(Isolation Records, Released May, 2022)


Belgium’s Redemption Denied are not new to the scene. The band celebrates ten years of playing, recording and touring with the release of “Where Dead Ends Meet” out now on Berlin’s Isolation Records. Fusing hardcore with death metal and charged with hard-hitting lyrics, they dispense eleven songs of ferociousness on their first full length album. Tracks like “Testament” (featuring guest vocalist Bjorn Dossche of Rise & Fall/Chain Reaction), “Beyond Salvation”, “Final Witness” and “Another Victim”, showcase the band’s propensity for playing fast, aggressive metal, along the likes of Obituary and Death. The band’s politically energized lyrics give depth to the music and contribute to their dark and heavy sound. The downside of this record is that the remainder of the songs all sound very similar. Most of the tracks open with a generic jackhammer riff and continue on at rapid speed, before slowing down to a death metal crawl, midway through the songs. I am not saying it is a bad thing, but I found the songs a little redundant. Overall, Redemption Denied deliver a decent serving of heaviness that leans more towards a death metal sound, than a hardcore one on their latest effort. Find this on Bandcamp or Spotify with info on vinyl copies and recently released music videos available HERE.


-Dave Cafferty 


(Catarina Records/Tuskeny Recordings, Released 2022)


My honest opinion on split EP’s is that they can be hit or miss. I have heard ones where one band really shined and the other one wasn’t really my style causing me to just listen to one side. Then there are those where both bands complement each other making it a great album. The latter is the case with this Dead Blow Hammer/Rencilla split with both bands contributing 4 hardcore gems. First up on side 1 are Dead Blow Hammer a NY/NJ hardcore band who were originally known as Against The Grain. With a new name and some new members added over the last few years, the band consists of: Adriano Garcia (A.G.) on vocals; Gary Yosco – guitar; Carlito Diaz – guitar; Rob Kabula – bass and Christian Koresh on drums. These guys have been making music for a while now and Kabula’s name will stand out to many from his Cause For Alarm AND Agnostic Front days… but that is not to take away from the other guys and their musical contributions to the scene and to this band. DBH has named their side of the release “When The Hammer Drops”… a perfect title for music which is heavy, rhythmic, fast and raw. Track tiles are: 1. “Lies/Rise” which is a problem and solution song about our current state of deception and control from the upper echelon of society. 2: “Complete/Defeat” with an interesting story as I can’t recall listening to a hardcore song about the pressures of succeeding in a sport to your dad’s approval. 3: “Forzar A Contar” which is an old Against The Grain song redone in Spanish and with a toy piano played by A.G. Track 4 is “Hold What Together?” which is about keeping true to one’s self. In my opinion DBH are an exceptional and underrated band and have proved this once again on this side of their split.


Rencilla (meaning Quarrel) from Panama make up side 2 of this split and have titled their side “Cadaveres” (corpses). All four tracks are previously released ones but were re-released specifically for this LP. I had never heard of these guys before but the second I heard track one on this split I was blown away! A heavy mix of hardcore and trash is the best way to describe the sound created by members: Durmada Damana Das - vocals, Justo Villalaz - guitar, Irene Batista - bass, Pedro Caicedo – guitar and Jorge Isaac Lopez - drums. Track titles are: “Cadaveres”, “Suicidio”, “Adrenalina (version 2020)” and “Presente” and no you don’t need to understand Spanish to “feel” the lyrics. There is a reason why Rencilla are celebrating their 25th year anniversary and have toured with such bands as Sick Of It All, Madball and Comeback Kid. Listening to “Cadaveres” is all the reason you will need. As I mentioned earlier in the review, split releases can be very one sided but this one brings two amazing bands together giving us one hell of a release. Follow the blue hyperlinks above for more info on each band and to stream/buy this release in full. 


-Chris Beman 

WRONG WAR “ONCE UPON A WEAPON” (Released January, 2022)


Formed in 2019 Chicago's Wrong War is a band that is a fusion of anger and energy, delivering their killer new 9-track album “Once Upon A Weapon”. The artwork on this release is "The Munition Girls" oil painting… it's an interesting piece of art that for an album cover psychologically shows that this band is preparing for a sonic onslaught to the listener and boy do they deliver. The opening song "Human Resources" goes straight for the jugular. This 4 piece band instantly sounds tight and packs a serious punch. "Distraction Diet" has some great catchiness embedded in the song itself, the vocalist is clearly pissed off with the outside world, giving everything he has. The title track "Once Upon A Weapon" has a real up-tempo Motorhead/punk feel about it with a fantastic riff that oozes power and ferocity, clearly, this song will be a belter when played live. "On The Rehabilitation Of Monsters" is a raging up-tempo solid lump of anger, in your face, takes no prisoners with an interesting twist that keeps the listener engaged, it's fantastic stuff! The closing number on this awesome release "Has Your Master Come To A Different Wisdom?" delivers a mid-paced approach, the bassist showing off some great work towards the end of the song. All in all, this is a must listen. Released digitally back in January with plans for vinyl versions as well. Hit up Wrong War for more info! In the meantime you can find this on Bandcamp or Spotify.


-Rob King 


(Pure Noise Records, Released May, 2022)


I’m going to come right out and say it. Terror is one of my top three favorite hardcore bands of all time and I’ll tell you why. I have been a fan since I bought the record “One With The Underdogs”, when it came out in 2004. The thing I appreciate most about Terror is they write songs you can relate to; whether it be dealing with hardships, staying true to your beliefs or even battling with addictions, and back it up with a premium, one hundred percent, hardcore sound of their own. That album, along with “Always The Hard Way”, helped me get through the tough struggles I was dealing with back then. This is why I have always been drawn to hardcore music. Remarkable bands like Terror connect with us and leave an everlasting imprint on the individual.  When I found out I was doing the review for the new Terror record, I was overcome with both excitement and fear. I was excited that I was getting to review a band that helped shape and inspire a whole new generation of hardcore bands and a personal favorite of mine. I was also fearful, as this was my biggest challenge to date.


Within ten seconds of the opening title track, “Pain Into Power”, you are slapped in the face with the raw and ruthless sound only Terror can hit you with. The potent and energetic vocals Scott Vogel is known for are stronger than ever, showing no signs of wearing down any time soon. Lyrically, the band continues to write songs that connect with their audience. The band hits us with ample truths of great song writing on this album. Look no further than songs like “Can’t Let It Go”, “Unashamed”, “Outside The Lies” and “Prepare For The Worst”, for examples of this. This is a big part of why the band continues to be a dominant force in the hardcore scene. Musically, the band has never sounded tighter and fresh. The rhythm section attacks the listener through all eleven songs, playing hard, aggressive riffs that Todd Jones and Jordan Posner do best, complemented by the crushing bass playing of Chris Linkovich and Nick Jett’s cut-throat drumming style. Add ample Terror breakdowns and even guest vocals on “Can’t Help But Hate” from George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher of Cannibal Corpse, and you have another example of why Terror is still prevalent today in hardcore, as they were back in 2002. If you are new to Terror and only buy one record or CD this year, spend your money on this one. You will find yourself wind milling in the middle of your living room listening to this at maximum volume, as your loved ones and pets run for cover. Find this on Bandcamp and Spotify with vinyl and merch options available through Pure Noise Records.


-Dave Cafferty 


(Revelation Records, Released May, 2022)


This one has been a long time coming! Praise has been one of my favorite bands for roughly a decade strong. The combination of talented Revolution Summer inspired riffs with open-your-heart and bleed out onto the page lyrics backed by untouchable D-Fang beats. This Baltimore area 5-piece rules and it’s been cool to see their sonic journey over the last 10+ years because every record brings something a bit different. “All In A Dream” continues that tradition. The step they take after “Leave It All Behind” is a big one, but it makes so much sense. This record leans a bit away from some of the Dag Nasty “Can I Say” influence and channels a bit more “Wig Out At Denko’s.” And they explore some other areas like Husker Du, 7 Seconds’ “Soulforce Revolution”, The Replacements and maybe even some Tom Petty. There is still plenty of Rites Of Spring riffs and leads, but the beat is less driving. The tempo is more laid back and the vibe is a bit brighter. To that last point, Praise’s previous record “Leave It All Behind” was a very dark sounding LP…  with a very gloomy vibe… but “All In A Dream” is light and vibrant and upbeat. Especially when you consider these songs were written during a global pandemic. The record feels very optimistic sounding when you consider the darkness and depression this world was struggling with while they were writing and tracking this one. It’s an interesting shift. I’ve always said that Be Well’s “The Weight And The Cost” was the record we all needed during those dark days of COVID depression as we all coped with the realities of isolation and despair. “All In A Dream” feels like the optimistic coming out of a pandemic (hopefully!) record we need. The lyrics are still very introspective and pointed, but it sounds like a dark cloud lifting. It’s an absolutely beautiful record. Fans of the band may notice the vocals are a bit less assertive and aggressive than previous records. They’re very subdued sounding for a hardcore or even post-hardcore band. Instead of rage and fury they rely on cadence and diction to be interesting when he’s not singing actual notes. And then when they are sung, the catchiness of the vocal hooks are what really make these tracks hum. Particularly in some of the choruses where there are layered backups and different melodies. You’ll have some of these songs stuck in your head all day.


“Peace Of Mine” is probably the closest song to anything on “Leave It All Behind” or their previous LP “Lights Went Out.” It’s not a full-on hardcore fast beat, but it’s a lot more driving of a tempo and the vocals are a bit more aggressive. It’s a great track. It has some stellar guitar leads, the lyrical wordplay is catchy and the “breakdown” is a fun tempo that busts into a solo that almost feels Don Henley or Huey Lewis & The News summertime 80’s movie vibes. This feels like a track I need to blast next time I’m cruising down the 101 with the windows open. If I had one complaint about this record it’s that I feel like it could have benefited from one more fast(ish) song. Not even a full-on hardcore beat, but something a bit more driving like “Peace Of Mine”. A few other highlights; Brian McTernan (of Be Well/Battery fame) stepped away from the boards to drop some excellent guest lines on “Limited Sense Of Possibility.” The opening high hat and bass riff on “Eyes In The Dark” with light guitar leads set such a cool vibe that just builds and builds to then decrescendos for a few bars before blasting into open guitars/cymbals for an epic, haunting, but catchy chorus. 


Like every Praise record, the lyrics on this are some of the best of the genre, touching topics in the realms of social, existential, philosophical, personal and interpersonal. A few faves: on “Return To Life”… “I’m taking chances on the things that make me feel, the good, the bad, at least it’s real. Give me something that I can feel.” On “Peace of Mine”…  “I won’t pretend to understand just what it feels like to be in your head. There’s a storm that never clears, and I watched from the window for years. Peace of mind… if I could give you a piece of mine.” On “Life Unknown”… “Tears never dried, but you survived. Part of the plan, you know that’s a lie. You don’t want to forget, you just want to feel a little bit less.” There’s a lot of love in these lyrics, both love for the songs and attention to details, but also love for the people these songs are about. The sequencing on “All In A Dream” is interesting, in that I feel like it actually gets better as the record goes on. My favorite tracks are mostly on the back half of this. Not because the first few aren’t good, but because it just ends SO strong. My absolute favorite track is their final original “A Life Unknown.” What a fantastic song. This was the final single ahead of the release. The vocal melodies on the chorus are so damn catchy. This song has a false ending where it gets quiet and you think it’s ending and then they build back to bust in with the chorus one more time and it’s SO perfect. Speaking (earlier) of Husker Du… just like Praise closed “Leave It All Behind” by absolutely crushing an Egg Hunt cover, they end this record with a fantastic take on Husker Du’s “Keep Hanging On.” It’s the kind of track that makes you want to start the whole record over again. I love this. Every time I listen to it, I love it even more. Check it out and then check it out a few more times to let it really grow on you. Check it out on streaming or pick up a copy on black (first press) from RevHQ or Coretex in Europe, or drop into your favorite local punk rock record store to grab an “indie store exclusive” on opaque red.


-Chris Williams 


(Revelation Records, Release Date May 20, 2022)


Be Well follows up their 2020 LP “The Weight And The Cost” with a new 6 song EP with Revelation Records, perfectly titled “Hello Sun” which is scheduled to be out on May 20th. Once again, Brian McTernan (Battery/Ashes) lyrically takes us back on the emotional journey of his childhood but this time with things he’s never gotten to say. Backed by some of the hardcore scenes heaviest hitting teams behind him (guitarists Mike Schleibaum (Darkest Hour) and Peter Tsouras (Fairweather), bassist Aaron Dalbec (Bane), and drummer Shane Johnson (Fairweather)) each step of the way. Brian has chosen his love of writing and music to continue to say those things poetically with another melodically charged record. The first single, “Treadless” is one of my favorites off of this new EP and I’m truly thrilled they decided to put this as their lead track. The screeching of Brian’s voice at the beginning and fast paced rhythm throughout has me reaching for more. Then you throw in the chorus/gang vocals “Pick me up, pull me in!” and I’m right there signing along. I don’t want to give too much away but this record was everything I was expecting and more. Even to the last song “In The Shadow Of Who You Thought I Was” Nathan Gray and Becky Fontaine of Nathan Gray and The Iron Roses join in as guest backing vocals showing that everything will be okay and the sun will rise and a new day will dawn. This record left me on a positive note and I’m truly looking forward to see where the sun’s rays take Be Well in the future because as I see it, it’s truly bright! Beyond this new release you can check Be Well out on the road as there are upcoming summer/fall tours with New Found Glory, Four Year Strong (USA) and with BoySetsFire, Hot Water Music, and Samiam in Europe. I promise you, you will truly enjoy them musically and their message is something you can take home in your heart! For tickets/tour dates, pre-orders, merch and more click HERE


-Michelle Mennona 

THE GREAT LIE “BURNERS” EP (Released March, 2022)


Long Island’s The Great Lie return with new music almost 2 years after the release of their “Defying Extinction” EP which was referred to as a “mixed bag of goodness for all things heavy and one that is highly recommended for open minded music heads” in our 2020 review. Although that review was written by another In Effect staffer I have to agree as The Great Lie have hardcore and metal influences coursing through their DNA and the results are undeniably solid. “Amputee” is a striking opener and sees The Great Lie going straight for the jugular with vocalist Kerry Merkle’s impassioned vocals grabbing you from the start, over a discordant groove that grows and grows before morphing into funkier, bass led noise before exploding with energy again and again. “Love And Brutality” seems to merge Exodus style thrash and Cro-Mags-esque hardcore to dizzying effects with Merkle’s vocals channeling Slayer’s Tom Araya. I also get a strong “Seasons In The Abyss” vibe here making for one intense tune. The ending here in particular is just berserk and the icing on top of a particularly brutal cake. The next two tracks, “Bumsocks And Bourbon” and “S.T.E.” are more traditional hardcore fare but retain the intense edge that The Great Lie excel in. The short but sweet EP that is “Burners” finishes on a high with “Winters Death”, a track that infuses frost bitten metal riffs with groove laden hardcore to create an anthemic but venomous end to the proceedings… especially with the killer riffs at the conclusion of the song, and as they fade out triumphantly. This EP is another solid addition to the catalogue of music from The Great Lie and while it would be great to hear a full length album, their music really seems suited to the EP format as it gives them the chance to get in your face and blow you away before you know what is happening, which “Burners” most certainly does. Stream this on Bandcamp and Spotify.


-Gavin Brown

DOWN FOR LIFE MAGAZINE (Issue #13, Released Spring, 2022)


The latest issue of Down For Life is yet another jam packed glossy/full color magazine full of the best in hardcore, punk and crossover. Gracing the cover this time around are Youth Of Today, with the tagline of “Still Breaking Down The Walls”, telling the full story of the legendary band in a very informative feature on the band with guitarist John Porcelly. Ahead of their appearance at this year’s Outbreak Festival in Manchester, UK in June, Porcell tells DFL all about the history of Youth Of Today and their straight edge outlook from the bands beginnings to their return and is a must for any fan of straight edge/youth crew both past and present.


There are also a mixture of features with both new bands like Scowl, Vein FM and Berthold City alongside more established bands like BillyBio, Kill Your Idols, Skarhead, Comeback Kid, Terror and Ignite. Articles on Brooklyn crossover kings Carnivore, Italian hardcore masters Raw Power and Canadian hardcore punk OG’s Dayglo Abortions turn back the clock even further. The reviews section is stacked as usual with records by Charger, Brick By Brick and Knocked Loose, while the Ill Blood section focuses on new bands like Cage Fight, Crashed Out, Gloves Off and Kublai Khan TX amongst others. For the first time in a long time there are a series of reviews of recent gigs (take that Covid!) and it is with great joy that you can read about shows from the likes of Turnstile, Cruelty, The Last Resort and the Damage Is Done 2 weekender that was comprised of 5 shows over 4 days spread throughout London. All in all, another great issue of Down For Life with so many great features and all the regular columns and pieces of info all present and correct. Roll on September for the next issue but for now click HERE to grab a copy of lucky issue 13.


