Originally written by Sasha Horn
I spent a large portion of my youth dancing like an asshole when I wasn’t head-banging, and there were times that it resulted in face-plants on hardwood or concrete (1996, Murphy’s Law, a stage-dive, my face, hardwood floor; 2004, Madballin NY, a karate kick to the face–not mine–kid’s face hits a hardwood beam; 2010, Slang, my face, shoved into a concrete wall). So this right here is a homage to those other damaged areas of my brain (and yours) not affected by metal. This monthly-or-so publication will be dedicated to how I used to get the party started: with hardcore music. Not metalcore or emocore or softcore orhardcore rap. I’m talkin’ about the kind of misfit music that came up through punk, and then got even more pissed than punk-pissed, grabbed some strings, sticks, and a mic and told the world to fuck off (some of you might know this better as Agnostic Front, a popular safe place for bored metalheads throughout the 80’s and 90’s). Kids the earth over continue to behave very, very badly through violent interpretive dance as a result of those same genre traits; traits that have now been handed down for decades. And god knows that I approve. There’s just something about the short, sharp, shock of it all that pulled me back in. So in a toast to sentiment and welcoming myself back into the brawl, we’ll be keepin’ it street up in here on an as-close-to-a-monthly-basis as possible; just me, my albums, the aforementioned genre–which doesn’t exclude other off-shoot weirdness associated with it–and some friends at Deathwish Inc. and Reaper Records. This being the first edition, we’re playing a bit of catch-up, so we’ve backtracked by dipping into late ’09 for a couple of these to bring you a full plate. 1,2,3,GO!!!
108 formed in 1991 after founding member, Vic DiCara, split from sidekick Zach De La Rocha (who went on to get paid like a motherfucker) and their kiddie straight-edge HC outfit, Inside Out. Since then, Vic and crew have been spitting out angular, Krishna influenced hardcore music. Their last outing for Deathwish, A New Beat From A Dead Heart, was a welcome and fierce return to the fold after a ten year hiatus. Their newest,18.61, finds them building on the blast furnace of New Beat, through a niche production and more defined songwriting. 108 has always been about taking the road less traveled, asthese guys were post before the word post was thrown around like an excuse, but time has sharpened their edges and regardless of melody, textural differences, or actual singing thrown into the fold, 18.61 still hits hard, fast, brash and unbridled. One of my top picks for ’10.
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Take a closer look at a couple of the players here (one drummer from Converge, one guitarist from Thursday), and this rad take on SST/Subpop fueled fuzz and punked bliss should get you hot and bothered, in a good way. Other elements invade (a drunk-Bonham-esque approach to pounding, Plant-at-climax vocalisms, guitarists with fretboard-frenetic Fugazifingers), giving it the one-up on the few who dare to get this funky. I am totally digging this badass ‘lil thirty-nine minutes of spunk wrapped up pretty in a Kurt Ballou production. We dance!
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The Blackest Curse
This is hardcore music for the apocalypse. Few come close to achieving through this style, what sounds like the last world war that would ever fall upon us. Founding frontman, Dwid Hellion (seriously), is the last remaining original fixture in this twenty year old outfit, and though my intense history with Integrity goes from only ’93 through ’96, I can confidently say that The Blackest Curse continues where I left off. Integrity have been playing just the tip with Metal for as long as I can remember, with the occasional Slayerism being the closest reference point that I can think of. Pair that with pound-for-pound forward distortion, the definitive 4/4 count fallback, and Hellion’s unique vocal style (he often sounds as if he’s screaming bloody murder from around chewed food in his mouth), and you’ve got soundtrack music for the world’s biggest beatdown, ever. I’ve heard that in the last fourteen years they’ve branched out here and there, yielding lukewarm results… Wouldn’t have guessed it.
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DOWN TO NOTHING
All My Sons 7″
DTN features members of Terror and Trapped Under Ice: experience. This is going head to head with that 108 album for flavor of the month. Having been on Revelation Records previously, they’re popping their Reaper cherry this year and blessing a new roster with this constant homage to Scratch The Surface era Sick Of It All; Metal-tinged staccato picking and a back-beat that puts the spine in the Mosh Monster. All My Sons gets back to basics, but the songs sound like judgment day and the thick production combined with their skill level on this meat-boxing music makes Down To Nothing kings of the jungle.
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No Remorse 7″ (2009)
The newbies to the scene keep it real trad. No cards up their sleeves. Just locked down tight and wholly influenced by their bigger brothers in Down To Nothing. Simple, crunchy, and straight ahead. Being the newest of the bunch, they sound the least experienced and farthest away from their character development, but not for a lack of blood, sweat, and no tears. Naysayer force feeds aural medication, thrills in fist, punched straight down your gullet. Given time to marinate in themselves, this point-and-shoot gang of the bunch may very well be next year’s pride of VA.
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PIECE BY PIECE
Los Angeles, CA
This raging 80’s inspired crossover act features yet another Terror member… So be it. The trend seems to be that Terror dudes make other bands good. This is Los Angeles street core who’s sound lies somewhere between Ratos de Porão and Suicidal Tendencies; flipped-up-hat-brim, bandana, and spray paint music. This is the kinda shit I used to get buckwild to in my days as a deviant, and it boils the blood to hear it done proper in the late double-oh’s. Added tough-guy points for three songs sung in Spanish, which is half of PBP’s native language. “¡Que rico!”
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TRAPPED UNDER ICE
Secrets Of The World (2009)
This is ugly, beatdown style HC. If anybody was paying attention to street-wise New York Hardcore in the mid-90’s, then the name DMS should ring a bell. That was the posse of knuckleheads that was governed by bands like Madball and Skarhead. TUI are much like those veterans: stubborn, heavy handed, mid-paced, and probably settling disputes with weighty blunt objects. Secrets Of The World‘s math is basic: stressed out power-chords propelled forward by an onslaught of barbaric drum riffs. And they’re better for it. This shit right here makes me clench my fists and mean-mug constantly. That means that this is a winner.