Madball - Empire

I have loved the last two Madball Albums (well, i love all of them) - but the last 2 have just been amazing. The spark of adding Riggs and Mitts has catapulted these guys into full dedication mode. Touring non-stop and 3 lps in 5 years; scan't stop, won't stop. And their live shows have been tight and energetic. But this is a new label, new drummer, and new producer.
"Empire" - well, this one is minus Riggs. He is missed. And despite Jay Weinberg NOT being in the band as i type this, he was on the album. And he does a superb job. But the chemistry of Mitts and Hoya and Freddie is undeniable. These dudes are on fire.

lyrically, Freddy continues to grow. I mean, it's still about the streets, but the streets in the context of this world, this government. The spirit remains the same, but the mouth through which these vocals are screamed is a wiser one. Freddy often is caught contemplating the struggle. He sees both sides of the coin. He sees the future and the past when arriving at a fork in the road. He can examine his old ways with lament and reason.

"And no this not about the scene, this is about the relevance in the bigger scheme of things" Freddy's social criticism and political leanings have become strengthened in the past 3 albums, and it is glorious. Good stuff. I mean, he ain't Jello Biafra or anything - but "us vs the system" has been honed in on some specifics. and nice shout of "fuck BP petro" made me smile. Speaking against the sleepwalking clones, the corporate thugs, the consumer, and the complacent.

Music: same formula - no dramatic twist. Just the best hardcore you can have. NYHC. Two-steps and gang chants for the listener to become possessed by. Fast crunching riffs; mid-tempo beats with a hip-hop bounce. Head walks and chest pounds a plenty. The mixing is classic Madball - time changes and channel drops while Freddy screams that lead into breakdowns. Not chugga chugga and breakdown saturated; the main focus is one the importance of racing forward.

That said - they got , who i guess is some Florida Death Metal guru (Cannibal Corpse, etc). He did a fantastic job. No crazy metal tendencies, just hardcore.

Some highlights: Brother roger comes on "Shatterproof"; the Paul Bearer intro to "Hurt You"; two new songs in Spanish; and "Tough Guy" - as i remark on Freddy's obvious maturation, do not take that for growing soft. and this songs harkens back to that sparkplug.

"Con Fuerza" has me throwing haymakers alone in my room and i do not know a lick of Spanish. The tracks "RAHC, "All or Nothing" that we got a peek at 2 weeks prior courtesy of Reaper Records got me picking up change. Invigorate, "Timeless", "Dark Horse" has me looking like a fool waiting for the buss as i shout at the telephone pole and point. i could go on - every song on this album kills. They are each made for the pit; and the revolution. Stand up and fight. And make sure this is your soundtrack.

Sadly, the album closes with "Rebel4Life 1 8" is about Hoya's wife that passed away. My condolences. That must be horrible.

This review was taken with permission from the excellent Empty Hands PVD blog.

Label:Good Fight Music
Band's website