-Gavin Brown


(Secret Friends Music Group, Released April, 2022)


The overlords over at In Effect HQ really threw me a curve ball this trip.   What I have here before me is a curiosity. It is the latest full length "No Luck" from Death Lens hailing from somewhere in the expanse known as the San Gabriel Valley… or maybe Los Angeles depending on which bio you read. Why don't we just say So-Cal like all the cool kids do. So right up front I am gonna say I've read a few reviews of this record before I listened to it as I often do, and quite honestly I wonder how many people actually listen to the music they get to review. I have read things like thrashing So-Cal hardcore, shred, punk, etc, etc. There are elements of that here surely, but this band at times is more akin to Weezer and 90’s/00’s alt-rock than The Adolescents or Black Flag. Now don't get your pretty frilly hardcore panties in a bunch because quite honestly I am gonna drop some mad truth on you. This album is looking more and more like my record of the summer.  Now, before today, have I ever had a "record of the summer"? No… no I have not, but what a record to start a trend with. This slab is as complex as it is great. This is like a fuzzy, low-fi Ramones if they came from Avocado Heights instead of Queens. That's probably the highest compliment I can lay on a band because the Ramones are sacred ground for me. This shit is catchy as fuck. Death Lens however is a wee bit more intricate than those Queens boys were. Each song is like an anthem for a drive and I know driving is a large part of the Cali lifestyle since everything is so goddamn spread out. There is a lot to digest here too. Death Lens gives us a bonafide real deal, genuine 14 song full length here so you can really sink your teeth in and need time to really get into it. In related news, I received two warning letters from the In Effect security team and spotted shadowy figures in my yard because my review was taking so long. One more warning and I would have been doxed and those private videos they hold over my head would've been released. So on to the tunes.


I have listened to this numerous times and changed my favorite tracks just as many. I could talk about all of them but we'd both fall asleep. So here are a few that are stuck in my head right now. First up, "Slugger" running at 2:48 is the single most stuck in my head tune on the LP. This is a fast paced tune with the signature doubled over vocal stylings heard throughout the record. This one has a hook though that just fucking wormed its way into my head and has sat there ever since. You want a melodic jam to put on repeat, this is the one. Another one stuck in the old noggin is "Abrupt", the second song which clocks in at 3:15. This has great leads over fuzzy guitar along with the rhythm section kicking it up a notch. You will be singing along. Then out of the blue at 2:25 a kick ass fuzzy fucking breakdown that will have the kids piling on and all that other hardcore jazz.  Next up I'll combine song 10 "S.F.T.F. Intro" at 1:20 and song 11 "Swing For The Fences" at 3:12. Now the intro is a nice quiet acoustic build up. I always appreciate when bands stretch a little and add odd interludes.  However that intro leads into another monster of an earworm. It starts a bit calamitous but quickly settles into a melodic groove that will have you bobbin along and stomping on the gas. The guitar on this one is unique and takes the song to another level. "There's no discomfort in living so normal, complacency is a lie." Amen fellas. I hear ‘ya. I could go on and on but check this LP out for yourself but if you buttheads need a road map I'll give you one. You want a little more straight punk, check out "DAEMON" and the titular "No Luck".  You want some of those Weezer-ish" vibes check out "Gone Boy". You want some alt-90's check out "Not Impressed". There are some longer epic cuts like "Slow Burner" and "Fear No Man" which are both complex and layered songs both with that ability to hook. Death Lens are clearly seasoned players. This isn't some nonsense a couple of kids pasted together with high hopes and snot. This is clearly dudes doing what they love and excelling at it. The vibe reminds me at times of Night Birds, a little Ceremony here and there, and a bit of Praise. I called it my record of the summer and I hear the band is coming to Fist City aka Richmond, and Filthadelphia in the coming months. AHEM… I couldn't help but notice you are skipping right over us here in D.C. Death Lens, not even fucking Baltimore? WTF dudes? Even with this slap in the face, you can keep the LP of summer award (it's in the mail) and I'll still tell all the kids to check you out. You read that right you bunch of deplorables… CHECK DEATH LENS OUT… and, as per our usual agreement, GET THE FUCK OFF MY LAWN. Check this out on Bandcamp with physical copies, exclusive copies, music videos, tour dates and more streaming options available HERE.


-Core Junkie


(Force 5 Records, Released March, 2022)


If you follow Lord Ezec aka Danny Diablo on social media you already know the NYHC icon always seems to be involved in some kind of musical endeavor. From Crown Of Thornz to The Wilding Incident, Defstar Inferno... podcasts and hip-hop projects... the man always seems to be working on something. Along with Crown Of Thornz, Skarhead is probably the band Ezec is best known for with this band’s roots dating back to the1995 "Drugs, Money, Sex" EP. "Generators Of Violence" is the first new Skarhead offering in over 10 years.


Opening track "Destruction" opens with the lyrics "No more politics, no more lies, fuck society... the left, the right" and pretty much sums up my world outlook on most days. This 2:29 minute straight up ball of anger transcends through a thrashy start into a bouncy mosh with Rancid’s Lars Frederickson dropping a superb guest vocal spot that makes me wonder how different the music scene could have been if the Bay Area icon had grown up in NYC. Up next is “Back In The Day” that sports a mid-paced NYHC groove that leads into a hip-hop break before a bone crushing mosh hits. The hip-hop flavor gets ramped up on this one with samples and scratching being laid over that crucial mosh creating a unique breakdown that is definitely one of this 12 minute EP’s highlights. The title track is up third and showcases a hard as nails slower track that to me has an Icemen type of feel to it while using just one riff to span the entire 2:47 that this track runs. I really like the guitar tone on this EP which is accentuated on this track which reminds me of the guitar sound on Motley Crue’s “Too Fast For Love” album… and for the record I never thought I would be able to link Skarhead to Motley Crue… but there it is! Track four is “Time To Die”, which features Show Me The Body’s Cashwan sharing vocal duties alongside Ezec as One Life Crew’s Chubby Fresh is the target of their vocal attack. The last minute of this track has a classic NYHC style breakdown where you can just envision legs, feet, elbows and fists smashing together on dancefloors across the planet. Closing track “Defiance” features a catchy punk rock/Oi type of “woahhh ohhh ohhh” melody that runs throughout much of this 2:44 minute song. A sample of Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power” and some more hip-hop flavored scratching is brought back in and adds another layer to an overall well-balanced EP. “Generators Of Violence” was written by scene veterans Zack Thorne on guitars... (Bulldoze, Agents Of Man, Truth & Rights, Homicidal), Dimi on drums... (aka DimRoc who has played with many bands including Crown Of Thornz and Stillsuit) and Lord Ezec. This EP is undeniably a NYHC record that brings the staples of the genre with strong vocals, catchy riffs and plenty of breakdowns. These five songs have a balanced attack with the guest vocal appearances really making a positive impact on the overall product. Skarhead have had a multitude of members over the course of their history with Lord Ezec being the one constant. With "Generators Of Violence" the Skarhead rough, rugged and raw style carries on displaying a lot of the things that make you either love or hate New York Hardcore. Find this now streaming on Spotify.  



IGNITE s/t (Century Media Records, Released March, 2022)


When longtime Ignite frontman Zoli Teglas left the band towards the end of 2019 I was one of those that felt that it could spell doom for the Orange County icons who have been pumping out amazing melodic hardcore since the early 90's. How does a band replace such a big and recognizable voice that has sung on the majority of their catalog? The answer came in September of 2021 as Ignite released the first single to their new self-titled album as they introduced Eli Santana and the song "Anti-Complicity Anthem". Santana plays guitar in metal bands Holy Grail, Incite, and Huntress and as far as I can tell has not had a frontman gig till now but damn can this muddafukka sing too! As each new single dropped leading up to this new 10 song/31 minute album I got more confident that Ignite were actually going to pull this whole new singer thing off in a positive/rejuvenating way without much in the way of the "yeah, but he isn't as good as... " BS and now that these new tracks have started to really sink in I can say with confidence that Ignite have pulled off one great reset.


If you were already a fan (especially of their last album "A War Against You"; 2016) I can't see how you wouldn't love this latest offering. The big anthemic style songs return... check out track two in "The River" which could be the best of the bunch... or track four "On The Ropes" as well as "State Of Wisconsin" which comes in towards the tail end of this epic work. Over the years Ignite have developed into masters of tempo and style changes... often hitting us with a big melodic track before dropping stuff that has some more bite... in this instance… "This Day", "Call Off The Dogs" and "Anti-Complicity Anthem" which serve as a few of the more harder and faster offerings. "The Butcher In Me", "The House Is Burning" and "Enemy" bring some great groove with catchy choruses while the finale in "Let The Beggers Beg" is a 4:11 grand sendoff as Ignite empties the tank with such a well written and layered track that got stuck in my head immediately.


Ignite were already a great band with excellent song writing skills and that upward trend continues despite this being only their third full length over the course of the last 16 years. Eli Santana was a great find for their vacant frontman position and has a style that is not far off from his predecessor making this a pretty easy audial transition for those who may have worn out their previous Ignite albums due to repeated listening. The front cover that lists the band members’ names as well as the song titles is unique for the genre and the actual placement of the songs seems to be well thought out as well as there is a really good flow going on here. With warmer weather approaching I can't help but think that this album is going to be a big part of my windows down summertime driving music playlist. With their recent darkest days behind them Ignite are set to take these new (and old) songs out on the road with big chunks of May, June and July seeing them on tour in the USA and Europe. Find this on many of the usual streaming services including Spotify with 12" vinyl versions available from multiple sources. Click HERE to find out more on vinyl and a multitude of other Ignite related items including a whopping 5 new music videos, tour dates, merch and more! 




(Upstate Records, Released  January, 2022)


If you’ve been following the Los Angeles hardcore scene you are probably familiar with the term Hoodcore. What makes Hoodcore a little different from other scenes is that besides having the usual reasons people gravitate to the hardcore scene it also unites those who share a bond through similar cultures. Racial Profile, who started out as a side project band two years ago are all of what I just described and more. Composed of veterans from the LA music scene from such bands as Countime, Union 13, Wake Up Call, End Days and Reos De Tempo, they have just put out a full length release titled “Abuse Of Power” and it’s HARD! 


Made up of an impressive eight members, four providing vocals: Jr5150, Javee, Dru and Jimmy 2 Step and then there is: Flex- guitar, Rude- guitar, Johnny Boy - bass and Chino- drums. With this many members, they have all taken their vast life and musical experiences and mixed them together and the outcome is 12 songs of pure aggression and basically everything angry hardcore should be about. With lyrics addressing such topics as street life, violence, homelessness and just trying to hang out and not be messed with. Four of the tracks come off the band’s 2021 demo: “Intro”, “Amendment”, “Speak The Truth” and “Over The Line”. But before I talk about a few of the tracks that really grabbed my attention let’s talk about “Intro”. To me the intro is many times the most crucial track on a release, not necessarily the best song but one that if it is done correctly should set the tone for what’s to come. I love this intro as it actually provides a brief spoken word into the band’s backstory and definitely captures the musical theme to the rest of the release. “Abuse Of Power” is one of those releases that you can listen straight through without needing to skip any track. However I was able to pick out a few besides the already listed “Intro” that really stuck out for both the music and the lyrical content. They are: “Racial Profile”, “Over The Line”, one of those traditional sounding sing a longs that many Oi/punk bands have as an anthem; “Speak The Truth” and “Educate Liberate”. Honorable mention is the last track… a rebellious, hangout with friend’s song which has a definite Suicidal Tendencies type of vibe called “SK8 & Paint”. Racial Profile are a force to be reckoned with. There are no fronts here, what they write about is a soundtrack to their reality. “Abuse Of Power” is an outstanding release that needs to be in everyone’s CD player, headphones, home and car stereos. Now I know all these I listed may be outdated technology but you get my point… this is a must have. This is out now via Bandcamp with Upstate Records set to release the CD versions in May and vinyl versions later this year.


-Chris Beman


(Released November 2021)


Debut full length from this New Jersey outfit titled "Doubt Surrounds All" via Florida's From Within Records who have put this out on limited 12" vinyl. Shackled blast out 8 songs in just under 15 minutes with "Blinded" serving as an opening kick to the face with Nick's double bass. Their sound is rooted in 90's era hard edged hardcore with plenty of bounce. While listening to this it’s not hard to imagine a pit of people just straight up beating the shit out of each other to these tunes. From there they go right into "Nothing Ever Came" which has a nice slow breakdown.  Michael's bass sound stands out in "All I Feared". The album’s title track "Doubt Surrounds All" has guest vocals by Dan Schultz (Worn). Love two singers with different styles in the same song... and there should never be a hardcore release, without a song about a call for unity and "Our Home" covers that here. I thought "Scorched Earth said it all just in the title but digging a little deeper shows that this one has some killer lyrics as well. "When Time Stops" is another bass stand out by Michael, and sweet pick up to end the song. They finish with a standout on this release, "Minds Eye" but I still can't pick a favorite though as this whole release just kills. Dylan has the perfect hardcore voice and there is nothing better than a 5 piece hardcore band with 2 guitarists. Andrew and Jake definitely gel and complement each other. Shackled are out there playing shows on the regular so look for them when they roll into your town and make sure to check out "Doubt Surrounds All" all via Bandcamp or Spotify with 12" vinyl versions available through From Within Records


-Scott Huslinger


(Not Like You Records, Released February, 2022)


I can't think of many underground acts that embrace the subculture fusion of skateboarding and hardcore punk more than Brooklyn, NY's Slashers who seem to be equally entrenched in both scenes. While most bands simply have a tryout to see if a new member has the chops to play it wouldn't surprise me if Slashers took their latest addition... (drummer Ziggy Coffey) around town to also check out his skating prowess. Make sure to check out "If You Don't Skate Now You Never Did" off of their last release from 2019 to see members of Slashers shredding around the streets of NY if you don't believe me.


This new 2 song 7" was put out by Not Like You Records out of Albuquerque who are in a parallel universe as they have released dozens of skate-punk albums, zines, merch and more since their inception in 2014. "Hang On" and "Snap My Neck" are the two new tracks here... both of which clock in at over 4 minutes a pop which is a new twist for a band whose catalog has been made up primarily of 2 plus minute efforts. "Hang On" starts off with a 80's hard rock type of ballad (ballad being my best description after a bunch of listens) before going into what seems like a long musical journey despite being only 4 minutes long. Although the "hang on... to your friends" chorus towards the end of this track is catchy "Hang On" comes off a bit disjointed and probably would have benefited from a more refined approach as there is just too much going on here. Side B's offering in "Snap My Neck" is quite a different story with a mid-paced track that probably would have benefited from the abundant tempo changes in track 1. Both tracks get by, and are performed well with a good production to boot but they are unfortunately just not as catchy and memorable as previously released Slashers material. Find this on Bandcamp or Spotify with the Spotify version coming with two additional new tracks that will be part of an upcoming Not Like You Records compilation titled Skate Ratz Volume 1 due out in January 2023. For 7" vinyl versions of this record head on over to the Not Like You website.





I think if I ever started a band I would probably get a name from a song or an album from one of my favorite bands. What could be a better way to pay homage to such an influence? And many bands have done it... but I think if you are going to take from the mighty Godfathers of Hardcore: Agnostic Front, you better be something special. United Blood NYC, the 5 piece hardcore/punk band from (I hope you have already figured it out) New York City have that special quality and have earned the honor to carry the name.


Coming together in 2017: Brian Scott- vocals, Sidney Ramirez (Sid Da Kid)- bass, Mr. Robb- guitar, Mike Flaherty- drums and Todd Wilson- guitar have released an EP titled "It's Just Us" and musically it hits you in the face like that strong city smell when you get off the Path train. This 6 song release captures the rawness and grit that has been the staple of these genres since their inception. Originally released in August 2021, "It's Just Us" is now receiving a strong push on United Blood NYC’s Bandcamp and social media pages. And as to be expected from a group of guys who were “born in the streets of NYC”, their songs are true tales about what they have lived and therefore these track titles and topics should not come as a surprise.


1. "Fuck Off, Fuck You"- "Can't fucking breathe...you're killing me"...

2. "Excessive Force"- about police brutality…

3. "All Politicians Lie, We Die"- pretty self-explanatory...

4. "Drowning" - talks about the dumbing down of society due to technology, namely smart phones...

5. "With Time" (Agnostic Front cover)

6. "Stay Gold" (Murphy’s Law cover)


There are many young bands who are doing great things in the scene and they should not be ignored but it’s very exciting when people who have truly been there get together and can create music that causes the listener to get flashbacks to that old school sound, maybe back to their first show and of all the great memories that were associated with those days. This is the essence of United Blood NYC and their "It’s Just Us" EP has that style and sound that any hardcore purest will enjoy. As much as I like the whole release I was immediately drawn to the AF cover. I can honestly say it is one of my favorite hardcore covers of all-time. Although released last year the recent "re-push" to the masses also comes with a recent slot opening for Death Before Dishonor as well as more activity on their socials which should lead to seeing the United Blood NYC name on more and more upcoming show flyers. Find this on Bandcamp.


-Chris Beman

THE BIG TAKEOVER “DEMO 2021” (Released November 2021)


The Big Takeover is a new international hardcore collaboration that formed in late 2021. They're based in the UK, but feature Apostolis from Ghetto Gospel on vocals. Despite members from multiple countries, they're more than a side project, and have started playing shows in 2022. The demo compresses three (technically four) songs into just over six minutes, a focused blast of sound that swerves seamlessly from track to track. Two-headed opener “Uniformed Minds/Burning Light” introduces their energetic and frenetic style in a barely bifurcated one-two punch. Succinct second track “Trapped” is imbued with the undercurrents of unsettling bass lines that add depth throughout the demo. Final track “Pair A' Dice” is the most traditionally structured and my favorite overall. Lyrical themes of anxiety and conflict are woven throughout the demo and complement its overall foreboding feel. I’d love to see how this band’s palpable intensity would translate to a live show, presumably in a basement. Check the Bandcamp link for The Big Takeover to take over your headphones or to order a limited cassette.


