Sunday, November 18, 2007

Moving On

Once again I reach this point, its becoming a recurrence that is somewhat bothersome but given the events of the last month I didn't foresee that I would be reaching this kind of position again.

I will not divulge the nature of what has happened as a) it won't interest the majority of you and b) I'm sick of whinging and pining, all you need to know is that it's time for some action.

Firstly no need to belong will be going on an enforced hiatus, it may come back in the future but for the immediate one it will be dormant.

However, this is not the end, I am continuing to write for but I have also been kindly invited to contribute to the fucking amazing blog Killing the Legacy, run by my man xMarkusx who is one of the true few that leaves comments here, so come check us out, he posts about ill shit all the time -

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Children Of Gaia/Confronto

Finally. Here is the remainder of the split, - Children Of Gaia - Confronto

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The warmachine keeps rolling

Germany was responsible for upping the metal factor in the new school sound in the late 90s thanks in large to Caliban and these vegan warriors, the almighty, Heaven Shall Burn. For me, Heaven Shall Burn pre-Century Media were the rightful successor to Day Of Suffering as the quintessential vegan metal band. Whilst now they are more like a straight melodic death metal band, back in the late 90s HSB were causing absolute destruction with their material. Melody was an integral feature that helped them to conjure their pieces but it wasn't utilised in such a manner that lightened the atmosphere (like later material), rather it aided in creating an even darker atmosphere that enhanced the feel and impact of their pieces. - Heaven Shall Burn - Cold - Heaven Shall Burn - The Drowned And The Saved - Heaven Shall Burn - Asunder

Now I thought this was out of print, hence why the whole thing is up (sans the 25 minute track at the end with a hidden bonus cover) but it turns out, it is available here

For Liberation

The wait for this album was agony. When news that Liberation had another 'vegan straightedge weapon,' ready to be unleashed I began foaming at the mouth and who wouldn't after such a proven track record? Well, when Mostomalta were unveiled they fulfilled every expectation that I personally have for a vegan straightedge band in this new millenium. This being, relentless buzzing (blackened) riffs forged as much from the classic new school of the mid to late 90s as metal (Mostomalta even sited Deicide and Emperor as prime influences). Plenty, and I do mean plenty of apocalyptic crunching mosh and of course, scathing vocals and Mostomalta excel in this department as they have not 1 nor 2 but 3 vocalists on board thus adding an even more furious dimension to their already seething brew. - Mostomalta - Intersticio (title track) - Mostomalta - Intersticio

As I said, the wait for this album (well, its more like a extended EP what with 7 tracks and barely 20+ minutes of material) was agony, I checked the Liberation website constantly, waiting for snippets of information. Eventually they put the title track online and I rinsed it for months and then finally the CD became available which as soon as it was, I was badgering Marcos (the owner) for my copy.

Given that Liberation no longer focuses on third world hardcore anymore, this CD didn't get much exposure or distribution throughout the rest of the world, an absolute travesty in my mind. This of course makes it difficult to get, you can get it here
but you better be able to read Portuguese or have a lot of patience navigating the site.

Otherwise, you have all the tunes here to enjoy ;)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Strength Through Diversity

Ok so sendspace has been driving me crazy this past week. I've had stuff uploading and everytime it has timed out leaving my post left in tatters (usually because I am trying to get it up before I go to work).

Anyway, so here we go again, this post is going to be super brief because I have loads to do tonight.

Subzero are an amazing NYHC band, this is their debut from 1997 and whilst its not as heavy as their later material on Stillborn and is absolutley succulent in its songwriting. The band has so much going on and each song is so diverse and different, so much so, this really shouldn't work, there are so many contrasting elements mixed here that most other bands would be botch when it came to melding them together. Subzero manage not to do this and instead create an album that is a true classic of the New York scene. - Subzero - Happiness Without Peace
Copies going here for DIRT cheap, so don't be a sucka, pick it up cuz its outta print -
PS - I cannot find the CD, hence no artwork :(

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Let's go

Discovering that there were hardcore bands in South America that were good was something of a revelation for me, more so that they were amazing. Point Of No Return laid the foundations (as some of you will know, their last album was posted up on here), but the continent's and in particular Brazil's potential as one of the new hardcore stronghold's began to manifest when xConfrontox and Children Of Gaia dropped on the scene. In fact, the former are veterans releasing their first demo (which I am looking for) way back at the end of the late 90s and have gone onto release a MCD, this split (and a European edition with Fall Of A Season) and then their monumental full length 'Causa Mortis,' in 2005. Children of Gaia ascended to one of my favorite bands in 04 when they dropped their debut full length 'I Prey To Watch You Bleed.' They toured Europe that year and played the Ieper fest which I had planned to go in order to see them but alas, financial constraints (too much hapless spending on records) and a month long sojourn in Italy meant that I had to earn before going anywhere. I've been waiting for their return ever since and I think that wait will continue until they record that cursed second full length which has been some 2 and a half years in the making, fingers crossed.

Anyway, Children Of Gaia sounded more like the Italian new school on this release, their full length was grittier and incorporated more of a mosh approach ala Terror and Throwdown mixed with their earlier style, that being what is found here which was total new school fury. Taking the best parts of Italian legends like Reprisal and Sentence and then adding the scathing vocals of Mario made this a vicious, confrontational and of course, invigorating sound that was obsessively addictive. - Children Of Gaia - Gaia - Confronto - Alicerce

Both bands are still active, and as stated above, Children of Gaia are working on their follow up to 'I Prey to Watch You Bleed.' Meanwhile Confronto toured Europe this summer (and should have come here but didn't :( ). This record has now gone out of print since Liberation dropped the x's and decided to be a vehicle for releases for Trustkill, Century Media and Ferrett in South America, so hit, however, there is a copy here - but as I have said in the past with this webstore, they can be a little slow.

Meanwhile the Confronto full length and Euro edition of this split (with Fall Of A Season, whose songs were awesome) are avaliable here -

Please be aware that the rest of the tunes will be going up, the reason they haven't is due to my internet connection being a fucker and crashing before the main bulk of the files have uploaded.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Kicking back

I was informed that the Kickback files went down, so here it is for those of you that need it. - Kickback - Les 150 Passions Meurtrieres

For those of you that don't have it or think you don't need it, you do.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I will return...

It's been a while. Too long in fact. Well, I will be coming back, posting will be resuming this week, I had time to think in Japan and I decided that giving up was to easy, I'm carrying on with this, so stand by, cause a storm is brewing.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A confession

I've been putting this off. Everyday I think, must update the blog, and everyday I let myself down, and I feel terrible for doing so, what's more, I had made a pact with myself to keep it updated daily when I got back from holiday...Fuckin' rubbish, that's the only words that can describe this situation, but the truth is, its such a struggle for me to fit this in and do it properly. Since coming back from holiday, work has been much tougher, they are loading me up with more stuff and I am having to learn more all the time, which is great but what it means is that when I get home, my brain is fried.

Furthermore I am now playing football on a Monday night, go out on Thursday nights to see the family and then weekends...well, they disappear in a flash. What's more annoying is that I had a ton of stuff ready to go up, but sendspace has been annoying the shite out of me by crashing or deleting the files and to be honest, when I get home from work, I do not want to sit in front of the PC for an hour and a bit, uploading this shit for the site to crash out and mean I have to start all over again.

So enough with the excuses, what's the future??

Well, I don't know. I am going to Japan on Tuesday for the Bloodaxe fest which I can't wait for, so I think I will do a similar feature as to what I did for Pressure Fest. After that, I really think I may stop, for one thing, I hate the look out of this site, I am useless with design, know absolute sweet FA when it comes to coding html and other tech stuff and also, my membership with sendspace is up in a bout 15 days, and seeing as I haven't duly used it during the last 3 months, I won't be renewing it, so download everything you want ASAP.

I always wanted to do this, but this technical frustrations have proved to really bring it down, like I said, I hate the look of this page, its clunky, drab and just downright dry to look at.

Before the sendspace membership expires I will upload a few more things but that won't be until at least the 30th, so until then...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Undoing the ruin...

