Tuesday, December 29, 2015

4 Doors to Death Comp review

Various Artists: CEMETERY FILTH (Tennessee/Georgia), ECTOVOID (Alabama), SABBATORY (Winnipeg, Canada) and TRENCHROT (Philadelphia)
4 Doors to Death
Unspeakable Axe Records
February 16, 2016
Reviewed by hutch

When this drops, Cemetery Filth will have been a band for two years. That is a short time for this l of destruction. And considering they split member from Atlanta and Tennessee, they have a synergy to be lauded. They have released one EP, Screams from the Catacombs, in their short journey. Now they birth three more tracks of savage, penury virility. They have moments of driving, fast tempos. But they also enjoy tempering their jagged-timed sound. Sections of mid-tempo or even off-time, dragging drums show a nod to Death and emphasize the depressing, morbid atmosphere. 
These elaborate, and frequent, time changes exercise all that I love about death metal. They evade the trap of monotony. The production is thick and ominous in tone. Stellar performances mean that this young band has talent dripping from the members’ digits. Clean solos over foreboding riffs that linger like the guillotine convey adherence to a genre and individuality all in one. The five guys here encapsulate a varied, evil sound that will crush fans. 

Hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, Ecotvoid deliver death metal in the coarsened vein of Obituary and Autopsy. They give us two tracks at over five minutes each. “Ash Primordial” has a few churning moments, writhing in a mid tempo gallop. The main body though pushes forward, fast as a whiplash. “Thoughts of Ancient Dread” opens with a slow pace, fluttering guitar lines lingering over a slow fog of down-tuned chords. Heavy, thick and dominating, Ectovoid’s tracks definitely burst into fast moments. Their strength is in the reticent, gigantic presence. This trio has provided fans with two full lengths. These two tracks lash out through the speakers. They harness a big sound. Ectovoid have mastered conjuring a true feel and tone in their songs, beyond just playing kick ass music.

Their first track, “Ascension to My Holy Tomb”, whips out of the gate, riding a grinding gallop. The riff twists as the drums push forward. The descending tight riffs herald a good old school feel. Other diabolical metal seeps into the sound here. Sabbatory, from the bracing cold of Winnipeg, share members with besieged. They have one full length released since their grotesque inception in 2011. The shred with chaotic speed, pulsating riffs guiding the way. Their two tracks are five and three minutes. Not one second of either track lets up in attitude or speed. The raw production, lending a live feel, taps into the early predecessors. Sabbatory’s influences probably encompass aspects of Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Morbid Angel, Carcass, Dismember, Repulsion mixed with peers like Midnight, Nunslaughter and Asphyx; but none of which are an exact match. Sabbatory piss away expectations. This is stripped down, death-soaked speed metal. Killer shit here.

Coming out of Philly in 2012, Trenchrot lend their donations here with two original tracks and a Death cover. Their sound is not cut and dry. The vomitus vocals spew over tumultuous, heavy spasms laying the foundation. They finally form a groove in a slow chugging, about one fourth into the track. As with the other bands here, atmosphere is big. Trenchrot create the miasma of confusion in a cave. Listening feels like a soundtrack to abandoned trekkers, unwilling to continue. Then they push into a fast part, riding on double bass kicks. The swirling dual guitars cloud my headphones, sirens and screams complete the riotous feel of chaos.

“Powerful Kendarian Steel” is an anthem. This track is a beast. Again, this atmospheric goliath could provide the music for twisted regrets converging as you descend in madness. Guitars layered on top of rollicking, seizure drums and thick, crusty riffs merge to slowly roll out the last half of the track. The Death cover, Evil Dead, is what a cover should be. Great nod to the original with deciphering, personal twist executed well. 

Sarcofagos Die Hard Review

Greyhaze Records

Sarcofago are legends, and also unsung. Standing in the shadows of another late 1980’s Brazilian metal band, Sarcofago released a genre defining album, INRI, in 1987. Through the next ten years, and a few member swaps, they released four more albums. INRI remains the Satanic monolith that you might not have heard. Admittedly, though, for Die…Hard, when I see “1985” and “demos” in the description, I get a little worried about sound quality and repetition.

Repetition is unavoidable when compiling these types of projects. Greyhaze, via Brazil’s Cogumelo Records, treats us to two early demos, and some random tracks off of single release demos. The treasure here is the two demos, Satanic Lust and Christ’s Death. Yes, some tracks here appear two or three times. So, maybe only a true die hard will appreciate the incremental progression. But, in the days of digital libraries, one can always only keep what they want.

As the album starts, the production is a little tough here. This is the first demo. The drums sound like a hammering construction project executed in the next room. The poor man’s King Diamond wail in the beginning of “Satanas” is jostling. But, then, every other vocal is gruff and evil. The guitar sounds great. The guitar tone on “Nightmare” is treacherous. The drums fit better, plodding and menacing. Even the roughest demos here are still killer; never too muddy or quiet. The production increases in quality as the CD goes forward. “Satanas” third appearance is tight as hell, with even production.
The demo exposes the mastery and influence of Sarcofago. This is the sound black metal purists would kill Christian babies for. I personally like more thickness in the production, a little more chunk in the guitar. But the sound and brutality of this A side cannot be debated.  The listener can make rapid connections to bands like Hellhammer and Mayhem hearing this. The miscellaneous demo tracks are hit or miss. Some tracks can be skipped (“Alcoholic Coma” for one); but when “Black Vomit” kick in, it does so with a feral delivery and blistering tempo.