 -Becky McAuley

POWERLINE FANZINE ISSUE #8 (Released February 2022)


LA based Powerline Zine recently put out their 10th issue which by fanzine standards is no small feat so congrats to Doyle on this milestone. The new one has another slick print job with 48 glossy colorful pages awaiting you. Powerline is big on visuals dedicating a lot of their real estate to local show flyers, photos and local band advertising which really digs into the notion that fanzines are snapshots of the scenes they cover and although important now may have greater sentimental value years from now when many of the bands covered have moved on to other things. Interview wise we get Braxton Marcellous, guitarist from Zulu, Wise, Shred Bundy and Madhouse. A good read from an interesting dude who cites Eddie Van Halen as a major influence in his musical journey. Other interviews include Sage Jackson from Face Facts, Cole Gilbert who drums for Scowl, Spy, Raw Sugar and Blazer and NY's Age Of Apocalypse. A short read overall but informative as I got some new bands on my radar after going cover to cover. Click HERE for more info.



JUDGEMENT DAY ZINE #1 (Released February 2022)


Judgment Day Zine issue #1 is a 12 page half-sized zine based out of New Jersey. Shaye who is behind this new zine is good friends with the band Reaching Out and she decided to interview each individual member for JDZ's first issue. In addition she grabbed CT based photographer Agatha Hueller for a quick interview as well. The fact that I am a fan of Reaching Out made this a more enjoyable read which was pretty short as I think I flew through this in about 15 minutes. Overall, a good start here with a good foundation laid down with word coming that issue #2 is currently in the works and is slated to have interviews with Pummel, Broken Vow, and Zipper Punk. Click HERE for more info.



REBELMATIC “MOURNING DOVE” EP (Release Date April 1, 2022)


NYC’s Rebelmatic have a new EP out titled “Mourning Dove”. It has 4 brand new songs and follows up their 2020 full-length titled “Ghost In The Shadows” and precedes a “still in the works” full length album that should be released this fall. Over their last couple of releases the band has taken their already really hard to pigeon-hole sound and really ramped things up to keep listeners on their toes. In our 2017 interview with Rebelmatic they listed The Doors, Motorhead, Nirvana, Bad Brains, Black Sabbath and Public Enemy as influences with their band name being directly linked to the classic P.E. tune “Rebel Without A Pause” … “bum rush the sound, I made a year ago…”  So with all these influences (and ingredients) in the Rebelmatic pot what can we expect out of "Mourning Dove"?



“Walk On Water” leads things off and is straight up the most hardcore track of the new batch. After a short little punk rock type woahh ohhh ohhh intro the track explodes into a fierce little diddy with a boot to the azz sing-a-long chorus that just hits hard before the last 30 seconds simmer down a little to lead things out. This track that will kill in live settings while drawing in the hardcore purist but if you think the next three tracks will be clones of the opener you simply do not know this band’s discography. “Said What I Said” is track two and opens with a summer time, Friday night type of vibe... Corona Extra in hand while the grill is heating up. That relaxed feel is quickly replaced with a crunchy stomp groove and as the track progresses both styles intermingle with both getting their time to shine. “Tomorrow Right Now” is track three and opens up like one of those 90’s hip-hop meets metal type of collaborations as the drums, bass and guitar add that “BAM” factor to a track that also has punk and straight up rock ‘n roll elements to it as well. The last 60 seconds of this track harkens back 20 plus years to the Luke Skyywalker and 2 Live Crew days as Rebelmatic declares “Heyyyyy, we want some freedom…” Closing track “Sun Go Down” will be the buzz track from this release as it features Fishbone frontman/saxophonist Angelo Moore swapping out vocals with Rebelmatic frontman Creature. Guest vocal spots can at times fall flat as it’s easy to hop on the hype train and get bedazzled by a big name being involved but that is not the case here as “Sun Goes Down” could well be the strongest track on this EP showcasing strong songwriting that has a definite rock/blues type of thing going on.


On “Mourning Dove” Rebelmatic continue to evolve and their music is insanely hard to categorize. Their primary home (and sound) is in the hardcore punk world but they obviously are not limiting themselves to any one genre as the members of this band probably have some pretty diverse record collections. Arms folded and hasn't bought a new record since 1995 hardcore guy will probably love opening track “Walk On Water” while open minded punks and rock ‘n rollers from various musical backgrounds will embrace the full Rebelmatic package. With each new release Rebelmatic gets a bit wiser, tighter, and creative which makes that new full length in the fall something else to look forward to. Head on over to their Bandcamp on April 1st to give this a listen.




(WAR Records, Released March, 2022)


Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Side by Side, Judge… those bands were the soundtrack for my entry into hardcore even though it was well after they all had broken up. But there were a few bands in the mid-90’s who kept that spirit alive through the more metallic years. Some of those “Youth Crew revival” bands were excellent, some were not… but I gobbled it ALL up because that style of fast straight edge hardcore just spoke to me. Berthold City is a band that would have fit well with all the Youngblood Records/Teamwork Records/Third Party Records crowd in the mid-90’s and this record is good enough that it would have stood with the very best of that pack. “When Words Are Not Enough” builds off of the band’s two impressive 7”s but really steps up in every way to deliver a 12-track experience that absolutely bodies the previous EP’s. Berthold City brings this late 80’s Revelation Records sound in full force, with flourishes of ‘97 tri-state hardcore, and adds some elements of mid-00’s Bridge 9. Where some of the Youth Crew revival bands fell short was; they lacked the ferocity of the OG’s. You listen to “Can’t Close My Eyes” or “You’re Only Young Once” and Ray and Jules snarl like cornered animals. On “New York Crew,” Mike Judge sounds straight up MEAN. This is where Berthold City really shines. The recording is crisp and chunky and the vocals really dial in the savagery that made the classics what they were. The result is a record that carries the spirit of the classics, but listens like a grade-A current day hardcore record.


The song writing is fantastic, the sequencing is perfection and the badass drums really hold it all together. You never feel like you’re listening to the same song twice. Every track gives you something that is so classically straight edge hardcore, but the openings and closings and song structures keep you on your toes. Like many of this style, you get blazing fast, you get 2-step parts, you get stomp mosh breakdowns, you get occasional octave leads, you get well-placed gang backups, you get bass and drum break build ups, palm-mutes, instrument breaks with vocals screamed over them… you get it all. But all tastefully layered and never overdone.  This record is great. I still have no idea what my favorite track on it is yet. Honestly all 12 are pretty flawless. It’s a bit like eating cake for 12 meals in a row. Every bite is delicious and there’s no vegetables slipped in. So.. which of the 12 did you prefer? Tough question… but a few things that stand out; the vocals on “Turn It Around” are extra vicious; some truly Cappo-esque growls. “With This Regret” opens up with sort of a Mouthpiece vibe bass intro… which is interesting, as MP also had a song called “With This Regret”… but then when the drums and guitars come in it busts into more of a Right Brigade (the band, not the song) style stomp part. The gang vocals on the end of “Only Truth Wins” are really cool call-and-response style over the lead vocals. “When Might Makes Right” has a catchy mid-tempo beat-plus-riff combo and the lyrics bounce over them really well. “Still Holding On” has some furious Carry On tribute tremolo picked harmonics. “Empty Faces” has a super triumphant sounding octave lead. It’s all cake.


Berthold City features members past and present of a ton of bands you’ve heard and likely many you love (or your favorite bands love, at the very least). But it’s not a flag they fly in the slightest. This is a band of hardcore kids who have been loving hardcore for years and continue to just love it and live it; there’s no reason to reference any of their previous efforts, because this speaks for itself. If you like fast, pissed off, in your face hardcore with plenty of two-step and stomp breakdowns, this is your jam. And if you love backing hardcore lifers who still eat, drink and bleed hardcore, look no further. Check it out on Bandcamp, Spotify or wherever you stream your music. The vinyl is sold out on War Records, but you still can catch a few colors via Rev or your record distro of choice. The packaging looks slick as Berthold City is a band that is really thoughtful about their imagery, so I can’t wait to hold this one in my hands. Find this on Bandcamp and Spotify. Check WAR Records for more info.


-Chris Williams


(Cash Only Records, Released March, 2022)


From Staten Island, we have Combust, an up and coming hardcore band with a strong DIY mindset when it comes to getting their music heard. Formed in 2017, they released a six song demo and followed it up with a six song EP entitled, “The Void”. On this full length album, the band dispenses eleven tracks of genuine New York hardcore that will appeal to both young and old alike and worthy of getting them some recognition from all corners of the hardcore scene.


Right out of the starting gate, “The Big Game” kicks things off with a fast and punchy song that gets you pumped and gives you a taste of what this band is all about. Listening to this album, you know this is a New York band, giving that NYHC vibe with each song. Tracks such as “Over Exposure”, “Set To Explode” and “The Lines Are Drawn” are just a few examples of what I’m talking about. The song that had me hooked on this band would have to be “Why I Hate”. From the menacing bass intro, to the old school metal riffs and right down to the sharp and forceful vocals, this track screams NYHC. Combust is a band you should keep your eye out for. An even better idea, pick up a copy of this record and see for yourself that these guys are the real deal. Turn the volume up on this one to genuinely appreciate what this band has to offer. Find this on Bandcamp and Spotify with vinyl versions available for pre-order through Cash Only Records.


-Dave Cafferty 


(Pirates Press Records , Released February, 2022)


"I hear it comin’, the trainʼs rollinʼ, you feel the rumble and itʼs cominʼ in hot".  The metaphorical train in this equation is Los Angeles based hardcore punk, rock and roll, impossible to pigeon hole, Sweat, and they are building a head of steam for themselves. Coming off a kick ass 7" on Vitriol Records, this is the band's first crack at a full length… a daunting task for any group. This doesn't seem to be the case for Sweat. From the opening chord this band has me, and I will quote them once again here; "Iʼm interested and fully invested; mentally infested, clearly dejected". Well I'm definitely the first two, probably the third one, dejected, well, that was long before Sweat… a story for my therapist. Sweat's front person is Tuna Tardugno, part time wrassler, front person of Dogteeth and from what I hear a pretty damn good DJ. Well Tuna attacks the vocals like an opponent in the squared circle… no holds barred in a steel cage death match. At times the vocals remind me of Cryptic Slaughter, sometimes a little Amyl of Sniffer fame. Other times it’s as if a chipmunk with roid rage blasted a few rails, and got into my Adderall. By the way, that's a compliment because I am loving this LP. Honestly my biggest issue is I feel Tuna is too buried in the mix on some of the songs. Speaking of which, there are 10 songs here coming in at around 30 minutes or so. Now I'll do that thing that I do where I pick a few choice cuts that are stuck floatin' round me noggin.


My first pick is a lovely bit of vitriol entitled "Machismo" running 3:03. Well from the title you can guess that Sweat take aim at a very worthy target.  The only machismo I go for is of the Village People variety and that's something else entirely. This is one of the songs I wish Tuna was in the  mix a bit more up front but it still kicks ass as it throws out subtle 70's nods and rocks pretty damn hard. Preach on Tuna; "See! What Iʼm talking about? I wish I was making it up. I love a good bonehead but I canʼt hang with a numbskull, all these dipshits keep on wasting my time". Yup.


"Bastard" clocking in at 3:19 is my earworm cut from the LP. I cannot get enough. "The world is a bastard", is the opening line and this catchy as fuck song vaguely touches on all manner of corruption and greed and just plain old bullshit. The music is rocking with a great guitar tone and an overall feeling that the ghost of NWOBHM was watching over its production. This is a great rock tune plain and simple.


If you've read any of my reviews you know I love a good driving song. "Art Of Posing" running 2:01 is that song on this album for me. I get a bit of a Supertouch vibe at the start of the song but then it is chugging down the road. I love Tuna's vocals on this one. If you ain’t bobbin your head then check ‘ya pulse punks.


Well those are the three songs currently stuck in my head and on repeat on my (insert name of music playing device that doesn't make me sound like a boomer here). However, there is a lot of good shit on here. I enjoyed the military march into almost a grindcore song that is "Hard Grudge". Then I felt like I was eavesdropping on some personal shit for another rocker called "Life/Death Complex. I heard a touch of Thin Lizzy on "Bone To Pick", I enjoyed the whimsy... oh... fuck my life... did I just say that? Ahem. I enjoy the whimsical nature of the musical number "Mental". I make myself sick. The final song "Poor Execution" has a AC-DC "ish" riff and if you are high enough you can make Tuna's voice morph into Bon Scott. Fact. So as I wrap this up, I can say to you sorry lot of hopeless fools that these tunes are all good… take my word for it. I have seen bands mentioned such as Sheer Mag, The Wipers. I'll add some Amyl, Nightbirds, Cryptic Slaughter, Detente, Thin Lizzy, and AC-DC… but Sweat is Sweat. This sounds like music fans paying and playing homage to their influences while maintaining their own hardcore punk sensibilities and carving out their own type of shit. Now buy this record and donate your change to our Ukrainian brothers and sisters. If punk rockers had 1% of the testicular fortitude of your average Ukrainian citizen our scene would change the world. I just heard Putin is flying JJ and Chaka to Moscow to boost his street cred. Now take off your tinfoil hats and get the fuck off my lawn! Find this on Bandcamp and Spotify with 12” vinyl versions available through Pirates Press Records.


-Core Junkie

BITCH SWITCH “DEMO” (Released January 2022)


This review is of the debut demo from Bitch Switch; an all-female 4 piece from Long Island, NY. I have caught them twice at Mr. Beery's... a Nassau County watering hole that opens daily at 8am for all you borrachos out there. I was pretty certain on what to expect here and was not disappointed. Old-school hardcore all the way with opener "Dead Beat" displaying a catchy bass line that got caught in my head almost immediately and "Lost Girls" which drives home the fact that Bitch Switch are gonna come at us with raw old-school style hardcore till the cows come home. Both songs are catchy and will get your head noddin’ along while Rachel Jean's raspy vocals add some good 'ol moxie and attitude to the pot and fit like a glove. Although a product of the 2020's Bitch Switch would have fit in well with the mid-late 80's Lower East Side NYHC scene as imagining them on a mobile stage opening for say Nausea and Cause For Alarm in Tompkins Square Park is not far-fetched. The improvement they showed from their July 2021 show to their March 2022 show was very noticeable with the 4 members gelling into a much tighter unit and makes me say with confidence that this band could/should be making some waves if they keep making these kinds of strides. Total run time is only 2:38, but I will take it! Find this on Bandcamp with cassette versions available through Dig My Grave Records.




(Released February 2022)


And yet ANOTHER new band out of Long Island, NY with Chumhuffer who are made up of members who have also served time in Refuse Resist, Zero Rights, Blackout Shoppers and Hopeless Otis. The title track is up first and comes at us fast with a Dead Kennedy's type of feel mostly because of the vocal approach. A nice little stomp part smack dab in the middle of this track will appease the mosh or die faction of the universe as well. "Self Implode" is up next offering a change of pace with a surf punk vibe while "Sloth" is anything sloth like with an ants in ‘ya pantz frantic pace. Closing track "Lifeline" is a mid-paced head nodder with a catchy chorus that solidifies that DK's influence that runs throughout the veins of "Blood In The Water" which is definitely more of a "punk" release than a "hardcore" release if we are splitting hairs here. The cover artwork and the cool variants that pop up while listening to this on Spotify were all drawn by Shawn Refuse, Chumhuffer's singer who also played bass on this release. After some health issues and previous variants Chumhuffer's first show will be on April 23rd in the fine borough of Brooklyn opening for Jay Z and Megadeth at the Barclay's Center... or is it with Crazy Eddie and Necrotic Society at The Meadows at 17 Meadow Street? I may need more coffee to figure that one out. In the meantime you can find this on Bandcamp and Spotify.




(Released October, 2021)


Future Shock, the book by Alvin Toffler, describes how the world is changing too quickly for people to adapt and are therefore experiencing “future shock.” Published over 50 years ago, its ideas are still inspiring art and music, including the title of artist Futura’s NYC solo show in 2012. It’s also an apt moniker for this new five-piece from San Antonio, TX, and the apocalyptic lyrics on their debut EP, “Foreseen Judgement.” Texas has always had a strong NYHC tradition, from Bitter End to the final home of Carl the Mosher. From Killing Time-esque vocal patterns to Token Entry style embellishments, Future Shock repackages NY elements into a fresh and unexpected final product. Their drummer writes the lyrics, just like Killing Time, Outburst, and early Merauder. They spell “Judgement” like Warzone - “Judgement Day” (and “Judgement Day II”) and Judgement Day NYC. It would be an oversimplification to describe them as the Crumbsuckers meets the Icemen, but that was the comparison that kept resurfacing in my headphones as I listened and re-listened to this EP. Track 1, “Dogfight,” starts off like the Bad Brains - “I”, luring you into assuming that’s the direction this whole release is going. Up next is “Future Shock” the song, which features a stompy mosh part at the end and is more indicative of their overall sound. Third song “Take You Down” is not an Icemen cover despite its moniker, but has the strongest overall Icemen vibe. With its galloping riffs and slinky bass lines, it might also be the best song on this release. But just when I had anointed it as my favorite track, I was hit with the power of “Stomping Ground,” the final song on the digital version. Starting off with a slower mosh part and closing out with a reverberating one, it best exemplifies the intriguing transitions throughout this release that pull you back in for additional listens, like watching a replay of a confounding baseball play. There are two pressings of the tape, one from No Name Distro and the other from Little Future Records in Berlin. A cassette copy adds a whole new dimension to appreciating Future Shock, from the lyrics to the Icemen shirt pictured in the insert. The tape also features a bonus fifth song: a cover of Agnostic Front "Blind Justice" that is not available on streaming platforms: a perfect complement to the raw, urgent vibe of this must-hear demo. Cassettes are sold out, but find it on Bandcamp or Spotify through this one stop shop nifty little Link Tree link.


