emotionally and thus creating the story in my head. Parris' songs can and will take you on a rollercoaster of emotion. To be honest, after the third listen, I found myself feeling quite relaxed and not tense like many records of the core variety tend to make me after a few spins. Maybe then, this can be considered Ambient Hardcore. I digress, on the real tip though you scumfucks, this is genuine New York Hardcore and by any other name it would sound just as sweet.  You will be taken to church on "Best Destiny". You will sonically traverse the 5 boroughs with "City Kids". You will hill bomb from Grand Central to Washington Square with a smile on your face listening to "Sk8bored Fight".  However, I can assure you of this, the one thing you are not going to get from any of these tunes is any Iron Maiden influence whatsoever… it's completely devoid of Maiden. Zero.


So… I know the kids are freaking out now because they've been informed that this is, in fact, an instrumental hardcore record. They are scared. They need someone to hold their hands and tell them, verbally… that  everything is going to be ok. Trust me kids and don't you fear. Mr. Mayhew was and forever will be the genius and soul behind that band I was referring to earlier. He was their principal songwriter. This cat has some serious skills and he's finally flexing them here for all to see. He is a maestro. Parris is an artist and soundscapes are his canvas (when he is not behind a steady-cam… Go Google it). The listener can create their own meaning to the songs and sometimes that is the strongest bond one can make with music that is not their own. Parris doesn't need someone barking out lyrics, especially on this release. It is totally unnecessary. However, I would be a liar if I failed to admit that I'd love for the next time, if he so chooses for there to be a next time, that he invites some friends to vocalize a couple of his songs. In the meantime I will work on getting Rob Halford to lay down some tracks. While Aggros is something new, one can bridge it to the past while also recognizing that it does follow a logical progression forward.  Even though Parris hasn't made music with THAT band since 2000, if you listen to that stuff now you can see how he arrives at these new grooves.   Yes, there are fast parts. Yes there are danceable parts. However this is much more than that. Each song tells a completely different, complex, and layered story. Yes kids, even without the words. Flex your fucking heads a bit. Of course, after you remove them from your asses that is. Now broaden your minds, grab a board, grab a bike, blast some Aggros thru the air pods mommy put in your Easter basket… and get the fuck off my lawn. This release is not available for streaming. You can watch the videos for “Chaos Magic” and “City Kids” by following the blue hyperlinks within the review above. For vinyl and CD versions as well as merch and more make sure to check out this AggrosNYC link tree with links to everything Aggros.


-Core Junkie  


(Revelation Records, Released February, 2023)


WOWSERS!!! I must've done something right because this time around I've been entrusted with the exalted honor of reviewing a release by the industry standard, Revelation Records. I mean, my 16 year old self has a raging chubby right now, no doubt. I, like many of a certain age… have put Revelations first ever release in the upper tier of American hardcore releases. The release I have been deemed worthy to review on said label is the new full length from Planet On A Chain entitled "Boxed In".   


Apparently this is a band of fellas from the Bay Area who called upon a bro from Austin, Texas to be their front man. They have a few releases, but this is their first proper LP. Upon first look I notice that I recognize the names, in particular, Dave Ackerman. If you've read my reviews you know I am a sucka chump for anything New Jersey. Dave happened to be the frontman of two of my favorite Jersey bands in Dead Nation and Tear it Up. Two excellent fast hardcore bands. I saw those bands multiple times including TIU's last show, of which, the framed poster hangs in the Core Cave (copyright pending). The other fellas from the Bay Area are also seasoned players having been in such bands as Look Back And Laugh, Talk Is Poison, and Dead And Gone among others. Of course I am psyched to dive into this release. Eleven songs, under twenty minutes, I'll comment on my favorites… you know the drill.


First off, bloody fucking hell man, this is the definition of raging hardcore.  You think you know fast and pissed bro? You ain't know shit. I just listened through the entire release twice and I feel like I just got out of the pit at the Anthrax and desperately need to find the Jolt table. For you newer kids it's like I just popped bubbles and grooved the night away to Turnstile.  Anyhow, if adderall were music, it would tell these guys to slow down. The first cut that started to worm its way in my head was "The Keeper And The Kept", on the longer side running 2:28. This one starts with an insane drum roll and just takes off. It has great guitar licks and an interesting arrangement which reminded me a bit of Poison Idea. Then, of course they have the breakdown, which will have you, your mom, and Aunt Sara circle pitting around the dining room table. Seriously, if you don't form a circle pit at the end of this song, you're an asshole. Now I'm gonna jump in the hoop-tie, hit the road, and crank the shit out of "Boxed In", the titular song also running 2:28… oddly enough. This song is more of a mid to fast tempo number. It's as catchy as fuck. I believe there is a video for the song that Rev put on the You Tube so check it. You'll be chugging along with this one for sure. "La Brea Tar Pits" clocking in at 1:17 is a delightful bit of vitriol set to music. Oh boy, this song takes aim and drops napalm on your heroes. I fucking love it. It’s short but has a big stinger... like Kevin Hart. I will also throw in a bonus suggestion in the form of "Corpses", running 1:41. Who doesn't love a song with a message? Unfortunately this song describes way too many people. It's sad but true, and not in a Metallica type of way.


Planet On A Chain have released a blistering slab of fast and unrelenting hardcore punk rock. The band is tight. The pace at which they play is at times ridiculous and seems to come close to going off the rails, but it never does. These guys are pros… whatever that may mean in hardcore. This release has something to please everyone and by that I mean you're sure to find common pissed off ground with POAC. If I'm being honest, Rev has been hit or miss in the latter years. They have sprinkled some gems in there though, Down To Nothing, Forced Order, and Give come to mind.  POAC is definitely a gem and shows that Rev is still in touch. This release will melt your face off. If you like your hardcore, fast, pissed and raw, go get this now, and by go I mean walk into your mom's office, hop on her computer, and buy a copy. You know damn well her credentials are all stored in that Google thing. I don't have the patience or the crayons to explain it to you… now get the fuck off my lawn. Find this on Bandcamp or Spotify with 12” vinyl and cassette versions available through Revelation.


-Core Junkie


(Upstate Records, Release Date March 3, 2023)


It was early 1998 and after having seen this band’s live show once or twice before, I picked up some tickets for their record release party for “At War With The World” down at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ and headed down with a few friends. That turned out to be one of the sickest shows I have ever attended. After an intense set from Candiria , Vision Of Disorder hit the stage to play their set which by the end, had so many people hanging from the sprinkler pipes that one burst, sending nasty-ass, black, non-potable water shooting out all over the crowd. I thought for sure this thing was going to get shut down, but hell no! They shut off the main valve, push mopped 2 inches of water out the front door, and the show went on. When Fury hit the stage, it was just pure insanity form start to finish. I wound up helping to carry some dude out the pit whose knee was “all kinds of sideways”. This show was intense. Now, twenty-five years later, the Fury is back! After playing another crazy reunion show in Asbury Park, the band hit the studio to lay down some new tracks. Those tracks are now coming to fruition via Upstate Records, in the form of a new EP entitled “Half Past Revenge”. The first track off the record was released as their first single “W.A.R. (We Are Ready)”. This track picks up right where the band left off. Bringing the same trademark Fury sound, the energy is non-stop on this track. The sound quality is excellent. That was probably my only complaint about any of the prior Fury releases was that I felt like their previous sound engineers weren’t quite able to properly capture “That Fury Energy” associated with every single show that they have ever played. This release is NOT the case. Crisp, clear, sound with zero “energy loss”.


Up next, is “Feel The Reign”. Bringing the same intensity, but adding some heavy groove, this track hits right. The band just released another banger of a video for this one just days ago as I write this. The video itself makes me want to catch the next flight back to Jersey and hit their next show. “Revenge Doesn’t Sleep” comes at you next. “Revenge doesn’t sleep, motherfucker” is announced at the beginning of the song, just in case you thought otherwise. It picks up right where the last song left off, adding some light singing courtesy of JAMES “STICKMAN” ISMEAN during the slow heavy parts. The band takes it down a notch or two with the next song, “Souls In The Soil”. This song is very slow, melodic, and creepy at first but then, midway through the song, that Fury Energy comes back to smack you right upside your dome and get you moving again. The breakdown on this song gets intense, and the guitar work is excellent. Finally, the band closes this five song EP with the track, “Taste The Steel”. Loaded with double bass, gang vocals, and some sick guitar riffs, this track has that Jersey style groove that is bound to keep the pit moving.


