THE REAL DEAL 2014 DEMO
(Straight & Alert Records, Released 30 June 2014)
Hailing from Cleveland, Ohio, is the American hardcore band The Real Deal. These guys have a four-track demo that’s on Straight & Alert Records. The music is reminiscent of 80’s New York Hardcore, bands like Killing Time and Youth of Today mixed with newer influences like Backtrack. The singer’s vocal style and screaming sounds similar to Ray Cappo. They have aggressive breakdowns, in your face guitar licks similar to Leeway. The artwork on the cover by Chad Lawson has an old-school flyer, black and white marker, drawing style and depicts a large devil with three angry skinheads with big teeth on a chain leash. Do yourself a favor and check out this band because they are The Real Deal.
BREAKING POINT- “SET TO BURN"
(Carry The Weight Records, Released September 22, 2014)
Straight Edge Southern Rise Hardcore!!!...I have no fuckin idea what that means, but I have an idea it means metalcore from Southern England that sounds like it is straight outta the mid-nineties. That is not an insult or a compliment it's a straight up fact. So make a mental note of it, because if that is your bag baby, then this is a solid addition to the genre.
Hey are you guys hip to that new show X-Files over there in the UK? I kid, I kid! Of course I suffer from severe Britain envy, I love the U.K....but seriously...enjoy the genre fellas, but learn from our mistakes, leave the giagantic jeans, beads, and odd facial piercings in the past. With this offering you get 10 meaty...meat free tracks of slow to
Mid-tempo mosh. Great solo work mixed in and even some Slayerific riffs. “My Oath” is a standout track for me because the band speeds it up a bit on this one. I also dug track 9; “Evil Minds”. First run through I hated it, but it stuck in the bean. It's one of those songs that has singy bits...you know like the Strife tunes you rock at home in your bedroom when you are alone...and you tear up a little singing along. Well, anyways, I digress. There is some fine musicianship on display here and vocals ranging from gargling glass to some nice crooning. All joking aside, check them out. The members all have other projects as well so check them out too. You can pick this LP up on the cheap for a few GBP, download it, rock your face off. From what I understand this scene is kinda burgeoning over there right now, so enjoy it while you can, because, *SPOILER ALERT* it ends in amalgam of violent shows, broken hearts, and burned down McDonalds.
INTERNAL WAR “TIME FOR CHANGE” EP
(Released July 16, 2014)
Internal War, based out of Kettering Northamptonshire UK is a 5 piece Hardcore/Punk band, Aaron (vocals), Kieran (guitar) , Reuben (guitar), Lewis (bass) , Josh (drums).
In the likes of Cromags, Trapped Under Ice, 25 Ta Life, Cryptic Slaughter.
With so many great hardcore bands exploding out of the UK (my personal favorite being Pay No Respect) , Internal War is yet another to add on the list. I first heard this band on the "Hardcore Still Lives Volume 4 Compilation" (free download @ bandcamp, strongly recommended) and was immediately drawn in by the traditional punk/hardcore riff's found in tracks like "Together We Unite" & "Life's Misery". Heavier, more brutal riff's kick in @ the 2:50 mark of "Life's Misery", and slowly pick up influenced with old school Biohazard trade mark signature material style of song writing.
Tracks like "Straight Ahead", where the lead guitar parts appear are where the punk influenced material shines through. The last track on the EP "Time For Change" is by far the best written track on the EP, constructed of a heavy down tempo intro then slamming in with group vocals, then emerging with a gritty nasty riff that'll have you 2-steppin no doubt; impressive guitar harmonizing is done tastefully well also.
All and all my opinion is that Internal War maybe should have spent just a tad more time rehearsing these tracks for the EP, getting them down a little tighter before recording; some off-time beats and guitar parts can be heard… however, this is still a two thumbs up EP for me. If you haven't downloaded this EP to your collection don't sleep!
-Alex "The Past" Karp
LIVING LASER “A PLACE ON EARTH”
(Frequency Deleted Records, Release date December 1, 2014)
It is perhaps a sad sign of the times (or the fact I'm getting old) when I start failing to get excited about new releases by the giants of the hardcore scene. I knew what I was going to get when Madball, Sheer Terror, Slapshot and Sick Of If All dropped their latest offerings earlier this year. The results were unashamedly (and in some respects brilliantly) predictable with only a few surprises (Freddy Cricien's singing paying off and Slapshot getting away with a Depeche Mode cover) leaping from the speakers.
So, it is inevitable I continue to look to the new guard to excite me and freshen up a record collection that can look a little stagnant at times. Living Laser have certainty excited me since the founder of this fanzine pointed me in their direction last year. In February the Hudson Valley four piece dropped a stunning first full-length in “Find A Way” and have now returned with a five song EP that once again ticks all the boxes.
Living Laser possess a rare quality in modern day hardcore in that they clearly love what they are doing. Plenty of smiles, jumps for joy and not a scowl or grimace in sight. And that air of positivity manifests beautifully in their music. Jason Anthony is already a live-wire front-man possessing boundless energy and, along with Justice Tripp (Trapped Under Ice/Sai Nam/AD) is currently one of the most watchable young front-men in hardcore. More importantly he is also one of the most listenable too - the band have made great strides since the early Bad Brains comparisons and Jason Anthony possesses one of the most distinctive voices I've heard in hardcore for as long as I can remember.
The title track hurtles along at 100mph, only allowing the listener to catch their breath for a fleeting moment during the moment Living Laser have pretty much patented what I call the 'groove-down' - essentially a breakdown with plenty of groove. Self-explanatory huh? “Wild Things” reminds me of early Ignite jarring necks with Leeway whilst “Barry Allen”, despite sounding like a mid-session jam, perfectly captures Jason Anthony's vocal range - breathless and brat-ish. However, the manic fury on “Students Of History” peters out into a whimper after only a minute, thus losing the hi-octane energy the band are fast becoming renowned for.
There are shades of the Dead Kennedys on “Unbowed” whilst the break riffs reminded me of Pennywises' “Bro Hymn Tribute”. Throw in a guitar solo for good measure and the EP concludes in the same vein as it starts - brilliant. My only minor criticism is that, like the album, it is not infectious throughout. The middle songs feel like stop gaps where the band seem to have opted for harmony at the expense of intensity. This is still a superb release and offers a tantalizing glimpse of what Living Laser are still capable of. If they can match their formidable live shows with a truly great album then hardcore has another giant ready to awaken.