-Becky McAuley


(Released February, 2022)


These Aussies remind me of the mid-80’s hardcore bands that took hard driving rock and added that punk/hardcore bend to it without resorting to metal riffage and production to give the songs balls. With the longest song clocking in at just under 3:30 and the shortest at 1:01, Protospasm do a great job of changing the pace, tempos and moving this 10 song beast forward. This release just got better with each listen and while like most hardcore/punk bands trying to stand out in a genre that is extremely limited in what a band can and can’t do, do everything just right. Vocals can make or break a band's sound and thankfully singer Danni has a great style that draws from that great 80’s era of vocalists that had a nice snotty, garage  attitude and mixes it with a West Coast vibe that I can see the sk8 and surf kids loving. Some nice riffage and soloing without taking away from the overall sound of the band here too. This band works as a unit perfectly in that all of the pieces are equally important in the sound and in the mix. “Fake” jumps out at me as the song that keeps the listener hooked because as the 7th song its intensity and speed just grabs you and shakes you by taking it up one more gear. Great record, look forward to hearing more from them! Find this on Bandcamp and Spotify


-Rod Orchard 


(Equal Vision Records, Released February, 2022)


Fronted by Tim Singer, former Deadguy singer, Bitter Branches have that great 80’s Touch & Go rhythm section heavy hardcore that makes me think of bands like Jesus Lizard with some Nomeansno and a heavy dose of Rollins band vocal punches (minus the monotony of Hank’s lyrics) while thankfully all the while not sounding like any one of them. “Your Neighbors Are Failures” beat you over the head like a wooden mallet. Great stop and starts that lead you down some dark paths and Singer's vocals just tear into you with his blunt lyrical style that pairs perfectly. The rhythm section is the star here as it rumbles along while the vocals act as more of an instrument to punctuate the lyrics than as your typical vocal first hardcore style. Live, this band will have the dancefloor in fits as they try to adapt to the tempo changes. Find this on Bandcamp and Spotify with vinyl and various merch options available through Equal Vision Records


-Rod Orchard 

ILL MATIC “NO NEW FRIENDS” (Released February, 2022)


Two things that should be common knowledge: #1 Detroit, Michigan has a rich history of music and #2 Hardcore and hip-hop cultures go hand and hand. The band ILL MATIC are here to educate those that may not know these facts. Consisting of Jason Meller- vocals, Bill Causey- guitar, Dan Bruce- bass and Casey Husted- drums, these vets of the two scenes have created a hardcore/hip-hop hybrid that encompasses everything that the mean streets of Detroit are and have been about. Recently releasing their first EP titled “No New Friends”, ILL MATIC’s style could best be described as they perfectly put it in the track “Trife Life” as a mix of the Cro-Mags meets Jedi Mind Tricks. The EP captures the band’s influences from some of the best hardcore bands and hip-hop artists as well as their own street style. I immediately thought of when Biohazard collaborated with Sen Dog from Cypress Hill. The track “No Justice, No Peace” gives props to Ice-T and the group’s name comes from the legendary NAS album “Illmatic. The EP is completed with two more tracks: “Apply Pressure” and “Downfall”. The members of this band have at least 20 years in the business and the hardcore music they produce is an in your face and straight up beat down as it comes. Think of other Detroit heavy weights such as Cold As Life and H8 Inc. Now the comparisons I have made in this review in no way means ILL MATIC and their sound are cookie cutter and listening to “No New Friends” should prove that. Unfortunately there are people who will be turned off when seeing a review being done about a band that blends a hip-hop influence and is not straight hardcore and I get it. This is not a style that attracts everyone but this release definitely leans more to the band’s hardcore roots and I hope the "hardcore purists" will give it a chance. Sure many of us might not have the threat of violence walking down the street like the song's lyrics may depict, however all 4 tracks are heavy with accompanying angry vocals and that is something most of us can enjoy as a release or as a soundtrack to a serious kick ass workout. Definitely will be keeping an ear out for these guys and excited to see how far they are going to go. Find this on Bandcamp.


-Chris Beman 


(Give Praise Records, Released February, 2022)


Give Praise Records out of Massachusetts have released this 60 song digital compilation spanning the labels roster dating back to 2005. The label has made this download free and offers the complete discography of the label as a digital download for under $45. The website was down at the time of this review so not much is known about the label itself. The first thing I noticed after listening to this compilation is that the music styles are all over the map. Most labels focus on a few similar genres, but on here you have punk, hardcore, metal, death metal, crust punk, grindcore and even avant-garde metal rolled into one. The other thing I noticed that put me off was the sound levels have no consistency. I found myself having to adjust the volume up and down throughout the entire compilation. As with most compilations, there are good, mediocre and terrible bands and we pick out the ones we like and forget about the rest. Unfortunately, the majority of the bands fall into the category of terrible. Wednesday Night Heroes was the only band that jumped out from the rest of this compilation with their track “No Control”. Punk/hardcore bands such as Beyond Pink, Failure Face, Truth We Defend, In Defiance and For the Worse give a little credibility to this compilation. Birds Of A Feather and Kids Of Carnage offer the listener some old school hardcore sounds that do justice to this release as well. If you like the heavy stuff, Grave Plague, BruceXCampell and To Dust serve up a modest dose of death metal. The remainder of the bands were hard to listen to and consisted of little musical talent and backed with lots of noise, screeching and bad cookie monster vocals. If this wasn’t a free download, I’d tell you to save your money. But it is free so give it a listen and see for yourself. Find this on Bandcamp and for more info on Give Praise Records click HERE.


-Dave Cafferty 


(Flatspot Records, Released March, 2022)


Old-school meets new(er) school with two of Long Island's best exports paired together to create a meaty chunk of musical substance via the latest Flatspot Records drop.


KILL YOUR IDOLS are Long Island Hardcore royalty... so much so that if there was ever a LIHC Mount Rushmore the KYI skull logo would be assured a spot in that top 4. Good luck finding any mountains on Long Island by the way. No going through the motions here whatsoever as the veterans prove they can still write a good blood pressure rising hardcore tune or two with "Tragic" and "Simple Short And Fast" displaying the known qualities this band has possessed since their inception in '95. The opener is a minute long straight up shredder that stays at the same break neck speed from start to finish while “Simple Short And Fast” slows up just a touch while delivering more of a get stuck in your head type of jam with a bit of a bounce to it. Reading that a 3 plus minute Kill Your Idols song has a 45 second acoustic fade out at the end of it may seem a little out of place at first but it's dropped in so covertly like a 3-0 curveball and absolutely belongs despite this band's extensive history of delivering straight up raw hardcore. 


While the studio return of Kill Your Idols is definitely something to get excited about the flip side of this EP is equally as enticing with RULE THEM ALL and their first new tunes in over two years in “Uneasy Faith” and “The Temptation”. Rule Them All are an innovative squad taking the framework of hardcore and doing more “grown up shit’ with it to create a refreshing sound that makes them one of my favorite newer bands out there today. RTA are very good at using tempo changes and groove to mix things up while keeping that hardcore grit about them while their singer Jon Gusman’s vocal approach only adds more layers to their winning formula. “Uneasy Faith” displays the aspects laid out in the previous sentence while “The Temptation” takes those same qualities and really ratchets them up to create a song that you probably have to listen to a bunch of times to fully appreciate. Recent releases by One Step Closer and Method Of Doubt are fair comparisons here as the sound of hardcore as we know it further evolves as each new generation gets their hands on it. With Kill Your Idols repping the back in the day sticks and stones era of hardcore and Rule Them All bringing new flavors to the stovetop hardcore is in a good place in 2022 and this new split EP is proof of that. Out now on all the usual streaming services including Bandcamp with 7” vinyl versions of this release due out in late July. Hit up Flatspot Records for more info.




(WTF Records, Released January 2022)


“New World Hardcore” is the latest release from NY’s The Car Bomb Parade. This came out in late January on Dutch label WTF Records, a label that has been putting out more and more new releases from NYHC bands lately. If you like 80’s style hardcore/punk, the new Car Bomb EP should be right up your alley! Highly influenced by that early 80’s sound, but still add their own newer style, with some in your face lyrics… especially on the opening song “Burn” which is not for the weak of heart. Throughout these 4 songs we get plenty of breakdowns with the one on “Purge Your Soul” being absolutely killer. If you love deep screams (as I do) the Rev Nicky Bullets does not disappoint as his voice and screams really stand out throughout this 11 plus minute release. Unfortunately this EP is Rev Nicky’s farewell with the band with Will, Merf and Mike currently auditioning new singers. These songs are played tight and there is quality playing across the board from all 4 members. This band formed in 2014 and have several earlier releases to dig into including the track “Pandemic North American” that was on the “Back To The NYHC Roots” compilation. Pre-Covid, The Car Bomb Parade were really active playing shows so hopefully their search for a new frontman doesn’t slow down the momentum of having this new EP out. I highly recommend picking up “New World Hardcore” and just digging in deeper on this band as their name not only fits their music but also their live sets as well. Click HERE for more info on how to stream/download or buy! 


-Scott Huslinger 


(Closed Casket Activities, Released January, 2022)


I was first made aware of this band a few months ago when I came across their debut record, “The Way” that was released in the summer of 2020. I was highly impressed by this metal-hardcore hybrid band that has that sound that hits us old Life Of Agony fans just right. So, you can imagine my anticipation at getting to hear what this new record had in store for me. I have to say, I was just as impressed with their latest effort as I was with the first.


They open the record with the first track, “Valley Of The Mystic”, which kicks off the record with a drum roll and a slow intro riff to help get the blood flowing before the powerful verse comes right out at you. Between singer, Dylan Kaplowicz who basically started the band and writing songs as a means of coping with the loss of his father, and the rest of the group, the sound is just so big. A great track to lead you into this piece of music. The second song, “The Patriot”, is another heavyweight track that will get you moving. This band has such a “huge” sound that it feels like it was recorded in a coliseum, and this track fits right in with that sound. The third song, “Fury”, is my favorite track on this recording. More thunderous guitars from the duo in Terry Orlando and Jack Xiques, who destroy everything on this recording. Heavy chugs mixed with harmonics solidifies this band’s tight trademark sound. This song totally brings the fury to this record. The next track, “Grim Wisdom”, slows things down quite a bit. It begins with a melodic guitar riff that quickly turns heavy and then slowly picks the pace back up. More guitar harmonics that add to the heavy crunch that solidifies their place as the new kings of metal-core. They keep things moving at a slower pace with the next track, “Begging The Reaper”. This band can remain powerful, even when they play slower, more melodic songs. Dylan’s vocals are amazing on this track. He can hit the low notes and the high notes, seamlessly. This track is quite amazing. Next up is the sixth track, “Rotten Kingdom”, which is just a continuous display of this band’s powerful sound, which is very similar to “old school” Life of Agony. I am sure that they are maybe a bit tired of being compared to the Brooklyn quartet, but the influence is hard not to mention. “Ghost (Hart Island)”, the next track, takes the pace up a notch and then levels you with the choruses. Another fantastic track that must be experienced for oneself! The next song, “Memento”, is basically a short acoustic guitar interlude that takes you right into the following track, “Pain Of Creation”.  Another solid track that takes this band to new levels with those guitar riffs and harmonics. Spoken word samples and precise drumming from Will Kamerman, make this track another highlight on this record. Finally, “Casualty Of Time”, arrives to close out the record. Keeping up the pace on the last song, bassist Joe Shannon gets to show off some of his bass riffs on this final track that ends this musical journey.


With that all said, Age Of Apocalypse rules! This band is quickly becoming one of my all-time favorites, and I only first heard of them a few months ago. Expect big things from them, as they have already secured their spot in the Northeast Hardcore Scene with their previously mentioned first release and a split with Long Island’s Pain Of Truth. Find all the info you need to secure this record (or CD) in your collection by clicking HERE.


-Brian Espitia 


(Released November, 2021)


Out of Long Island, NY comes the return of Live Fast, Die Fast with their first new material (outside of some singles) since 2013. LFDF are veterans of the hardcore scene, forming back in 2008. In 2015 members splintered off to form the seemingly short lived lived Out Live Death but are back at full throttle as LFDF once again. Right off the bat, you know you are listening to a NYHC band. It has that distinct sound and feel that only New York bands have. The band belts out five tracks of hardcore mayhem that had me turning up the volume with each new song. What grabbed my attention right away is the frenzied vocals. It’s as if he’d been caged up for a long period of time and then let loose on the world. He sings with a seething intensity rarely heard with other bands and holds the listener’s attention. The opening track, “Make It Count” and “Silence Speaks Volumes” (track 3) are good examples and are complimented by band members who bombard you with their frantic and hyperactive playing style and continue their assault throughout all five songs. “Raise The Bridge” is the standout track for me for its sheer strength, speed and infuriated vocals. This is the way hardcore was meant to be played and this band spares no expense delivering the goods. Find this on Bandcamp or Spotify and check out the band’s other offerings if you like your hardcore fast and done right.   


-Dave Cafferty


(WTF Records, Released January 2022)


I listen to a lot of other music besides hardcore and one of my favorite artists was Tom Petty. He penned a great line in his hit song “The Waiting”, which was “the waiting is the hardest part”. Those lyrics came immediately to mind when I heard a while back that NY’s Point Blank were in the process of recording a full length release. Being very high on this band since first hearing them in 2016 I had big hopes for this release and I am happy to announce that not only is the wait over but it was well worth it once I heard the finished product. Titled “(We Will) Rise Again” and released through WTF Records and Distro out of the Netherlands. The Point Blank members on this release are: Ken “KWE” Wagner- vocals, Danny Derella- guitars, Frank Avila- bass and Keith Malonis- drums have created an amazing record consisting of 17 tracks with an impressive play time of over 30 minutes. These veterans have taken their experience and individual styles and continued with their unique formula of old school and contemporary sounds and have put out a product that keeps the integrity of the hardcore sound alive. “(We Will) Rise Again” is a perfect call to all of us to keep our heads up despite all that is going on in our lives and the world. However the title also seems to have been an unexpected look into the future of the band. Within two short months from the end of 2021 into 2022 Frank would leave his position as bass player to pursue other endeavors and Keith would sadly pass away. A hit as hard as these could derail almost any band but Point Blank are not just any old band. Their heart and soul for the music (which is evident on this record) and the love for the scene will help them rise again. For the already established fan base, it will be refreshing to hear that their sound and KWE’s vocal style remains intact. There were no big changes to a formula that has kept the band going strong since their start in 2014 but we also get some new inventive and even mature sounds that should make this album appealing to all those who enjoy different styles of hardcore. The song’s lyrics tackle several important topics such as the self-explanatory track # 7 “New Normal” and track # 17 “Memories”… as I’m always a sucker for those “remember back in the day” songs; about having respect and about positivity. My favorite tracks are: “Make A Difference”, “(We Will) Rise Again” and “Memories” but the others are by no means less enjoyable. It's simply something you can listen to straight through without skipping a song. Although still very early in the year it seems to be moving very quickly and has already brought on some impressive music and I can’t wait to hear what’s on the horizon. One thing I can tell you is before the calendar is flipped to 2023, many people I expect will have “(We Will) Rise Again” as one of the best releases of the year and if they don’t there is no denying that KILLER cover artwork which is absolutely amazing and eye catching by Bobby Draws Skullz. Click HERE to find various ways to stream the new Point Blank and HERE if you wanted a CD copy through WTF Records.


-Chris Beman 


(Rotten Bastard Records, Released January, 2022)


If these 2 plus years of no gigs and isolation have served as a reason for artists to produce art, music, film etc. then we will be better for it. Brooklyn, NY’s The Mad Mulligans are an Oi!/old-school hardcore band that are made up of members of the Krays (past and present),Bastard Clan, Drunken Rampage, Model Citizen and Darkside NYC. They just released a cool 6 track record titled “Action Men”. Very under produced with a cool garage sound to it, “Action Men” has to be the first Oi! influenced record I have been able to listen to. While having that classic Oi! sound it has been cut with an equal amount of old school hardcore to make it somewhat addictive. No songs of running down back streets and the usual standard boring Oi! anthems as the Mulligans inject some much needed humor within their lyrical content. Their members switching up on vocal duties is another appealing aspect here as well as it is done right. Sprinkled into the mix is a tiny bit of Social D to give it some nice melodic bits as well. It feels that because this band is a side gig for everyone involved that they don’t take it too seriously and go over producing and looking to make the band into something “big”. That gives it a nice old school no-shits-given feel to it that so many punk/hardcore/Oi! bands seem to have lost on the way over the decades. Well done! Find this on You Tube and Spotify with physical copies available through Rotten Bastard Records.


-Rod Orchard 


(Nuclear Blast, Released January, 2022)


Canadian hardcore heroes Comeback Kid return with their latest album “Heavy Steps”… the follow up to 2017’s “Outsider”. The new effort sees the band sounding reenergized and doing things as they always have, which is on their own terms and with their own buoyant but heavy vibrancy. The half a decade wait for a new Comeback Kid album has made fans of the band anxious for new material, and “Heavy Steps” proves itself to be worth the wait. The title track of the album is a striking way to start things off with a mixture of anthemic hardcore and a more groove orientated vibe that sets up what’s to come nicely. That vibe continues to flow for the remainder of this 11 song effort with tracks like the catchy “No Easy Way Out” and the even catchier “Face The Fire” providing an energetic bounce to the proceedings and that groove comes though perfectly.