Look, we can sit here all day and talk logistics, but one must experience the Fury for thyself to fully understand what I am talking about. I also want to give mad props to the sound engineers who recorded and mixed this thing, because I feel they were able to add an additional layer of sound quality that was missing from previous recordings. Not to mention the fact that this band IS the real deal hardcore band that most others think they are. I mean this band had Coal Chamber and Sevendust utilizing police escorts to get to their Asbury Park shows in the 90’s. Not to mention the fact that I witnessed their guitar player, literally, take out every single person within a one yard radius of him at The Pipeline one night when a scuffle broke out. Look, moral of the story is… the Fury ain’t messing around. Even now! Find this on Bandcamp or Spotify with physical copies available through Upstate Records.


-Brian Espitia 

FIRE IS MURDER s/t (Released February, 2023)


Leave it to good ole Queens NY to come up with a band like this! Crushing guitars with hints of early Maiden tinged melodies that switch on a dime to some raw metallic crunch. Vocals range from talk-singing to Bruce Dickenson howls and then to John Joseph style aggression (did I hear Manowar in there?) without being any one of them. How can I not like this?? Seriously! Lyrically they’re dealing with suicide, depression… you know, all of the happy things in life, complete with nice tempo changes and guitar soloing that allows them to ride that ever so fine line between hardcore and metal. The metal they inject reminds me of the raw early 80’s thrash metal mixed with the aforementioned Maiden influences, which on their own are great but the way the vocals play off the music is the gem here. Unique in a time when hardcore is so generic and predictable. Just hoping these guys don’t lose this vibe when they get bigger. Find this on Bandcamp.


-Rod Orchard

TAKE MY CHANCES "FOSTEX FEVER" (Released January 2023)


Whether or not they are on a Blues Brothers-esque mission from God, Long Island's Take My Chances decided to put the band back together in late 2021 playing sporadically with promises of new material on the horizon. I am here to report to you today that 4 brand new TMC songs (all 3 minutes and 57 seconds of them) are now available for your streaming and downloading pleasure. This band's initial run started in the mid-00's with their last release coming in 2006 in the form of the "Down Here With Us" EP.


One of the first things I noticed with "Fostex Fever" is the song titles and how random they are which isn't a surprise considering their back catalog is littered with titles like "It's OK Officer, We're Running Late To Practice", "I Just Threw A Heroine Spoon At You", "Grizzly's Hawaiian Dinner" and "Bridge May Ice Before Chorus". On this latest release the title track is a nod to a company that makes recording equipment while "Fire Hydrant Full Of Piranha" is a Simpsons gag and although "Sister Act 3" sounds like another light hearted track it is actually a bit deeper in its meaning despite running just 14 seconds in length. Take My Chances' musical style feels heavily influenced by late 80's NYHC, especially with the first two songs that had moments that reminded me of "LES Crew" era Warzone and Gorilla Biscuits. Imagining one of these short tracks being on an obscure demo that your friend found in an old shoebox isn't really a far fetched idea while closing track "(You Never Want To Breakdown In) Downbeat City" is the lone "long" track here and the one that sees Take My Chances spread their wings some with their most complete track that utilizes melody and some big sounding backup vocals. Overall a good mix that I wish was longer than just four minutes in total length. For the uninitiated TMC are best consumed live as they consistently deliver 20 plus minute sets that are always a lot of fun. This release will eventually be released on 7" vinyl but for now find this on Bandcamp or Spotify.





K.O.T.P. records out of Tallahassee, Florida have released this three way split with Never Had It, Green 80 and Xcelerate. I have always known Florida to be more of a death metal state, but after listening to this record, I now know Florida is alive and well with a hardcore scene.


Never Had It strike first with their two offerings, “Grievance” and “Must Be Nice”. Both tracks pack a punch with their hardcore aggressiveness and do justice in getting this release off on a high note. “Must Be Nice” delivers everything you would expect in a meaningful hardcore song and gets my vote for best track on this split. Green 80 follow up with their contribution of three songs. This is a fun band that has plenty of energy, strong lyrics and a potent vocalist. I already put their “Mind Your Business” track on my workout playlist. Xcelerate completes the trio of bands on the record with two tracks, “Caught Slippin’” and “Can’t Relate”. Right away, Xcelerate come off sounding like a seasoned band, instead of being a newer act. They have a raw, early Boston sound and play fast, frenzied hardcore. The singer adds the finishing touches to the band, tearing through the songs with fury and rage. This is a band to watch for. Overall, this is a sound record. All three groups hold their own and give notice that Florida is the real deal, when it comes to hardcore music. For now you can find this on Spotify or Apple Music with cassette versions in the works from K.O.T.P. Records.


-Dave Cafferty 


(From Within Records, Released December, 2022)


I woke one fine morning, about a week or so ago, and found a music review request in my inbox. I had never heard of this band, but it said they were a relatively new straight-edge hardcore band from Pensacola, Florida. Always on the hunt for some good new hardcore, I said “sure” and started streaming the new full length from Burning Strong in my truck on the way to the jobsite. Literally, blown away from the first to the last riff of this whole entire album! I mean, holy shit! This album is pure gold from start to finish. Having been released very late in the game of 2022, this release is bound to take off like a bat out of hell among the hardcore community in 2023.


They start off with the song, “Outlook”, an excellent opener full of energy with a sick breakdown that catches your attention right away and leads you straight into the next track, “The Torch”. With another super heavy breakdown containing harmonics, this song immediately becomes another winner. They then launch into the third track, “Divided” which describes the current state of our country in complete turmoil. With a positive message and heavy, but audible vocals, singer XXXXX shows us exactly what he’s got on this song. His vocal style displays influences from Strife and even Shai Halud and fits perfectly with the band’s hardcore sound.


The band picks up the pace a bit on the next song, “Red Hands”. With its fast, circle-pit sound, I was quickly revved up by this track and wanted to go completely ape shit for the breakdown! At that point, I had to message my guitar player to get him to book these guys over here on Florida’s East Coast (like NOW!) After playing a short acoustic intro, the band keeps things a bit slower paced on the next one, “Fortunate Ones”, yet maintaining a circle-pit vibe throughout the song at the same time. Then, they finish things off with a heavy mosh part at the end. “Insight” is yet another display of great hardcore songwriting. Heavy vocals with a positive message, solid mix of crunch and melodic guitars, a tight rhythm section. It’s all here.


The band hits you with some bass next, to kick off the next track, “Resist”. More circle-pit guitar work full of chugs and light harmonies bound to give you them “hardcore feels” needed to start throwing kicks, swinging arms and what not before the song slowly fades out. Up next is, “Fade To Black”. Probably the best song on this record, this track rules! That opening riff is what hardcore dreams are made of, and the feel throughout the song is unbelievable. They continue the same feel with the following song, “Nowhere Else” which is more of the same formula, yet it keeps the listener wanting more. Just great songwriting here.


Then comes “Erasure”. Another excellent hardcore song with its heavy groove drumbeats, guitar crunch and vocal grit. This song is another standout track with all the common hardcore elements properly maintained. Then finally, they close out this full-length release with the song “Unchained (Here Until The End)”. This is a proper album closer. The mother of all breakdowns happens right here, dead stops on you and totally leaves you hanging, then fades out. Just wow! If 2023 keeps up this kind of pace, it will be a great year for hardcore. If you call yourself a hardcore fan, you should pick up a copy of this one, for sure. For streaming, 12” vinyl, merch and more make sure to check in HERE.


-Brian Espitia

WARGRAVES “GET WRECKED” EP (Released October, 2022)


Well this is a fun one to listen to. Wargraves are a hardcore punk band based out of Manchester, New Hampshire with members of The Caught Flies, Dustcloud, and Ready Steady Torpedo. Really cool raw-ish type punk rawk that has no interest in current trends going on within the underground community. Snotty vocals embedded nicely within the mix. These days it takes effort to achieve raw recordings and most people are more interested in crispy clean sounding releases with big thick walls of low end and beefy monster riffs which is a great way to cover up a band that is most likely in need of all the bells and whistles a big sounding recording has. A new study shows the bigger sounding the band’s recording is, the smaller the band’s metaphoric balls actually are. Yes, I made that up, but for real, Wargraves have laid down some sick tracks that are, for me, calling up some classic bands from the past. The first 4 songs all possess traits of early Die Kreuzen from their self-titled LP, as well as early Necros, a touch of Dead Kennedys, Feederz and the like. The last three tracks switch it up a bit and introduce a possibility of where the band might be headed on their next release with similarities to the aforementioned bands but blended with something along the lines of catchy, dirty, mid-tempo stuff akin to Riverboat Gamblers and Rocket From The Crypt (but without horns). I didn’t have access to any lyrics but the song titles are “Ace Of None”, “Primitive Garbage”, “Scales”, “Cut Them Off”, “Too Many Ghosts”, “Abyss”, and “On Your Hands”. Very refreshing to hear this. Straight up snotty punk rawk with great guitar tones, tight drums, awesome song writing. Not saying Wargraves seem to be “trying” to sound anything like the bands I hear similarities from, but I simply think they pair nicely with all of the bands mentioned above if you’re a fan. Hopefully this will get a vinyl treatment, I’d love to hear an analog version of this. I definitely recommend you take a minute and hit their Bandcamp link for a listen and download. If Spotify is more your thing then we got you covered as well.