CLOSE TO THE EDGE 2014 DEMO (Released July 6, 2014)
Featuring three members of Abject! including singer Jamie, CTTE bring a much harder-edged sound to the table than their former musical project. “Sickening” kicks things off and it contains a bit of everything - prowling intro, fast parts into slow, bellowing choruses, some chuggy riffs and excellent bass work by Mike (On The Offense/Olde York).“In Plain Sight” brings to mind the style molded and popularized by Strife - honest, uplifting riffs punctured by those muted chords for face-punching effect. But it is not until “Complacency'”that I feel CTTE really come into their own. The abrasive heaviness is still there but the melody comes to the surface here, helped along by Jamie's partly in-tune attempts at singing. And despite his gruff, bar-room brawl bark it actually works. “Mug Of Poison” has Blood For Blood and Judge overtures -supremely pissed-off attitude whilst “Vice Grip” ups the heaviness stakes complete with plenty ofgang vocals. Jamie hollers "the landscape may have changed but the spirit remains" on "Rebuilt", which pays homage to those still keeping the NYHC fire burning bright whether by veterans or new kids. The overall sound here is a cross between the mesmeric reverb-laden one prominent on Subzero's jaw-dropping “Happiness Without Peace” album and the best bits of seminal UK punks Discharge. It is no-frills, be-about-it hardcore from the Big Apple which bodes well for the future.
PENNSYLVANIA HARDCORE DOCUMENTARY
(Average Superstar Films, Released August 2014)
“Pennsylvania Hardcore Documenting A 30 Year History” is a new DVD documentary from Loren Lepre of Average Superstar Films. Over 200 interviews were conducted in the 2 and a half year period it took to put this extensive look at the PAHC scene together. The state is broken down into regions and each area is examined pretty well with old photos, flyers, and obviously a ton of interviews with bands like Wisdom In Chains, Brothers Keeper, Turmoil, Dysphoria, Lamb Of God, Cold World, and Strength For A Reason just to name a few. I have to admit there were a ton of bands I never heard of before as PA is a really big state and the coverage is thorough to say the least. On the positive side of things I would say this thorough coverage is one of this doc's biggest strong points and will score the producer some street cred by keeping it real sorta speak and including just about everyone. The 2 (minor) drawbacks I saw here were some of the interviews were done practically in the dark where it was hard to make the band members out and others where they were outside of a show and there was a lot of background noise but depending on how you look at this it could be more street cred points for not making a glossy and shiny product. This is hardcore we are talking about and not some Elton John biographical film! All in all you get 88 minutes of coverage in the main part of this and another 30 minutes in extras not including a video by Animalhaus. For 13 bucks you can't go wrong!
NOT LIKE YOU FANZINE ISSUE #2
with “Intense Energy” Compilation
(Released September 2014)
Issue #2 of Not Like You Zine is a skate rock themed one featuring old dudes from old bands like Los Olvidados, a nine page interview with The Faction, Drunk Injuns, and JFA. Although I was never a big skater I find this issue extremely interesting for a few reasons. First off is the fact that during the weekend of Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas (this past May) there was a "Skate Punk Reunion" show held at the Blue Tile Lounge also in Vegas and also on the same weekend as PRB. All 4 of the band's interviewed in issue 2 of Not Like You played that skate punk reunion. Mike who does Not Like You lives in Albuquerque and must have taken a ride up to Vegas, taken pics of all the bands and then interviewed them all for this issue. Holy DIY Batman! On top of that issue 2 comes with a 5 song 7" compilation featuring songs by Huge, 97A, Loud Ones, Counterattack!, and Stale Phish. It gets better... while putting together the compilation portion of this release things snowballed into the formation of Not Like You Records. Releases by The Uprising and Stale Phish are already out with upcoming ones from Weot Skam, Counterattack!, RS2 Solid Sound, Enuf, and McRad. Pretty impressive in the progress department there Not Like You. NLY is a full sized zine with excellent quality photos and a quality reviews section that had me look up a few things after reading through them all. Great job and looking forward to whatever is next!
IRON REAGAN “TYRANY OF WILL”
(Relapse Records, Released September 16, 2014)
Are you a miserable failure? Hating the consumerism of society? Maybe you just can’t stand your buddy’s little shit of a kid. All of these topics and more highbrow social commentary are covered on Iron Reagan’s “Will Of Tyranny”. Whatever your pleasure, or pain, you will finish this album wanting to thrash like it is 1980-somethin’ or straight up want to throat punch the next person you see. After the first three songs and running to find my skateboard I realized I no longer had one and would not only embarrass but also definitely hospitalize myself, I finished the rest of “Tyranny Of Will”. It has been too long that I have had that pull of a thrash album to go and simply look for a wall to smash my head against, skate until I bled or fought until I won (or get my ass whooped).
The music and vocals reminded me of DRI and that short, simple approach to each cut. The aggro that got me hyped was reminiscent of early SOD and Suicidal. I hate comparisons of bands because I know IR is doing their own thing but when they bring back good memories they obviously drudge up connections so whatever, man.
Lyrically, they are straightforward. Nothing controversial, nothing that really makes them stand out which is disappointing. I figured they would be more in your face with their Municipal Waste, Cannabis Corpse, and Darkest Hour connections. The album cover is pretty, though. Would I recommend this album? Hell, yes. Would I go see these fuckers live? Absolutely. Would I drink beer with them? Well, I would drink beer with pretty much anyone…… except Rush Limbaugh. He is a fat, pompous turd but that is not part of this topic. Thrash or thrashed, fool.
TARANTINO/ANGSTEGNER “IF YOUR GONNA KICK AUTHORITY IN THE TEETH YOU MIGHT AS WELL USE BOTH FEET” SPLIT EP (Released September 26, 2014)
Splits are always fun, and I'm not talking what Jean Claude Van Damme does, I'm talking about two or more bands releasing a couple songs together in one release. Chris did the right thing to have me review the ''Kick Authority In The Teeth EP Split'' featuring two European hardcore bands. One band is called Tarantino and the other Angstgegner (It took me over an hour to pronounce this name). Let's get started shall we?! BTW sorry for that terrible Van Damme joke.
