Eisberg is a name I've heard being thrown around but never really got to hear their sound until now. And straight off the bat, Few Will Remain is a blast. This album has seven tracks and they go hard on all of them. With the first beat of the opening track, Enough Is Enough, I was drawn in by the vibe and energy the band delivers. The record is a NYHC-styled stomper that people into bands like Risk It! or No Turning Back should dig.
Less than twenty minutes in total, the album moves at a brisk pace and doesn’t take any long pauses between action, which works just fine for me. I’m not saying this is super fast, I’d say it’s fast-mid-tempo to fast-tempo mostly. And yes, there’s a lot of chugging grooves everybody likes to get down to.
Check this record out. It’s pretty damned good. Every track is strong and there seems to be a legit mindset and spirit behind the band.
Cold Stare are four dudes from Belgium playing hardcore that sounds like Something's Gotta Give and Scratch The Surface put together. The vibe, the sound, even damn vocals all scream NYHC. And yeah, I forgot the lyrics. They scream NYHC too. Expect some heavy-ass testosterone injection as they drop tales of pride, brotherhood, betrayal and everything in between. These have been recurring themes since the beginning of hardcore but as long as human beings are fake, irrational and self-destructive, it's all valid topics to explore. Nothing to make you rethink your existence, but who knows? Maybe being down for the crew is the stuff that's been missing in your life? Read that shit and try to apply these principles in your daily life.
The title track is a personal favorite of mine for its positive vibe and good use of gang vocals. Time To Prove is another one I wouldn’t skip. Short yet dope track.
I would give it much higher rating but at times I felt it was longer than it needed to be. Not that they overcomplicate things, it’s just in the second half of the album there are moments when things start to drag a bit. But it doesn’t take away that this is a cool ass record that does a lot of what I like in hardcore.
Like I said, in many ways, the album is a blatant homage to old Agnostic Front Madball and so on, but there's nothing wrong with that. It’s a basic premise executed well. If you haven't heard it yet, do get on that.
Peace Of Mind rep Germany, one of the strongest scenes in Europe, and this is their newest baby. Penance is 12-track strong and delivers heavy-ass hardcore with a healthy dose of thrash vibe that is so hyped in the scene right now. Musically, it's alright. Nothing that stands out in the current hardcore state of the art, but nothing they should be ashamed of neither. Listening to some of the riffs it's clear the band handles their shit like a pros, but because the head-turning moments are so few the music gets bland at times. Nonetheless, you can hear they put some effort, skills and heart into these tracks.
The vocals are whatever, took me a while to get used to but I give'em a pass. To be honest, every time there are guest vocals on some track I think how much better this record would sound if they went for more harsh delivery instead of high-pitched screams that remind me of that First Blood guy. I hate this style of singing. Even worse, I am not an expert but there's probably a heavy dose of studio engineering needed to make the human voice sound like that which kills any human emotions the singing should convey. As a default, more Jeff Perlin less Carl Schwartz on the vocals is always right.
Some harsh words have been said here, but fuck that review and check for yourself cause chances are you're gonna like at least part of it.
Man, you can’t teach that stuff! I have zero expectations for new albums by bands older than myself but turns out Sheer Terror can still distill their gritty NY style into a killer record. Pall In The Family takes the golden era of hardcore / punk / crossover music, twists it all up and makes it relevant for modern times. I shit you not, it is about as close as a return to form you will get from the band. The record has some of the same emotional impact as their prime material, and the music on here is dope as shit.
If you know Sheer Terror you know Paul is a certified maniac. This guy got no respect for nothing or nobody. Yet, there’s no faking the funk. Part of his genius is because how he’s so down-to-earth in his delivery and subject matter. It's hatecore at its best but these dudes don't walk around like criminals or flex like big gorillas. Paul takes everyday life and puts it to a song and makes it sound deep and interesting. The lyrics are super big on attitude but even if he’s making a joke, you can really feel both the pain and irony in his voice. Take for example The Moon's Gone Out, the first track on the album, which deals with divorce and women who don’t act civilized. Females can bring out the best and worst in men and you get both in one song. Another highlight is Get Me Off This Rock where Paul trades verses with Choke, which is a match made in hardcore heaven.
Like I said, Pall In The Family is much better than expected given all the hype. Great songwriting and solid delivery from the band while Paul proves he still got it. This record should not only be relevant to old timers but a ride for everyone.
One of the most solid bands that blessed this scene is back with new material. No doubt this was the most anticipated record of the year for me. Now when it has finally dropped and after a considerable amount of time spent nodding my head to these tracks I know this will be high on my best of 2018 list. Straight off the bat, I think it’s their strongest release since Class War. They hooked my ass after just the first track and there was no letting go till the final.
Wisdom’s core sound stayed the same and Nothing… fits well with the overall evolution of the band, but the album is somehow a return to form after disappointing The God Rhythm. For sure it’s way heavier and sharper. Over the years they moved from the aggressive in-your-face style of their early work into a more vibing sound that takes from diverse styles like punk rock, oi! or even straight up rock. No way this made them sound weak, but on the previous record, man, they took a few strange turns that made me skip through some of the tracks. This time the focus is on intensity.