-Destin Pledger


(Released November, 2022)


Can’t say I can name one hardcore or punk band to come out of Atlanta, but I can tell you The Aggravated are reppin’ their home town well with their third full length release. Featuring former members of Bloody Sods, Clocked In and Mourdella, The Aggravated resist the urge to go “full metal”, by instead bringing some great bass driven punk that has its share of heavy parts and gruff vocals to get the kids moving on the dance floor. Lyrically they are giving you some of the standard punk themes (“Buy And Consume”, “Murder By The State”) but also have the songs that should inspire kids to cut a rug at the show instead of being the pathetic lazy wallflowers we all hate (“Flip The Switch”). There’s nothing fancy or out of the box going on here, but what they deliver is some great old school feeling hardcore with tons of bass riffin’ and energy. Find this on Bandcamp or Spotify with CD versions available through the band. (Click on the “Whole 9 Yards” album cover art.)


-Rod Orchard 


(Released December, 2022)


Sharp Tongues are a newer band reppin' Gothenburg, Sweden. About a year back they put out a 3 song single and now return with a 4 song EP titled "Good For Nothing". This 4 song EP is an absolute jail break of super melodic hardcore with big choruses and sing-a-longs that are going to get stuck in your head with no plan on coming out anytime soon. With clean vocals, a crystal clear production and a very well-played set of tracks there isn't much not to like if the type of hardcore you like centers/centered around bands like Verse, Ignite, Have Heart, Bane and others that give ya the "feels" while still being undeniably hardcore. While listening to this EP repeatedly over the last month I still find it hard to believe that this is a band that only got together towards the tail end of 2021. All four songs on "Good For Nothing" run at least three minutes and although just 14 minutes in total length makes this feel like a much longer release than it actually is. Find out for yourself though by checking this out on Bandcamp, Spotify or Tidal via this nifty link.




(Slovenly Records, Released February, 2023)


At first listen, “Full Sun” I was heard saying aloud how much these guys must be into Fugazi with the repetition and patterns in their music that remind me so much of that mid to late 80’s Fugazi, fused with Television, Wipers and bands of that ilk without being direct rip-offs. Spitting Image is just great at changing the pace and energy to drive home their poem-like lyrics. Much like the aforementioned bands “Full Sun” boasts interesting textures, twists, and will appeal to those who know their punk history and the great bands that strayed from the well-traveled path of formalistic punk. For fans of Television, Gun Club and the late 70’s/ early 80’s of punk. Stream “Full Sun” on Bandcamp or Spotify with 12” vinyl available (late March) through Slovenly Records.


-Rod Orchard



After writing reviews for the past few years, you get to recognize some of the record labels who give us great bands to check out and I always get excited when I get to review bands on Flatspot Records. Recently, I reviewed Jivebomb and Raw Brigade who are on the label and loved both bands. On this compilation, the label dispenses eleven tracks of straight up hardcore to start the new year off right.


When it comes to compilations, I normally focus on the better tracks and skip a lot of the filler. That’s not the case with “The Extermination Vol. 4” compilation. Every band on this record deserves a mention because there is no filler on this album. Speed gets the momentum started with the amped up “One Blood We Bleed”. The track is hard, high energy and gets you excited for the rest of the record. Check out their video for it on YouTube. The Chisel keeps the energy moving forward with a blast of old sounding English punk, played at a frenzied speed. Buggin’s song, “Attitude” was like a smack to the face… getting my attention and vote for the standout band on this record. Clocking in at fifty-one seconds, the band packs a whirlwind of mayhem into one of the best hardcore songs and is fronted by a ferocious female vocalist. Section H8 tear things up with their track, “Unhinged”, bombarding you with some of the fastest hardcore playing and singing on this compilation. I checked out some of their videos and these guys are intense live. They put the hard back in hardcore. Raw Brigade does justice to the Crux classic, “Keep On Running”. I liked that they kept the raw sound of the original version, yet modified it slightly to have it sound current, even though it was recorded back in 1982. Jivebomb kicks ass with their track, “American Review”. The band combines all the essential elements of hardcore into a 93 second song, clobbering the listener with their fierce, no nonsense approach to hardcore music. End It contribute the song “Familia Finito” (check out the video) a tough sounding and catchy track that I found myself playing regularly over the next few days. Spy ambushes you with “Mob”. The instrumental beginning slowly builds you up, before the vocalist growls into the mic and you are assaulted with brutal hardcore done right.  This band is a dark horse on the record and worth checking out. If you are having a sluggish day and need a shot of adrenalin, Law Of Power’s “Nothing To Show” will give you the boost you need. From the frantic drum intro, to the boiling rage of the singer and everything in between, this song injects you with the energy you need. M.A.D. change things up, leaning more towards a metal sound with “The Axeman’s Letter”. Filled with metal and thrash riffs, hard, fast drumming and a singer who transforms from metal to hardcore effortlessly, you can see how they earned their spot on this compilation. Choice To Make, end things on a high note with their offering, “Tryin”. They incorporate punk, hardcore and metal into one, including some impressive change-ups through the track. After one listen, you can’t help but hit play again.


When I listen to a compilation record and love all the bands on it, I know the label has put in the time and effort to put out the best hardcore music they can. Flatspot Records is one of those labels who give it their all and always deliver superior bands, with no filler. If money is tight after the holidays and you only have a few bucks to spend on music, buy this record. Its money well spent. Stream/download/vinyl & merch can all be found HERE.


-Dave Cafferty 


(Translation Loss Records, Release Date February 3, 2023)


Having been a fan of All Out War since before “Truth In The Age Of Lies” was released, I was delighted to hear that my favorite metalcore band of all time was about to drop a new record. Although they are not a full-time touring band anymore, they still play shows, festivals and also continue to release new music. And that music they continue to release, continues to be extremely heavy. This new record, my friends, is no different. From the opening 4 count of the first track, “Snake Legion”, this record delivers non-stop heaviness. Aside from the AOW trademark breakdown where vocalist Mike Score angrily shouts “We are one!”, they pretty much go full on grind core on this track. Hell, they pretty much go full on grind core throughout the entire record. Although they dabbled in blast beats on previous releases, it seems to have become a mainstay on this record. Take “Glorious Devestation” for example. Blast beats from start to finish, with only a quick rest during another sick-ass AOW style breakdown.


The third track on this release is “Wrath”. Another sonic onslaught that is a bit heavier on the guitar chugs reminiscent of previous AOW releases ending in an evil scream from longtime front man, Mike Score. “Hideous Disdain” starts off slow and very “doom metal” before picking up the pace with a mixture of blast beats and more chugs from Andy Petroluongo and Taras Apuzzo who share guitar duties on this record. The fifth track, “The End Is Always Near” is another perfect example of how AOW went total grind on this record without losing their “apocalyptic charm!” Then track six, “Caustic Abomination”, comes. It’s almost as if they were playing a trick on you while writing the song. They play a slow, heavy riff that makes you think they are going to play a song with a long intro part (as they have done on most prior releases), and immediately launch into blast beats after playing one bar. Like, boom! That escalated quickly. I thought that was quite brilliant, and then the breakdown came. Metalcore perfection!


“Revel In Misery” is an absolute insane song that is almost nothing like your typical AOW track. With the grind core blast beats, insane guitar solos, and creepy bells during the breakdown all mixed in. This song delivers everything to you in one shot. Up next is the title track, “Celestial Rot”. This track has most of the same formulas of your typical AOW song aside from the very low growl that has made an appearance a few times on this record. The march feel of the next track, “Weaving Oblivion”, displays the solid rhythm section that is Eric Carrillo on bass and Jesse Sutherland on drums. And finally, “Horrid Shroud Of Heaven”, closes out this release. Weaving both new and old sounds of AOW, this track is non-stop energy and delivers that eerie, apocalyptic sound that all fellow AOW fans have come to know and love.


All in all this release is well worth the wait since 2019’s “Crawl Among The Filth”. Many have described AOW’s sound as a mixture of Slayer and Cro-Mags. So, if that is the case, then they can now throw Deicide and Disassociate into the pot as well. Find this in full on Bandcamp or Spotify on the February 3rd release date with vinyl, CD and cassette versions available through Translation Loss Records.


-Brian Espitia


(4 Family Records, Released December, 2022)


UK hardcore heavy hitters Borstal return with “No Surrender/Dark Path”, a two track 7” (complete with cracking Mick Lambrou artwork) that sees the band follow up last year’s brilliant “At Her Majesty’s Pleasure” debut with another couple of powerful and metallic hardcore tunes. Since exploding onto the UK scene, Borstal (who feature members of Dripback and King Of Pigs alongside Knuckledust/Bun Dem Out and Rucktion Records man Pierre Pelbu on vocal duties and drumming powerhouse Nick Barker) mix crucial metal and Oi! influences with pummeling hardcore to create a sonic blitzkrieg that takes down all in its path. 


