Review: Take Offense -Tensions On High

It's been 5 years since the previous Take Offense record, United States Of Mind, which is like forever in the music biz. They were on top of the game back then but then, disappearing for that long usually means line up changes or other drama that tend to make good bands go bad. So TO dropping new music now makes you think if they still got it? After few listen I gotta say hell yeah they do. I don't know what's the story behind them being lost all that time and why they're not on Reaper anymore, all I know Tensions On High don't suck. Definitely not a half-assed attempt to cash in on the old material but a legit heavy hitter.

Tensions On High is built more or less on all the elements that made TO famous. By that I mean taking a deep dive into 80' grittiness and putting their own mark on it. The band's progress is about expanding their sound within that arena. So apart from straight up crossover sound on A-side tracks you get nostalgic short instrumental Ometeotl that serves as a build up to epic Just Because You Believe. This last song is a stand out with a mid-paced groove and hard rock riffing that will haunt your ass for days.

It's a short ep with 4 tracks in total but each one of them delivers sheer density and force. Take Offense always had tons of badass ideas going to the studio and technical prowess to pull them off, but they never overcomplicate their shit and make sure these records have real balls. There's no ego in their delivery, instead they keep it raw and keep it loose.

Demons Run Amok / Flatspot Records

New Blood: Last Wishes

The promo tracks Last Wishes dropped earlier this year couldn't hit me harder. Ruthless hardcore with levels of energy that could be only a result of having to deal with some serious struggles in your life. The fact they're from Belfast makes me believe this could be true cause god knows this city has its shady side. Irish hardcore tends to be overlooked which could be working against them but these dudes could easily kick their feet up with European hardcore's elite. I hope Last Wishes get the credit they deserve and can’t wait to see what’s next for the band.

For those who don’t know - tell the history of the band. How and when it all started?
When we started in 2015 there wasn't really any active heavier sounding bands around apart from Stronghold & Frustration(one of the best modern bands ever) and not to leave out older bands like Crowd Control/2000 Strong etc. We just wanted to play straight up hardcore for the moshers. Our first show was actually Frustrations last one with Risk It from Germany playing too, abut 200 people showed up for them , it was nuts and was sick seeing them go out with such a bang cuz they deserved it! Originally we started with a different line up as well but didn't do much so really the band only started in 2016/17.

Teaser: H8000 Documentary

Liar, Congress, Regression, Length Of Time, Spirit Of Youth, Vitality - these bands took European metalcore into another stratosphere. Back in the days H8000 cats brimmed with force and confidence, showing off serious musical skills, but also versatility as they had style from all over the hardcore spectrum - be it metalcore, tough guy hardcore or youth crew or whatever. Liar and Congress for sure were at the forefront of the movement, Invictus and Blackened Persistance were damn near magic, but every band had their own thing happening. If these names say nothing to you do some fucking research.

This teaser was posted just few days but I don't have any details for you except I hope it's gonna be finally out (if it isn't already). Check out this facebook page for possible updates.

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Burn The Idol Of The White Messiah

I got mail from my man Nikolay:

Ugly and Proud Records presents the second press of "Burn The Idol of The White Messiah" by Racetraitor. The first and only full-length from one the 1990s most radically political and powerful bands from Chicago, IL is packed with a metallic sound that mixed grindcore and powerviolence. It was originally released by Uprising back in 1998. The LP has been re-mixed by Dallas Thomas (Asschapel, Pelican) and remastered by Brad Boatright (Nails, Obituary, Iron Reagan, Gatekeeper). The first press on Carry The Weight Records from the UK is now long sold out and the band teamed up with U&P and a yet to be revealed US label for the second repress of this record.

'Burn The Idol...' sounds heavier and darker than ever while remaining totally true to the original. The LP includes a special zine containing the history of the band.