OK. Don't click away until you've at least read the opening paragraph. I know, I know, Diecast are a little bit…how to put it gently??? Poppy, fluffy, cute, generic…?? Maybe a combination of all of those, but that's Diecast today, this is their first release, the very first release, with the complete original line up, when it was most important to create complete destruction. Now, despite those derogatory comments above I will confess that I own 2 Diecast albums post 'Undo,' and enjoy them, but I know they aren't great records and if you came to my house, I'd probably hide them, but this beast, no fuckin way.

Together with the musical shift that the band has endured since this EP has duly affected their overall composition. Granted that there isn't a single original member left one may indeed ask why they continue under the moniker. Regardless, I'm rambling here and rapidly digressing from the point, being that as their music changed, so did that all around them as they have gone from touring with All Out War, Dying Fetus etc to Sevendust.

Quite a paradigmatic shift if I don't say so, so see what you think, - Diecast - Undo The Wicked

Now for some reason, I thought this had been reissued with their record 'Tearing Down Your Blue Skies,' but from browsing on Amazon, this doesn't appear to be the case.

So, there are copies of it at Amazon here

But the price is ridiculous, unless you're in Europe (or the UK) then it's not too bad, if you want a cheaper copy, then watch

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Justice is done...

When people lament that hardcore 'aint what it used to be,' (especially one of my older, more esteemed friends), I can kinda see where they are coming from. Certainly the message isn't as prevalent anymore, and what with multiple violent straight edge crews popping up and laying the smackdown on anyone and everyone it's not difficult to begin to agree with this thinking. Furthermore, there aren't compilations like this anymore, not only was 'Justice For The Enslaved,' crammed with awesome bands and songs but the proceeds were being used for various causes by the label (the UK's Sure Hand records, who released a 7 inch by Above All)that at that time (animal rights of course being at the forefront) were bound to hardcore, whereas now, its all about printing provocative t-shirts then trying to fight for what's right.

What's interesting about this compilation is the absence of American bands, clearly veganism and straight edge was no longer as strong as it once was in the US but in Europe and elsewhere (South America), it was still strong, still thriving. The more I hear these songs, the more I wish that some of these bands had been able to put out more material. Fortunately the finest on here (Point Of No Return & Reprisal) did, but others, especially Dehumanize & Clouded, contributed their finest material on this compilation and then left us with little else. The former went on to release a MCD in the early 2000's but it was more noisecore and not the creepy blackened hardcore found here. Clouded disappeared without trace, a real shame because the progress from their debut 7 inch/mcd to these tracks promised something really special.

As for the rest, see what you think, - Clouded - Revel In Oblivion - Dehumanize - Hung - Reprisal - Pleniluno - Justice For The Enslaved Vol.1

Sure Hand was a great label, and put out some quality stuff, sadly, all of its out of print, so you'll have to scoure around for it on channels such as, I will be putting some more stuff up, so watch out for that. Also, you can check out their

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Pressure Rising...

Yeah I know, I know, been way too long, but I hadn’t realised how goddamn demanding holidays are, anyway, I’m back now and slowly getting back to normal, so posting will be getting back on track this week.

Now I’ve longed to do this for aeons, in fact, I wanted to do a Japan report last year when I visited that country but, I was unable to do so, due in large part to the severing of my tongue and the lack of will to do anything remotely creative. Still, I’m going again this year, so maybe a report this year will come to fruition, who knows, anything’s possible.

Regardless of Japan, without further a do, I bring you, PRESSURE FEST 2007, the low down.

NB – no cameras were allowed inside, so no pix, sorry guys.

Day 1

So I’d taken the train from friend Kat who lives in Bonn (the former capital I was surprised to learn, where the hell was I during Geography and History lessons???) to Essen, checked into my hotel and kipped for an hour, then decided to get moving as I didn’t want to miss Bun Dem Out.

Upon arriving a familiar scene greeted me, this being the ominous concrete structure of the Gysenberg Hall and the milling around of various hardcore kids from all over the globe (more so this year then when I came in 2005). So I got to it, diving into the queue I sort to get my wristband for the following 3 days and did so rather swiftly.

From there I joined the queue to gain entry to the venue and in there I found many, many kids from London (some I knew that were coming and others (to my great surprise) that I didn’t).

Anyway, we get in, and the first band of the day is BUN DEM OUT (7.5), this band have been tearing shit up in London for a while now, but have grown immensely since putting out their MCD on Rucktion earlier this year. Their violent mix of beatdown and scything slayer riffs (ala prime Arkangel and 50 Caliber) get the floor moving, represented in large part by the London Headz. They end their set by covering “All Will Suffer,” by Shattered Realm and are joined on stage by none other then Joe Hardcore to send the crowd into a barmy frenzy.

Quality start.

ANIMOSITY (8) follow, burgeoning with confidence they blaze onto the stage with one of my favourite tunes ‘The Black Page,’ they then proceed to slam a visceral set and include a grinding new tune set to feature on their upcoming new record ‘Animal.’ I’d seen RISE & FALL (7.5) earlier this year with the Hope Conspiracy and they impressed me but they were far more powerful on the big stage here and churned out a cosmic half hour which in turn rendered their ripping metallic hardcore brew all the more enticing. One of the first big attractions for me this weekend was LENGTH OF TIME (8.5), the last time was enjoyable (Goodlife 2003) but more of an imitation of the real thing (I think only Kirby was the original member at Goodlife) but this, this was the real deal, the original line up. They kick off with a triplet of tunes from their awesome EP ‘Shame To This Weakness Modern World,’ including the immortal ‘Thought Of The Enslaved,’ and the broody title track. They follow that up with a triplet from ‘Approach To The New World,’ closing with the apocalyptic ‘Do What Must Be Done.’

Awesome Shit.

JOB FOR A COWBOY (7), the world’s most loathed myspace darlings find themselves being thoroughly adored by the German crowd. There were a lot of JFAC t-shirts and hoodies (yes hoodies, it was fuckin cold that weekend) on display, thus there was a feeling of anticipation for their performance. Now I mentioned in my review of their album for Digital Metal that when I saw them play with Unearth earlier this year, the newer material paled in comparison to that of ‘Doom.’ Again it was the same scenario here but with one difference, the new material is beginning to sound more natural live, more powerful but still, when the band drop their hits from the EP they are a wholly different proposition.

Still as I said in that review, the band’s got potential, they now need to channel it justly too move forward.

Performance of the day has to go to KNUCKLEDUST (9), goddamn; it’s so crazy seeing these local boys tearing it up on such a massive stage, but crazier is the reaction stimulated in the crowd. They go fuckin ape shit, APE SHIT, I included (how could I not). From ’25 Years Dead,’ all the way to ‘Against All Odds,’ the band don’t miss a beat, despite bassist Nicky not being present (filled in by Pieman from Hellbent Diehard) and they band stating that they are ‘playing like shit,’ nonsense, they licked it.

I was pretty monged after that and I also stumbled into my good Swedish friend Love just before AS I LAY DYING, so I didn’t really watch the band. Furthermore, he secured a yummy carton of chocolate Soya milk. Unable to resist we took it to the back of venue and savoured it during their set and ended up missing almost all of it, or at least a significant proportion that negates me from reviewing it fairly.

CONVERGE (8.5), are so good, even headlining a big fest, even if I do feel they suit a tighter, smaller environment. Still, they play a great set, drawing largely from their last 3 albums but pull out the older classics (I loved it when they played ‘Forsaken,’ and ‘Locust Reign,’) to keep older headz like myself grinning.

So a pretty hot start to Pressure, good mix of bands, good dancing and awesome treats (Soya milk and vegan cookies), day 2 with its line up, could only be better…

Day 2

Due to major beef getting inside (god knows why), I miss NASTY, which bummed me out cuz I was really looking forward to dancing to them and the chances of them coming to the UK anytime soon are pretty unlikely ;( So I prepared myself for the inevitable bore fest that is BRING ME THE HORIZON (-1000) but fortunately for me (and a great deal of others), the band didn’t play, rumours started flying around that they felt they should be higher up the bill and chose to deliberately ‘miss,’ their slot in order to demand a higher one. Well if this is true then they are a bunch of pretentious prima donnas and of course, wankers, in fact, they shouldn’t have even been at Pressure Fest, so they should have been grateful to have even got a spot.