Picking up where their debut left off, Borstal explode again here with a rhythmic intro that detonates as soon as Pierre’s vocals come into play on “No Surrender” with a rousing chant of “Here we go” that announces the chaos that is about to take place. That chaos comes within seconds and shows that Borstal is all about high energy. As the song swoops over massive grooves and tight riffs, it reaches its crescendo with a truly anthemic breakdown at the end. “Dark Path” follows similar ground with a more punk bounce but with the same amount of intensity, resulting in a defiant Oi! tinged Borstal singalong.


“No Surrender” and “Dark Path” feature stellar production from Russ Russell (who has produced albums for the likes of The Exploited and Napalm Death) and the pristine but still raw and energetic sound of Borstal positively bounces out of the speakers as it plays, and the band members parts are all flawlessly played.  With a debut album on the way this two tracker is a perfect way to get your fix of Borstal as they demonstrate their UKHC style as only they can. Keep your eyes peeled as 2023 will undoubtedly be Borstal’s year as their bruising metallic hardcore onslaught just gets better and better. Find this on Bandcamp or Spotify with 7” vinyl versions and merch available through 4 Family Records.


-Gavin Brown

DEFIANT PATH “SPIRIT OF ‘22” (Released November, 2022)


It’s 2022 (well now 2023 thanks to a tardy editor) and bands can be from anywhere in the world and have a sound that originated out of a completely different region of the world from 30-40 years ago if they want AND be able to pull it off. Defiant Path is a brand new band that popped up out of Savannah, Georgia with a sound mostly reminiscent of a variety of styles from the 80’s and 90’s eras of NYHC and straight edge. Defiant Path released their first demo back in March of 2022 and have already made the upgrade to their first EP release. This EP, titled “Spirit of ‘22”, has four new songs and a re-recorded version of a favorite track from their demo. This EP is (was?) available on cassette via Florida’s Armageddon Records and I saw that they have also recently been signed to Force Of Reckoning Records with an upcoming 2023 release now in production.


Defiant Path opens with a short intro bust in to the first track which paints a clear picture of what to expect throughout this EP. I can name a number of bands that might have inspired this opening intro; Cro-Mags, Raw Deal, Outburst, Judge, etc. These guys have done their homework when it comes to style and have managed to add their own flava, along with a very subtle modern twist, that doesn’t clash with the retro sound that they’re going for. Ethan Youth (vocals) has a bit of a Mike Judge feel, mostly because of the intense, bent-browed release of passion he has when delivering his lyrical message. The lyrics give warning that these guys aren’t going to put up with drunk dumbassery giving the lyrics themselves interest to someone with a palate for Mike Judge’s take on straight edge as well. The tracks include quite a bit of the traditional 2-steppin youth crew style breakdowns, so yes, lots of those tribal kinetic tom drums carrying the songs through the slower parts. These guys are good at both the breakdowns and the fast hardcore parts. Everything classic and, at the same time, nothing generic on this release. The last track has some open melodic chords which give rise to a sound that remind me of a mix between early Strife and In My Eyes. If you don’t have an ear for youth crew style or NYHC style then you may think this will sound like a million other bands but if you’re down with those styles of hardcore then this will be some new blood with a fresh take on those sounds. Defiant Path hasn’t just “done their homework” like I mentioned, these guys are living, breathing, and bleeding for this shit. FFO The Rival Mob, Outburst, Judge, Under Pressure, etc. GET ON THIS! Available across most streaming platforms including Bandcamp and Spotify.


-Destin Pledger


(Safe Inside Records, Released November 2022)


As 2022 recently came to an end I looked back at the releases that I was fortunate to review and it was a good year for hardcore/punk rock. With my recent hectic life over the last two months I was unable to get off one last review that ended up being one of my favorite releases of the year. Rejection Pact are a hardcore band from Boise, Idaho who put out a great LP back in November titled “Can We Wait?” Forming in 2017, Devin Boudreaux- vocals; Hunter Wahl- guitar; Nate Spann- guitar; Ralph Mugout-  bass/vocals and Charlie Ritch- drums have a very impressive sound which has been compared to early 2000's hardcore style, which I’ll admit I'm not too familiar with but I think that helps me to really enjoy the band and release without comparing its sound to others. Made up of 13 tracks and a play time of just under 20 minutes, “Can We Wait?” combines an impressive mix of melody, speed, pit inducing breakdowns, sing-a-longs and at times really showcasing their talent by slowing things down such as on track 6 “Western Glitch”. One thing that I have noticed about many of the newer bands such as Rejection Pact is their use of very smart, descriptive lyrics when addressing today's issues and personal experiences. Rejection Pact tackles many of the topics that are staples in hardcore/punk lyrics such as corruption, bigotry and ignorance. My favorite lyrics come from the track “Hallow Ethos”: "You're taught compliance through a history of violence, they've done it before they'll do it again, can we wait?" Three other tracks that really stand out to me are: “Social Murder”, “Collective Will” and “Working Off The Past” which features Kat from the band FAIM who you should check out. Clearly I'm not the only one high on the LP and the band, since Rejection Pact have shared stages over the few short years with some top names such as Madball, Pennywise and Power Trip. I truly enjoyed this LP and as stated earlier it is a favorite of mine for 2022 and I'm sure there are many who can't wait to see what 2023 holds for the boys from the Gem state. For more pertinent information about this band and release please visit this convenient link tree link.


-Chris Beman 

POWER LIES s/t (Released January 2023)


Another quick blast from Long Island NY upstarts in Power Lies. These 2 new songs are available now digitally and are planned to be released as a flexi-7" through Ryvvolte Records this spring. Both new tracks start with ominous intros with "Armored Douche" being the leadoff track of the two. The prolonged mid-paced start has a classic NYHC vibe to it before the rest of this ferocious cop H8'n track sonically shreds your face off utilizing speed, a touch of groove and a less than perfect (which actually makes it perfect) recording. "Speaking In Tongues" also has a fairly long lead in that really builds up the anticipation level before the proverbial shit hits the fan at the 1 minute mark as Power Lies turn on the jets with a super fast burst of speed and heaviness set to a chorus of "stand up, stand up, this is your fight too" before bringing things full circle for a short cool down at the end. Highly recommend these two new songs as well as their three song demo from last January. Up next for Power Lies will be a track on a digital benefit compilation for Sweet Briar Nature Center on Long Island that will come with a zine/booklet showcasing the bands involved. There is no release date as of yet but bands scheduled to be on this compilation include Two Man Advantage, Controlled Substance, Ennui, Devotchkas, Jones Crusher, Terror Eyes, Mad Mulligans, Bitch Switch and more on Dig My Grave Records. For now though you can find the new Power Lies release HERE.




(Released November 2022)


Formed in 2017, San Diego's Corporate Citizen have shown positive growth spurts on each one of their releases but on their latest titled "Failure Is An Option" it is without a doubt their biggest jump to date. This new one delivers 4 songs in 11 and a half minutes and once again lies heavily on their bread and butter which is West Coast style skate punk. Much like how anyone on the planet Earth can hear Killing Time or Cro-Mags and say "this is 100% NYHC" a very similar thing can be said for CorpCit's style which just smacks you in the face with a sound that immediately makes me think "California hardcore punk". "Blind Shark Riot" (interesting title right there) is the standout here running 4 plus minutes in length starting with a tranquil little lead in with the lyric "why do we cling to ignorance in this modern world" starting us off before things get amped up around the 40 second mark. This song is multi-layered and brings you on a journey that will at times have you ball up your fist before letting you down easy as that tranquil intro swings back around for a minute long outro. With any music genre going back to the well too many times can get monotonous and a big selling point on "Failure Is An Option" is the fact that Corporate Citizen mixes things up and keeps the listener engaged with the first minute of closing track "Muddy Gut" being a prime example of this with lesser traces on track three titled "Why?" If you are into heyday era Pennywise or the more current stuff Ignite is putting out I would recommend giving San Diego's Corporate Citizen a few minutes of your day. Check out their latest on Bandcamp or Spotify.



