Demo daze: Combat Shock - Sacrifice

Russia hardcore still lives! On their facebook I see the band wearing Leeway and OLC t-shirts so I knew this is going to be legit. Old school crossover ffo Foreseen, Power Play, Leeway and so on. There are 4 tracks in here and all of them are pretty damned incredible with all the necessary components from tight riffing to solid section. This is cool ass demo that makes me want to dig deeper into what's going on in Russian hardcore nowadays.


In the gutter groove

My man Frédéric is still sitting on some copies of 2nd issue of Gutter Groove fanzine. The list of bands interviewed is fat like a pizza with double cheese crust and includes All Out War, Weekend Nachos, Foreseen, Malice At The Palace, Lodges, True Colors and Integrity. Get yours here.

Review: Slope - Losin' Grip

Slope is a new hardcore band outta Germany and this is their new album on BDHW which does not sound like what you would expect from this label. No breakdows, no snapbacks, no tough guy posturing. It’s more on that hardcore meets alternative rock vibe that’s been so hyped since Turnstile did it. Can’t say I’m much of a fan, but neither a hater. It’s just not my shit. Any day I pick the worst Madball song over best Turnstile track and it’s still a win. To each his own.

Looking at the front cover and seeing the video they did for Goodbye Mr. Dand everything was off to bad start. The band seems to be comfortable in the corners of the mind I don’t like to go. Meaning really abstract shit. I like when hardcore sounds like it could be a soundtrack to Rocky or Die Hard, but Losin Grip feels more like a backdrop to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The song names are all weird and I got no idea what they try to convey with titles like Goodbye Mr. Dandy. Some of this stuff seem unconvincing and if hardcore doesn’t sound sincere then I have problems having that emotional connection with it. At first I was forcing myself to go through some of the tracks because of that. I just felt at the back of my head something ain't right.

I am aware this review is going into negative direction but in reality it’s just me bitching. There are moments that I enjoyed. Musically, they do keep it sharp and there’s fair amount of fine riffing and tight groove to keep my head nodding. Like I said, fans of Turnstile should check it out, but also if you like Leeway, Burn and generally more creative NYHC sound I recommend giving it a listen.

Overall I think these dudes know they craft and I suppose there will be plenty people into this album. No need to put them down since there are tons of bands that are seriously whack, like Wolf Down and all their spin-offs. Slope are only guilty of being on a vibe different than mine but they seem like good dudes. Just with awful taste in clothes and there’s too much abstract shit going on in their heads. If they get their shit together and listen to right amount of Sheer Terror I am convinced their next record will be a killer. This one is still decent though.

BDHW 2017

Audio: American War Machine - Prey Drive

If you easily fall for 'members of' gimmick let me tell you this band has dudes from Slapshot, Agnostic Front, Blood For Blood, Intent To Injure and Bricktop. It's just one song shared so far but man, this shit is tight! You can't teach that stuff. Nothing fancy here but time-tested combo of stomping beat, mean vocals and great chorus. Shit sounds raw and dangerous.

EP should be out on Bridge9 soon.


Video: Soulground - Faces Of Death

I've watched this video twice already and can't help thinking how cheesy and cheap it looks. Was forcing myself, yes forcing myself, to go through that crap in full and the only thing that kept me around was the music. The track is not bad at all, heavy hardcore that sits somewhere between recent European metallic core and Clevo sound. It features guest vocals from Jess of Swoon and it's probably the best recorded performance of her, she's way more menacing here than with her main band.

If you like it, pre-orders are up at Farewell Recs along with new Method Of Proof.


Audio: War Master - Denial Of Life

War Master is death metal influenced hardcore from UK, think something between Bolt Thrower and Merauder. Heavy on riffs and slow to mid tempo groove. An album that you should definitely tune into just for the the amount of aggression displayed here.

More HERE.

Review: Incendiary - Thousand Mile Stare

Incendiary’s rose to fame was with their previous full length Cost Of Living which as you know I heavily backed. Even if hardcore fame doesn’t mean much in real life, they still deserve it cause it was beast of a record. And it’s coming from a person who don’t get that whole 90’ new school nostalgia happening now. Truth is, many bands are jumping on the bandwagon and most of them suck. Not the case here, Thousand Mile Stare sounds like these dudes been on heavy steroids doses when writing this shit.

Cost Of Living was solid, but Thousand Mile Stare is a marked step up. Everything that was good about that old record is even better here. If you remember bands like Indecision, Earthmover or Earth Crisis this album sounds comfortably familiar, but it’s not like they act like last 20 years in hardcore didn’t happen. You can sense they put much thought into shaping these tracks as they use tons of different elements. The band turns in a quality performance with heavy ass chugging riffs and massive stomp parts with maximum effectiveness. When it hits right it’s powerful and ferocious, but there are moments that feel overlong or too complicated. I’m too basic for some of that but I guess it’s what 90’ new school is about.