I will start with Netherland's Tarantino. This side of the split contains four songs that will pump your adrenaline. The first track ''Despise'' starts off right with a solid breakdown leading to a thrashy riff leading to a two stepping riff (excuse me for that run on sentence). These vocals make it obvious that they are not from the U.S. with its snotty crusty sound. As for the rest of the songs, while the vocals remained the same, each song was a little different. Some songs like ''Dead Inside'' had a more melodic crust/D-beat vibe while ''Freedom of Speech (For the Dumb)'' had a 2000’s youth crew feel. The production is a little clean for their style, but it is still very listenable. Bands like this gain a lot of my respect by not showing any limitation.
Now let's get to my favorite side of the split which is Angstgegner rising from Dutch land. This band contains members of Razorblade and Otis. Like Tarantino, Angstegner includes four tracks of goodness. However, these guys head towards a more early 80’s Los Angeles style of hardcore punk. I personally don't really hear a lot of bands influenced by California (except in California), so it's good to hear something that shows appreciation to CA. Every song just screams Keith Morris era Black Flag. One thing that I did find quite laughable were the names of the songs such as ''The Bearded Lady'' and ''Fix My Bike.'' But these questionable song titles do not stop me from enjoying this side of the split! This is a must listen.
Tarantino FFO: Tragedy, Bracewar, Verse
Angstegner FFO: Black Flag, Night Birds, The Saints
UNIT731 "THE HIVE MIND" EP
(Released September 2014)
Beatdown at its finest from Pittsburgh PA. Unit 731prove to be a force to be reckoned with as member's Dan (guitar), Chris (guitar), Eric (vocals), and Jeremy (drums) produce some superb brutality in the likes of Full Blown Chaos, Suffocation, All Out War, and Irate. Formed in 2005, Unit731 unleashes their second release and it's sure to give fans of heavy beatdown hardcore an evil grin on their face. Tracks like "Alter Of Waste", "Level Four", and "Nu Masters" pound hard with punishing breakdown's, unforgiving chunky guitar tone, deep throaty vocals, and thunderous percussion. It would be safe to say that at live performances the earth will literally shake, leaving no safe zone from flying spin kicks and fists in the pit from their undeniable pure heaviness.
I would of liked to have heard more gang vocals however, the eargasam more than makes up for the lack of traditional sing-a-longs. As a past member of a former heavy beatdown hardcore band and a die hard fan of heavy music, I strongly recommend this release to add to your collection. Don't be fooled by Unit731... they'll sneak up on you and boot stomp your ass with ferocious raw power!
-Alex "The Past" Karp"
SICK OF IT ALL “LAST ACT OF DEFIANCE”
(Century Media Records, Released Sept. 30, 2014)
Surely this review won't change the world considering the majority of you reading this already know of Sick Of It All and my guess is within that majority the majority of the majority already have this record and have played it into the ground in the 3 or so weeks since it was released. So, with that said, Sick Of It All is back with their first full length of all new songs since 2010's “Based On A True Story” featuring 16 tracks in a little under 40 minutes. That factoid is kinda important and telling since there are many releases in the hardcore scene that are passed off as full lengths that might have half the running time of this. Take into consideration that there are no clunkers/filler mixed in along the way and you might see where I am going with this... and that is that SOIA have returned with a certified winner.
Like a good football coach with a solid game plan SOIA stays close to that blueprint that has made them one of those all-time iconic hardcore bands. The kind of band that you use as a reference point when describing what hardcore is to someone who isn't in the know. If the game plan ain’t broke, don’t fuck with it (too much).
Said game plan is on display here as it has been for many years. It is expected that bands with as much "seniority" as these guys have (closing in on 30 years) evolve and definitely SOIA has but they have done a whole lot more of sticking to what got them here than changing. How these guys stay on that course and STILL write fresh, catchy and memorable songs is what makes this whole thing so much more bananas. I have never seriously played an instrument or been in a band so it's hard for me to wrap my head around trying to come up with an albums worth of memorable songs time after time. Many try, but many don't always succeed. As expected with these guys everything is played with machine like precision and Lou's distinct voice and vocal style lead the way.
Standout tracks include “Road Less Traveled”, “Losing War”, “Sidelined”, “DNC”, and “Facing The Abyss” which features Joe from Wisdom In Chains hitting hard in a good spot just before a nice breakdown. Lyrically is probably where SOIA has made their biggest shift from the “GI Joe Headstomp” days going for a more politically charged stance. In a world that can often feel like you are chained to an over flowing garbage dumpster on a 90 degree day these topics that they tackle make you want to read up on stuff or in the very least Google some shit.
The catchy chorus to “DNC” boldly declares “I'll always be a threat to an unjust government” with “2061”, “Beltway Getaway” and “Sidelined” touching on more political and thought provoking topics as well. I also like the vibe going on in “Disconnect Your Flesh”…put down your damn phone once in a while and interact with someone human!
Whether you agree or not with what they are saying they make you take notice. The bottom line here is Sick Of It All returns and kicks ass in a big time way showing us how to deliver thought provoking, well written hardcore that will further cement their already legendary status.
RELAVANT ANGER “ENOUGH OF THIS” EP
(Released July 30, 2014)
I quit my job for a new better one. My last day is Wednesday. Of course I’ve been showing up late every day and not putting in any effort. Because fuck it. Days dragging away, sitting in this office with no windows, wanting to kick my feet up and pour myself a scotch and light up a joint. Then Chris Wynne asked me to review “Enough Of This”, the new 6 song EP by California’s Relevant Anger. Now I want to bash my way through the office with a bat, and throw my computer through the glass wall of the conference room next to my desk. Nasty, fast, and furious sounding, this is what hardcore is supposed to sound like in my opinion. Pissed off, dirty, and in your face. Crunchy as hell guitars, gruff as fuck vocals, and blazingly fast d-beats. The production quality isn’t bad at all, but it’s definitely DIY sounding and it works really well with the style. In Effect does not endorse moshing your co-workers, so now I have to go back to not ripping my office apart, which has become increasingly difficult after writing this review. Give ‘em a spin.
THESE STREETS “CLOCKWISE”
(Released October 18, 2014)
Hailing from Modesto California, Central Valley, Cameron Grabowski (vocals), Josh Day (Bass-vocals), Trevor Peeples (guitar), and Lucas Morales (drums). In the likes of Death Threat, Blood For Blood, early Biohazard, and Hoods.