BEG TO DIFFER "DEMO 2022" (Released December 2022)


New band alert! New band alert! Beg To Differ are a 3 piece straight outta the Q-Borough of NYC and this four song demonstration is their first crack at world domination. "Lost In The Thought", "New York", "Written On A Grave", and "Too Late" are the titles here with the band listing Cro-Mags and The Icemen as influences with the latter being the more dominant influence. Combust is a newer name that I would throw into the mix as well. Beg To Differ's style can best be described as straight forward NYHC and is definitely a competent first crack at things but at the same time nothing jumped out of my speakers demanding to be played on repeat all day as well. Having seen a few bands in the past come back like lions a year or two after a standard type of debut demo is nothing out of the ordinary in the world of hardcore punk and hopefully Beg To Differ are the next in line to make that leap. In Effect HC will be here to support them either way cause that’s how we roll. Hardcore for hardcore what the fuck else! Check out their debut on Bandcamp and Spotify




(1054 Records, Released August, 2022)


I am beyond excited to bring you the latest release from Detroit veterans Dogz of War (DOW). Forming in 1996, members: Enzo D- vocals/guitar; Jake Bulldog- vocals/guitar/bass; Jay Clifton- guitar and JesseH8- drums continue to bring you that heavy, hardcore Detroit style on their newest full length release aptly titled “Judgment”. It is important to note that these fellas come from such pivotal bands as Cold As Life, H8Inc and Ramallah that helped mold the area's scene, so you will definitely notice the influences of these bands within these11 tracks. The growling, authoritative vocals capture the listener's attention while addressing such topics as living life to the fullest, respect, being true to yourself and hanging out with the crew. With “Judgment” being my introduction to DOW, I was blown away and as much as I enjoy all the tracks, I found four to really stick out: Track 1: “Judgment”; Track 4: “We Are The Resistance”; Track 7: “United Crew” and Track 11: “The End” (instrumental). Something worth mentioning which immediately caught my eye when doing research to do this review was the commitment and praises to God. This is relevant for two reasons… first is that there are spiritual lyrics throughout the release and secondly it made me feel a stronger connection to the band. I was already drawn in after hearing the tight knit, aggressive sound but now the lyrics were more personal to me and being able to feel and relate to the music/lyrics I think it’s safe to assume is why we were attracted to hardcore/punk in the first place. But of course you don't have to have the same beliefs as the band members or myself to enjoy this must have record. As I celebrate my 7th year writing for In Effect I am thankful to start off with such a great release and look forward to hearing more from Dogz of War and their style that has helped keep the Motor City on the map. Check it on Bandcamp and Spotify with CD versions available through Australia's 1054 Records


-Chris Beman


(Released Autumn, 2022)


DIY ethics with arguably the most professional look you are ever going to find within a zine covering hardcore punk... ladies and gentlemen, DFL #14 is here (and has been for a few months now, sorry for the late review!) 84 pages crammed with interviews, news, reviews, and tons more. Over the course of the 7 plus years this magazine has existed DFL's covers have always done the job of selling or drawing in readers with heavy hitter lineups; in this case features and interviews include Bad Religion, Off!, Rykers, Downset, Lionheart, Rival Schools, Counterparts and Stick To Your Guns. But when you start leafing through this mammoth read you keep finding little tidbits that make DFL what it is. In this case little short articles showing Jimmy G from Murphy's Law receiving a lifetime achievement award (along with a Killer Beer statue!) with another showcasing a NYHC ashtray produced by the folks over at GxBxTx.net. Coverage of the Madball, Murphy's Law, Burn, Cro-Mags JM, Wisdom In Chains show in NYC is another nugget of goodness that isn't listed on the front cover as well as coverage of the Rebellion Festival that was held in Blackpool (2022). DFL is the epitome of the type of zine you keep going back to when you think you've bled it dry just to find another little thing you missed. I must also applaud their wide range of coverage as being based in the UK does not stop them one bit from giving a fair representation of the worldwide hardcore punk scene. From old to new, from East to West and most points in between DFL is a publication that has a little sumfin for just about everyone who holds this music scene near and dear. Click HERE to find out how you can order a copy.



                 WINDOWS DOWN FANZINE #1 (Released Fall 2022)

Windows Down is a new photo zine put together by Long Island based photographer Matt Viel (all photos) and Take My Chances guitarist Hugo Fitz (layout and design). This zine's name comes from the old Silent Majority song off of the "Life Of A Spectator" album that came out in 1997. This issue is half sized with 36 total pages and is printed on glossy pages and is in full color. The quality within issue 1 jumps out at you immediately with both the actual photos as well as the quality of the printing. Matt chose to show some photos "straight up" and are crystal clear as if the band you are looking at is right in front of you while others have these cool edits (Quicksand on page 19 is the one I am really referencing here) that make a zine with nothing but photos more enjoyable to check out. I counted 43 total photos within the pages of issue 1 including shots of bands like Avail, Drain, Terror, Life Of Agony, The Ice Cold Killers, Stand Still, Kill Your Idols, Restraining Order and more.... and the majority of the shots were taken at Long Island venues like AMH, The Paramount, Mr Beery's, Revolution (RIP) and the Massapequa VFW amongst others showing a good smattering of local as well as more nationally known bands. Overall A++ for quality. Whether you put this on your fancy coffee table or in the shitter this will make a fine addition to your humble abode. Click HERE for more info.




(Book by Del Greening, Released November 2022)


Let’s face it… we want to read books written by our favorite musicians that document a band/musicians history dating back into the late 70’s. There are many tales of drunken, drugged up tours/gigs, chance meetings with famous people and the standard “singer left at rest stop” incident. Much like the books “Please Kill Me” and the like, I am amazed that they are able to recount, with input from others present, some of these great stories from decades ago when they were completely shitfaced or stoned. They do, and thankfully so, because it captures what it must have been like to be in the band when punk was its most potent and relevant. Fans of Peter And The Test Tube Babies will get insight as to why former members Trapper and Ogs left, the non-stop of people who replaced them, their consistently changing of nicknames and their insight into their time in the band. “Jinxed” not only covers Del’s time with the Test Tubes but also his time with Flesh For Lulu, various side projects and his time as a stage/tour manager and his recent radio show(s). “Jinxed” comes full circle from wild and drunk punks to being married and a responsible father and person who is happy in their life now. Funny, witty and sometimes VERY honest about life as a musician dealing with success, fleeting at times, and some rather hard truths about other band members makes “Jinxed” a must read for fans of the band and old school punk. This book is currently sold out through publisher Time & Matter Recordings but there are promises of a second edition which is currently in the works. Visit Time & Matter for more info.


-Rod Orchard 


(Upstate Records, Pitchfork, Release Date December 16, 2022)


When John Joseph had time between touring with his Cro-MagsJM and promoting his vegan lifestyle he would bring his on again off again band Bloodclot out to play a handful of shows or in this case, release a new record. “Souls” is the first release since contributing guitarist Todd Youth passed away and features former Quicksand/ Bold/Beyond guitarist Tom Capone in his place along with bassist Manny Carrero (Still Suit, Glassjaw, Burn) and drummer Darren Morgenthaler (Madball, Maximum Penalty) filling out the rhythm section.


I’ll admit that I was a fan of his Both Worlds material back in the 90’s, a lot more than this work with Bloodclot for the main reason that Both Worlds had its own sound to it, whereas Bloodclot has always seemed rather generic and forced. With “Souls” the 6 original songs  alternate from metal influenced core to classic hardcore with some good grooves, simple guitar leads and vocals that range from Tom Arraya (“Souls”) to HR from Bad Brains (“Relentless”) . There’s also the Bad Brains cover “How Low Can A Punk Get” which can be viewed as a great tribute to the band he was a roadie for back in the day and has influenced a generation of bands, including his own. Speaking of covers… how great would it have been if there was a better effort put into the cover art of this record? While you can’t judge a record by its cover, a good one certainly creates more interest than the lackluster effort put into this one, that’s for sure.


Capone’s guitar sound ranges from Slayer-ish metal riffs to classic hardcore and if you listen carefully a Fast Eddie inspired riff in “Relentless”. “Souls” seems to have more Bad Brains influences (“Infectious”) than that from his previous band. Overall it is good to see JJ putting his energy into creating some new music rather than continuing to be stuck living on old glories. Check out three of the seven tracks by clicking HERE or visit Upstate Records or Pitchfork to grab a hard copy and merch.


-Rod Orchard 


(From Within Records, Released November 2022)


New Jersey’s Reaching Out are back with a revamped lineup that also includes a heavier approach as opposed to their earlier releases which include a demo in September of 2020 and the track “Stand Together” which was part of the “A7 Back To The NYHC Roots” compilation in 2021. A 1:17 instrumental intro sets things off here with an ominous groove before “Impaired” kicks the damn door down with some Slayer-esque riffs, double bass drums, and most importantly a killer groove. I am usually not the biggest proponent of the heavier hardcore shit but KK’s vocals laid over this ferocious 1-2 punch lands a haymaker in the first 3 plus minutes of this short EP. Track 3 pulls a page from the old juxtapose playbook (always wanted to use that word in a review) by going from the carnage and mayhem in the previous track to tranquil kittens and puppies as a 20 second guitar picking intro soothes the soul before KK drops a guttural scream. What follows is this EP’s best mosh inducing riff that will get stuck in your head quicker than those old Ricky Martin songs you hated back in the 90’s... upside… inside out...