There are a couple of guests featured on “Heavy Steps” adding an element of eclecticism . A bit of a curveball comes in the form of “Crossed”, which features Joe Duplantier from French metallers Gojira and sees Comeback Kid adding that metal sheen to their sound ably abetted by Duplantier and the results are undoubtedly impressive with some killer riffs augmenting the band’s song. “Everything Relates” follows and sees JJ from Australian hardcore mob Deez Nuts joining forces with Comeback Kid and the result is a furious and anthemic call to arms which sees both parties on top form throughout.  After this, it’s Comeback Kid all the way with the metal tinged “Dead On The Fence”, the equally frenetic double hitters in “Shadow Of Doubt” and “True To Form” and the fast paced “In-Between” all storming through before the album commences with the melodic but muscular hardcore of “Standstill” and the closing shot that is “Menacing Weight”, a song that closes proceedings on a high. “Heavy Steps” is a solid album and one that sees Comeback Kid present a collection of vibrant hardcore songs, many of which can’t fail to become live favorites and a fine addition to the legacy of a band that will be turning 20 years old this year. Find out more HERE


-Gavin Brown

COME MIERDA “DEMO 2021 (Released November, 2021)


With a scuzzy production that is raw and loud Come Mierda’s self-released, “Demo 2021” sounds like its rolling on cassette tape, mercilessly taking stereo EQ meters blasting into the red. For those who didn’t take Spanish 101 in a public high school and given an outdated text book graffitied with every Spanish curse word…the group’s name translates to EAT SHIT. A blunt and vulgar way that lets you know this circle of misfits ask for no quarter given and no quarter taken…


“Fucked” opens up like a switch from an electric noise machine ready to provoke a power outage. The New Jersey outfit commence with a gritty slab of slow doom core as minor key guitar chords are rung out and are played with a snotty punk attitude Frankensteining themselves with a brutal riff for nothing short than a sacrifice to metal-core overlords. Crash drum attacks savagely set up a slow beat-down groove that kicks in a skull with manic vocals… a sound true to its authors who do not deviate from it throughout the eleven minute journey into their audio wild.


This demo release rips through five chaotic cuts that make you wonder why you would want to listen to anything cleanly produced? I don’t want my hardcore, metal or rock for that matter to sound like Celine Dion…I want my bones to shiver from crackling distortion and riotous vocals- Come Mierda delivers this until you lose consciousness and not just from the nocturnal turbo descending beats and chugging zig-zagging chords.


The violent idiom Cannibal Bett spews from a millennial underground illustrates a personal wardom of the soul and its wiring to an ideological revolt playing itself out in real time in the news, on social media, in the household and unto the street. The group throws “Molotov Cocktail” into the sonic fray. A ripping fight song for the “self” up against an orthodoxy bolted into a person’s being and body from the time the school bell rings to the moment you say grace at the dinner table. Raw blast beats back up phrases and lines screeched in English and Spanish seemingly not for style but in a blind anger that ceases to recognize any language except a primitive prehistoric scream. A rhythmic burst sets up a punching breakdown section mid-song that has guitarist Zakk Mild wildly shuffling anthemic two tone notes for a vile ending. The ghost of the left handed maestro Kurt Cobain summons a dirty riff from the Prince of Angst. Stomping with a hardcore-rock groove “Warzone” is a wolf stepping away from the pack for a brief moment. Unlike previous eras which saw music of the popular, cult and street ilk find their “folk roots” the compositions that make up the millennium has by and large left “protest” out of their repertoire in a sort of Twilight Zone moment considering the field day a folk singer and/or band can have during these times. The song opens with a catchy rock riff wrapped in razor wire behind a slow mid-paced groove before switching personalities in a schizophrenic brain haywire episode. Kamikaze down beats come like machine gun fire ceasing only to bring NY style mosh violence to the pit floor with a break part that has you smelling the sweat and blood from a 1987 Rest in Pieces show - moshing until you end up in an ambulance. The riff comes full circle though now with a heavier dark rock vibe, mutated into a barbaric mess that seeks revenge for anything clean or precise.


This seems to be the philosophy behind this five song purge. The New Jersey group dangerously shifts their songs and structures from dirty punk rock to satanic metal to street hardcore. Mastering the sound of a demolishing tool with a frenzied vox that mirrors a wild animal caught in a trap howling cathartically. Come Mierda are extreme but not for the sake of being extreme, their chaos has purpose…and it sounds awesome. Find “Demo 2021” on Bandcamp.


-David Arce


(Upstate Records, Release Date March 4, 2022)


From Michigan, home of great bands such as Cold As Life, H8 Inc. and The Meatmen come Detroit’s, Smash Your Enemies with their latest entitled, “Genocide”… on the great label Upstate Records. The band serves up seven tracks of genuine, straight ahead, brutal hardcore metal that will have your testosterone levels exploding in your brain. Formed in 2008, Smash Your Enemies have released a number of EP’s over the years and have grown to become a force to be reckoned with. From the opening title track until the very last song, you are pulled from your safe environment and hurled into a dark and violent world of hardcore, Detroit style… that will give you the feeling of being jumped in by a gang. Listening to this record, you know this is no ordinary hardcore band. The lyrics are fierce and sung with ferocious conviction. Just listen to “God Hates The Living”, “War For War” or “Ferocity” for proof of this. The band has a musical toughness, backed with lethal riffs and a hostility that declares they are not to be taken lightly in the scene. It would be hard for me to single out one favorite track on here as each song provokes the desired result I look for in hardcore music. Even the instrumental, “Decension”, has a forceful impact on the listener, sounding like a prelude to the war we fight inside of us each and every day. Smash Your Enemies pulls off a tour de force on this record, proving hardcore is still alive and strong. Don’t sleep on this band. Buy this record and support real hardcore. Due out in full on March 4th on Upstate Records, click HERE to check it out.


-Dave Cafferty 


(Streets Of Hate, Released November, 2021)


Dead Last are a new band out of Long Island, NY that feature members of Rule Them All and The Fight. You guys weren’t busy enough already? Every time I start to listen to this I keep thinking how good it would be to have the vocals brought up into the mix until I’m about 2 songs into it and then I’m thinking the mix is perfect and not too slick. While they are tagged as hardcore/punk, Dead Last come off (to me anyways) as a traditional youth crew style hardcore band that, while not reinventing the wheel musically, deliver exactly what we all want and need out of a hardcore band at times. This EP breezes by pretty fast with 8 songs in about 12 minutes that pack in some breakdowns, nice and simple guitar leads and a vocal style you’d want and expect. The downside to not having a physical copy of any band’s music is not having the lyrics sitting in front of me to see what these guys are singing about. At the same time, with the band putting out some nice old school core like this, who cares? I don’t. Find this on Bandcamp and Spotify with Streets Of Hate being the primary force behind this 7”s release with Triple B Records on board with their own limited variant as well. Click those blue hyperlinks to find out more.


-Rod Orchard


(Roach And Roll Records, Released October, 2021)


LA crust punks released this LP in October and it took me this long to get to it and damn am I glad I did!  Nine songs of what I’ll call “modern crust punk” just for the fact it doesn’t become entrenched in the crust formula of the past. Driving, fast, pummeling hardcore that slows down and just crushes. Too many bands seem to just throw a record together and hope for the best… this record had some thought put into the order of the songs. A perfect example is how  they go from a fast paced song like “Defect By Design” into the slower paced “Betting Against Us” and then into an instrumental “Worms Eye View” which ultimately sets the stage for “The Plague”. It may not seem like much, but the flow of this record keeps the music fresh. This isn’t your grandad’s crust with some nice melodic bits, some simple guitar leads and naturally some lower end bass fun. Pretty impressed with this as I can honestly say crust never really grew on me back in the day. Well done! Follow this Bandcamp link to stream, download or scoop this up on vinyl.


-Rod Orchard 


The Bridge And Tunnel Brewery in Ridgewood was the setting for this 3 band bill that served as a benefit for Music For Veterans as well as an unveiling of the headliners’ own brand of beer. The Bridge And Tunnel has a special feel when you walk into it with a bear and two deer heads mounted on the wall, an old (turned off) Centipede arcade game and a chain link fence that separates the beer making equipment from the area where the bands and crowd assemble. 


First up was IDOL EXISTENCE from PA and New Jersey, a band that originated in 2002 and got back together in 2021. They fought through some technical difficulties early on in their set and won the crowd over with a short set of metal meets hardcore with some good stomps along the way. Their drummer Angela did a pretty cool drum solo after one of their songs that brought back flashes of KISS at Madison Square Garden in ’85. Damn I am old. Idol Existence’s guitarist is a staff sergeant in the US Army and had some cool shit to say about getting motivated to play his first show in a very long time. This band seemed to have their heads in the right place and made some new fans on this night.


To help raise money for this benefit show raffles were sold and in between bands a couple of people walked away with some gift bags that included some signed Sick Of It All shirts and more including Crazy Eddie, Down Low and Enziguri shirts along with some old Fahrenheit 451 CD’s. Good job by all who donated as it was relayed along later that $1000.00 was raised for the Music For Veterans cause which has special meaning to not only John from Idol Existence but also Kevin Smith from Crazy Eddie who currently serves in the US Air Force. 




Next up was DEAD BLOW HAMMER… a band that has had different names in their long history… and also a band that a lot more people should know and love. Originally known as Against The Grain, they put out a demo in 1996 and their “Mentiroso” full length two years later. Granted they weren’t always the most active band but the “on switch” has been flipped to “on” over the past 4 or 5 years and they are always a fun band to catch live as their sets are tight and just seem to always have a good flow… as was the case on this night. Another reason why I like seeing DBH is they release new material and in turn you often get a fresh set with a new song or two mixed in. DBH recorded some of the footage from their set for an upcoming music video as well. If DBH is a new name you are just finding out about click HERE to check out their “No Repercussions” EP from 2019. In addition to making 19 in house beers, ciders and kombuchas Bridge And Tunnel proprietor Rich Castagna is also the new guitarist for Dead Blow Hammer replacing long time member Gary Yosco who recently moved out of state. 




CRAZY EDDIE kicked off their set with “It Is What It Is (New York)” off of their 2020 EP “Eddie Goes To Night School”. Eddie (Crazy Eddie’s mascot) is always doing stuff including dropping out of college (in part, the title to their 2018 debut) and now “Ruins College” the name of the special Coquito Cream Ale that they put together with the Bridge And Tunnel folks. A literal hands on production as Crazy Eddie guitarist Lenny B was seen in social media posts leading up to this show at the brewery assisting in the making of his band’s beer. Highlights of their 30 or so minute set included “The Prices Are Insane” which is the ultimate learn on the spot sing-a-long as singer Chucky Brown told us the lyrics right before they kicked into it, “A Toda Madre O Un Desmadre” off of the “Back To The NYHC Roots” comp and “Runnin’” which ends with one helluva stomp part. I like how Crazy Eddie uses distortion to sort of slow things down and stall right before the stomp starts almost creating this “oh shit, they gunna release the Kraken” moment. For the uninitiated Crazy Eddie’s punk influenced bi-lingual NYHC style is all conveniently located in one easy to find listening location. Listen to it all HERE and go check ‘em out the next time they come rolling through your town.



(Released November, 2021)

Restrict are yet another new hardcore band out of a resurgent Long Island scene where things seem to be percolating like an awakening volcano. To date Restrict have played two shows and this 3 song demonstration is their debut anything. "Don't Need To" starts with a hard as fuck riff that leads into a 20 plus second intro stomp with the first lyrics being... "I don't like you, I don't need to, why should I have to, what do I owe you...". Restrict... you officially had my attention at this very moment. Right off the bat I drew a comparison to Modern Pain who were this raw (and under-appreciated) Texas band that inflicted some great tunes on the hardcore scene back in the 2012-2015 range with a few EP's that just raked. With Restrict I see a bunch of the same characteristics as Modern Pain with an overall raw approach, hard but not overdone vocals and some solid lyrics to create this finished product that just needs a rubber stamp with the words "authentic hardcore" stamped right across the front of it. John Brannon will like this, Scott Vogel will like this, your friendly neighborhood metalhead blazing some stinkweed on the park bench will like this. The recording (engineered and mixed by the sought-after Chris Rini, and mastered by Brad Boatright) sets everything up here with a good balance that makes this recording sound grimey, yet modern and not something recorded in someone's basement on an old boom box. A good mix of speed, mid-paced parts, brooding distortion and eerie cover artwork all give off all the right "feels" that should appeal to fans of bands like Sheer Terror, Lifesblood and for a more modern day comparison... Philadelphia's Fixation. A short offering at only 5 minutes in length but in that time I did notice more than a couple of parts that seem conducive to live show mayhem and audience participation with the line "this is for anyone, but not for everyone" hitting hard towards the end of closing track "World's End". Members of Restrict are also currently in other active LI bands like Stand Still, Draw The Line and Warehouse. Find this on Bandcamp or Spotify.



POWER LIES “DEMO 2022” (Released January 2022) 


Power Lies hail from Long Island, NY and have released their first self-titled demo. From the second the first chord is struck, Power Lies grabs you firmly by the throat and slams you into anything in their path with three tracks of wild and gritty hardcore. If a new anthem is what you need, all you have to do is listen to the opening track “False Flags” with its great Wedding Singer intro. The lyrics are powerful and motivate one to take action. Musically, the band plays a frenzied style of hardcore that is lacking in most hardcore bands these days. Before I could say “holy shit that was an intense opener”, the song ends and they proceed to kick your ass more with “American Nothing”. This track is a reminder of how the world is going to look like once we deplete its natural resources. This song should wake people up to look around and see the destruction being done to our planet. The demo finishes up with “Season Of The Witch”, the shortest track of the three, but maintains the sick speed and fury this band plays at. This is what hardcore has been missing as of late. These guys write well-intentioned songs that should hit home with any hardcore kid or adult. The singer is passionate in his delivery of the lyrics, hitting home the message he is trying to make with each song. I had a crazy amount of energy after listening to this the first time. I felt charged up and ready to face the day. I have nothing but praise for this band. I only hope they follow up with a full length record. This is the kick in the ass hardcore music needs. Find this on Bandcamp.


-Dave Cafferty 


(Compilation, Released November, 2021)


I have a “not suitable for work” (or in this case hardcore review) story attached to my 9th grade Spanish class where let’s say I didn’t pay as much attention as I should have… Many times since then I have wished I had actually paid attention and learned this beautiful language and doing this review is a prime example. My review is on a split EP titled “Latino America Hardcore MMXXI”, which is made up of four bands and all the research I conducted needed to be translated which was challenging but fun. Jump starting the release are REXURGIR from Nicaragua, who may be familiar to some of us already as some of their earlier work has popped up on these very same In Effect reviews pages. Forming circa 2017, they are a straight edge, hardcore band consisting of Martin on vocals; Roberto on guitar, Alejandro, bass and Carlos, drums. Next up is X HASTA EL FINAL X (X Until The End X) representing Mexico and also embracing that Straight Edge life. This duo started in 2017 and is made up by Alfredo on guitar and vocals and Neca on drums. PARIAH who formed in 2015 provides us with their hardcore style from Columbia with Anderson on vocals, Johan, guitars/backing vocals, Juan on drums and David, bass/backing vocals. Completing this EP are BACK ON COURSE also from Columbia and they have been around the longest of the bunch starting off in 2013. Their lineup consists of: Japo on vocals, Pina- guitars, Shaggy on bass and Correa on drums.


With these brief introductions out of the way, each band contributed one song to this 4 song EP, giving us a good taste of Latino Hardcore that many of us I'm sure have missed out on. The music is hard, fast and raw with pissed off vocals. Now when it comes to the lyrics, call me lazy but it was way too much work trying to translate the lyrics so I just listed the band and translated the song titles using the Spanish to English Google tool, so any mistakes… blame technology. Track 1: Rexurgir “Nunca En La Vida” (Never In Life); Track 2: X Hasta El Final X “No Quieres Mirar” (You Don't Want To Look); Track 3: Pariah “Resistir” (Resist); Track 4: Back On Course “Eternidad” (Eternity). These bands that make up “Latino America Hardcore MMXXI” have really impressed me and I like the uniqueness of each one's sound. All of them have a DIY sound and share a little bit of that Los Angeles "Hoodcore" flavor similar to bands like Countime and Why We Live. Although it's well over 3500 miles from NYC to Nicaragua, this release again proves that distance does not stop our scene from growing and staying connected through good music, even when the lyrics are in different languages as we can still get that deep down, almost soulful feeling when you make a connection with a band’s song. Find this compilation on Bandcamp


-Chris Beman 


(Bleeding Edges Released November, 2021)


Recently in I Question Not Me Zine I noted that "the hardcore-Oi confluence has enjoyed fluctuating popularity, from Judge covering Blitz in ancient times to Mastermind covering Blitz in modern times and Combust covering the Templars." The Shock Tactics promo tape falls squarely into this territory, representing the best of both genres. Young me would have been all over this in the early 2000’s when my hair was long and my patience was short. The band's own description references 86 Mentality and The Trouble, but they'll also appeal to fans of Restraining Order and early Wisdom in Chains.


Shock Tactics features current members of Shark Attack, Wall Breaker and WarXGames. The three promo songs are their first output in advance of a five-song 7" coming later this year. I refuse to use the word “cassingle”, which is worse than shirsey (no mercy for shirsey… think of a t-shirt/jersey), but that is how the band describes it. Final offering “Ills of Society” runs two and a half minutes and was the first of the three to get stuck in my head repeatedly. The first and second tracks, “Abusive Behavior” and “Fall Of Rome,” are shorter songs but also deceptively catchy.