What These Streets have that so very little other band's in today's increasingly metal influenced (metalcore---> I HATE THAT TERM) scene is an extremely strong presence of old-school mixed with just the right touch of new-school that goes straight for your jugular with in your face hardcore…period!
Unrelenting high energy riffage blended with super catchy sing-a-long choruses make for an outstanding chaotic heavy dose of passionate, well written tracks such as "Neck Deep" and "HESR". Track #8 titled "Substance" has an intro with a monstrous thick meaty rectified guitar tone (sick riff by the way!) This is without a doubt a must have album for 2014.
Catch These Streets on their west coast tour with Lionheart & Destruction Of A King December 6th through the 13th! Show'em some love, get in the pit and dance hard!
-Alex "The Past" Karp
(Release Date November 22, 2014)
From Antwerp Belgium comes a band called Lotus. With members of Redding and Accept the Change, two bands that I never heard of but have shared the stage with such bands as Blacklisted, Touché Amoré, Redemption Denied and This Routine is Hell. Their debut album "Isreal" will be available for download and streaming November 22nd, wasn't told if it will be on vinyl but I'll assume no.
When I listened to the record the first time I found them musically to be heavy with catchy breakdowns with the vocals sounding like a man on the end of his rope. Then I read the lyrics and I was correct about the singer being at the end his rope (the lyrics kind of remind me of Vision of Disorder's first 2 records). Don't get me wrong he tries real hard to be optimistic but in the end could care less if he dies tomorrow and those heavy beats and breakdowns capture those emotions real good. HC fans should definitely check these guys out.
AFTERMATH - "LIFE LESSONS”
(Released October 10, 2014)
This is Aftermath hailing from Brass City aka Waterbury, CT. .......not to be confused with the Sydney Aftermath or that amazing Aftermath that came out of DC....or any of the others. This is five tracks of pissed off hardcore that plays very well when it is going at high speeds, but drags a little when they slow it down. That being said, it is a solid release in which they kinda forge their own Waterbury sound with subtle nods to area bands such as 100 Demons. The musicianship and production is fine...not overly polished which is the way I like it. "Life Lessons", the title track, is my favorite one and it shreds nicely. I can see this band generating a lot of mosh, especially with the closing track, "Hopeless". "Reality Check" is a good kick your walls in tune.....maybe run out and punch a neighbor. (In Effect does not suuport or condone such activities). This puppy clocks in around seven minutes and some change...so why not head over and check it out. You have seven damn minutes to spare to support some compatriots in this hardcore world. You can even name your price if you want to own it.
-Core Junkie (aka G-Man)
ZERO PROGRESS “CHAMPIONS OF HARDCORE”
(Released August 2014)
Let's start this off by saying I love Spazz. The Champions of Hardcore guys have moments, tinges really, of Spazz. The nineties bore this thing called power violence, it wasn't quite thrash, it wasn't quite hardcore and it wasn't death metal. Somehow it was all of these things; taking lessons from Slayer, Black Flag and Napalm Death and spinning them into a web that caught all the little creepy crawl punks, metal heads and hardcore kids in its snare. These guys aren't a power violence band; those have gone the way of the dodo bird; apparently, in favor of D-beat, crab-core, emo-core, djent or whatever the haircuts are into. Zero Progress is more like the power violence movement generally, it sounds organic; like all the pieces fit. You know when heavy/fast/whatever adjective evokes extreme, bands stop doing whatever awesome thing they were just doing and start singing or whatever other lame BS the bros are doing? These guys don't do that, because Black Flag, Slayer and Napalm Death don't do that. They aren't here to lull you into slumber land. The aforementioned bastards are here to make you fucking pay and if you can't hang, you’re in trouble man. Seriously, why does anyone even own a radio anymore? Everything on it is garbage. Back in the day it was death to false metal, these days it’s all false. Where was I? Oh right, Zero Progress is worth your money, your time and your allegiance. The Champions of Hardcore are focused, gloriously messy in a “fuck it, let’s go” way and absolutely perfect. I'm fairly positive this record will make you want to shank the first guy you see in an Affliction shirt, don't fight the urge. Listen to this record, listen to Spazz and Los Crudos worship the devil; it's the only truth in a world full of lies spoon fed to us by Mickey Mouse masquerading as a hardcore king/hessian god shopping at Hot Topic.
MAL INTENT “NEW BREED”
(Released October 9, 2014)
These upcoming heavyweights from Chicago, Illinois bring the mosh hard. Member's Jon, Kyle, Pedro, Serg and Anchit formed in September 2013 and have created a sound in the likes of Shattered Realm, Sworn Enemy, E-Town Concrete, Biohazard and Downset.
I reviewed the following tracks: “Keep Watch”, “New Breed”, “Human After Hell” and “Disgrace”. Immediately I was pulled in by the media bone-crushing guitar tone, double bass and short blast beats on the drums, and raw brutal (and at times, hip-hop influenced) vocals. There is nothing I don't like about this band. Total time length of these four tracks is approximately 11 minutes give or take. Destructive rhythms mixed with heavy guitar riffage, and powerful vocals will have you doing spin kicks and windmills in your living room! Mal Intent grabs hold of your balls and squeezes them until they crunch; tossing weak spineless bands aside like ragdolls. Powerful groovation and super catchy rhythms will have your head bobbin no question. Explosive heavy gut wrenching breakdowns hit hard! There is no question that blood will be shed on the dance floor during live performances.
Tracks like "Disgrace" attack with a malicious onslaught of brutalness. Tracks like "New Breed" are just punishing and furious. I look forward to hearing what this band puts out next with new material. If you are a fan of heavy beatdown as am I, don't sleep on these guys!
-Alex "The Past" Karp
ALONE “NO YOUTH” Cassette EP
(Dog Years Records, Released October 2014)
The first thing that cameto my mind when I read the name Alone at first was the almost well-known Italian band that released a kick-ass 7" via Re-foundation Records some years ago. But I was wrong. Italy's Alone are gone for good and here we have a brand new band with the same name coming from Boise, Idaho, that are about to release (in the next days/weeks) a cassette EP via Dog Years Records.
Alone is a 5-member band that was formed around 6 months ago and played their first show in the early summer. Since then, they have been performing a lot, sharing the stage with bands like Ceremony, Take Offense and Turnstile, while they are about to play with Cruel Hand, Run With The Hunted and Keep It Clear during their next shows in November.