“Wrong Pace” does a great job of combining a bouncy groove and heaviness with the catchy “the more I learn, the more I hate… I tried to hold out, I tried to wait…” chorus being a prime live sing-a-long candidate before an absolute boot to your ass stomp part hits at the 1:30 mark. Closer “Maya” tells a tale of reflection and anxiety... "can't live beyond the distractions, what have I become? Can't seem to find satisfaction..." and is set to another earworm bouncy track that seems to be Reaching Out's calling card. In a recent interview we did with them they mentioned the fact that it was their parents who helped put some of the pieces of this band together and that right there ladies and gentleman is fucking awesome. Imagining the members of this band being driven around as toddlers while their then 20-something year old parents played Killing Time or Cro-Mags on the CD player of the old Dodge Caravan is just good parenting and here we are at the end of 2022 reaping the rewards. When I caught Reaching Out's set in Amityville back in September I was a bit surprised that they completely scrapped all of their older material for a more metallic sound and after some early on uncertainty I am glad that "What Was Left" exists as it leaves little doubt that they made a wise move. Factoring in Covid lockdowns and their lineup revamp Reaching Out are essentially a new band who have shown a good amount of hustle as they pop up on a lot of local show flyers in the NY/NJ area. Look 'em up, you are gonna like what you find! Find "What Was Left" on Bandcamp and Spotify with cassette versions available through From Within Records.




(Flatspot Records, Released October, 2022)


Out of Baltimore, Maryland comes Jivebomb, a four piece hardcore outfit with the release of their “Primitive Desires” EP. Jivebomb is relatively new to the scene, forming in 2021. This is their first release on Flatspot Records. The first thing I noticed about this EP is its short running time. The record clocks in at less than five minutes long, the longest track being 1:43. Other than that, “Primitive Desires” delivers. After the short instrumental, “86”, which starts things off, you are pummeled by the title track, “Primitive Desires”. Vocalist Kat grabs that first note with hostility and mercilessly bombards you with her venomous vocals, becoming more wrathful with each song. The band plays with frantic precision, making it impossible to sit still while you are listening to it. “Steel” keeps the momentum flowing with a charged and spiteful piece that would whip up any audience into a frenzied state. “Illusion Of Choice” is by far the best track on this EP. Its fast, it’s angry and it gets you fired up. This is something I would play if I were stressed out and needed a release. “Ditz” ends the EP on a high note, serving up another dose of edgy and chaotic hardcore mayhem that could stir up pandemonium at a live show. Jivebomb are the real deal when it comes to aggressive, in-your-face, hardcore music. Click HERE to stream/download or to buy a physical copy/merch from Flatspot Records.


-Dave Cafferty 


(Released November 2022)


Paternity Test is a new band from St. Louis dripping with rage but accompanied by a sense of hilarity that sets a fun, boisterous, and cheeky listening experience. The first track wastes no time blasting off with the urgency of bands like Scholastic Deth and Coke Bust. A couple of tracks on here have a more rockin’ feel to them that remind me of bands like TurboNegro, Zeke, The Dwarves, or Speedealer. The vocals are nice and snotty giving this release some of that animated punk sass especially on the mid-paced tracks where Nathan (vocalist) has more room to show his fangs. When Paternity Test plays fast it doesn’t stick to any particular style, it’s just straight up fast hardcore punk similar to bands on labels like Beach Impediment Records. Personally, I get vibes at different parts of songs that tend to remind me of a modern Germs but with a much tighter sound. Then other times I hear stuff like Government Issue or The Faith (early Dischord). Overall it’s like the contemporary snot-nosed, lunatic grandchild of St. Louis legends, Ultraman. Fun and diverse with plenty of room to grow in so many different directions. Paternity Test is worth adding to your radar. Check it all out  over at Bandcamp.


-Destin Pledger

430 STEPS “LIGHTS OUT” (Released November 2022)


It’s been a little over two years since 430 Steps released their last full-length album; “Citizen Of Nothing”. Having been released shortly before Covid 19, their touring plans and all the momentum they had gained over the last few years in the Florida music scene seemed to come to a screeching halt. With the world on lockdown and the non-existence of live music in effect, this band hit their music studio pretty damn hard. And after a few months of playing shows and reclaiming their place in the Florida hardcore scene, 430 is back with their latest full-length effort, “Lights Out”.


The first track off the album titled “First Punch” is exactly that. A punch in the face. They come out swinging with a fast guitar riff and Nelson’s gritty vocals behind it, before the rest of the band pile on and really do some damage. Slam parts, dance parts, heavy riffs, sick bass lines. It’s all there. Great way to start an album. Up next is “Resistance”. Another heavy hitter with tons of groove that will get you moving. You can even start hearing a bit of sampling that adds another layer of depth without overdoing it. It’s another great track from these Latino punks who started this band in South America (under a different name).


The third track, “Fight ‘Em Back”, has a very cool intro with a movie sample from the 1976 film “Network” that describes a crumbling society before launching you into complete circle pit chaos. With tons of groove, heavy guitars and angry vocals, this song proves to be another standout track on this album. And then track four comes. “We Belong To Hell” quickly became my favorite song on this album. With an added touch of metal, and Nelson’s vocal dynamic, this track hits you hard. Then it hits you with a nice guitar solo before slowly fading into children chanting lyrics to the song, giving you some melody and creepiness at the same time. The band even grabbed their kids and some friends kids before hitting the studio on this one. Up next, “How We Live”, proves itself to be yet another standout track from this release. With some elements of sampling, this song is probably the most melodic track on the album. After a few of those melodic choruses, they hit us with a good heavy breakdown to level things out. Then comes “Cold Days”. Another fast track that shows everyone that they have not slowed down one bit, and don’t plan on it either. This song mixes fast punk with melody and ends in a Turnstile manner with hums and other glorious sounds.


After throwing six bangers at us, “Fake Reality” comes next. More fast punk, bass thumps and heavy guitars jump back at you after a short Turnstilesque synthesizer intro. A super catchy chorus with heavily compressed vocals added a nice layer of experimentation, yet maintaining total heaviness, complete with a breakdown, gang vocals and mosh parts as well. So then, another wall of sound, called “Toxic Wall” comes around the corner and turns this place into a huge circle pit with another sick breakdown as well. Man, these guys have really decided to take things to new heights with their sound on this record.  After a brief “dance style” introduction, the title track, “Lights Out”, is next up to bat and I found that song to be a winner-winner chicken dinner too! Fast riffs and Nelson’s low-end screams are what keeps this song going. And although this album sounds much more heavily produced than their previous work, it adds enough depth and dimension without sounding overproduced. Another example of this is the next song, “Selfish Satisfaction” that starts out with a cello introduction before launching into a fast punk rock song. But I do have to admit that when I first saw the video for the next song, “Infected”, I was a little bit nervous that the band was going to get “too commercial” with this new release, but the song quickly grew on me, and the album still maintains that old 430 heaviness. Drums and bass introduce the final track, “Invisible Enemy”, which proved to be a good close to the record.


Overall, this release gets an A. Without going overkill on the effects, they still go overkill on the energy in typical 430 fashion. Hopefully, these Sur-Americano punk rockers will get back on tour and pick up where they left off before Covid derailed the entire world. Until then, enjoy this release on You Tube or Spotify.  


-Brian Espitia

MOURNING “DISENLIGHTENMENT” (Streets Of Hate, Northern Unrest, Retribute Records, Released November, 2022)


Mourning is a metallic hardcore band based in the UK that’s been gaining ground across the pond here in the United States in addition to their home. I actually saw Mourning back in January of 2020 at Frogzz Saloon in Ronkonkoma, NY. That show was very notable for being the first show of Stony Brook melodic hardcore heavy hitters Koyo! Mourning put on an incredible set and I walked out with their new EP at the time. Based on that EP and their fantastic live show, I was excited to hear that a new record was coming down the pipe from them!


“Disenlightenment” starts off with a bang, opening with a title track that comprises mostly of sinister sounding black metal chords. The next few tracks alternate between dark and menacing death metal inspired riffing and crushing hardcore mosh riffs. The third track, “Non-Future Decree”, is particularly a masterclass in this! The blast beat sections almost sound like the evil, thrashing death metal riffs of Deicide while the breakdown hits with some hard chugging riffs that are in a league with Everybody Gets Hurt when it comes to scary mosh parts! The track “Unhonored Prophecy” almost feels like a British answer to something like All Out War in that it makes a hardcore mosh pit banger mostly out of the slow riffs from death metal tracks! The bend riff on “Tyranny Of Guilt” also stands out to me as one of the most ominous riffs on the album. The closing two tracks also end off the record on a theatrical note. “Foreboding” is mainly a synthesizer riff that builds up to the absolute banger that is “Grievance Ascends.” The closing track is filled with bouncy low tuned riffs, and while I could see some writing this off as a bad nu-metal song or something, I had a lot of fun with this track as it has an infectious groove to it and nothing but pure rage to close out the record.