A separate salute should go to the vocals, not only because of his on point delivery, but also things being said on the record. Maybe not the strongest voice in hardcore, but he’s putting 100% into it. That I respect. And the lyrics are highlight here. The older I get, the more I appreciate stuff that makes me aware about shady shit going on in this world. Fuck apathy, you gotta keep your mind sharp! The political edge in hardcore in recent years has been either absent or reduced to some butt hurt drama over what Gorilla Biscuits said. Or joke bands like Wolf X Down. Incendiary brings more common sense with their politics and it feels the lyrics are based on actual research not tumblr. Whether dealing with topics like how profits rules everything and our lives reduced being to numbers, the lyrics always express devotion to being aware of the forces that be. The key message is that things are looking bad for this generation and it’s going to be even worse for our children. I’ve been telling the same for a long time and it’s good to know other people are feeling the same about where we’re heading. Too bad today’s youth is too stupid to figure this out. Maybe if they weren’t so busy filling pockets of the same people who shipped their very jobs to little kids in Asia, like Steve Jobs. I know he's dead but fuck him and fuck them too. There’s no hope for humanity.

Closed Casket Activities, 2017

New hardcore: Hardside - Sink With Me

Another dope track by Hardside. This is 2 minutes of aggressive and raw hardcore bound together by the meanest vocals, but as usual they top it off with some clean singing that somehow works for this band. No doubt dude got a gift for harmonizing.

Good to see this band growing with each record. I remember I did check their Welcome To Hell ep when it came out and really liked it. You can hear they listen to right amount of Merauder, 100 Demons and all that metallic hardcore classics but keep to their own vibe. It took me a little bit to get used to the way they use clean vocals in their songs but once I did I was all in. This is what would go on to become their trademark sound after all. You’d better get on this!

New Blood: Fuse

Fuse is a killer all-female hardcore from Singapure whose recent demo was a massive display of force and strength. This band definitely deserves attention.

There are 2 aspects that people first notice when they learn of Fuse. First, it’s all female band. Second, you’re from Singapur. Let’s start with the first one, was it an idea from the start to have only girls in the band?
At first, yes, we only wanted girls in the band. This is because we feel that they aren't many females who are given the chance to be included in something that they love. Some females can't seem to find a place where they can have an outlet to showcase their talent and express themselves. But we then realised, we wanted to expand not only to females but those males who were outcasted in some way. So, we kept our options very open. The vocalist went around to find a second guitarist that was male who was interested in joining the band as the rest were all already girls. However, we found our current guitarist now, that happens to be a female and is one of the best guitarist we can find!

Do you get any funny reactions because of that? Does the local scene show proper support?
Funny reactions? Not really. We aren't the first female band in Singapore after all. Before us, especially the pioneers, have already established some form of female empowerment in the music scene. The Singapore scene has showed us more love than we ever expected! And we are eternally grateful for our friends who helped us a lot in the preparation of shaping Fuse. Not all of us have much experience in music and thus took us quite a long time to actually decide that we were ready to record. With many supportive friends who advice us on tone, what kind of gears to get, giving us their opinions etc, has helped us a lot.

Naysayer - Nation Of Greed

Solid hardcore is of plenty nowadays but only few of the newer bands are able to resonate with my inner self to the point of provoking deeper feelings and thoughts. Be it the fury of Manipulate, social skills of Crowd Deterrent or world commentary of Bitter End, I am always down for taking the path of self awareness through slick riff, loud drums and antisocial tendencies. Naysayer fall into that category and since the demo they've been known to deliver heavy hitters with grit and dirt levels of epic proportions. That landed them a deal with Reaper for the debut ep. Any random band from the street can't just walk up to that label's CEO and have their shit released. One LP and two EPs deeper into their career and they haven't been dropped yet, which shows how steady they are with quality of their output.

Not that much changed with how they go about their craft. This new ep Nation Of Greed is little more metallic than Laid To Rest but still hits with a familiar crunch. It’s 7 tracks in about 12 minutes, and no moment is wasted. There are lot of creeping mid to slow tempo parts, driven by slick, thrash guitar work and just nasty groove. I sense something seriously sinister about the tracks like Can You Feel it? or Face The Fantasy that gives me goosebumps. Lyrically it’s pessimistic as it deals with lower depths of society and what it takes to stand your ground in face of all the madness around. The delivery is straight in your face though. If you’re looking for abstract poetry and souls searching this ain’t one.

Summary: both the music and the message and the mindset behind the band makes me believe we have the same outlook on hardcore and live in general. This is something I respect and look for in other people. This ep got my sincere recommendation.

FFO: Timberlands, army pants, black hoodies...