“No Youth” is their first EP that has been available for free via Bandcamp since mid-July, till Dog Years Records (which has also released bands like Free At Last, Warhound and Bitter Thoughts, among others) paid attention to Alone and decided to release this in tape format.
“No Youth” includes 8 songs, 2 of which are instrumental, of modern, melodic, yet passionate, hardcore that strongly reminds me of the mid '00s US scene and bands like Blacklisted, Killing The Dream, Sinking Ships and The Carrier. Tight rhythm section, guitars creating a melodic “wall”, and heartfelt, aggressive vocals spittin' lyrics about personal issues; you know the deal. All in all, this is a very promising EP and I am definitely interested in watching this band and their progress in the upcoming months. If you are into melodic hardcore, don't miss them.
TARAKANY! – “RUSSIAN DEMOCRAZY”
(Punk Outlaw Records, Released January 2014)
I am back....for 89... a new....wait....damn I'm old. Well you know who has been around for a long time? Tarakany has, since 1991 in fact, and they have been spreading the hardcore reality in Russia and beyond ever since. Formed not long after the Soviet Union dissolved and during their country's first tastes of freedom, these Russian stalwarts have released their first English language album in their extensive catalog spanning decades. They may have been through numerous changes, but like their name, Tarakany! or in English, Cockroaches!, this band seems to survive and thrive on. So what does a band in their third decade offer us? Some damn catchy punk and roll which shows it influences from metal to hardcore and beyond with the skilled gloss of some seasoned veterans. These 14 tracks have a big sound. Mix some Social Distortion with some Offspring, and a dose of Anti-Flag (Chris Barker appears on this), and a helping of Bad Religion. The styles shift from song to song but the riffs and hooks keep you interested throughout. My favorite track so far is "God And Police" for which they have shot a video. This is also the track that Barker appears on.....but here is the kicker, this one is in Russian. “Anesthesia” is another track that had me humming along in no time. There is no understating the importance of this band in their country, where only months before they formed they probably would have been sent to Siberia for such shenanigans. Tarakany! are the Russian Ramones, more so in spirit and longevity, but also in some of the song crafting. They have amassed 12 studio albums, around 30 singles, several splits and much more. What you have here is a very solid rock record drawing on years of influence and laid out in a way to demonstrate the experience of the individuals who put it together. It's good. if it wasn't I would tell you...it's what I do.....So add some quality Russian underground music made by some real pioneers, and by all means seek out the rest of their catalog to see how this band has evolved over the years and how after Armageddon the only things left will probably be Tarakany!
-Core Junkie (aka G-Man)
SICKER THAN MOST “IN OUR BLOOD”
(To The Point Records, Release Date October 2014)
Sicker Than Most’s “In Our Blood” is Slayer-esque metal tinged hardcore, with some sick as hell (no pun or play-on-words intended) messages and crisp succinct riffs. So sick that some might say they were…no, stop. I’m not going to say it. Then again, I essentially just did. As far as the hardcore element goes, it’s pretty immense, but the difference between this band and the others is the delivery. The guitars are distorted beyond the extent of our staple hardcore bands, the drums smash louder than many I could name, and the vocalist’s err…voice, is dripping with gore. The riffs, simple as they sound, are amped up to levels of extremity. The climactic moments of “Final Solution” raze with intimidation as Joe roars, “just kill yourself!” while the riffs in the first half of “Flag of Deception” throw us (literally) back to the eighties. Oh, and that’s just the foreshadowing of the loud, grumpy bastard that is the second half. Seeing this band live is a treat I might never experience, but they are sure to create a vortex of insanity with “For This We Fight”, which will sure as hell be a staple song before long. Think Bracewar’s “On Your Own” breaking into Naysayer’s “Lesson Learned”. Boom!
Now we’re really delving into the flesh of weak. “The Hard Way” bristles with aggression interspersed by many lovely albeit brief melodic moments, without losing its fire for a second, and “In Our Blood” picks things up for the final stretch of the battle. The EP might suffer at small and forgiving moments, the choruses of the latter track for instance could be stronger lyrically, but what this boils down to is a band speaking their mind with some great, pure, heavy music. Sick. (NOTE: Digital version is out NOW, with vinyl due out early October via To The Point Records)
BEARDPUNCH “CHIN UP” EP
(Released October 10, 2014)
BEARDPUNCH from Milton Keynes, UK just released their first EP titled "Chin Up". This band has only been together for 14 months; Jack Snell on Vocals, Jeffery Prudden on guitar, Ash Wilkes on Bass, and Jay Jenkinson on Drums: The EP consists of 5 tracks, with a combined total time length of 6 minutes and 20 seconds of traditional Oi! punk/hardcore in the likes of Minor Threat, Black Flag, The Exploited, early DRI, and early Sick Of It All.
Beardpunch without a doubt keeps it old school, with gang vocals and extreme blasts of aggressiveness that'll make you want to grab your deck and skate half pipes! No generic breakdowns going on here, just basic short blasts of intensity; not many newer band's in the scene keep it traditional, and for that they are worth a listen and have my respect!
However, if you're looking for hammering drums, brutal vocals, face melting guitar riffs, or deep lyrical meaning you might be let down. This EP appears to be made out of fun, and not to be taken very seriously, with the longest track being track 5 "Skate Yourself Sane", it's abundantly clear that Beardpunch had an agenda: keep it simple, fast, and to the point and definitely not trying to reinvent the wheel…mission accomplished Beardpunch! Check'em out!
-Alex The Past Karp
(Southern Lord Records, Released October 14, 2014)
I got into Vancouver’s 4 piece metal/hardcore troop BAPTISTS about a year ago. My drummer introduced me to them and I’ve been hooked ever since. Making this their 4th release to come out after 2 EP’s and 1 other full length, “Bloodmines” is the bands 2nd full length. While it is a bit different than their previous full length “Bushcraft”, it definitely doesn’t disappoint. The songs on “Bloodmines” tend to go in a direction more along the lines of just straight evil slower to mid-tempo songs that make you want to smash a brick against your forehead, where the previous album was chock full of fast as fuck shreddery. Recorded by Converge’s Kurt Ballou at God City Studio and released on Southern Lord Records, full of fuzzy feedback and the crunchiest bass sound I’ve ever heard, the production quality on the album is just absurdly good. The whole thing just feels dirty and nasty with an air of insanity around it. As far as talent goes, the drummer for this band is definitely on my top 5 list of best drummers I’ve ever heard and the guitar work is just all over the place. Riffs that build to an absurd crescendo and come crashing down on your head. Vocals that make my throat hurt just listening to them. I can’t really recommend listening to this band enough and “Bloodmines” is definitely a good place to start. Check it out…
SHEER TERROR @ Amityville Music Hall, Amityville, NY September 27, 2014
It's been awhile since I caught the Rev and Sheer Terror in action and the fact that they have a new album out made me want to hear how the new ones sounded live. “Standing Up For Falling Down” came out in July and to this point I have liked the first new Sheer Terror album in 15 plus years but have not loved it. I was hoping to get pushed more in the direction of the latter by rolling over to the AMH and hearing some of the new stuff in person.