The lyrical content is just as grim as the sounds of the songs. The title of the record and the title track, “Disenlightenment”, points to a society that rejects the enlightenment values of reason, science, philosophy, democracy and liberty. The record almost seems to follow the decline of Western civilization into some kind of blind thoughtless rage, as the incongruence of its values and its actions is revealed. I appreciate that Mourning strives for a more sophisticated approach to politics and lyrics on this record as much of hardcore is openly unsophisticated, and for the most part there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, however, bands that live in the aesthetics of bluntness tend to bite off more than they can chew by attempting to write about nuanced topics like socio-political tension, and some bands avoid them entirely in favor of recycling the same themes of betrayal, anger and struggle that Madball and Terror have already covered a thousand times and done a thousand times better than most bands who try.


Overall, Mourning put forth one of the bleakest sounding hardcore records of the year, but one that has a lot of fun crafting dark and heavy music while also making some critical commentary about the society we live in. I can definitely recommend this record to anyone who likes metallic hardcore or the political hardcore tradition. I think this record is also worth recommending to that metalhead friend you keep trying to convince to listen to hardcore. There’s a variety of sounds and ideas on display, but it’s all delivered into a very cohesive and natural flowing package of unrelenting aggression! I think Mourning has surpassed their previous efforts on this one! Hit up Link Tree 1 & Link Tree 2 to get all the info you need on how to stream or buy this release and more!


-Riley Hogan 


(LDB Records, Released 2022)


Growing up in a mid-90s hardcore scene, In Effect Hardcore zines played a crucial role in helping me learn more about bands like Sheer Terror, No Redeeming Social Value, Breakdown and tons more. NOW, I’m pumped to bring it full circle and talk… in that very same zine (now online)… about a band in Strangle You, who pulls so much inspiration from these landmark NYHC groups. The idea that there may be someone out there reading this review right now and hearing about THIS band for the first time… like I was back then, learning about THOSE legends from In Effect... Something about that is so sick and I’m thankful to be involved in that cycle of love for hardcore.


Strangle You is a hardcore band from Atlanta… that’s about the extent of what I know about them (aside from that I saw a video of them recently where their singer did a backflip on stage). But when LDB Records dropped the first single “Against Your Grain” from this record, it immediately caught my attention. My first thought was; here we have Sheer Terror 2.0! The hard and heavy mid-tempo groove combined with the singer’s deep bulldog-esque growl certainly channels that vibe. But the music has enough modern hardcore influence to make it different and interesting… it’s not just regurgitation.


This record was actually released on streaming way back in February and now at long last, the vinyl is available for purchase from LDB. 7 songs that definitely channel Sheer Terror, Breakdown and others, but this is not paint by numbers NYHC. There’re some really surprising parts on this record that are creative and fun and unique enough to stop you in your tracks (in a good way), including a rap part on “Stranglelude” that adds in some Downset feels. But Sheer Terror is the comp that really stands out. Obviously when you throw out a Sheer Terror reference, the first thing people will question; okay but Paul is an absolute POET, with some serious lyrical chops and covering heavy topics. There’s only one Paul Bearer, so I won’t put that on Strangle You, but there’s a heavy dose of misanthropy, disgust and heart-wrench that puts this in that realm. “Never Whole,” is a tear-jerker of a song. It’s an account of an abusive alcoholic father and the toll he left on his wife and four sons. I wouldn’t wish this scenario on anyone, but this is the kind of tear-your-chest-open-and-show-everyone-the-insides track that makes hardcore the greatest genre in the world. Stream this on Bandcamp or Spotify with 7” vinyl versions available through LDB Records.


-Chris Williams 


(Vandal Records, Released September, 2022)


“Back by popular demand, Nobody’s Perfect!” After the initial cryptic clues about the return of Nobody’s Perfect, I was cautiously optimistic when I heard there was new NP on the horizon. The reprise of beloved hardcore bands can be a tricky business, often met with a mix of anticipation and trepidation (two of the only “ation” rhymes not deployed by Junior in the title track.) It all hinges on the quality of their new material. After repeated listens to “Arrival,” the new 6-song EP from Nobody’s Perfect, I am thankful to confirm that not only will this release be an addition to my permanent rotation, but that it’s an authentic continuation of their earlier work. For better or worse, this sounds like the album that Nobody’s Perfect would have recorded if they had reunited or kept going later in the ‘90s, rather than in 2022.


Operating as a four-piece after the passing of guitarist Chris Berberian in 2019, the new Nobody’s Perfect echoes their trademark sound on the original early ‘90s demos. “Arrival,” the title track and opener, features an ingenious 21 separate “ation” rhymes spanning two verses. NP has always had thought-provoking lyrical content, from “Faulty US Consumer” to the “Witness This” title track, and these lyrics were obviously arranged with care. The transition of verse to chorus, with “to the FRONT” bouncing off into the beginning of the moshy chorus is one obvious connection point to their earlier tunes, and the opening riff reminds me of a restrained and downtuned version of B’zrker – “Taking The Law.” Vocal patterns on track 2, “Root Of It All,” also retain a classic NP feel, as does “U-Turn” with guest vocalist Paulie Nugent of Lordz Of Brooklyn. Up next, “Who Am I” sounds like both sides of the Cause For Alarm/Warzone split. While faster and more upbeat than what you’d think of as NP, it underscores the feeling that they never stopped playing in the ‘90s or went straight from 1992 to 1997 rather than 1992 to 2022.


Before this release, I had never thought about Nobody’s Perfect’s influences. They just sound like Nobody’s Perfect! After seeing an old video of them covering “Sick People,” I was more attuned to the hints of Breakdown in the new stuff, especially in the vocal patterns, as well as their peers Biohazard and Merauder. There’s a bit of Merauder in track 5, “Apex,” before NP wraps things up with a cover of First Order’s “Spirit Within.” The best kind of covers revive an underrated past tune, but this also offers a unique hybrid: Chris played in First Order before Nobody’s Perfect, and the guitar solos here are from the original First Order recording.

When I first heard Nobody’s Perfect in the mid-2000’s, this stuff was exceedingly hard to find. In the intervening years, they have become a shorthand for a sound and era and an arbiter of discerning taste. “Arrival” was an arrival worth waiting for, precisely because it’s not a departure from their classic sound. Check it on Spotify along with the demos HERE.


-Becky McAuley



I met Mauricio aka “Moe Cash” in high school circa 1987, when he was playing bass in a mutual friend’s band. By the following year he had moved on to vocals and started up Under Pressure. The 2 demos they recorded are compiled for the first time on vinyl here. The songs are a time warp and indicative of those days: mid-tempo to fast style tunes with Oi!-ish parts, hip-hop beats in the intros/mosh parts, shouted vocals with gang backups in the choruses. The lyrics deal with unity/friendship/scene politics and patriotic but not fascist themes, as seen in the anti-white power “Supremist” jam that I went on to include on my New Breed compilation from 1989. Kudos for having some of the best band names too: Ameri-Ken, Vin Skin and Dom D-Rock. Moe Cash himself financed the LP so get it from the source and BLIST rocked the graf cover. RIP bassist Jimmy Lien, Dom D-Rock and the recently deceased Ameri-Ken. Stream it or buy it by clicking HERE.


-Freddy Alva


(Other People Records, Released November 2022)


Soul Blind is a musical quartet from New York’s Hudson Valley region that can be best described as post-hardcore in a very traditionalist sense. They don’t necessarily sound like a post-hardcore band, however they are a band that plays hardcore shows and has roots in the hardcore scene but plays music that isn’t hardcore. Sonically, they seem to pull from a diverse pallet of sounds that harken back to different flavors of the 90’s alternative scene. I had the fortune of seeing them live several times and having listened to their previous work and I feel that the new album “Feel It All Around” really fleshes out the sonic aesthetics that the band wishes to indulge in.