Still, it meant that the other bands got to play a bit longer (I think anyway) so BLACK FRIDAY 29 (7.5), impressed with their stout but endearing hardcore. They are certainly growing in stature as this performance was far stronger then 2 years ago. Furthermore, new material is set to be released soon, so watch out for that. SIX FT DITCH (8) are notorious for their violent shows, so the proposition of them playing a fest with a massive floor and plenty of kids willing to bust out every move imaginable is a recipe for pure, but fun mayhem or complete carnage that leaves many broken, bruised and very, very pissed off. Well it was a mixture of the two, there was much carnage to be had and most people didn’t seem to care about getting hurt but what can you do? Get on with it is what I say.

One of the main attractions of Pressure Fest this year was the amount of ‘special,’ guests they had roped in too play exclusively, CASEY JONES (8.5), being one of them. Shit, I hadn’t realized how addictive these boys are as their set made me rue not giving their records more attention so that I could have been up their screaming along too, next time. German powerhouse SETTLE THE SCORE (8), have really come along since their first MCD, and to think that they were struggling away playing any show possible not that long ago…Their set is direct and to the point and gets not only plenty of crazy dance moves going but a tremendous circle pit that threatens to engulf everyone in and around it (as if it was some crazy whirlpool).

Yet another ‘special,’ guest was THE WARRIORS (7.5), I had been looking forward to see what material this band would plum for as I equally like both records but knowingly accept that ‘Beyond The Noise,’ isn’t as well suited live in comparison to ‘War Is Hell.’ I think the band obviously know this as they played it safe, culling the majority of the set from ‘War Is Hell,’ and throwing in a new tune from their forthcoming album on Victory.
Sadly there was no Rage Against The Machine cover.

Although I like PARKWAY DRIVE (7), on record, last time I saw them, I was bored to tears, not so here, they smash it for half an hour, nuff said. Stupidly I missed HAVE HEART (8.5), when they toured the UK earlier this year, and was kicking myself for quite a few weeks, thus I was delighted to have the opportunity to sample them here and based on their performance I will not miss their upcoming Euro tour. From start to finish it was a cathartic, engaging and above all, emotional set that was so captivating that it was impossible not to turn my head away. Every beat was amplified tenfold, every riff more so, and Pat Flynn stalked and stomped on the stage like a complete lunatic.

This set me up for what should have been the undoubted highlight of the day and not only that, but of the festival. Unfortunately ALL OUT WAR (6) failed to ignite my enthusiasm and the majority of the crowd. In fact, I still can’t believe how underwhelming their set was, things started with a bang via ‘Soaked In Torment,’ and had me thinking ‘this is going to be fucking CHAOS,’ but after that, the atmosphere, the band, got flatter and flatter, even classics like ‘Claim Your Innocence,’ and ‘Truth In The Age Of Lies,’ got a very lukewarm response.

That ruined my day, and after their set I just wanted to get out of there so I didn’t watch UNEARTH or SICK OF IT ALL.

Day 3

Even a hearty breakfast couldn’t banish the thoughts of last evening’s performance by AOW, and had me thinking, either my expectations were too high, or my judgement was correct and AOW played below par. Either way, today was a clean slate and I wasn’t going to let one disappointment affect the rest of my weekend.

Sunday being Sunday I rose slightly late so I can’t tell you what RESISTANCE were like, bad metal is what I’ve been told. Far from bad though, in fact far closer to absolutely awesome were IN BLOOD WE TRUST (8.5), talk about waking the crowd up on a Sunday, shit, it could have been anytime, anywhere, I cannot wait for this band to release some new stuff. The next hour and a bit was dedicated to DOWN TO NOTHING (8) and INTERNAL AFFAIRS (7.5), both utterly furious and both blazingly fast. However, neither managed to conjure the mayhem or match the fury of SWORN ENEMY (8.5), plying through both full lengths the enemy came, saw and quite rightly tore Pressure a new ass. A definite highlight for me was mounting my mate’s back and charging through the crowd during ‘Sworn Enemy.’

After that bruising set I decided to chill for MISERY SPEAKS, so the next band was DO OR DIE (7.5), now this set was much better then two years ago, where they aired more from ‘Tradition,’ (which was awful), but here they focused on their first two records. A wise choice by the band, because that material is so much stronger and powerful, so it’s a no-brainer that it goes over better live. I had strayed outset again, thus missing a tad of SHATTERED REALM’S (9) opening but made it back just in time to get the kicks out for ‘All Will Suffer.’ No matter how many times I see this band, it is always, always high quality. ‘From The Dead On Blocks,’ has grown on me a lot and it was good to see that tunes like ‘Final Day,’ were getting as much response as ‘This World Is Mine.’ The band are set to return to Europe later this year, but according to Joe Hardcore (who I learned was edge), he may not be joining them as he is facing imprisonment based on murder charges. My best wishes are with Joe and I hope he doesn’t get locked down.

My expectations were exceedingly low for EVERGREEN TERRACE (8), but maybe that’s why they surprised me. They were excellent, and far, far better then their London performance on the Hell On Earth tour a few years ago. I hadn’t listened to them for ages, so their tunes had become a little hazy, I recognized the odd one here and there but for the majority I was listening to these tunes with fresh ears. Either way, the band ruled, end of story.

For some reason, I always watch WALLS OF JERICHO (8.5), don’t know why, as this is a band I listen to regularly and know their tunes very well. Never mind, the rest of Germany made up for my lack of participation, going 7 shades of ape shit throughout their performance, pulling on material from all of their records, and closing with the rousing ‘Revival Never Goes Out Of Style.’

So the festival comes to a close, and brings us the almighty EARTH CRISIS (8.5), for some people this was the only reason to come, for others, well shit, clearly they had departed after Walls Of Jericho because by the time eXc hit the stage, the venue was noticeably emptier. A bit of an insult if you ask me, considering how influential and damn right important eXc have been to the history of hardcore. Fuck it. It was more space for me to dance.

Now the set was interesting. No tunes from ‘Breed The Killers,’ were aired (ridiculous if you ask me) and yet one from ‘Slither,’ was (‘Killing Brain Cells,’ which sounded miles better then when I last heard it). In the end, they played it safe, playing all of ‘Firestorm,’ (sans ‘Forged In The Flames,’) and all of ‘All Out War,’ (sans ‘Ecocide,’ another glaring omission). The departure of people actually turned out to be a blessing as it allowed me to get really close to the stage, so close in fact I was able to scream some of the words to ‘No Allegiance.’

The rest of the set was made up of 4 tunes from ‘Destroy The Machines,’ including the crushing (as well as one of my all time favourite songs) ‘Wrath Of Sanity,’ and 2 from ‘Gomorrah Season Ends.’ The closed the set with the immortal title track from that album before launching into ‘Firestorm,’ and that was it, done and dusted for another year.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Well Earned Rest...

I was hoping to get something up tonight but it hasn't been that easy. Tomorrow I leave for Germany and Pressure Fest, then next week I'll be in Bulgaria, however I will be returning to blighty for one day in between these two trips, so expect a flurry of activity in that (no doubt) hectic 24 hours.

Until then, you have plenty to saviour and listen to.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Smashing The Silence

This shit is crazy. Fuckin crazy. Way nuttier then their following releases and way better then anything by the band's successor, Daughters (although to be fair, only when member of As The Sun Sets went into Daughters, and he didn't even play on this album). Damn, I remember this being one of my obsessive, elusive albums back in the early years of this decade, together with Coalesce's 'Give Them Rope,' and some other chaoscore records that I couldn't find at the time (names which escape me). So how delighted I was to find that this record came back into print, be it limited, and was available through my favorite online store,!! I ordered that shit quicker then it takes me to finish a bowl of pasta (and I eat quick), and awaited eagerly till the day that it dropped through the letter box.