A lot of bands out there simply set up their equipment and just start playing usually taking a break 2 or 3 songs in to catch their breath and this is where their frontman usually engages the crowd for the first time. I have to remind you though that this is Sheer Terror we are talking about and what the Rev Paul Bearer has to say before and after songs can be some of the best entertainment you can be subjected to at a hardcore show anywhere so I love the fact that he starts off by grabbing the mic and greets us with something along the lines of... "What kind of music hall is this? We're a bunch of fat guys up here and it's hot" which led into their opener “Here To Stay” which was the opening track to their debut album “Just Can't Hate Enough” which came out well over 2 decades ago. For a predominately younger crowd to know the words and really go off from the first notes really pays homage to what a masterpiece that first ST album was and still is. "I, Spoiler" followed with slightly less ruckus than the opener but it was still good to see the crowd amped to see these guys.
It was right around this time that we got to relive the band's last 24 hours on their trip back from the previous night's show in Albany as told in only a way that their frontman Paul can. From this we learned that they stopped off at some Thruway rest stop and bought pickled garlic which they ate with some toothpicks next to a garbage dumpster among other random facts. Everything is delivered in a who gives a shit kind of way and is part of the whole ST experience. Shit, Dead City Records even has a live CD (“Drop Dead And Go To Hell”) that dedicates the last part of the disc to some of Paulie's between song banter. Check it out sometime. Other topics brought up were Mexicans in laundromats, the nearby Sayonara Motel and their bedspreads, being engaged at 21 years of age (which can make one young and foolish as opposed to old and dumb) and the proper time of year to kill yourself (which is Christmas time if you weren't at the show). Oh yeah, there is music too as their set rolled on for well over and hour with the “Just Can't Hate Enough” tracks dominating as crowd favorites while the few new ones that they played getting a minimal response which can be expected for even the most popular of bands after a new album comes out. Out of the new ones “Did You Just Meet Me” and “Heartburn In G” were two standouts. I wish they would have played a few more new ones but overall there was a good mix from their oldest stuff to their newest and as I'm writing this a few days after the fact I can say that the new album has begun to sink in more than ever.
Although never really gone ST is back with a solid lineup that can replicate the heaviness of their early material while driving home new songs of substance with a strong lineup and show that they are not just hanging around to play 20 year old songs. "Like it or not we are here to stay" is a memorable line from days gone by and all these years later Paulie and crew keep the flame burning strong in 2014.
SHEER TERROR 2014
(Footloose Records, Released August 3, 2014)
I am guilty when it comes to judging a band by their name and it was no exception when I headed to a gig to see Crossburner on the bill. Surely what awaited me was a leather-clad bunch of Glen Benton acolytes who secretly believe Norwegian church burnings are a thing of beauty rather than the heinous crimes they are. Not so. A bearded singer wearing the loudest shirt I've seen all year backed up by one of the loudest and heaviest bands the UK has dared to produce for years. Crossburner shamelessly embrace the dirge sound made infamous by Entombed, which has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years thanks to the likes of Black Breath and Nails taking it to new extremes. Add in the unhinged chaos of Belgium's brilliant Rise & Fall and the onset of the technical brilliance of At The Gates and Blighty now boasts a band which sits right alongside those peers in terms of ability and songs. This superbly produced six track offering is brilliant from start to finish, from the breakneck speed of “Chaos Reigns” to the blast-beat sound of war on the title track. The eerie break in “Wet Mary” even evokes memories of Will Haven at the peak of their power. A stunning debut from a band surely destined for greater exposure.
NOYADE- “NO PITY, NO REDEMPTION, NO SALVATION”
(Released September 21, 2014)
Featuring the majority of now defunct UKHC mob Stuck In A Rut the guys have returned in the shape of a very different animal. “Iron Horse” immediately brings comparisons with Integrity and Morning Again - it is chargrilled 90s-tinged metallic hardcore which incorporates a low-end bass rumble which was a prominent feature in Liverpool's criminally underrated and much-missed Withdrawn. From the artwork to (presumably) the lyrics Noyade come across as very dark indeed. Even Phil's muted guitar riffs at the end of “...Drowning”, which is more filler than killer are battling to escape the confines of the throbbing speaker. Opening with a frantic guitar solo is always going to give a song a thrash feel and that is very much the case on EP highlight “Noose (End of Days)” before all guitar head stocks point to the sky during a frenzied riff stabbing to the temple. I think Lee's vocals have been deliberately dumbed down in the mix for dramatic effect but it sometimes results in a struggle for the spotlight against the onslaught provided by his band-mates, especially in the bleak savagery of “Sorrow Floats”.
This is undoubtedly a taster of things to come - perhaps veering towards the black metal/hardcore headfuck that Young And In The Way have nailed.
SOCIETY SUCKER EP
(GTR Records, Released September 16, 2014)
This North Carolina quintet cut straight to the chase when the trembling bass intro to “Sentenced” gets underway.I was not expecting it to veer into No Warning territory - a breathless vocal delivery from Ian underpinned by some punch-you-in-the-stomach riffs.
“Burdened” zips along on another shit-kicking riff before the band show they are partial to a bit of melody amongst the grunt and aggression of “The Hangman”, which ends with a breakdown that will confuse kids transitioning from windmills into two-stepping in the blink of an eye. A Sabbath-esque riff in “Repeat Offender” sandwiches a solid NYHC style groove before EP closer “Powerless”, clocking in at 1:43, brings proceedings to a shuddering halt. It's no frills hardcore without a shock or surprise in sight and I have no doubt they are a much heavier proposition live.