The fourth track, “Tribe,” is probably the most obvious example, with a sludgy main guitar riff reminiscent of the Seattle sound and soaring reverb soaked vocals that bring to mind some “White Pony” era Deftones. Several songs towards the middle of the record, such as “Everyday Evil',” “Ain’t Hard To Tell,” and “In The In Between,” toy with some classic shoegaze sounds that’ll surely excite anyone with a copy of “Loveless” or “Souvlaki” on vinyl. Meanwhile, some of the more up-tempo cuts, like one of my favorites “System (Failing)”, remind me vaguely of the era’s pop punk or some of the more melodic members of Dischord and Revelation’s rosters. However the album isn’t content with just regurgitating and retreading 90’s rock tropes, as Soul Blind injects subtle hardcore influences into the record that definitely give these sounds new life and dimension. The opener “Seventh Hell” has the most noticeable hardcore crossover appeal with its heavy panic chord driven riffs not sounding far off from something in the Disembodied catalog. This song is my personal favorite on this album as it sets the record off with a huge bang! Bassist and vocalist Cen has a specific delivery on this track alternating between screaming and singing that reminds me of something you’d hear on a Glassjaw or Senses Fail cut. I really dig what they did on this track and it almost sounds like something you could throw down some pit moves to! The launch single “Stuck In A Loop” also has a very memorable high pitched guitar lead that sticks in your head instantly. Between the muted drums and somber vocals on the penultimate track “Sparkle” and the closing titular track’s acoustic guitars and soaring vocal and electric guitar passages, the album fades out on a hauntingly beautiful sonic note.


The album’s lyrics also feature a variety of melancholic emotions that match the tone of much of the music. “Ain’t Hard To Tell” and “System (Failing)” in particular surround the difficulty in leaving toxic relationships while “Feel It All Around” ties together the album’s themes of the anxiety that comes from change and the feelings of anxious anticipation that come from stepping outside of your comfort zone. It’s something that speaks to me a lot right now since I’m approaching my mid-20s and my life for the past 10 years has been full of turbulent changes. I’m starting to feel myself slowly settling into adulthood and I feel like this record captures many of those feelings and anxieties.


This album was recorded by Grammy nominated producer Will Yip (Code Orange, Turnstile… and watching an up and coming band like Soul Blind work with such a reputable producer is definitely exciting to me. I think Yip has a way, like most great producers, of bringing out the best in the bands he works with. There are elements of this record that feel more accessible than previous Soul Blind endeavors but the band also clearly felt encouragement to branch out and flesh out their ideas. It has a pretty diverse palette of sounds coming together but the way the tracks are ordered and mixed, it feels so cohesive and it feels like Will catered to what the band wanted in their record. Lots of lush reverb soaked vocals, sludgy bass tones, a dynamic wall of different guitar textures and punchy drums!


Overall, if you’re looking for the usual brand of high speed, guns blazing hardcore that InEffect Hardcore typically recommends, this might not be the listen for you. This album does have some crushingly heavy moments, but it’s very mid-tempo and atmospheric. If you wish to hear 90’s grunge and shoegaze sounds with a modern post-hardcore twist, then this album is up your alley! It’s definitely vibe music more than mosh music, but there’s definitely a time and a place for it in my playlist. Check it all out via their soup to nuts Link Tree.


-Riley Hogan 


(Released October 2022)


Spam Caller calls the Bay Area home, Novato, CA more specifically, and all the members have been involved in the area scene for many years in various punk, hardcore, and power-violence bands. Spam Caller has left the gate running by already releasing a demo back in July of this year and now have quickly followed up with an EP that was recently released on cassette on Halloween.


Be warned, the tracks Spam Caller have unleashed here will simply pummel your ass. This is stomping, noisy, frantic, filth-drenched hardcore that spits lyrical poison. In a nutshell, Spam Caller is f’n pissed off and have successfully captured that fury on these four bangers. The first track, called “Tough Break”, quickly sets the mood for this release showing their hardcore roots are fully intact with the tone of the track reminding me of Warthog but with a more old skool NYHC blueprint. The 2nd track, “It’s A Gas”, introduces their ability to write with diversity but remaining relative to this EP. “It’s A Gas” pairs nicely with any Spy albums for sure and has a slight nod to something off Naked Raygun’s “Throb Throb”. The 3rd track is called “Don’t Wait Up” and is mid-paced stomper that is reminiscent of pre-Relapse Candy or Spy. “I’m Doing Fine” wraps up this cassette and steamrolls through raising the level of anxiety and rage bringing to mind something that Sweden’s Paranoid would discharge from their arsenal. All in all, this is definitely a band that you should follow if you’re in to bands like Spy, Warthog, Impalers (Austin), 偏執症者(Paranoid), or even Hellhammer. Only 100 cassettes were pressed and are available on their Bandcamp site while they last.


-Destin Pledger

MINUS YOUTH “SUN” (Released December 2022)


Minus Youth come to us from Stuttgart, Germany and deliver once again with their brand new “Sun” EP. Back in January of 2020, I reviewed Minus Youth’s, “Dead Generation” full length album. I loved the record and was happy to see the band still together and recording. This time out, the band serves up four new songs on the “Sun” EP. Like a kick to the balls, “Not Now/Not Ever” grabs the listener’s attention right away. The band is strong and tight sounding and has a Sworn Enemy feel to it. It’s hard, it’s heavy and you get a good feeling when listening to it. I ended up playing this one over and over again. The opening riff of the title track, “Sun” gives you the sense that this song is about to blow up and you couldn’t be more right. When the singer screams a few seconds into the song, things get real.  This is the standout song and if I’m not mistaken, the song is about someone’s son and the positive difference they have made in their life. “Y.O.D.” is a dark and intense song which deals with depression and trying to keep it together. The opening lyrics, “Powerless, It breaks me down, I cannot escape, Please get me out, Out of my hell right now” are powerful words and anyone suffering from depression, or have been through it, will appreciate the insightful lyrics to this track. “Tens To Thirties” finishes off the EP strongly. After an ominous intro, the band detonates and blasts you with their arsenal of musical styles. This song is guaranteed to whip up any audience into a frenzy. 


Minus Youth have picked up where they left off on “Dead Generation” with this EP. The band comes off darker and heavier on this record, improving on their earlier sound. What really grabbed my attention most on this EP was the songwriting. If you are anything like me, lyrics are important when you listen to a song. There are some powerful and moving lyrics in these songs, namely the title track. This EP has everything you could want in a hardcore record, without sounding like so many other established hardcore bands. Click HERE for streaming options as well as how to grab a 10” lathe cut clear vinyl copy.


-Dave Cafferty




Took a road-trip from NY to Philadelphia to catch my first ever show at "The Church" on Chestnut Street which has a long history with this hardcore punk stuff. After what can be sarcastically described as an "exhilarating" 4 plus hour car ride in Friday night rush hour traffic I knew I was close to my destination the moment I drove over the Delaware River and was greeted with a "I’m Jawn Morgan” billboard.


After scarfing down a Primo Hoagie on a street corner Iike an urban farm animal I found the side entrance to the church and navigated my way down the old stairs which led me to a packed out room where Colombia's Raw Brigade were already playing. This was night three of a four date East Coast Youth Of Today run that saw YOT play the previous two nights in Cambridge, MA and Brooklyn, NY. (Baltimore would be show 4/4 the following night). Each night's lineups were different and this Philly show (with its almost perfect old school/new school mix)... was too good to pass up. 20 year old me would have been all over a show headlined by Outburst and YOT but much older me found just as much anticipation looking forward to seeing Raw Brigade and End It from Baltimore who are two of the newer school bands I hold in high regard but had yet to see live. I missed Jersey's Cutdown who are a newer band whose members seem to have their hands in a lot of things. They dropped their debut demo in May of 2021 and more recently a new single titled "Your Disguise" which you can check out HERE.


Raw Brigade, End It and Outburst each had their own standout moments with a crowd sung version of "The Hardway" by Outburst being one... Raw Brigade doing "Burning" off of their recently released "Aggressive City" as another... with the hard as nails "BCHC" intro into "New Wage Slavery" from End It's "Unpleasant Living" being just the start of their solid set that was preceded by frontman Akil Godsey doing a brief acapella version of "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" by Tears For Fears. 



Youth Of Today would follow with close to an hour-long set that was never short on energy from both band and audience. Walter Schreifels on bass might as well have been on a pogo stick with the amount of jumps he did and although Ray was losing his voice you couldn't really tell except for in between songs when he was talking to the crowd. Close to the end of their set they made a call to Kevin from 7 Seconds (which went to voice mail) and Al Barile from SSD... Al picked up and after they told him the situation they jumped into a cover of SSD's "Glue" before dropping in a "Young Until I Die" 7 Seconds cover. In between calling Kevin and Al someone yelled out "Call Harley" which was a pretty funny moment. A friend who was at the show with his teenage son sporting an old Floorpunch shirt passed on to me that "we're here training our replacements" which was nothing short of the truth. There was a good mix of old and young "hardcore kids" in attendance which tells a lot about not only YOT's music but also their message. I would later see Ray Cappo in the parking garage and in passing thanked him for still doing what he does and I wholeheartedly meant it. So thank to you Youth Of Today, thank you Outburst and thank you The Joe Hardcore who is/was celebrating 25 years of booking shows. The opening bands showed that the future of this music is in good hands and the overall vibe in a crowded church basement told a similar story.  -CW