New York City hardcore legends MADBALL will enter Mana Recording Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida in July with producer Erik Rutan (MISERY INDEX, CANNIBAL CORPSE, GOATWHORE) to begin recording their new album, "Empire", for a late September/early October release via Good Fight Music.
"I think [having Erik working on the album] is a good dynamic," states vocalist Freddy Cricien. "We did the last couple records with a different producer, [but] he was busy, so we were looking for an alternative and [Erik's] name was suggested. I got to talking to him and I found out he has a hardcore background, and he's a big fan of ours. I was really sold at that point because although he does a lot of death metal, he's really eager to approach this in a certain way."
Freddy is also looking forward to utilizing Erik's rich history in production with metal artists, and his fresh outlook on producing "Empire".
"[Erik's] going to use bigger production, and I like that, but he's not going to approach it like a CANNIBAL CORPSE record because the vibe is different, and sometimes that dynamic works," says Cricien. "He's a guy that's used to working with different things but he knows how we want our stuff approached. Erik wants to make a statement with doing a MADBALL record because he's so into the death metal background.
"I'm really psyched about it, really excited.
"If [Erik] was totally oblivious to who we were and what hardcore music was, I'd be skeptical. But that's not the case at all. He's more diverse than his resume shows, at least from speaking with him personally. He's a solid engineer and he has the ear."
Regarding the album's title, Cricien states, "'Empire' will play off of the name. MADBALL has come a long way from being street kids to becoming very established in our genre, and even beyond the music. We're finally at a point in our life where we're taking control of our things, whereas before we didn't have control of some things or didn't choose to have control. We have the feeling that we've built a little empire for ourselves with our band, brand, and different endeavors." He continued, "We get this reference that we're kings of New York."
"There are plenty of awesome bands that have come out of the city. AGNOSTIC FRONT are the godfathers of New York hardcore, SICK OF IT ALL are one of the undisputed champs of the scene... we were always known as more of the bad guys, but now people are calling us the kings. It's not a title we gave ourselves and it's not that we call ourselves that, but it's just a term of endearment and respect that people use and it plays into the name 'Empire'.
According to Cricien, fans of MADBALL should expect the sound that they have always loved, but some evolution as well. "There's a certain sound that we're known for, and as much as we want to evolve with the times, we also have to keep in mind that there's a certain standard and integrity with MADBALL, and we have to preserve that," he says. "Real-deal hardcore kids totally appreciate that. That said, the foundation always has to be a certain sound, but we always bring new elements into our sound. There has to be some evolution. It might appeal to people outside of the hardcore realm, but in the end, it's going to be a MADBALL record."
Since forming in 1988, MADBALL has been responsible for some of the most important releases in the hardcore genre, from the seminal "Ball of Destruction" EP (1989) to the landmark albums "Set It Off" (1994), "Demonstrating My Style" (1996), "Look My Way" (1998), "Hold it Down" (2000), "Legacy" (2005), and their latest release, "Infiltrate the System" (2007).