What confronted me was barely twenty plus minutes of unhinged, unrelenting fury that was so utterly caustic and morbid that it left me dazed after each sitting. Even now as I play it through earphones, 4 years since getting it, the same affect is encountered. Now if I am not mistaken this record dropped around 1999, the same year as another musical apex, namely 'Calculating Infinity.' Now whilst the latter has become one of the defining records of my musical generation it should not be used as a point of reference for this band. No doubt As The Sun Sets knew of Dillinger and despite there being parallels between the band's musically, As The Sun Sets do not rip Dillinger off, which is the ignorant, lunk head commentary that I have heard in regards to this band.

Check it, - As The Sun Sets - 'Carpathian'

- As The Sun Sets - 'Each Individual Voice Is Dead In The Silence.'

This record floats in and out of print, so grab it here while you still can -

Burn it all down...

Its stupid you know, I've developed a really, really silly habit of buying things on a whim and not investigating properly before. Good thing I'm not overly fussy, otherwise I would have sold off most of my collection by now. Anyway, I digress...right, this habit has been cultivated either by a vague memory of reading something, somewhere about a band or hearing someone, somewhere saying something about a band. Mostly (in fact, luckily for me, mostly) this hasn't resulted in a detrimental outcome and I've liked what I've bought on that whim, other times I haven't been so lucky, and sometimes, sometimes, it has reaped a real surprise, like this evil mofo here.

The record was released in 1998 on Uprising, a label that has confused me profusely ever since I got into hardcore. They have released some quality records, but a lot of their stuff leaves me indifferent, especially these days. In fact, even in the label's super vegan militant guise, there was still the tendency to drop the odd clanger here and there. Not so with this baby though. Taking a smouldering Deadguy framework (I definitely hear a dissonant influence from that band) and melding with absolutely crushing riffs that verged on death metal Esq ferocity, Racetraitor showed that they were not to be taken lightly. Typified further by the lengthy essay in the booklet which highlights various ills of man. - Racetraitor - 'Path To Misery' - Racetraitor - 'Burn The Idol Of The White Messiah'

Hilariously, members of Fall Out Boy did time in this band, and most of them members at one time or another went on to endeavors that were of that ilk.

If you're feeling this darkness, then grab a copy, as they are going here for a pittance -

Monday, June 18, 2007

Second Strike Is Fatal...

Goddamn. One of the heaviest, most brutal mid 90s bands that's for sure, Unconquered were not your typical West Coast band of that time. Whereas the likes of Mean Season, Outspoken and Unbroken, were heavy, they were far more intricate, even graceful, thus none of them could match the sheer weight of Unconquered who chose to forgo any melodic meanderings. This was their debut (or they may have had some 7 inches before…I think not), and was released on xLifesentencex and like so many of that label's early releases, it has become a long lost treasure, that time (as well as the label) has not been kind to. The former due to that Unconquered are not openly acknowledged as a band of note from the 90s, in fact, I imagine that many would cast them off as a bad Earth Crisis clone (sheer nonsense). Obviously xLifesentencex didn't say much shelf life in this record and thus let it lapse into out of print obscurity, meaning for those who want it, you have to hunt.

Anyway, decide whether Unconquered were just a poor man's Earth Crisis, - Unconquered - 'You Say Moderation, I Scream Prohibition.'
They would go on to release two more records, a full length on Lifeforce (the supremely heavy 'Wall Of Time,') and Sober Mind ('The Program,') before disbanding. The singer Jason went on to form, who seem to have entered into hibernation, there has been nothing from that band for months.

In regards to this record, you'll have to hit it.

First Strike Is Deadly...

I've been in two minds about this one since starting this blog and have continued to churn it over in my mind whether to feature it or not. Well a very gracious and complimentary reader convinced me to do so (lookin at you Adam ;) and thus, I bring you one of the best (if not the best) vegan straight edge records ever, 'The Eternal Jihad.' Beginning in the mid 90s (around 1994) the band formerly went by Falling Down and released an absolutely brilliant 7 inch. They then became Day Of Suffering and the name change seemed to inspire an even more apocalyptic feel to the material. From start to finish 'The Eternal Jihad,' is a maelstrom of vicious metallic fury, burning riffs corrode and collide with John's seething vocals.

All the fury is dexterously maintained and carried by Paul Hart's beats, just check the start of 'Shade Of Red,' every time I hear that intro I thump the beat on my chest! The band laid the foundation for two other North Carolina greats to arise, these being Undying and Prayer For Cleansing and on top of that, most vegan bands (or bands that sound like mid 90s vegan bands, i.e. JAPAN) that have a metallic tinge sight Day Of Suffering as an inspiring force (Eye Of Judgement even carried this album's title track on their recent US tour).

See what you think, - Day Of Suffering - 'Shades Of Red.' - Day Of Suffering - 'Visualize Industrial Collapse.' - Day Of Suffering - 'The Eternal Jihad'

The band quit so before their time. Apparently they were moving towards an even more metal direction as Monster told me that the released a track towards the end of their time that sounded like Cradle Of Filth!!!! Crazy. Anyway, if you have been following this site for a while you will be aware that some of the guys went into Sennacherib, who I posted about before, the others…boh, no idea, singer John was playing guitar in a more rock orientated band but I think he has now quit (cannot for the life of me think of their name).

As always, this record is out of print, label have had a reissue in the works for some time, but as of yet, it hasn't surfaced. What's of more interest though, is that a second disc is planned featuring all the band's rare and unreleased material, including that aforementioned Cradle sounding track, a cover of Gorilla Biscuits and the tracks from the Falling Down 7 inch.

Until then, savour the fury of 'The Eternal Jihad,' and check for an original copy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Fighting back

Like so, so many, Krutch slogged their guts out and reaped immense respect from those in the know, but they never received the widespread recognition that they deserved. Sure they were known back then, but how many bands openly acknowledge Krutch as influence in comparison to say Fury Of Five or Bulldoze or Second To None? Not many and that is indicative of how few people knew about Krutch, and what’s really sad is, like Spirit Of Youth in yesterday’s post, time hasn’t been kind and not many people are going to actively seek out the band’s back catalogue.

Well, I am going to try and change that here.

‘I’ll See You In Hell,’ was a daring record. 18 tracks would lead one to think that there is a lot of filler on board, but this isn’t the case, the record is beautifully paced and each song has its own distinctive feel. What’s amazing though is the amount of tracks the bands penned that have a grungy but acoustic Alice In Chains feel, and are very, very mournful, certainly makes a contrast with bruising numbers like ‘BFL.’

See what you think, - Krutch - W-O-T - Krutch - I'll See You In Hell

The band’s follow up ‘Whatever It Takes,’ was also excellent and the band continued to tour until disbanding in 2003. Members can now be found in Boxcutter, Wisdom In Chains and some other BFL bands.

I have seen copies of the record here - and here, , so pick it up!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

For Those Unsung...

You know, I used to mix up this band with another one called Sportswear, god knows why and god knows how because both sound completely different in spite of them sharing the same label. Anyway, Spirit Of Youth are a band that time has not been kind to, they never ascended to the heights of fame (well, as famous as you can get in the hardcore sphere) and recognition that the likes of Congress, Liar, Arkangel (and a whole laundry list of other Belgian luminaries) have been bestowed with and are certainly not as enamoured as those bands. Granted, they weren't as innovative as any of those bands (as well as others from Europe and Belgium) but they were writing excellent, but above all sincere, heartfelt music that in my mind deserved my recognition then thy received.

I've had a really hard time nailing exactly how this band sound as they were not atypical of the H-8000 madness that was rife in the mid 90s. That's not to say that they didn't sound that way as they do have elements of that style (particularly those accented vocals which bring to my mind their brethren Kindred) but its a less extreme variation of it. The likes of Liar and Congress were maxed out metal and holy terror hardcore (particularly the latter), Spirit Of Youth had their influences too but mingled them closer within one another so that their sound was purely holistic, thus making their influences that much harder to trace, hence my difficulty.

