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