2021 was the year of tactic band names, at least in my domicile and fictitious band name list, which had 29 variations involving the words “tactic” or “tactics”. Shock Tactics was evidently on the same page that monikers containing “tactic” complement the style of this promo. But unlike the 29 other options forged in the caverns of my brain, the Shock Tactics tape actually exists. Check it out on Bandcamp or You Tube or order the cassette limited to 150 copies.


-Becky McAuley


(La Vida Es Un Mus Discos, Released November, 2021)


Coming from my hometown of London England, The Chisel have dropped their debut album "Retaliation" in explosive style. Formed back in early 2020 and featuring band members with long-term association with the punk scene, this 14 track opus is loud, refreshing, and most definitely a must-have for your collection. Eye catching artwork on albums has always been an immediate must with me and this cover is just superb… painted by Tara Artefi. the artwork signifies resilience and in turn retaliation… it is something that would fit a band like Conflict as their 1983 "It’s Time To See Who’s Who" album cover immediately springs to mind. But I digress… on to the music itself...


"Unlawful Execution" opens perfectly with a no-nonsense approach, a UK-82/hardcore style with vocalist Cal screaming bile and hatred combined with a seethingly angry band delivering a punk onslaught to your earholes. "Retaliation" has a different style of attack, sounding like The Business… a favorite tune of mine already and I am sure this will be killer live too as it is really catchy! On one track the band sounds very hardcore rooted and in another, they sound like Oi and it is that mix that keeps the listener engaged and makes everything sound that more interesting, "Nations Pride" and "Not The Only One" are classic examples of this. Luke's guitar work on the track "Tooth And Nail" is infectious and reminds of the The Blitz or Peter And The Test Tube Babies, it is a very strong song with a great opportunity for a sing-along where "Crocket" automatically springs into life with a real pogo feel… I love this album… I cannot express just how good this band is. "Force Fed" is a high-speed angry punk tune…  just another twist and turn in this outstanding album. The closing track "Will I Ever See You Again?" starts with a harmonica and is probably considered the band's "ballad”. Will I ever see you again The Chisel? I am confident you will, oh yes you will! A stone cold classic band/album, don't take my word, check it out for yourself. Find this on Bandcamp or Spotify. La Vide Es Un Mus produced vinyl, CD and cassette versions of “Retaliation” with the vinyl currently being sold out. Click HERE for more info.


-Robert King


(Dead Serious Recordings, Released January, 2021)


Formed in 2004 from Lisbon, Portugal, Devil In Me have been around for some time now. Well known throughout America and Europe, they finally have appeased many of their fans who have been waiting for this newest eleven song full length release, “On The Grind”. They kick the record off with the track called “Will”. A bit of synthesizer and guitar riffage fades into this fast-opening track with the rest of the band trailing behind. The gang vocal choruses and the breakdown further solidify this track’s heaviness. A great introduction, I must say. Next is “Awake”. A nice little drum roll sends you into a chug-fest of guitar heaviness. This song is melodic and heavy and the “Stay alive, stay awake in these streets of hate” lyrical reminders bring much dynamic to this track. The third song, “In Loving Memory” is another solid track with a circle pit feel to it. A quick hard intro and right into the music. More solid lyrics and heavy vocals by singer Correia when he tells you “It’s better off alone than surrounded by snakes!” The next song, “Stomp”, is only a 23 second song of sound effects that gives you a quick breather and then dumps you right off into the realm of this next monster track, “D.L.T”. Probably the best track on this record, it also features a guest appearance from Terror’s Scott Vogel. An acronym for “Don’t Lose Track”, “D.L.T.” is a blistering piece of music that delivers the same Devil In Me sound with a nice splash of Terror! A great display of gang vocal choruses and guitar chuggs galore.


Because you need another breather after exposing yourself to the last track, the next song, “S.C.”, gives you that much needed break before launching you into another heavy-hitter track called “War”. Great drumming, gritty vocals and sing along chorus and catchy riffs all day with this track. The next track is another 40 second guitar interlude with a little TR808 drum in the background. This gets you prepared for the next tune, “Unchained”. More gang vocals and hardcore riffs to keep things going in the right direction. Now, the next track, “Never Give In”, is a solid circle pit song that jumps right at you. The “Never Give In” gang vocal and that breakdown also help take this song to the next level. Finally the last track, “Glory”, wraps up this collection of songs. This slow-paced anthem really helps you feel the impact of this album’s conclusion. Overall, this album was very impressive and proves that the European hardcore scene is not something to sleep on with bands like Devil In Me out there showing they can deliver the heavier side of hardcore just as good as any of their contemporaries from across the Atlantic and beyond. Stream this on Spotify or head over to the Dead Serious page to find this on vinyl. 


-Brian Espitia 


(Upstate Records, Release Date January 28, 2022)


Gloves Off has an uncanny ability to evade any musical label one could assign.  On the exterior, their vibe could be described as "we'll kill you."  In reality, it's more "we'll kill you, but probably apologize after - but like, you made us do it."  ...I digress. Clearly influenced by the crossover bands of the 2000’s era metal core movement, Gloves Off blend hardcore tenacity with heavy metal flare, and the result is an auditory pummeling of riffs and vocal pugilism.  I'm always impressed with the production on Gloves Off recordings - the band clearly understands how to play off the strengths of each member, and every component gets time to shine on this record.


The lyrics here are incredibly introspective and arrange themselves in such a way that the album connects thematically and musically in a very raw and organic way. The tough exterior of sound belies the real vulnerability displayed on this record, and that juxtaposition of hard, heavy music and honest, open lyricism is one of my favorite things that Gloves Off does very well. Two tracks that stood out to me which exemplify this writing/musical style are "Conqueror Worm" and "Winter Solstice".  Both tracks are composed with bone-bare candor set against crushingly heavy melodies that'll satiate metal heads and hardcore kids alike. There has been a few mentions of the writing on this record, and that's because I really believe it's what sets this band above some others who occupy a similar sonic space.  With "metalcore/crossover" albums, there is sometimes a lack of depth, but not here. The music can be solid or even great, but if the lyrics are the same recycled themes and mantras over and over it'll all fall flat or get stale. Gloves Off have cracked that code. In this digital age it's so easy to miss out on, or skip over new music - with bands popping up and dropping new tracks constantly, one day here, the next day gone with just a defunct Bandcamp in their wake. That said, I would encourage you to give this album a listen at least once, it's certainly worth it! Due out on January 28th, via Upstate Records you can check out the leaked tracks “Conqueror Worm” and “My Death Was A Banquet” via the Gloves Off Bandcamp or on their Spotify page. Physical versions of this release include 12” vinyl and CD’s which can be pre-ordered HERE.


-Josh Derr 


(Crew Cuts Records, Released October, 2021)


Skrewball hail from Plymouth, UK  and specialize in weighty hardcore with plenty of twists and turns in their music, which is buzzing with energy from start to finish. The bands self-titled 7” is out now on the always reliable Crew Cuts and sees Skrewball impressing with their hardcore style, which is both eclectic and inspiring. The release kicks off with some swirling mutant surf punk riffs ala the Dead Kennedys on opening track “Real Deal” and quickly combines with a formidable stomp to create a very strong opening statement, especially as it reaches a Gorilla Biscuits-esque conclusion to the track. This strong start continues on “Peace Talks” (a song that demonstrates exactly where Skrewball are coming from and what values they believe and stand up for) and the energy levels are raised up even more as the band blasts through a furious two minutes of rage. That furious element of Skrewball music is impressive and following track “Wild Cats” definitely keeps that up, but it is also done with a slightly slower pace which only adds to its discordant nature. Skrewball finish up with “Count Me Out” (complete with a killer bassline at its heart and some more of those DK loving riffs to finish up on) and it’s a song that sums up the passion that the band have for punk and hardcore music all wrapped up in less than ninety seconds, and a great way to finish things off. This is a great introduction to the music of Skrewball, a great addition to the Crew Cuts family and a band we’ll be hearing a lot more of in the future. Stream this on Bandcamp or Spotify or check in with Crew Cuts for a limited edition 7” vinyl copy.


-Gavin Brown 


(Rotten Bastard Records, Released January, 2022)


Skism is the brainchild of one Wynn Skism from Brooklyn, NY and this band has roots that go back to the late 1980’s where they had a self-released CD out titled “Pain And Pain”. Fast forward a few decades (wait, did he actually just say decades?) and from the ashes of the quarantine came the rebirth of Skism when they released their 9 song “2021” EP last February. Well kids, some old punks just won’t die and we are happy to report that Skism are back for another run here in the year of our Lord, 2022. 


Skism’s DIY bio-packet covers all the things we need to know in the “write your own review” department with the disclaimer of “Skism is an anti-social, angst ridden, hyperactive punks who pound out driving music with screaming vocals, fast guitars and pounding drums, featuring players who played in The Krays, American Eagle, Wrench and Mad Mulligans”. That is a pretty eclectic mix of bands with Wynn scooping up his drummer Mike Palmeri from “acid doom metal” band Wrench and Mad Mulligans’ guitarist Albee Damned to help on “Capitol Lies” which comes at us with 9 tracks that will cost you about 20 minutes of your busy day. “Trying To Get On” lives up to their self-billing with a fast beat and killer guitar sound that feels like it climbed out of a grimey NYC dumpster. Add in some of those screamed vocals that they were promising us and you get a great opening track. Other standouts here are track four in “Broken” and track eight in “Shovelhead” which harken back to mid-80’s style hardcore and in particular the Big City “One Big Crowd” compilation which featured Sheer Terror in their early, more punk stages as well as a bunch of other old-school hardcore bands where the “punk” in “hardcore punk” was most definitely at the forefront.


Overall, “Capitol Lies” delivers some hits with the previously mentioned tracks while others are serviceable but don’t really “grab me” as much as. A punk’d up cover of “Runaround Sue” by Dion And The Belmonts and the more rockabilly vibed “You” offer up some changes of pace here which I applaud as well. Although “Capital Lies” is getting sort of a mixed review here I could easily see myself having a great time seeing them at some dive bar on a Friday night after work with a Guinness or other adult beverage in hand while Skism hold court in front of a hometown crowd. Available now to stream via Bandcamp with CD versions out on January 28th through Rotten Bastard Records.




(Released November, 2021)


Infernal Diatribe was formed in 2015/16 by vocalist Camden Garnett and drummer Tino Valpa, who played for a short time with the Rob Nunzio and Louie Rivera version of Antidote. Guitarist Matt Heath and bassist Chris Belmonte make up the other half of the band. The band hails from New England and this is their second full length album release. The band plans to stay busy in 2022 playing lots of shows and supporting the new record.


The record opens with the dark and gloomy instrumental, “Pandemonium”, giving the listener the idea this is more of a metal sounding record then a hardcore one. “Collapsed Lungs” and “Alone In A Crowd” start out promising, but the change ups halfway through confuse the listener. It’s as if they are trying to cram too many styles into one song. The next three tracks start showing signs of promise with “Chipped Teeth”, “Nervous Wreck” and “Stabbed By The Pressure”… three fast and fueled hardcore songs which stand out from the rest. “Frenchtown” is a decent track with a Death Before Dishonor sound to it, but the last slowed-down thirty seconds of the song takes away from it. “Grasp Of A Nightmare” is a good song musically, but unfortunately the voice overpowers the band’s efforts on this one. The title track, “Asylum Of Pain”, is a dark and disturbing sounding song that feels out of place on here. “Thirteen Twelve” is another encouraging hardcore song although it could have done without the rock star guitar solo. “Blurred Visions” finishes off the album and in my opinion, should have been left off the record as like the title track, it feels out of place and takes away from what the band is trying to accomplish.


It is never my intention to give a negative review. I go into each new review with an open mind and ears in hopes of finding another great hardcore band to add to my collection. Sadly to say, this isn’t one of them. I understand hardcore changes over time, but I have a hard time calling this a hardcore record. Aside from a few favorable songs, I found most of the record confusing musically, with a lack of direction. The vocals override the band’s playing on the majority of the songs and it’s a lot of screeching for the most part. I had a hard time enjoying this one because of the vocals. At times, it sounds like the band members are playing their own thing and some songs come off sounding messy and hard to listen to. On a few tracks, I noticed the guitar riff almost sounded the same. It seems like the band is unclear on what direction they want to go in. Unfortunately, nothing jumps out on this record and says I must have this in my collection. Check this out on Bandcamp or Spotify. Merch including 12” vinyl versions can be found HERE.


-Dave Cafferty 


(IOU Records, Released December, 2021)


On November 25th I was pretty sure that my 2021 “record of the year” race was all neatly wrapped up, but the next morning that banging LP from The Chisel had me going through a serious crisis of faith. Then, not even a week later Method Of Doubt threw down their gauntlet with this fabulous new LP to blow it all up. The Florida hardcore band’s previous effort, the “Accepting What We Know” 7” was neck and neck with Inclination’s “When Fear Turns to Confidence” for my favorite release of 2019. Those four songs from the MOD 7” are basically seared into my brain from two years of religious listening. But the band isn’t super active on social media, so I was low-key worried that we might lose this promising young band to Covid or some other unforeseen circumstances. Needless to say, I was super hyped and a bit surprised to see IOU Records drop a couple of singles and a December 1st release date.


Before I get into this record, I need to say that “Method Of Doubt” is a really cool name for a hardcore band. If you’re not familiar with philosophy, the idea for this concept from Descartes (as I understand it) is that it’s a process for finding truth, where you start with the assumption that something is likely NOT true and then see if the evidence proves you wrong. Which is frankly the opposite of how so many people think in this internet age of misinformation where so many lead with assumptions of truth and are quick to amplify and cite anything that seems to validate their opinions, without doing even the bare minimum of common-sense research. But I digress.


This band has had a cool journey sonically. The demo was solid; reminded me at times of Insted, with some modern hardcore flourishes. Then the 7” felt like it flirted a bit more with post-HC, both in the second-wave Dischord realm and with some early 90’s Revelation records. Fast-forward two years and the two singles they dropped ahead of this LP didn’t really have any fast parts and seemed to draw more heavily from bands like Supertouch, with some Quicksand and maybe even a touch of 90’s Sub Pop a la Seaweed or Pond. Those influences and more (I even hear a bit of classic rock in some of the guitar work) carry across the rest of the LP. But make no mistake, this is a hardcore record and they pull just as much influence from hardcore acts. One of the members was in Abuse Of Power, so that’s an easy comp, but it’s also fair. There’s some stuff that reminds me a bit of Mil-Spec, and I believe Fury is an appropriate comparison, given how they also explored some Quicksand territory on their last LP. I’ve definitely seen Fury’s singer rocking a Seaweed shirt. There are plenty of fast parts, and plenty of aggression on “Starring at Patterns.” But they do a ton of creative stuff with tempos, bass-led parts, melodic elements that aren’t octave-fueled, slower palm mutes, harmonics (and artificial harmonics too I think), guitar-led parts without bass, and more. And they do a great job of bringing out these different little qualities in limited capacity and not over-using any of them.


The sequencing on this record is superb. It really flows from track to track, and you never feel like you’re listening to the same song twice in a row; something that is very hard to accomplish in hardcore. The whole album tells a story (sound-wise) that you won’t get from any one song alone. The singer has a really cool voice and he does a lot of different things with cadence, call-and-response, some doubled-up vocals here and there, mixing in singing with yelling, varying the intensity of his voice in a really dynamic way, and like the 7”, the lyrics on this LP are great; really thoughtful and introspective. One of my favorite tracks lyrically is “No Friends But the Mountains.” I read an interview where they talked about this song, but now I can’t find it… so I may butcher this, but I believe the song is about pushing against getting comfortable in crowds and how important it is to stand for what you believe in, even when it goes against the flow of the echo-chamber. “One Million Copies Sold,” is another lyrical favorite. It has kinda a “Merchandise” from Fugazi feel lyrically, exploring consumerism. “Kudzu” seems to be about self-destructive short-sighted behavior at the expense of long view. “Decide and Choose” is an actually quite original approach to one of the most-used, age-old tropes in hardcore; friendship. Basically, it looks at the topic from the perspective of questioning the cruelties of circumstance and things we can’t control in life, but also appreciating that those same uncontrollable things are what led someone (or something) to be in your life... I could also see the “you” in this song being a non-person (sort of like Carry On’s “Broken Strings” where the “she” is hardcore, or music in general).


This is a complete-package record. It is only available digitally while we wait for the vinyl, but the cover is really cool looking and I feel like it’s going to look fantastic IRL. I can’t wait to hold this in my hands and thumb through the insert while the record spins. At this point, don’t even ask the question of what’s my 2021 album of the year because the idea of having to pick between this, The Chisel and One Step Closer has my insides feeling like the meme of Charlie on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia trying to figure out who Pepe Silvia is. Can we just say that, like those other two, this record is CRAZY good top tier hardcore and leave it at that? If you haven’t heard it yet, check it out ASAP on Bandcamp (with lyrics!) or your streaming platform of choice including Spotify. Vinyl lovers can still get the splatter vinyl through IOU Records, the clear from Disorder, or the orange from Triple-B.