Anyway, see what you think, - Spirit Of Youth - Puritan - Spirit Of Youth - Colors That Bleed

What happened to this band and its members is unbeknown to me, anyone with info, fill me in :)

So if you like it, grab it - or

Monday, June 11, 2007

Step Up...

From the deepest depths of New York's underground comes this long standing hardcore unit, who are easily one of the best bands that that immortal music capital has given birth too. Taking all elements of what makes NYHC so good and so addictive, Everybody Gets Hurt conjured a dark, confrontational and mercilessly tough record that should be on a hardcore label of reasonable standing, if only to keep this masterpiece in print. EGH first came into my sphere of consciousness on the European tour in 2002 and garnered a reputation amongst the hardcore heads as one of the best bands to come forth in a very long time.

Now trust, despite the artwork (which is actually quite awesome, but doesn't quite capture the genuine feel of the music), this record epitomizes that over referenced (but always true) cliche of not judging a book by its cover. Regardless, this shit moves, I mean we are talking nearly 50 minutes of pure, unrestrained New York hardcore with no breaks, no respite and constant quality. The material is bolstered by a seriously good production, amazing considering that the record was self funded. - Everybody Gets Hurt - Weightless - Everybody Gets Hurt - Hymn Of The Fallen - Everybody Gets Hurt - The Dark Seeds Of Man

EGH are still around, keeping active but not releasing much in the way of new material. They have been back to Europe twice, playing Ninja Fest in 2004 (actually that was their sole euro appearance that year, and this was the same edition as that infamous Six Ft Ditch show) and then back again in 2005 for a more extensive sojourn. They debuted some new songs at Ninja Fest and then released a split with Settle The Score and TJ Maxx and the material from that split featured the a second vocalist who has now left the band. They then released 'Demo Daze,' in 2005, featuring most of this record (be it, in a much rawer form) and some other tracks, that, unlike 'The Dark Seeds Of Man,' is still obtainable, and there are in fact some copies here -, as for this record, watch and keep an eye on

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Terror Continues

Here's the scene. Ninja Fest (now the UK's most revered hardcore fest), 2004, some tough bands were playing that year and none tougher then the UK's own Six Ft Ditch. Shit, there have been few times when I have been worried in a pit, but this was one. Coming out in blood splattered gear, bandannas and sporting plastic weapons (ok, that slightly demeans the scene I'm trying to set) they pulverized the venue and incited the crowd to do so tenfold, I mean, it was chaos, bodies were flying everywhere and how someone didn't end up going to hospital that night, I'll never know.

Since then the band have continued to grow in stature, rising to become one of the UK's best known bands (alongside Knuckledust) typified by them being picked up by Filled With Hate to release their last record and playing this year's Pressure Fest (which is going to be mayhem).
Of their 3 releases, this one has stood as my favourite, it was their debut on Rucktion released back in 2003. There was a lot of hype and expectation for this one and it did not disappoint. Despite the brevity, Six Ft Ditch pack in some serious meaty riffs, plenty of breakdowns, beatdowns and mosh that is so infectious that even when I'm in a public place I want to fly into the person nearest to me.
See if it does the same to you, - Intro - Six Ft Ditch - Face Of Death - Six Ft Ditch

This is still available from the label, so if you feel it, pick it up,

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Misery Is My Comfort...

I can't quite recall how I came to know of this band, all I do know is that from whatever I was told it incited an unhealthy urge to track down whatever they had at any cost. Well in the end the price paid wasn't that much, bargains in fact, as this is one of the most underrated and definitely most obscure bands to have ever graced the New York Hardcore scene.

I imagine that the first name that will came into your grey matter upon hearing this tune will be Life Of Agony, and certainly that is understandable as Section 8 sound a hell of a lot like those fellow New Yorkers circa 'River Runs Red.' But I find this material so much darker, so much more hopeless and utterly, utterly negative that even Keith Caputo couldn't match the sheer misery in his most miserable moments. - Section 8 - Pain Is Truth

Well if you like this, you're in luck as the place where I got my copy still has some -

On The Prowl ...

When I first began to think up what bands I was going to feature on this blog I knew that inevitably I would come to one of my all time favourite bands, the almighty Kickback by far the hardest band to come from Europe (counting music as well as attitude). Not only are they one of my favourites but one of the most important in my listening history as it was thanks to Kickback, Earth Crisis, Rykers and Sick Of It All that I became as infatuated with hardcore as I now am. Damn, I still get shivers the first time I think about when Kickback were first played to me, I can see it now, it was a miserable winter's day in my friend's flat in South London but fuck, when 'Heaven & Hell,' kicked in from 'Forever War,' I was S-O-L-D.

With each record the band took big strides and made their most daring creations on this, their last release (now 6 years and counting boys, hurry up with that cursed split with Arkangel) from 2001. Becoming even more intense and producing fiercer, tougher and downright heavier metallic hardcore (not to mention the step up in fierceness of Stephen's vocals check name), they weaved in some interesting ideas that could have been disastrous. The first example is the monstrous title track, built around a hypnotic riff that throbs and pulses before exploding into a crushing crescendo midway through. Second is the inclusion of French rapper Profecy on 'Ruining The Show,' this could have been horrendous but the fusion is absolutely perfect as it renders the break even more potent.

Check it, - Kickback - Les 150 Passions Meurtrieres

Kickback are still around, and sporadically surface to play shows, last year in fact, they were out playing live quite a bit hitting the Superbowl of hardcore in NY (lucky buggers) and then the Filled With Hate Fest in Germany (why oh why didn't I say nuts to my dissertation and go to that :( )

Contrary to the fact that it appears that this cd is out of print (although for some people, it is), there are copies of it (and the other Kickback albums) here -

My advice is to learn French and buy that shit immediately.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

You Thought I Was Gone...

In spite of the lifestyle change I plan to keep this going, my new job sees me now as a 'commuter,' and whilst I do hate that dead time travelling (although I do fill it in the best of ways, music & reading) it aint gonna stop the blog.

This was one I have been planning to pull out for a long, long time, so without further delay I present the sole (and absolutely awesome) full length from one of the more obscure metallic hardcore bands from the mid 90s, Excessive Force. Shit, if the name hasn't dropped the penny the opening minutes of 'Those Who Were Will,' no nonsense, no compromise, just straight chug and boisterous attitude for 40 odd minutes.

Damn I love this CD, despite the slightly tinny production it doesn't hamper the power of the delivery (especially the vocals) and its bursting with sumptuous riffs and angry, angry lyrics, and contains one of the greatest opening line's ever,

'You said you'd always be true but you're a weak motherfucker and you never had it in you.'

Merely the beginning, if this shit doesn't get you moving, nuthin will, - Excessive Force - Those Who Were - Excessive Force - Distress - Excessive Force - In Your Blood

I hate reiterating this, but this album is difficult to find, so unfortunately, I have to recommend

Monday, May 14, 2007

So Tired

So no posts today or on Friday, the reason? Well, I went to Rome this weekend and got back this morning and then started my new job so I am totally knackered. Shit will be back on track from tomorrow.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Spin Kicks At Will

Filled with hate has ascended into one of Europe's premier labels taking all aspects of what makes a good cd...well,...good and assuring that a high standard of quality is maintained throughout their catalogue. Even when the label was just starting out they were making waves with their records and this, only their fifth release from 2003 stands as one of their all time greats. Split cds have always enamored me, I mean you get two bands for the price of the full length and the consistency of the material is sustained throughout each band's half. Through the years there have been some novel ideas with the split, such as each band covering one of each other's songs (the first Caliban/Heaven Shall Burn), to both artists collaborating for one final track (Knuckledust/Stampin' Ground and I've heard that the alleged forthcoming Arkangel/Kickback will feature a track of this nature). But nothing beats two great bands churning out fifteen to twenty minutes worth of juicy material and this is exactly what is to be found here on 'Splitting Ammunition.'