Already Dead and Duck Down Stay Down are the hard stuff. On the other side of the spectrum are Slow Down and Turn My Back, both have a nostalgic feel to them that gives you a chance to contemplate that hard life of yours. Why do bad things happen to good people? Seems that life is just a constant war between good and evil. These odd elements and moods flow together perfectly. With all the diversity on this album, you must be crazy not to find something for yourself.
Special props to Mad Joe cause he must be the best lyricist in hardcore right now. Dude can write painfully real stories so rooted in life that if they don’t click with you then what’s wrong with you? If you’re caught up in the daily struggles trying to keep trouble from the door you can relate. This is grown man trying to make sense of this chaos. No fake thug posturing or cliches, just honest perspective on the world today without having to make shit up.
This album is all pro. I have listened to it maybe a hundred times already and it is one of those albums I can just put on and feel the same way about every time. Cop this shit and let the music diffuse all the tension.
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. There's no ego in their delivery, instead they keep it raw and keep it loose. 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.
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.
If you were raised on a heavy dose of Hatebreed and jam Lionheart on a daily, this record is for you. The cover, the band's name, the track titles like Grind My Teeth or Reign Supreme should give you idea what’s it all about. Definitely they were aiming for that Lionheart, Terror or recent Madball sound. Heavy on chugga-chugga but light on finesse, and with an ugly ass cover art. Technically, everything from guitars to rhythm section is solid, but also very calculated and they don't go too crazy with their sound. The production is thick and heavy, making it a case of recording budget well spent.
Lyrically Seas Of Misery is a mix of depression, pain and anger, but also strength and perseverance. Again, think Hatebreed and Lionheart put together. I don't know how much of it is their real life experiences and how much is making shit up cause you gotta have lyrics. On tracks like Reign Supreme or Dominate & Control they make no secret what they can do to people crossing them. Everyone having problems with, you know, being a stand up dude can listen to this shit and learn to straighten the fuck up and handle their business like a man should. And all the girls who want to bad ass can also get a lot from this album.
The latest release on Demons Run Amok is UK's Balance. I don't know if I got the press release right but this is marketed as UK's response to Turnstile. I couldn't tell, I don't listen to Turnstile. To me this sounds like a classic hardcore punk except it's more complex than average. Not too complex though. The band starts with that classic sound as a base but messes with it a bit and somehow makes it work.
The guitar work is nice with some weird stuff thrown in and melodies I can vibe to even though I'm too proud to admit it. I like that the more open minded stuff is never out in the front but rather smoothly mixed with the rest of the music. Not every band can play it straight but still keep it that varied. And what's best, they do melody but there's also a lot of chugging grooves in here. And yeah, they try to sneak in some alternative rock influences from time to time but it's well hidden and don't bother me that much.
After a short intro no one really asked for the first track hits it hard and there couldn't be a better start. The band even gets melodic on this one but it doesn't offend my manliness at all so I can hang with it for the most part. I dig the next track as well. Made For Living is short and in your face and they play it like they mean it. The next track is called Spill and is also solid. At that time I am pretty ok with all the nasty things they do to their guitars only because the music is still sharp enough to avoid the corny basket. The forth track is Out Of My Head and it's tolerable. Only the last track, Outro, doesn't do it for me, the lo-fi guitar thing sounds too soft for my liking.
While this demo is not the type of hardcore I fuck with on daily basis, it's still a good ride. I was expecting the worst but it's not that bad.
Debut album from UK's Climate Of Fear. The name of the band sounds familiar and to be honest I was hoping this one to be along the vibe of early Bitter End albums. Can you blame me? Turns out that was misleading cause the band's focus is more on heavier mid-tempo stuff than pure aggressive and reckless hardcore goodness. The two opening tracks are whatever but it gets better in the second half of this short album. Holy Terror is solid as hell, while Entombed sounds fucking great and is a definite stand out. The dramatic intensity of this latter track goes from menacing mid-tempo vibe to slick faster part and this combination is musical equivalent of timebomb.
You can hear they were aiming high when it comes to technicality and complexity in the music, doing what they could with the skills they have to make these tracks engaging and complex. This leads me to question some of their stylistic choices. There are just too many slower parts and 99% of them don't do nothing for me. I could have done without all those basic ass breakdowns they felt they need to do every 30 seconds of each track. That way otherwise brilliant songs, like already mentioned Entombed, don't flow like they should. I guess it's their weird way to show they can play but no one ever asked for that shit.
The production is crisp and clean, it's not bad but I miss the dirt and grime and reverb. Hardcore does not need to be overly produced.
All in all, despite me bitching about some stuff, it's still a solid record. Next time they just need to drop their ego and get rid of that metal wankery and stick to that more straight forward stuff.