-Chris Williams


(WTF Records, Released November, 2021)


Crippled Earn are one of the current day NYHC scenes best kept secrets, partly because of a global pandemic and partly because this is only their second proper release since their formation in 2017. Blending 90's style hardcore with big punky anthemic sing-a-longs is what these guys do best and we get a lot of that on "Exhausting Existence", their debut with Dutch label WTF Records. Crippled Earn's progression from their 2017 debut "Swine" is obvious from the first track "Never Gonna Change" as everything sounds bigger and tighter than before which is saying something since "Swine" was no slouch of a debut. "New Year New You" is up next and is probably "the hit" of this bunch with the band making a music video for this track as well. "New Year..." has a really cool "woahh ohhh ohhh" type chorus that got stuck in my head early on and apparently doesn't want to leave. "Bad Habits" hammers home the idea that Crippled Earn have influences all over the hardcore punk spectrum as their blend of hard edged hardcore meets with even more melodic parts and just comes off sounding fresh. Closing track, "Survivors Guilt" features ex-Kraut frontman Davey Gunner and is more of a mid-paced head nodder of a track with another killer "get stuck in your head" type of chorus. Crippled Earn impress on this, their sophomore release and show that they should be more in the mix when you start talking about the current day NYHC scene. For fans of bands like Sick Of It All, Wisdom In Chains, Blood For Blood and The Casualties. Their label WTF Records is from the Netherlands but are no strangers to signing NY bands with The Car Bomb Parade, Point Blank, and Going Postal all in the WTF mix with either newly minted releases or soon to be releases. Follow this tree link for streaming options including Spotify as well as how to grab a CD from WTF.




(Released December, 2021)


Our Festivus celebration came early this year and between the "Airing of Grievances" and "Feats Of Strength", I decided it was siesta time. I had just settled in for a post bong hit nap. When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a bolt, tore open the shutters and quickly drew my Colt. When what to my wondering eyes did appear??? The motherfucking In Effect delivery lackey all tangled up in my Christmas lights on my front lawn. I popped off a few warning shots for shits and giggles in the spirit of the holiday.  Anyhow he quickly got on my good side when he handed me this slab of straight up, old school, hardcore thrash by The Alligators. In case you've been underneath a rock or your mom's skirt, The Alligators are Roger Miret on vocals (do I really need to list his credits?) Rich and Steve of Insted fame on bass and drums respectively, and this time around one Rhys Kill of Roger Miret And The Disasters joins them on guitar and also contributed to the writing if my sources at In Effect HQ check out. That's right parasites, The Alligators are back and spent the Covid lockdown magically beaming music to each other across the country on that intraweb you kids love so. It culminated in a quick learn it and burn it session at Buzzbomb Studio in the OC. The result is yet another blistering attack of thrash in the form of 12 songs in around 13 or so minutes. To the tunes we go!


I won't bore you with my opinion on all 12 tracks but here are a few that successfully ear wormed their way into my head a bit quicker than the others. First up will be songs 3 and 4. I have combined the two because song 3; "Everything's Poisoned" is 4 seconds long and is an awesome throwback of a blast burst and it couples nicely with song 4; "$$$" which is 1:11 and kicks off with that traditional guitar and bass combo and launches into a song that could easily be a lost track from an early AF release. Next up is a song I initially didn't like, but after a few listens it grew on me. "Searching For The Truth" is 1:45 making it the epic long cut. I really like the laid back approach, the use of feedback, the bouncy Sick Of It All vibe, and the general distrust of all things. The final cut I'll mention is "Next Generation" clocking in at 1:16. This is a straight up thrash tune about passing the torch to a new generation… except instead of a torch it's a giant steaming sack of hate, disease, debt, and shit… beautiful!


The band is really tight. The guys are all masters of the style. Roger sounds like its 1984. Do you like your hardcore punk devoid of frill but delivered with precision and skill? This is for you. Do you dig that old school, fuck the government, trust nobody vibe? This is for you. Do you think that Agnostic Front should have never evolved as a band or *GASP* embraced a more metallic sound? This is for you… oh, and BTW, you are a completely annoying, whining, baby shithead who needs a baba, a binky, and a bowl of Cocovid puffs. Now pick yourself a pronoun. Pick up a copy of the record. Pack up yo shit. Ho. Ho, Ho, Get the fuck off my lawn! Find this now on Bandcamp and Spotify.


-Core Junkie


(Nuclear Blast, Released November, 2021)


What! Wait! Is this an Exodus review? For In Effect? This is supposed to be a hardcore zine brah! Well, yes, yes it is an Exodus review my friends. Why? Well first of all this record fucking kills. Secondly, Craig from Agnostic Front brought this to my attention. Is that hardcore enough for you? Never mind that hardcore bands have been “borrowing” riffs from metal bands for decades… but I digress. Listen. This record is simple metal meets hardcore bliss. Vocally you have one third Udo Dirkschnider and two thirds Blaine Cook. Let’s face it. Anyone who knows metal knows that the only Accept records worth spinning have Udo on vocals. Anyone that knows classic hardcore knows that Blaine Cook’s vocals are so unique that any band calling themselves the Accused without Blaine on the mic are just a joke. Ok, so now we’ve settled the fact the vocals rip. Ripping vocals are only as good as their lyrics (IMO) and these guys are on point with titles like “The Fires Of Division” and “Clickbait” but they also bring it musically. Thrashcore/crossover done perfectly and delivered just when we need some new crushing music with the hope of gigs becoming the norm again.  To me, this is an instant classic and can already hear hardcore guitarists licking their lips as they rip off some of these riffs. Check “Persona Non Grata on Spotify!


-Rod Orchard 

BROKEN VOW "SANE MINDS END" (New Morality Zine, Sunday Drive Records, Released December. 2021)


Cool new band made up of members who randomly met at a Northeast hardcore show and decided to start a band together. With members located in Western Mass, Connecticut and Rhode Island Broken Vow may have to pack a lunch and a pillow before heading out to band practice but that doesn't seem to be slowing down any progress as this is their second four song release in just a little over a year with the latest being a split release between NMZ out of Chicago and Sunday Drive Records from Texas.


Getting to the music side of things Broken Vow play mostly mid-paced, groove oriented 90's style hardcore. Opening track "Illusion" shows that Broken Vow can play their instruments well and are backed by a solid vocalist in Tommy Harte who has a clean yet still hard style of singing. The rest of the lineup here is: Harrison Sacco and Matt Williams on guitars, Nicole Servetnik on bass, and Mikey Karolyi on drums. With "Illusion" being a mid-tempo jam and then track two ("Poison Peddling") also starting at a slower pace I was wondering when BV would kick things into overdrive and get some speedier/thrashier parts mixed in but soon found out that those elements are few and far between on "Sane Minds End". Around the minute mark on this second track I finally get what I was waiting for as things ramp up albeit for only about 30 seconds but what a fun ride it is. The blend of mid-pace, fast, mid-pace works well here as what the band may lack in thrashiness they more than make up for with grooves and hooks as they are literally tucked away in each and every one of these four songs. "Broken Vow" which is the third track is up next and starts off with a killer 30 second intro that should start off every Broken Vow set from now until the day they decide to hang up their instruments as it has that energy and stompiness that is going to make people "move the fuck up". "Your Fate" closes things out and has more of a balanced attack that I'd love to see this band use more of going forward with speedier parts blending beautifully with those more mid-paced grooves to create something memorable.


Broken Vow are in that special time frame within some bands' history where they are getting noticed outside of their home area and building up momentum. What better way to keep that vibe going then by playing out, which is something they have already been doing leading up to "Sane Minds End's" release with even more announced that sees BV hitting both the Northeast and the Midwest for 14 days in January. Find this on Bandcamp and Spotify with physical copies available through New Morality Zine and Sunday Drive Records. Editors note: since the recording of this release Evan Stein has taken over for Matt Williams on guitar and Max Holsbeke has replaced Mikey Karolyi on drums with the states everyone is from somehow still staying the same! 





From Vermont comes The Path, a fierce and hard hitting hardcore band. The band has a number of projects set for release, but due to the amount of time it has been taking vinyl records to get pressed all of their future releases have been delayed. Frustrated with the situation, the band decided to think outside of the box and release a preview collection of songs from their upcoming releases. As well, the band is playing as many shows so they can to get their music and message out there. This is the kind of band I can get behind and after you give them a listen, I think you will as well.


“Good Morning Matt Kimball!” kicks things off with a slow prelude before the band unleashes their fury and lets us know what they are all about. All one has to do is listen to “Second Republic” to realize these guys are the real deal. Twenty-one seconds in and you can feel the intensity building up as the band discharges a frenzy of pent up aggression on its listeners. I found myself hitting the repeat button over and over on this track. “Kitty Genovese” and “Better Birds” stay on course with two more ballistic tracks of untainted mayhem. The band finishes up with “Neckbeard Death March”, a pissed off, dare I say, a sing-a-long that only they could pull off.


At first, I had a hard time with the singer’s voice. After a few listens though, I warmed up to his unique sound and saw how his vocals complement the musical backdrop of the band. The music has a raw, animalistic energy to it and the band is well schooled in their playing styles. The Plan definitely stands out from the herd. If you are looking for some hardcore with a twist, then check these guys out and watch for their upcoming releases with State Of Mind Recordings, Blind Rage Records, 625 Thrash and Crew Cuts Records. Click HERE to check this promo out on Bandcamp.


-Dave Cafferty 


(Irish Voodoo Records, Released September, 2021)


I have a confession… I never really listened to much 90’s hardcore. Sure there might be some but mostly I just kept following the “old school’ bands when they put out music during this decade. So when a band I am going to review refers to their music as “a modern take on the classic 90’s hardcore sound” I’m sort of at a loss of what I might hear. This above quote was directly taken off of Juggernaut’s social media and is a perfect example of my point. After listening to their newest release “Hollow Black”, I thought to myself… is this a style of hardcore I am very familiar with? No. But is it good? Yes. Is it very good? Yes. Forming in 2012, this Buffalo, NY band consisting of Jorden: vocals, Richie: guitar, Dylan: guitar, Dillon: bass and Mike: drums have really caught my attention with this ten song CD. The music captivated me with a sound that I would describe as a Hatebreed/Terror mashup. However this is no copycat style as Juggernaut projects their own heavy sound. Vocals have always been important to me and I prefer to hear some clarity but still with that aggressive edge, not a death metal type growl and Jorden’s vocals work for me and more importantly work to unite the Juggernaut sound. Something else that stands out are the slower, more melodic parts (which are rare) such as in the intro to “Day Of Absolution” and how well they fit. When I hear a lot of bands playing super aggressively then transitioning to more slow and melodic, sometimes it just doesn’t work and can kill the whole “hardcore vibe” of the song. That is not the case here as these parts are not only refreshing but also showcases the band’s talent. If you have ever spent any winters in the Buffalo area, days can sometimes be very cold and bleak. Add in all the craziness that the world has to offer and you can imagine it makes for a great opportunity for some good writing sessions. Juggernaut have capitalized on these situations by writing fitting lyrics to accompany such track titles as: “Born, Built, Abused”, “Hours In Purgatory”, “Now Damaged” and “I Am Defeated”. Picking a favorite track off of “Hollow Black” was a difficult task so I’m just going to say I love all ten equally to save the trouble of racking my brain. To fairly sum up this release and the band on a whole I turn to the dictionary’s definition of a Juggernaut: “a huge, powerful and overwhelming force or institution”. With Western NY bands like Juggernaut keeping the flame burning brightly for the hardcore scene it gives me a reason to want to move back to that area. Hopefully someday soon I will get to witness these songs being played live because I can visualize how intense their set might be and this anticipation and excitement is what keeps the scene alive in my heart. Follow this link tree for streaming options as well as how to grab a CD from Irish Voodoo Records.


-Chris Beman 


(Released September, 2021)


Long Island’s Controlled Substance hit my ears like a long lost 80’s cassette demo. Some simple old school hardcore that somehow gives off an 80’s UK vibe to it. Flanny’s vocals are soaked with that old school UK chain smoking, booze drenched raspiness that you just don’t hear much in today’s era of screamo and metal influenced hardcore vocals. The production has that old world demo feel to it, while nostalgic, also makes it hard to clearly hear what’s going on here. Tweaking your bass/trebles and cranking this will easily take care of that (or if you still have your cool 80’s EQ hooked up). With most songs around the two minute duration, you’re getting the perfect dosage of what these guys have to offer. While listening to this I couldn’t help but wonder why bands don’t record their demos/EP’s live off the board like the bands in the 80’s did. You can tell these songs crush live and what better way to capture that energy? Looking forward to whatever is next! For now though you can find this on Bandcamp and Spotify.


-Rod Orchard 


(Triple B Records, Released July, 2021)


This was originally released back in July for the streamers of the world with Triple B Records recently getting the 7” versions in hand giving this release some new life some 5 months after the initial push. This split is insanely short with both bands dropping two songs a piece and still coming in under the 5 minute mark. Restraining Order… can’t say enough good things about this band who play “1982 style hardcore” and somehow manage to keep coming out with fresh songs over and over again which isn’t an easy task in any music genre… the fact that they can take caveman era hardcore into the 2020’s, make it sound modern and non-redundant while also staying true to their mission statement of playing that old-school sound is no small task. “Times Up” and “Undercover Cop” are their two entries. Some might look at split 7”s as a way to throw some filler material out there in between albums but with “Times Up” we get classic Restraining Order played to perfection with the sub-one minute “Undercover Cop” being a formidable follow up.


Warfare are a Massachusetts based band who put out a demo in 2016 with Justice Tripp from Trapped Under Ice playing guitar and Sam Triple B Records singing. In 2018 they put out the 8 song “Declaration” EP and as far as I can tell this is part three of the trilogy. “Domination” and “Nutcracker” are Warfare’s two offerings that serve up more of the old-school with these two giving me a Rival Mob type of feel complete with a big ‘ol mosh that covers the last 30 seconds of “Domination”. The 49 second “Nutcracker” is over before you know it but also delivers some head nodding bounce in its brief stay. Although containing some fine hardcore five minute split EP’s are kind of a tease but also better than not existing at all. Stream this on Bandcamp or Spotify with 7” vinyl versions available through Triple B.




(Epidemic Records, Released April, 2021)


Hailing from Perugia, Italy, Locked In offer up 5 songs of intense yet somewhat disjointed hardcore that at times shows some promise. However where this release falls short is putting all of the elements together to really be effective. Starting off with “Flaws” a piano intro that has all of the makings to lead the listener into an insane ripper and really get things moving. What you get though is part hardcore, part post hardcore somewhat wonky gang backing vocals and guest vocals that while give you a break from the non-stop screamo, somewhat move the band’s music more sideways than forward. Musically they are on the right track in that they are changing tempos and adding elements to keep things interesting. What I think they need is the vocals to do the same. I dunno, maybe the blueprint is to have the vocals as the constant and the music be the variant, but after the second or third song I began looking past the vocals to find something to make me want to keep listening. I’d like to think that perhaps recording this during Covid can take some of the blame for the end result as I think if these songs get played out for a while they’d flow and come together better. Follow this link tree link to check out their music video for “Coward”, as well as a slew of streaming options.


-Rod Orchard 


(Downtuned Records, Released November, 2021)


Yes, it's an outfuckingstanding album cover, band name and overall concept... but I am also happy to report that Melbourne, Australia's Pizza Death and their 20 song "Slice Of Death" album is not some gag band with shit to offer musically. Made up of members of other Melbourne acts Wolfpack, Hailgun and Pissrash this album brings about crossover feels of bands like Municipal Waste/Iron Reagan, S.O.D. and a host of late 80's metal meets hardcore style crossover. Pizza Death keeps it real by offering up songs about… A: Pizza, B: Death and C: Death by pizza (their biggest fear). The songs shred, the soundbites before songs are ripped from movies like Spaceballs and television shows like The Sopranos ("Don't disrespect the pizza parlor!") and with titles like "Mozzarella Massacre", "Rise Of The Anchovy", "Death By Garlic Bread", and "Slicezilla" you just feel Pizza Death's passion for all things pizza. Pizza Death's merch game is on point as well with the their logo slapped on such oddities as cooking aprons, an umbrella, a clock, a jigsaw puzzle and last but not least a pizza cutter shaped like an axe. Although they are clear across the planet in Australia, Pizza Death would pair well with hardcore beer ambassadors like No Redeeming Social Value or Murphy's Law to create one helluva tour package because what goes better together than pizza and beer? I'm gonna stay right here scratching off these lottery tickets in hopes that one day soon I can make this tour a reality, in the meantime your job is to smash some links and check out "Slice Of Death" before they break up, sell out or fall prey to some pizza related catastrophe that wipes them off the face of the Earth. Pizza Core is here and is in full effect. No ham, no pineapples, just well-played and memorable crossover that hits on various fronts. Check out their link-tree or Spotify to find out more.




(Flatspot Records, Released November, 2021)


In March 2020, Scowl played the last show I saw before the world came to a screeching COVID 19 halt. They were on the front end of a West Coast tour supporting their second demo. Both demos were really good, but you could tell they hadn’t yet shown all they had to give. The energy and fury was undeniably there; it was clear that there was a sleeping juggernaut ready to come bursting through a brick wall. The realities of the world health situation put that on pause for a bit, but don’t accuse Scowl of sleeping; this band was methodically refining their sound and their aesthetic over those 18 months, so they could come screaming out of the gates of this forced hiatus. Part of that time was in the lab putting together their debut LP “How Flowers Grow” for Flatspot Records. This was exactly the kind of record you could see waiting to jump out of this band.


In the summer of 2021, Scowl was so ready to take these new songs out on the road. They almost shot out of COVID from a cannon and have been an absolute force on the road over the last few months. When a lot of other bands were trying to line up their first shows back in the biggest cities on the coasts, Scowl was already doing the blue-collar work to bring their brand of fury to HC-starved kids in some of the small and medium sized scenes in the Southwest. And their hard-charging efforts to play as many shows as possible in the last few months really set this record up to be received as it has been.