I remember Die My Demon coming out as they were formed from the ashes of Sad Origin. Whereas the latter were more metalcore, Die My Demon were distinctly influenced by New York and especially Madball but added a distinct European flavour that made these tunes sumptuous in their delivery. 50 Caliber have become one of the UK's most well known bands on the mainland and have been churning out their vicious, downtuned, beatdown heavy metallic hardcore for a long time now. The songs here are so much stronger then their debut EP 'Internal Bleeding,' and hinted at the various directions the band could have pursued on their promised full length due to follow this release. Well the band has been plagued by line up changes and issues since the release of this record and continue to suffer to this day, let's hope they can get the full length out this year but in the meantime, see what you think,

Die My Demon - Splitting Ammunition -

50 Caliber - Splitting Ammunition -

Even though this only came out a few years ago, its now out of print on the label, I have found copies here - but as I have said in the past about this store, they can be very slow, so I've found a copy here too

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

It's been one of those days...

Well, its a late one tonight, today has been one of those tumultuous days that we all wish that could be avoided and dread to encounter but its over now and a long, peaceful sleep awaits...

Therefore tonight's post is going to be short and sweet, so here goes.

Picking up where I was yesterday but taking a step back in terms of time with Stampin' Ground's first CD release from way back in 1996. This was where the band sounded much more core then metal and they had a different vocalist he added to this sound. I've heard statements made that Stampin' Ground in this phase were a 'heavier,' Earth Crisis, I think that mainly comes from the very chunky guitar tone which sounds like Destroy The Machines amped up on PCP. This was the start of the band's ascent to one of the leading lights of the UKHC food chain, they would go on to release 4 full lengths, 3 of which were on Century Media. One of my best memories of this band was seeing them in 2000 at the Garage (a tiny venue in London), it was with some very dry bands (including Lostprophets I think...I could be wrong, but I swear they were there), anyway, Pierre from Knuckledust annihilated everyone in the crowd with continuous vicious spin kicking and crowd charges and from what one hears here together with the later material its not hard to see why, - Stampin Ground - ST

If you dig this then there are a few used copies floating around here -

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What We Have

So no post yesterday, this was due to 3 reasons, firstly because I did an extra post on Saturday, secondly it was a bank holiday and finally I spent the whole day at the Rucktion Damage Control fest, featuring la crema della crema of the UK's hardcore talent. It was easily the best show I've been to this year and by that I mean the whole thing was quality, granted I've seen better bands this year but not a single show that I've been too in 2007 since coming back from Rome matched yesterday's.

The show reminded me of how lucky I am to have this scene so readily available and one that is growing rapidly and expanding to frontiers that I would have never imagined so I thought it was about time that UKHC got some attention on here.

One of the early bands on was Hellbent Diehard. Formed in 2004 they comprise of 3 old skool UK heads that have been part of the scene for a long, long time. I remember them playing their first show while I was away in Italy and being majorly gutted to hear reports that when I got back that the show was not only amazing but that Hellbent were one of the day's highlights. Never mind. I've been lucky enough to see them many times since that day and each time it has been more and more impressive. This demo is impressively recorded (thanks to Sam the man's home studio, he is also the drummer) and brings out the fullness of the beats and riffs. Clearly their material is heavily influenced by their surrounding UK scene but the band also bring in influences from Cleveland and New York bands to create and even dirtier, grittier sound. - Hellbent Diehard Demo 2004

The band have been long working on their impending full length, which they told me yesterday is coming, they just need to record and trust, when it does drop its gonna be some heavy shit because they have progressed immensely from this demo, so keep watching here -

Now giving you a fuller flavour of the UKHC scene is this impressive document by the almighty Rucktion records. This took a long time to come together but was worth the wait as most of the tracks featured here are exclusives to the comp. Hellbent Diehard also feature here and sound like a completely different band as the heaviness and intensity are amplified tenfold to bring forth a devastating track that beckons well for that aforementioned full length. There are some of my favorite UK bands on this, including, Blades Of Unity (Maniacs from Liverpool) Ninebar (London's answer to Bulldoze), Diction (Croydon's finest) and TRC (not 1, not 2 but 4 vocalists). The UK bands are becoming so much more popular now, thanks mainly to the efforts of Knuckledust through the years they have opened doors for bands like TRC and Diction to play the mainland and finally get the recognition and respect they deserve. - Time For Some Rucktion

I haven't uploaded all the tunes because its still readily available from, so if you feel what you hear, then buy it.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Still Shaking

The Godbelow has proved quite popular, and due to the cry for the rest of the album yesterday (thank you mr anon) and the people hitting the downloads, here it is, -Godbelow - Painted Images With The Blood Of - Part 3

Friday, May 04, 2007

Shake Your Money Maker

Isn't it frustrating when a band is before its time? Even when you know that this band is so good and that they should be big, they end up fading into obscurity and vanishing from the memory of those who did care. Godbelow were one such band, making brilliant, inspired music that wasn't gaining much recognition outside the confines of their recognized boundaries (i.e. Syracuse). Long before the likes of Every Time I Die (and tons of other metal and hardcore bands now in circulation) were dropping cheeky southern runs and riffs into their tunes, Godbelow were churning out their molten metallic crunch with dirty southern riffs and harmonies but what did they get for it? Niente, nada, absolutely nothing.

To be honest though, 1998 wasn't the best time to be forming a metal band, especially one that was sans rapping, bad hairstyles, worse clothes and redundant, tuneless music. There wasn't also the prosperity of labels like Metal Blade signing every band under the sun. Hence this explains how Godbelow ended up on the tiny Surface Records and also why their records are almost impossible to find. Anyway, back to the band.

Godbelow were something of a Syracuse supergroup, formed from the shards of several awesome bands. The most notable members were Kris Wiechmann, formerly of Earth Crisis on guitar and Dan Johnson, ex vocalist of Blood Runs Black. Before going into record this album Wiechmann left the band, but then re-joined later to bolster back up again to 3 guitarists. The record itself was full of gorgeously thick riffs that were as bludgeoning as they were graceful and when coupled with Johnson's wrenching vocals it made Godbelow a fearsome musical monolith.

I've decided to split the tracks I uploaded into 2 lots, otherwise it would have been a single 40MB file to download, - Godbelow - Painted Images - Part 1 - Godbelow - Painted Images - Part 2

How is this new arrangement working for people?? Do you prefer it like this or as single tracks?? Let me know.

This one is another that is stupidly out of print, god knows why as it is totally genius, but I have seen their stuff on quite a bit.

Post Godbelow, most of the band went into the rather tame Brand New Sin which was far more rock. However, Dan Johnson and Godbelow's drummer Joe Murphy have gone onto form the mighty Unholy (if you haven't heard them, go immediately here, together with the riff monster Jonathan Dennison (Another Victim, The Promise, etc) and have a full length dropping next month.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Harlots Interview

I was very excited when it was announced that Harlot's sophomore record 'This Is The Second Death,' was coming out in the summer last year. So much so I hatched a grandiose plan to have their interview as the lead one for my then (pipedream) webzine. Well why let a good interview go to waste, and seeing as I have finally got this shit going, I thought I'd share this lengthy but really interesting interview with mainmain Jeff (drum god).

1) Firstly, would you please give some background on how Harlots came into being and what the goal was to do with this musical endeavor?

The initial ideas and songs for Harlots started coming together in December of 2002. Once Eric Dunn had joined the band as a guitar player in early 2003, that’s when the band really started to coming together. The goal was and is still to play music that satisfies us. We want to play music that is going to continue to make us better musicians, and also something we'd like to listen to. We keep topping ourselves because we are always pushing ourselves to be better musicians and write better songs.

2) It seems to me that Harlots is quite a demanding project, is this why you’ve had so many people come in and then leave the band?

Harlots is a demanding project, but it's what I love to do so I don't look at it like that. Eric and I have stuck with this band for almost 4 years, and we've had to replace vocalist after vocalist and bass player after bass player until we came upon Christian Fillippo about 2 years ago, and Josh Dillon just joined in December. This is probably the most solid the lineup has ever been.