H20, WISDOM IN CHAINS, ENSIGN, KRUST, WHITE COLLAR CRIME
@ Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park, NJ July 29, 2014
REVIEW & PHOTOS BY: CARL GUNHOUSE
I am not sure what to make of White Collar Crime. They seemed to be handpicked for the show by H2O and are opening for Sick Of It All at Webster Hall, which is quite an endorsement. But I couldn’t seem to get into them. They were punky, but in a real rock kind of way that seemed musically conservative and still finding their way. To their credit, from what I caught of their lyrics, they seemed to be tackling more complex political issues than your average punk band, like say bank bailouts.
It was good to see Krust on the bill. They sound like they’ve progressed a little since I saw them a month ago, definitely gotten a little harder and less melodic. They had a bunch of kids there to see them. They kept their set short, closing with a slightly ska number about surfing and being a kid. They are becoming one of my favorite NJ shore openers. Their singer and guitarist both brought a youthful degree of chaos during the rest of the show by doing Jimmy Superfly Snuka-splashes from the monitors onto the crowd.
Now why kids are into Krust and H20 and not more into Ensign, I will never understand. Ensign had a great response at Grand Victory and at this show I even met some kids who were going on about how Ensign was their favorite band. But somehow in Jersey where you’d think their fan base would be strong, they started to an almost empty dance floor. I don’t think I am speaking out of school, but in the past Ensign’s singer Tim Shaw would get a little hostile towards an unresponsive crowd. Over the last couple of years he has turned that down. Now, to their credit, Ensign just got right to business, and as they have for some time, and killed it. As the set went on, the front started to fill up with a mix of old people and even some young moshing types. There will come a time where Ensign will have a more consistent turnout, because they are a damn good band that have been consistently playing great sets.
ENSIGN @ Asbury Lanes July 29, 2014
Literally right before Wisdom In Chains went on, I was hating on them. I had some friends at the show who were there for H20 and Ensign, who asked what Wisdom In Chains sounded like. I described them as a metally, second-rate NYHC band. Man, I was wrong. About a song in, I remembered how much I enjoyed them at last year’s This Is Hardcore Fest. They are much more melodic than I remember, and they definitely have some heavy NYHC mosh, and some actually enjoyable old school metal guitar parts. I am not sure why I was hating on them, but they were really fun. Oh, and I know they are from PA, I mean NYHC more in sound than actual address.
WISDOM IN CHAINS @ Asbury Lanes July 29, 2014
I love H20. Like Ensign, they are one of those that I saw from the start. I first met Toby when H20 was opening on a tour with Ignite and VOD. My old friends Clay, Mike and I, went to three shows. At the time, H2O just had a demo out, and Toby came up and introduced himself. I spent a good part of the 90’s going to see them play pretty regularly. I’ve done some pictures for them. Hell, my best friend and his wife walked down the aisle to “Thicker Than Water”. I haven’t seen Toby much since he moved out west but I can tell you how rad it is that they got big enough to be on Late Night talk shows and while at the Lanes have kids coming up to them for autographs and pictures.
Just that they survived the major label release of the “Go” record, which I am probably not alone in disliking, they kept at it. Put out a great record on Bridge 9 and have continued to play and cemented a legacy of being one the really great NYHC bands. They were pretty stellar at the Lanes, featuring the dude from Paint It Black and Ram and Ox filling in for Todd Morse on guitar. They tore through a very tight set of a nice mix of songs from their entire run. The kids who were a little subdued even during Wisdom In Chains went crazy and were all over the place including Jerry from Orphan Records, although I was little bummed that Kenny and Vaughn of Strong Management weren’t up front and kept to the old people section on the side of the stage. They mentioned a 20-year anniversary show in NYC and maybe a new record coming out. Despite getting older, H2O still is energetic and as tight as ever. When it comes down to it, H20 makes me happy.
H2O @ Asbury Lanes July 29, 2014
SAFE AND SOUND “THE TIDES” EP
(Life To Live Records, Released May 2014)
A nice posi-surprise from the Pacific Northwest (Tacoma, WA to be exact) in the form of the new Safe And Sound EP titled “The Tides”. This initially came out in May and in true hardcore fashion there was some kind of hang up with getting the physical copies into the hands of the vinyl junkies but rejoice as your time has now come!
Safe And Sound’s sound is rooted in the posi/youth crew/straight edge style and I know to some of you that may tune you right out and in many cases I agree as the genre has been Xeroxed into oblivion with many bands of today following a blueprint that was designed decades earlier. To that I say hold on a second as SAS really caught my ear by incorporating in some nice tempo changes and melodic parts that totally break things up and don’t give you that feeling that your listening to one long song with nothing to differentiate between each of them. There are 6 songs in all and in half of them there are various forms of intros that don’t have any vocal parts until at least the 30 second mark highlighted by “Drift” which has an acoustic start that builds and builds as the rest of the instruments slowly join in before they burst into the main part of the song which happens to have a nice breakdown mid-way before slowing things down again towards the end. Would love to hear how these guys pull this one off live as it has all the makings of a great song to finish up a set with. Overall I am very impressed with this effort and make sure you look out for these guys in an upcoming interview here on In Effect HC.
POWER TRIP, BLIND JUSTICE, HIGH CARD @ Amityville Music Hall, Amityville, NY September 13, 2014
Love when these kind of last minute shows get thrown together. This one with only 3 bands and an odd 4pm start time with pre-show announcements saying everything had to be over by 630pm.
Made sure I got there nice and early for Long Island's High Card. I loved the demo they put out last year and put them up on the Fresh Blood page of this site for new bands as well so go back and read up on them if you want to find a good young band. Work and school schedules seem to be this bands downfall with a guitar player who lives in NJ and the rest of the band working odd hours and school and all that other stuff that gets in the way of us all having a good time. This was my first time seeing them and they lived up to my expectations with a solid 20 minute set that tossed in a new song or two as well. Look for them on a Long Island HC compilation that should be out hopefully in early 2015.
Next up was NJ's Blind Justice and I just love the sound these guys have. They aren't necessarily doing the old school thing or the new school thing but somewhere in the middle I guess. They got a nice crunch in their sound and they play fast. Winning combination every time although they could use a little shake up here and there musically as after maybe 4 or more songs I start getting that feel that the songs all mesh together and start sounding too similar. Still though I am into what they are doing and credit due to their front man as well as this guy is a sick ball of energy bouncing all over the small stage in a long sleeve shirt on a fairly hot day. Nice to see the crowd really get into their set as the energy that Blind Justice gave off came right back at them from this clubs small dance floor.