Racetraitor was one of the most controversial political bands of the 1990s hardcore scene. It made it to the covers of both Maximumrocknroll and HeartattaCk before recording a single track. The name Racetraitor was in reference to using one's social and economic privilege to create a more egalitarian world. The idea was to take the pejorative term "race traitor" used by white American racists and claim it as a positive self-chosen label. The band is known for aggressively challenging audiences to confront the ways they might help perpetuate or buy into racist and exploitative social and economic systems. Many of their shows turned into heated arguments and Racetraitor were quick to become one of the most talked about political hardcore bands of their time.

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Review: World Of Pain - No Utopia

First time World Of Pain caught my attention was when they dropped that split cd with Xibalba and Ruckus. All three bands sounded killer back then if metallic hardcore is your thing. Since then World has been steadily putting new material that I had fun listening to and I hoped No Utopia would be just as good.

Truth be told, I had to suffer through first two tracks, Knee Deep and Internal Warfare, cause this is the slowed down, double bass heavy shit that annoyed me too many times already. These two just don’t move me at all. The guitars sound artificial and the groove is absent. To me it is just the complete opposite of all the elements that made Bulldoze or Next Step Up so ruthless and moving. But, despite the record’s lousy beginning, it is not an ordeal and next tracks offer a glimmer of hope Leech is nice with an old school beatdown feel to it opposed to the double bass slam of some of the previous tracks. This is the type of shit this world needs more of. Definitely my favorite one on the album. Apocalypse Now is aggressive and raw, Losing Sight hits you hard with tight groove and sharp riffs and Buden is slow burn teror with the meanest vocals. "Set me free from this war inside of me / face your demons, face yourself. Conquering / no utopia, not on this earth." Hard as nails!

Lyrically it goes from personal stuff to ranting about the corrupt and hypocritical system. Whatever the topic, the vocals enforce the message in a manner that’s far from subtle. It might not go down in history as the defining voice of how fucked up the world was in 2018 but still sounds strong without going too dramatic.

It’s not often that I’m confused by my feelings for a hardcoe record. I thought this album was merely alright when I first heard it, but it has since grown on me. It’s slightly held back by few tracks that don’t rip, but all in all No Utopia turned out to be more killer than filler.

BDHW, 2017

Demo Daze: Devoid - Demo 2018

Bleak and suffocating hardcore from Netherlands with random metal and d-beat influences that puts extra focus on the negatives of life. Musically and lyrically, you can hear they spent time thinking this shit out. I had zero expectations for this demo but turns out I enjoyed it so damned much. Some of the tracks sound so depressing someone should check on these dudes.

Video: Mindwar - Hollow

Mindwar is up and coming band from Belgium and this track is taken from their upcoming ep of the same name - 'Hollow'. Reality Records will release it on CD and vinyl, while Kick Out The Jams will handle the tapes.

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Interview: Big Cheese (UK)

Big Cheese rep UK and sound like Breakdown and Warzone put together. Their Aggravated Mopery ep from last year is a definite must listen because of how killer it is. This is your soundtrack if you want to go out and do stupid shit.

Give us some background on the band. How did Big Cheese come about?
Maegan our guitarist had just moved in with me at the time. She had some songs written and showed them to me and asked if I’d sing on them. After we adapted them and wrote them into full songs we took them to a practice room and asked Louis (guitar) and Alex (drums) who also play in Higher Power to join as I knew it’d be right up their street. From then we recorded the Sports Day demo with an old chap at a spot in Leeds for 40 quid or so. I played bass in the band initially and on this recording. When it came to playing live, we eventually got Anth in on bass.

I’ve been listening to Aggravated Mopery and this record is straight up true blue hardcore they way it should be done. Let us know your feelings now when this staff he’s been out there for some time now?
Thanks for the kind words mate. I have a hard time listening back to anything I’ve played on as I pick holes in it and wish I’d done something different. I’m sure the others would agree. In this case, I think we’re all proud of Aggravated Mopery and feel like we’ve done a good thing. People seem to be digging it and that’s all I could ever ask for!