About the ex members of this band, I'm not going to hold back. Most of them are still my friends, most of them just weren't serious about playing in a band. They thought it was something cool to do and didn't realize that you actually have to work for this(or just didn't feel like working), and that’s how it is for almost every other band that is trying to make a living playing. There are however other reasons members have to leave. Our bass player before Josh, Kenny Jones, toured with us in the summer of 2004 as a second guitarist, then toured with us in the summer of 2005 as a bassist. Kenny was 15 when he joined our band.

We knew that we were going to have to tour a lot more than Kenny would be able to due to him being in high school, so we got Josh. Josh plays guitar in Mugger, which Kenny plays drums for, so we're all still great friends. Another example would be Ben S. Jacob, who joined as a bass player the same time Christian joined to sing. Ben is a musical genius in his own regard, and a great guy and really worked for this band. After so long, we had some musical disagreements that we thought were getting in the way of finishing "This is the Second Death".

Ben is still a good friend of ours and now plays in a band called Basilica. On the other hand, our original bassist Joel Wright, and our vocalist before Christian, Alex McIntosh, both quit the band a week before "The Woman You Saw.." came out, and really fucked up touring for us. Both of those kids were my best friends growing up. We were really, really lucky that Christian and Ben were willing to drop almost everything and join our band. We had literally practiced with them once before they played their first show with us.

3) You have just released a new album, are you pleased with the outcome, certainly to my ears there is a marked quality in the sound, whereas your debut sounded more muffled (although this didnt detract from the power of the record) this time around you sound fuller and therefore more powerful, how do you feel this affected the songs?

Well "This is the Second Death" was recorded almost the exact same way as "The Woman You Saw...", the only difference would be that Steve Austin of Today is the Day mastered it. Eric has mixed both of our records, and mastered "The Woman You Saw...". "The Woman You Saw..." is the first record that Eric ever mixed, and we were both 17 when we started recording that record. It's really funny how that turned into a full length. Eric calls me up one day like "Hey my friend Nick can do alright recordings, we should do a demo with him". So we go and record, and in the meantime we're having a ton of lineup problems. About a month or 2 later Eric calls me up saying "Hey come over I got this demo to sound pretty good, come and check it out." We were having quite a bit of vocalist problems on that record, so me being the drummer, wrote all the lyrics and recorded vocals on it with the intentions of having somebody else redo the vocals, and everyone just kept flaking. "This is the Second Death" was recorded by the same dude, Nick Brough, and Eric mixed it. Whats really funny is that the guitar and drum tracks for "This is the Second Death" were recorded a week before "The Woman You Saw.." came out.

But to answer your question, I think "This is the Second Death" is a lot more focused than "The Woman You Saw...". Eric and I were both still really young during the writing process for both records. You can only be so focused when your 17 and 18. Now we're both 20, and we're still babies compared to all the dudes we're playing shows with, but we are definitely a lot more mature players. I am 100% happy with both records and I love the way Will Goodyears artwork compliments the sound.

4) Are you relived that This Is The Second Death, is finally out now? What hindered its release?

YES! A lot of things hindered it's release. First things first, when we first recorded it, Christian and Ben Jacob has just joined the band. So it took some time for Christian to write lyrics and get his voice up to par. This is the first band that Christian had ever sang for. I had mentioned a musical disagreement with us and Ben. Well what that boils down to is his bass tracks didn't fit the music the way that we thought they should. He has a very different way of approaching music from Eric and I. By that time I had joined Today is the Day, and while I was up there I asked Steve to master the record. It worked out really well because I got to sit next to Steve while he was mastering it, and he cut us a pretty good deal.

Now, the real problems were with Lovelost Records. When we had first agreed to do this record with them, everything seemed cool. We saw the success with his former bands Black Dahlia Murder, Into the Moat, and Through the Eyes of the Dead. He paid for the mastering and the artwork. Gave us a release date for November of 2005. So it ended up not meeting that release date. We were touring a lot then, in support of a record we didn't fucking have! Lovelost would promise us CD's each time we went on tour, then we wouldn't have them. There was one instance where he said "the CD's went to press today" which was the first day on our tour. So then I would try to call him to get updates, and no answer, no calls back.

Then he says "the pressing plant shut down in the middle of pressing the record and I can't get my money back" and says that his phone was shut off. So then we worked it out with our previous label Feeling Faint, that they would co release the record. Lovelost would pay for the pressing and it would get distribution through Lumberjack(Lovelost is exclusive through Lumberjack), and Feeling Faint would take care of getting it pressed and take care of all promotion, so basically all Kevin had to do was 30 minutes of work and sit on his ass and let the record come out. Well, after a month of waiting we said fuck it and went with Corrosive. The whole time, what it was is that Kevin was in Police Academy and didn't have time to run a label. We never signed a contract with Lovelost, and now he is asking us to pay him back for the artwork and mastering.

I'm probably going to get in some shit for saying all that about Lovelost. Haha.

5) Did you encounter great label interest when searching for a new deal and how does your new label Corrosive compare with those youve worked with before?

We had talked to Metal Blade, Prosthetic, Lifeforce, Translation Loss, Tribunal and Codebreaker. Corrosive Recordings just seemed like the best option. Eric at Corrosive was just like "I really want to work with you guys," right away, where everyone else was kinda iffy. That was the same deal with Feeling Faint, and Lovelost. They wanted to work with us and showed us that they wanted to. I believe that the label being as passionate about your music as you are is a really important thing. As far as comparing Corrosive with Lovelost, thats obvious. Comparing Corrosive with Feeling Faint... I think Corrosive is run more professionally, and I don\'t mean to talk shit on Feeling Faint, we are still great friends with them.

Eric from Corrosive just has a really really strong backround in music, having worked at radio stations, recording studios, worked for Hydrahead, roadied for The Red Chord and Unearth, and now working at Lumberjack Distrobution and the company that presses his CD\'s. With Feeling Faint, Andrew and Frankie have both roadied for us, Andrew was actually still in high school when we signed with them, he would skip class and talk to me on the phone.\n We were Feeling Faint\'s first release. I feel bad for Feeling Faint, because we are still the only band that has toured for a release on their label which has made it hard for them financially. I definately do see Feeling Faint turning into a really good label, especially with the Sleep Terror disc coming out. Corrosive has a had a decent amount of luck with how much The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza tour. Touring is 100% essential for bands like us. Oh and by the way, Eric from Corrosive lives about an hour North of me, so if I ever need to go up and kick his ass it won't be to terribly difficult, haha!

6) Who writes for Harlots and what is the process like when you are composing your music?

Eric and I write all of the music. We write songs in all kinds of different ways. Some newer material was written on drums before guitar was put to it. Some was written by Eric, Josh, and myself jamming. A lot of the more ambient stuff Eric did completely on his own. Typically, Eric and I write most of it together. There have been other pieces of music that I wrote on guitar, and the really early stuff was written by me and Joel.
Lyrically, Christian writes most of it on his own, but I still help out where I can.

7) Aside from the chaotic assault of your more aggressive material, there are the more introspective pieces throughout your 2 records. Do you plan to integrate with greater prominence the two sides to your sound in the future?

Definately man! It definately has changed from what it used to be like, you'll have to wait and see.

8) Leading on from the previous question, Id like to talk about your influences (musically). I dont remember where I read it (so correct me if Im wrong here) but a piece described you being as influenced as much as by Sigur Ros and Don Caballero as you are Cryptopsy and Discordance Axis, would you say that these are accurate? Personally, I feel that in your more introspective moments, they are dreamier and more akin to Mono, Godspeed You Black Emperor and Mogwai then Don Caballero.

Don Caballero's drumming was a huge influence on my drumming. I'm not really that familiar with Mono, and I definately used to be a fan of Godspeed You Black Emperor. To be honest, I think that a lot of that type of music is just too slow for my tastes. I play with a lot of energy, and I like music with a lot of energy. I know Eric is a fan of Mono. His band Kenoma, who just released a split cd with Mouth of the Architect, is right up that alley. Kenoma is an outlet for Eric to play like that because I'm not really into playing like that anymore. Like in the previous question, our lighter side has changed quite a bit. It's a lot more upbeat. I don't really know how to describe it, but I'm 150% more into what we're doing now.