POWER TRIP pre-set band meeting @ Amityville Music Hall September 13, 2014
The grand finale here was Power Trip. This was my 3rd or 4th time seeing them which is kind of crazy because they are from Texas and they play NY a lot more often than a lot of NY bands do. If you don't know the name go do some Googling as they have brought back 80's thrash metal in a big way and somehow got adopted by the majority of the hardcore music scene in the process. There seemed to be a little bit of stalling or something going on pre-set as the entire band was on stage for about 20 minutes or more before they actually started playing. At one point the entire band was almost huddled in a band meeting of sorts but once they got started they rolled right along. I have said it before and I will say it here again… this band is on a mission and are hungry and are probably more of a hardcore band than a huge chunk of alleged hardcore bands that play tuned down slow metal. Power Trip all have these long mops of hair and have songs about hating cops (singer Riley’s professed favorite pastime) and one of their guitar players amp died and the show just went on. I think if one of them just spontaneously combusted on stage that the other guys would just keep playing. This was just show number one of the day for Power Trip as they also had a show a few hours later at the Acheron in Brooklyn. Seriously though, these guys shred... at one point I looked up and saw their guitarist Blake playing with just one hand almost like it was too easy. Their set was considerably short for a headliner at about 30 minutes in length but what a great 30 minute ride it was as they blistered through a ton of songs I recognized off of their “Manifest Decimation” album. Always remember kids that some of the best shows you will ever go to will be ones like these where they aren’t the most advertised, all of your friends are not going, or there is just “something” else like a last minute show with an early start time when a lot of people are still working or out doing stuff… this for me was one of those special shows and why I prefer them over the giant fests hands down.
THE L.A. JOURNAL ISSUE #1 (Released April 2014)
The name “L.A. Journal” may throw you off a little considering this is a zine put together by a few friends from Europe who were also working on the website Legends Arising when they decided to make a print version zine. Issue #1 features interviews with Expire, Backtrack, Turnstile, Kids Insane, Coldburn, and Redemption Denied ( I think… more on that later). First off this zine feels alive and has a pulse as the introduction was quite nice explaining how things came together with the making of this zine but the thing for me that gives issue #1 that extra boost is that they take a different approach on the zine format. The Backtrack interview is with Ricky from Backtrack but also with Nick Jett who produced their latest album and the conversation leans towards the making of the new “Lost In Life” album and just that. The Kids Insane piece is a written much like a newspaper article and not a straight up Q&A session that follows them around Holland while they chat about growing up in Israel (photos included). Angel Du$t and Turnstile interviews are turned into Angel Du$t VS. Turnstile as each band was asked to fill out a questionnaire about the other band (both bands tour together often and are close friends). The Coldburn piece is a tour diary complete with photos. There are tons of other shorter features including “A Day At The Office of Rev HQ” a short interview with the guy behind the Well Fed clothing line (didn’t know he was a hardcore dude), Ann from MerchPit.com and various other tidbits just about being into hardcore with a strong vegan focus as well. Did you need that recipe for Maroccan chick pea stew or pickle soup? It’s in here. Bread dumplings with eggplant? The Journal’s got ‘ya covered. There are about 60 pages here on some thick ass card stock like paper with mostly color photos. Impressive. Still looking for that Redemption Denied feature though as someone along the way must have goofed as some pages are doubled up and repeated where certain other features are supposed to be. What a great start though and hopefully this isn’t too much of a task to keep going with more issues. I hear they are working on issue #2 now! Order direct or through various distros.
BOLD, GIVE, CLEAR, INTENT @ Saint Vitus, Brooklyn, NY July 24, 2014
REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY: CARL GUNHOUSE
Intent and Clear both hail from DC/Boston, share a drummer and play fast straight-ahead hardcore with a youth crew leaning. Clear is a little faster, and Intent has a little bit more mosh. Both had good, quick sets that got people moving and made for enjoyable openers. But I think I’d be a little lost if I had to tell you right after seeing them which was which.
INTENT @ Saint Vitus July 24, 2014
I feel I’ve gone on a bit already in past reviews about my love of Give, but yeah, they are still good, and they seem to be getting more and more of a response every time they come through. I still think they are one of the best things going hardcore wise. Can’t wait for their self-released LP and Revelation Rerecord EP to drop, which seems like it could be any day now.
GIVE @ Saint Vitus July 24, 2014
I was never a huge Bold fan. But, “The Way It Is” comp, was one of the first hardcore records I bought, which lead to a lot of obsessing over Revelation bands. Being it was also the early 90’s at the time, my tastes leaned to the slower side of things. For instance, I still think “We’re Not In This Alone” is the best Youth Of Today record. So I found “Speak Out” a little too fast and monotonous for my liking and leaned more to “Looking Back”, even though it was much maligned (among my small group of hardcore friends). In the mid 90’s, I remember being so-so on the Matt Bold-fronted Running Like Thieves, even with them doing a good chunk of “Looking Back” in their live set. I remember Running Like Thieves being a little loose musically and Matt’s voice sounding a little strained, and after seeing them once or twice, I stopped listening to “Looking Back”. By the mid 2000’s when Bold started playing out with Tom Capone, my hopes were high. In my mind, if Capone was coming back to play with Bold, it must mean they were tight and with Porcelly playing with them, it seemed like a can’t miss. But alas, as I remember, Matt’s voice was better, though still a little scratchy, and Tom Capone sounded like he was playing Quicksand songs while the rest of the bands were playing Bold songs. So needless to say, Give was my real attraction to the show.
BOLD @ Saint Vitus July 24, 2014
But goddamn, I was so wrong. Bold killed it, and much to my glee people seem to really love “Looking Back” period Bold. Matt’s voice held up and was killer. Musically, they were very tight. I got home from the show with a strong desire to re-listen to “Looking Back”, only to realize I had sold my copy at some point, so before going to bed I reordered it from Revelation, and I am now kind of excited to revisit Running Like Thieves. So the moral of this is, if you are skeptical about a reunited Bold, don’t be. They sound pretty great. Also waiting for a Revelation Records super show with Gorilla Biscuits, Judge, Youth Of Today and Bold with a surprise guest appearance by Trip 6.