This record is an absolute banger. Musically, it alternates between blazing fast and caveman slow, but also does a ton of the boot-inspired slower fast beats and faster breakdown beats. The riffs are driven by bass and a single guitar, without a lot of leads or layered melodies. Instead, Scowl relies on changing tempos, breaks and pure wrath to keep things dynamic. The vocals sound fantastic on this record. They’re growly but snotty, with attitude and character. The recording is super sharp, which is important for more growled vocals that can get lost in the mix if they’re produced dull and not crisp. Guest vocal spots from Sam from Drain and Angel from Dare also nicely contrast Kat’s snotty low growl to add even more flavor.


“How Flowers Grow” is 14 minutes of pure rage, disgust and violence… plus “Seeds To Sow,” which is a 1:46 minute strategically placed break in the middle of the all-out pummeling of the other nine songs. While it was a daring move to share this track as the album’s SECOND single… given how different it is from the other songs… it fits great on the record. The placement is perfect too; a total stop-you-in-your-tracks moment on the record. If you were distracted from your listening for any reason this 90’s alt meets 80’s new wave destined-to-be classic pulls you back instantly. It’s different, but it’s a legit good song and proves the range of influences for these kids and their range of talent. It’s a beautiful palette cleanser from the band sonically punching you in the face relentlessly for 7 or 8 minutes on either side. 


If you haven’t heard Scowl before, their sound sits somewhere between Negative Approach, Breakdown and Sheer Terror. At times it really reminds me of Outbreak, and the misanthropic lyrics certainly make this an appropriate comparison. I could hear Kat screaming “your phony fucking words make me wanna puke” just as easily as I could hear Ryan O screaming “nasty wounded little shit, you’re just a scratch I just can’t itch.” This record rules, plain and simple. If you’re craving raging no-frills pissed-off hardcore look no further than a band whose name says it all. Stream “How Flowers Grow” on Bandcamp, Spotify, or your preferred streaming platform. The vinyl is sold out everywhere (unless we get a second press!), but Flatspot has some CD’s left. And check out Scowl when they come to your town (likely soon).


-Chris Williams 



(WAR Records, Released November, 2021)


In 1996, Victory Records released “The California Takeover”, featuring hardcore staples Earth Crisis, Snapcase and Strife, live and at their best. The album became an instant classic amongst the hardcore scene. Fast forward twenty five years later and War Records is releasing a follow up with “The Return Of The California Takeover”, recorded live in February of 2020. Each band contributes four songs which represent hardcore at its finest in the mid-nineties. 


On this live recording, all three bands have stood the test of time and sound as fresh and raw, if not better, as they did 25 years ago on the previous live outing. EARTH CRISIS kick-off this record with a blistering version of “Forged In The Flames” from their 1993 “Firestorm” EP. The guttural vocals give new life to an already benchmark song. The band’s “Born From Pain” from “Destroy The Machines” and “Constrict” from “Gomorrah’s Season Ends” are also given renewal with an upgraded sound and feel to them. They even throw in a later song, “To Ashes” from 2009’s “To The Death” album, which completes the four song set from the band.


SNAPCASE offer up two tracks from 1993’s, “Lookinglasself” and two from 1997’s “Progression Through Unlearning”. “Incarnation” is re-done from the original “California Takeover” and this version seems to have a bigger impact than the original live version. “Zombie Prescription” is an appropriate song to include as it predicted how the world has become a prescription state in today’s society. The band’s songs sound as prevalent today as they did when released in the 90’s. STRIFE offer up three songs from 1997’s, “In This Defiance” and one from 1994’s, “One Truth”. The track “Lift” is on this second instalment and this time around the vocals sound even more enraged than the first live version. It has a re-energized sound and feel to it. “Waiting” blasts full speed ahead with insane fury, as does “Force Of Chain”, showing us the band’s intensity for inducing crazy mosh pits. 


Overall, I like this live album over the first. Don’t get me wrong. The first “California Takeover” was a solid record. On this one, the voices have matured and the players have refined their sound, giving each band a heavier and ferocious presence on this record. I’m sure some will disagree, but this record shows three improved bands that still put their heart and soul into the music, all in the name of hardcore.  You can find this release online in its entirety via Bandcamp by clicking HERE. 12” vinyl versions of this release look like they will be a hard find with WAR Records showing them already sold out (check with RevHQ distro as well). Click HERE to find out more or to grab a very 90’s inspired compact disc.


-Dave Cafferty 

Z9! s/t EP (Fastbreak! Records, Released October, 2021)


No movie quote intro, no soft lead-in, Z9! drop right in on their debut EP "We Don't Come in Peace" without any frills or decadence.  An ode to the harsh, fast-paced reality of the East Coast working class, this EP packages gruff and grounded vocals, truth telling lyrics, and edgy hard rock instrumentals reminiscent of "Kickstart My Heart" era Motley Crüe.  


The first 2 lines on the record, "You'll never walk alone; you'll never sleep again" hold some real significance, as both of these statements are synonymous with the values we know about the members of Z9! from their other project, Wisdom in Chains. But it's not all hard rock and cold hearts for Z9!...  anyone who has ever wanted to hear Richie Krutch do his best impression of Michael Stipe will be happy to know that amongst the blend of punk and 80’s street rock, there is a surprise in this 6 song offering; an R.E.M. cover!  Unfortunately it's not "Shiny Happy People"; Z9! take on "The One I Love" - an interesting choice, and one that harkens back to that opening line, "You'll never walk alone" - reinforcing the values and bonds this band has both internally and outside the studio also. 


To get a new project like Z9! from current band mates of an already well established band such as Wisdom in Chains, and to have such a unique twist therein is really encouraging and refreshing. This particular offering comes in a timely manner also. With Halloween season having just passed and the chilly wind rustling the fresh-dead leaves of Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, Z9! are not too dissimilar from Michael Myers wielding a chef's knife in their attempt to hunt down our eardrums and deliver the grim reality wrapped up in the music stashed inside this EP. If you're looking for a heavy blend of genre-bending darkness to match with the colder seasons on our doorstep, Z9! is your ticket to life's haunted house! Stream this at Soundcloud or Spotify with 12" versions available HERE


-Josh Derr


(Released August, 2021)


Like the Oldham Boys a few years back, Butchers Hill is named for a location in the great hardcore city that is Baltimore, Maryland. Also like the Oldham Boys, Butchers Hill has accrued very little hype so far, though much is deserved for their recent five song release, "Year Of The Bleeding." Their sound reflects both their own roots and the key musical influences of the city, as Butchers Hill's vocalist was the original bassist in Stout. You can definitely hear some Stout influence here, along with Next Step Up. Bmore hardcore has always walked the porous line between hardcore and metal, from the last Gut Instinct demo to Next Step Up themselves being covered by Dying Fetus. That all bleeds together here (OK, pun intended) in Butchers Hill's new offering.


The juxtaposition of fast sections and run-for-cover mosh parts has been well represented by Baltimore acts, but the combination on track 1, "Fresh Kill," actually brings to mind an out-of-town band that is much loved in Baltimore: Billy Club Sandwich. Much like another iconic misheard line from a Baltimore band (Trapped Under Ice's "cold fucking ice cream") I dare you to un-hear "fifty four dollars at Costco" partway through this one, and/or "Richard Fucking Serra!" Each song features different variations of pure Baltimore riffs, which are complemented by dark lyrical themes such as addiction and revenge. Track 2, "Hoodwinked," starts out more plodding and methodical before picking up the pace, and "Flock," up next, has a bit of a Confusion vibe. Track 4, the unfortunately titled "Skinning Cats" opens with a sick Stout-esque riff and then changes direction midway through.

Final track "Paradise" may be the most traditional on this release and is a solid closer, something the Orioles wouldn't know anything about these days. Less eloquently, my original notes said “last song is great – oh shit,” which perhaps referred to the mosh part at the end. Catch this gargantuan mosh part and all the others on Bandcamp


-Becky McAuley


(Released October, 2021)


Sunfall is a super terrific most excellent international superstar hardcore band.  The top brass at In Effect World HQ know that I am a serious mark for the youth crew sound and aesthetic so naturally I was handed this to review by that faceless scary guy who drops off all In Effect packages. To be clear; Sunfall is not playing the youth crew but more of a post youth crew melodic hardcore. To be honest, Sunfall is not my favorite name as it sounds a tad bit like a James Bond film that a chubby Brit would sing the theme to, but the music makes up for it, and who gives two shits about my opinion anyhow.  So when I said that Sunfall were an "international superstar hardcore band" I was only half joking. Sunfall hail from Russia, The Netherlands, Canada, and the good ole US of A. Tim Shaw (Ensign), Dean Pleunis (Hometown Crew) and David Lavictoire (Copperfield) collaborated on this record by writing lyrics and providing vocals.  All mixed and mastered by none other than Jesse Gander from Rain City Recorders studio in Vancouver. I shit you not when I say the bass bits were recorded in fucking New Zealand via Russia by Kirill. This music has put in the miles and been quarantined too many times to remember. So what exactly has it all been for and what has this international conglomerate put together? Let's dive in and find out you parasites.


Sunfall has dropped a record that consists of 7 songs and is 17 minutes in length. I am not gonna go through all the jams but spoiler, they all kinda rock. I'll speak on three standouts for me. The first being the opening cut "Break The Light'' running 2:50. This song embodies what Sunfall are all about; catchy melodic hooks, excellent musicianship, thoughtful words, and a powerful emotional delivery. This is some deep stuff here. A beautiful song… fuck… I didn't just say that, did I? Tito, get me a tissue. The next nugget I've chosen is "Unaltered" clocking in at 1:39. This song features the one and only Anthony "Pops" Pappalardo of In My Eyes/Ten Yard Fight fame adding some tasty licks to the proceedings. This is a well-constructed tune with some nice original flourishes particularly with Pops' guitar work.  It's one of the several "edge" anthems on here. In fact, it made me throw my joint across the room so I could keep my mind sharp and finish writing this review… shit I'll be right back. Phew… that's better. The Final jam I'd like to mention is "Open Book".  At 3:15 it is the album's epic long cut. This one starts out with a nice melodic catchy riff that will have you boppin’ along in your chair. At about the :53 mark it turns into a fastcore tune and goes off galloping down the road. It's a powerful song regarding self-reflection and friendship. It closes the record perfectly.


Well there you have it. This is some really good melodic hardcore punk rock. There is really not a weak song in the bunch. If you like bands like Verse, Have Heart, or Final Fight. If you wear your X's with pride or, if you, like me, simply like good melodic hardcore punk then check this out. I must shout out to Denis (guitar), Kirill (bass) and Alexey (drums) for laying down a great foundation of music and doing so from the four corners of the globe… well… not really the four corners, but close enough. Besides, if the Earth is round… how does it have corners?? Huh?... Answer me that lizard people. Go and listen to Sunfall you plebes. You will thank me later. I need to go contact Joe Rogan about this Earth thing. Speaking of Joe, take the lead from your icons, be good little punks and go get you some Covid and then eat a handful of equine pills (horse you dopes)… and kindly get the fuck off my lawn. Find this on Bandcamp or a million other places by clicking HERE


-Core Junkie

DEMAND “DEMO 2021” (Released October, 2021)


Question… is Washington D.C. geographically relevant to the hardcore scene? You should’ve easily said yes… of course D.C. is famous for Minor Threat and the Bad Brains but then there are the lesser known band’s from the capital who should be checked out. One such band is Demand, a five piece who made their start in the summer of 2020 but unfortunately plans were delayed for members: Zech- vocals, Brad- guitar, Sarah- guitar, Charles- bass and Jonas- drums but they have taken 2021 by the balls touring locally and putting out their demo which is simply titled “Demo 2021”.


Demand have taken their love and influence of late 80’s early 90’s hardcore, mixed them with the member’s musical history with other bands such as Trapped Under Ice, Weak Tilt, Firewalker and Grand Scheme (just to name a few) and have created a release that not only brings you back to that time period but gives you a reminder that newer bands are holding their own. “Demo 2021” consists of 4 songs: “Hannya”, “Struggler”, “Asceticism” and “Unload/Dispose”. My favorite track is “Hannya” since it sets the tone for the rest of the EP. This recording is compiled of several components which transition from melodic, hard breakdowns to very sophisticated riffs to the raw intensity and grit true of the underground, DIY sound. This mixture of all these elements on this release prove Demand can branch out from the hardcore scene and appeal to fans of other types of heavy music, which is refreshing. I’m sure it won’t be too long before their days of just playing locally are over.Check this out by visiting the Demand Bandcamp page. 


-Chris Beman 


(Released September, 2021)


What happens when you cross seasoned Belgian musicians with Jerry A of Poison Idea? You get Crime Scene, a hardcore punk/metal band comprising of members from Toxic Shock, Crayon Sun, Carnation and of course Poison Idea. This three song demo was recorded between Antwerp, Belgium and Portland, Oregon, where Jerry A did the vocals. Although there are only three tracks on this demo cassette, it will be released at a later date as a 12” with two extra tracks.


The first time I listened to this, I found myself bopping my head up and down throughout all three tracks. Right off the bat, it’s catchy and has a good feel to it. What impressed me most about this demo is that they combine punk, hardcore and metal, giving it an old school sound yet still sounding fresh and new. You can hear the generations of all three genres crammed into three tight songs. Starting off with the track, “Crime Scene”, you are hooked immediately with the great opening riff. When Jerry A jumps in on vocals, the song comes together perfectly and you realize these musicians were destined to play together. “Sleep With Gun” follows with a more metallic sounding song with a D.R.I. feel to it. They finish up the cassette with “Camello”, a throwback mix between crossover and the early days of thrash. The song is a bit darker than the other two songs yet ties in perfectly with the sound they have created.  


This is a great collaboration between seasoned musicians with a love for hardcore punk and metal. The three tracks are catchy, well-written and will get plenty of play in your tape deck. I look forward to the release with bonus tracks and can only hope these guys treat us all by collaborating on a full length album. Although the cassette is short, make the effort and add this one to your collection as you will get a lot of play out of it. (Since this review was submitted by the writer is has sold out). You can stream or download the Crime Scene demo on Bandcamp.


-Dave Cafferty 


(Released August, 2021)


St. Louis has produced some fine hardcore bands over the years such as Cardiac Arrest and Shaved Women and you can definitely add Abrade to the list. The band’s debut EP; “Loss. Guilt. Survival.” has a sound that combines harsh hardcore with an energetic and upbeat tempo to create some vital music. The EP begins with “Dark Waters”, a non-stop ball of energy of a track with a steamrolling groove at its heart. It is quickly followed by “Longest Days”, which after a bass led rhythm and some choice samples, explodes into life and doesn’t let up until the last notes ring out. “The Debt That All Men Pay” is up next and fully demonstrated all that Abrade are capable of when it comes to making passionate and hard hitting hardcore. “Loss. Guilt. Survival.” ends with “Timid Choke”, a crunching way to end things off on a high note and show the sheer power of Abrade. It’s a short but highly effective set of songs that packs a punch throughout and highly emotive as well as highly energetic. Lyrically the EP deals with the subjects of the title and strikes both mature and positive notes despite the dark nature of what that title brings to light. Musically there are hints of bands like The Suicide File here and there but Abrade have a crushing sound all their own and the songs on “Loss. Guilt. Survival.” are fully formed and supremely executed.Find this on Bandcamp or Spotify


-Gavin Brown 


(1054 Records, Released September, 2021)


If you love your hardcore music to sound crushingly aggressive and heavy then I cannot recommend Scarfold from Montreal, Canada enough with their latest release "We Shall Suffer". 8 tracks of jaw-breaking anger, the opening song "Open Seizure" reminds instantly of a Slayer-esque riff, dark, moody with an in your face production… it's a short number but enough to give you an idea of where the rest of this album is heading. "Rotting Earth" and "Born Decayed" both feature fast elements with heavy breakdowns and plenty of grooves. If you love the UK's Knuckledust or even Madball then you'll see where I am coming from. I think it is clear from this release that this stands amongst the best within the heavier hardcore category this year and the future is definitely bright with these guys. "Eat The Dead" is a track that you can easily get into and is one that will stand the test of time, especially in a live set. The album closes with "Spit On Hope" a solid 5-minute slab of hardcore that goes out hard… much like this entire release. Check this out on Bandcamp, Spotify or grab a CD from their label from down under, 1054 Records.


-Robert King 



(Give Praise Records, Released February, 2022)


Give Praise Records out of Massachusetts have released this 60 song digital compilation spanning the labels roster dating back to 2005. The label has made this download free and offers the complete discography of the label as a digital download for under $45. The website was down at the time of this review so not much is known about the label itself. The first thing I noticed after listening to this compilation is that the music styles are all over the map. Most labels focus on a few similar genres, but on here you have punk, hardcore, metal, death metal, crust punk, grindcore and even avant-garde metal rolled into one. The other thing I noticed that put me off was the sound levels have no consistency. I found myself having to adjust the volume up and down throughout the entire compilation. As with most compilations, there are good, mediocre and terrible bands and we pick out the ones we like and forget about the rest. Unfortunately, the majority of the bands fall into the category of terrible. Wednesday Night Heroes was the only band that jumped out from the rest of this compilation with their track “No Control”. Punk/hardcore bands such as Beyond Pink, Failure Face, Truth We Defend, In Defiance and For the Worse give a little credibility to this compilation. Birds Of A Feather and Kids Of Carnage offer the listener some old school hardcore sounds that do justice to this release as well. If you like the heavy stuff, Grave Plague, BruceXCampell and To Dust serve up a modest dose of death metal. The remainder of the bands were hard to listen to and consisted of little musical talent and backed with lots of noise, screeching and bad cookie monster vocals. If this wasn’t a free download, I’d tell you to save your money. But it is free so give it a listen and see for yourself. Find this on Bandcamp and for more info on Give Praise Records click HERE.


-Dave Cafferty