A lot of those influences were mentioned when we were a younger band. I think now we influence each other\n to play the way we play. I write something on drums, so it pushes Eric to play up to par with what I have on drums. Eric writes something on guitar, it pushes me to play up to par with his riffs. We definately influence ourselves within the band more than any outside influences now, which I think is essential to having your own sound. Eric and I have inspired each other lot on guitar too(I played guitar before I ever touched a drumset). Earlier on, a lot of the ideas were spawned from guitar riffs I had, the tuning we used was something that I was fooling around with, etc. Eric is a much more natural guitar player than I am, and he took what I was doing on guitar and made it way better, so that definately influences me to try to keep up with him on guitar. I think it works the same way with Josh. Josh and Eric have been friends for a really long time. About everything Josh knows on guitar, he learned from Eric. So when Josh joined the band, there was no real down time.\n Thats the same way it was when Kenny was in the band too. Those two kids picked up our songs like it was nothing, when we have tried out other musicians who it takes a fucking month to get one song down.

9) Seeing as your music is quite abstract, what reactions do you gain when playing live? Do kids dance or stand swaying with their jaws rooted to the floor?

It differs every night. I love seeing kids tear shit up to us. We play with a lot of energy and I like to see that reaction out of kids. Some nights everyone will just stare at us, and I get done playing and thinking "man those kids hated us", then they come and talk to us and tell us we\'re the best thing they\'ve ever seen. And some nights, kids fucking hate us. Its really hard to say. We\'ll play with all pop punk bands and do really well, and then we\'ll do it again and do horrible. We\'ll play with all hardcore bands that sound like Sick of it All or something, and do horrible, and then other nights\n the crowd will love us. We\'ll play with all Christian bands and kids will absolutely hate us, we\'ve even been banned from Christian venues, and what blows my mind is that we have so many fucking bible references, but then those kids will eat up a band like Remembering Never, who is blatantly against God. Kids are fucking weird.

I think what it boils down to is that we're a band that plays music, and we definately try to push as many limits as we can with what we have. Kids that are there for music will love us, and granted sometimes it's a little too much for kids at first, but they still will respect us. Kids that are there for scene politics alot of times don't like us because we are there to play music for everyone, and we don't try to appeal to one small group. Which is what I thought hardcore was about anyways, oh well.

10) Do you think Harlots could have manifested 10 years ago or do you think that now the music climate is more geared too bands like yourselves that are overtly willing to push boundaries?

I think the music climate has always been open to bands who push boundaries. I think if this were 10 years ago, we would probably sound a little different, but look at bands like Today is the Day, Human Remains, Don Caballero, Sick of it All, Slayer, fucking Metallica, Death, Cynic, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Van Halen, etc. Everyone of those bands pushed the boundaries for what you could do musically and what would be accepted. They took chances that a lot of other musicians wouldn't take and now they are all legendary in their own right because of that.

11) Finally, what are your future plans for Harlots?

Touring, touring, touring, finishing up a new record for Corrosive, and touring. Look for us on the road in the U.S. with Veil of Maya, and Lye By Mistake later this year. Thank you for the interview.

Harlots are a great band. They are working on a new full length which should be out this year, if you havent heard them, then rectify that now -

If you want music, then those stores carry their cds,

Desperate Measures

Third world hardcore. There's an endearing thought and one that perhaps encapsulates purely what hardcore is meant to be, heart, soul and pure passion, all of which come in abundance throughout Point Of No Return's swansong record 'Imposed Freedom,' from 2002. Easily the most influential and perhaps best (although I still dispute this inside my head on a regular basis) hardcore band from South America, Point Of No Return, even in their formative days, were no poor imitation of the States and Europe. Granted there were prominent influences running from those demographics (especially from bands in the New York area and not just Earth Crisis) but they took these elements and sculptured them into their own entity that was relentlessly heavy, overtly confrontational and absolutely fierce. Coupled with the band's seething intensity was a pitch black atmosphere that engulfed the material, making it all the more urgent.

The progression that the band made from each release was astounding, as each element was given greater emphasis in the context of a piece. One of the band's greatest strengths was their mastery of how to expertly utilize three vocalists. Each one had his own unique aesthetic trademark but rather then merely have them separated, hammering out a line in turn they would overlap, butt in and appear without warning whilst another was still screaming. However, in spite of this sporadic approach a smooth flow was consistently maintained and added to the texture of feel of the songs. - Point Of No Return - Imposed Freedom

The band played their final show at the Liberation Fest in 2004 alongside various other great South American bands (such as Children Of Gaia, Nueva Etica etc). Apparently they were due to release another album in 2004 but this as of today has still not been released although I have been told it is coming.

Luckily, it looks like this record (and their other awesome full length) is still available here,

I was sick to discover recently that the band played Ieper Fest in 2002, if only I had known.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Like You Could Really Get On The BBC

I really don't know how I came to be acquainted with this band, I have a filling it was through their affinity with the almighty Page 99...probably, anyway, I'll quit the foreplay and get to the bones of the matter. Back before 'emo,' became a dirty word amongst snobby music circles, it was a term that (like hardcore) covered and encompassed so many bands with contrasting styles and approaches. Certainly classic 'emo,' would be associated with the calmer splinter of bands that sounded like indie rock but with broken hearts. But there were also those that were bracketed with the term that were far far removed from those calmer folks.

Amongst the finest were Majority Rule, whom I remembered being described to me as "emo-violence," back in 2001 when this record was unleashed. Now although the band described themselves as punk (like their kindred spirits Page 99) they sound nothing like what would be deemed as the archetypal punk band (so Rancid fans, leave now). Rather, this was a far more visceral brew complete with scathing vocals and stabbing guitars that swung and collapsed without warning, without structure, yet, despite the instability and the manic nature of their songs, Majority Rule were so adept at making their pieces memorable, filling them with beautiful (yet destructive) riffs and lyrics. - Majority Rule - Interviews With David Frost

The band called it quits in 2004 but in their 8 years they were far from lazy, putting out two cds, a split with Page 99 and a slew of 7 inches.

If you feel the tunes support the band, they are still selling copies of this one together with their other cd releases here -

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Straight From The Streets

Easily one of the hardest bands I have ever seen live. The first time in 2002 at London's underworld was a war zone, it was absolute carnage and I duly feared that some, if not all of my teeth were about to be smashed. The same feeling was repeated when Irate literally tore through Pressure Fest in 2005, for the closing 'Vendetta,' the whole floor went bananas inciting the kind of dance floor moves best reserved for a Jackie Chan film set. I was privileged to see one of the final Irate shows last year and am still in fact mourning their passing and eagerly awaiting the promised resurrection of the band in a new guise.

Until that moment, let's take a step and consider how monunmetal, Irate were. This their debut from 1998 balanced the sound they would go onto develop on their seminal full lengths "11.34," and "NY Metal." For the uninitiated Irate were from the Bronx and produced an unduly hybrid of tougher then tough New York Hardcore with intricate metal leads, riffs and harmonies. Their sound was thick, relentless but also varied and constantly moving showing that this was no lunk headed troupe intent on busting your head with continuous mosh and beatdown, no, no, no, Irate looked to dissect you from various angles bringing in those breaks when you least expected it. - Irate - Burden Of A Crumbling Society

As you can see, there is only one download link, well I decided to rip the whole CD, zip it and post it as one, hopefully this will work, but if it doesn't, then let me know and I'll rearrange the tunes.

Now I love the sound of "Burden," especially the versions of "Transcendence," and "Gone," which appeared re-recorded on "11.34," here they sound so dirty, so of the streets and makes me want to break everything in orbit when those tracks hit.

Its amazing that no one picked up Irate during their tenure, considering that they wrote better songs and put on one of the best shows I have ever seen. Well, I hope that if they do return, fortunes are kinder to them.

Now due to "Burden," being released on a very obscure label 'Even If It Smells,' and their later output being self released, tracking down their records aint gonna be easy, the band were selling all 3 records on their website but that, together with their myspace have disappeared. So watch, and I'm sure that when the band do eventually resurface, they will do represses, for now, enjoy 'Burden.'