Christ’s Death demo sounds a little worn from the original tape. But, the playing and recording come with more balls and relentless fury. The tracks are fast. By this time, Sarcofago had a vision and were not meandering in sound. “Desecration of Virgin” is brutal as hell, with a few leads, and a present bass line. The demonic growls and bullet driven drums remind the listener to Sarcofago’s learned status in extreme metal. Again, by the time we get to this, we have heard some tracks multiple times. But this version of “Satanic Lust”, whoo! Finally, a bass!

This is a damn fine record. I do not think you have to be a diehard fan to appreciate this. You can pick and choose which versions you like best. All are sinister. This is savage metal. These dudes do not always come up when talking the history of metal. That’s a shame. Greyhaze gives us a chance to explore the beginnings and foundations of legendary tracks.

Suppressive Fire Bedlam Review

Suppressive Fire
Jan 14, 2016
Review by hutch

Thrash will never die. That’s not some half-assed, bumper sticker rally cry for me to use as a crutch. A few years ago, and back in 2000ish, there were “thrash revivals”. However, that sentiment implies that afterwards, thrash “died” again. Do not tell Suppressive Fire that. These North Carolina shredders, injecting some ill death metal into their formula, deliver intense and furious thrash metal. After an EP and a split, Suppressive Fire opens 2016 with one hell of an album.

As Exodus purists argue over who should be on vocals and Municipal Waste spawns another side project, Joel Grind moves into producing amazing bands. Suppressive Fire unleash this mammoth album to declare their place in this genre. Grind has pulled a strong performance, thick riffs, and killer leads out of these dudes. Stunningly, this band is a trio grinding out these tracks. They have been in existence since 2013. They have opened for Wretched, Hookers, Genocide Pact (!!!), and, obviously, Toxic Holocaust. These eleven songs should propel them into the mouths of others.
Suppressive Fire stick with apocalyptic and evil themes. The kick drum is adorned with their jagged moniker over a pentagram. Song names include “Nazi Face Melter”, “Thy Flesh Consumed”, “Holy Masochism”, and “Crucify the Kings”. Capturing the senses of the disillusioned in a world gone to Hell, Suppressive Fire push an angry, damning sound. The dark atmosphere provided fit all expectations. Death metal and thrash depend on tight delivery. SF sound focused and honed in their menacing version of metal. The drumming is superb, rolling with every time change. That snare gets hit without yield in blistering speedy moments. Twisted chugs are wrenched out of guitar and bass fervently. And, again, smoking leads bless almost every track.

Bedlam, adorned with a Par Olofsson (Abysmal Dawn, Exodus) painting, is a quick album with no excesses or indulgences. SF come for one reason and that is accomplished. Their sound is heavy, fast and dark.  Joel Grind’s work behind the boards shows faith in these young dudes. It is deserved.

RIYL: Kreator, Destruction, Exodus, Testament, Slayer, Wilderness Dream, Toxic Holocaust, Skeletonwitch

TYPILL and Statik Selektah Veterans Day Review

TypIll & Statik Selektah
Veteran’s Day
Released November 11

When a single producer works with an emcee for an entire project, the album always stands above the rest. There is a thread that runs through the album, a cohesive angle that broadens the impact. Statik Selektah has never made a bad beat. Simplicity is never his prolific output in the last years with consistency and potency, rivals Apollo Brown, Marco Polo, DJ JS-1 and more. Enter in TYP-Ill, a LINY, veteran MC that carries his past on his sleeve. Flourishing on the mic and over Statik’s funky string and piano concoctions, TYP-Ill brings fierce street stories and bragadocious skills.

Sometimes, he has a delivery and voice exactly like Chino XL. Less focus on metaphors and wordplay, Typ-Ill still carries venom. His strength is embedded in his detailed story telling. Obviously when TYP-Ill talks of his service and the impact on his constitution it holds sincere gravity. The weight of those experiences will shrivel most nonsense MC’s trite hood tales. However, TYP-Ill is quick to tell his stories of drugs, ladies, and debauchery just as quickly. The vivid painting which Ill’s lyrics and syllabic mastery depict matches some of the rap game’s best.

The bombastic feel of the soulful 70’s flare of “The Hustle” is captivating. Statik’s use of sparse, deep piano and pitch-bent female, emotive vocals and long brass notes and the wailing, wandering electric guitar all coalesce to enrich Ill’s story of having to slang to survive. This track is as colorful as any Scorcese flick. “Onyx” combines some funk and a PE type siren over raucous drums to motivate TYP’s retarded energy as he harnesses chaos with rebellious lyrics. TYP goes in and spazzes.

Songs like “Dog Tags and Duffel Bags” and “Soldier” again garner intense facets to create blistering racks. TYP and Statik team up over dark beats. From sparse strings plucking to a dense, heavy Hammond organ, Statik gets heavy, emotional beats from opposite approaches. Statik shows he is a master here. He can utilize many approaches to confront the listener. I believe his guidance had to be a factor in TYP-Ill hone his abilities.

A skilled, tongue bending lyricist, TYP-Ill gains respect through a weathered life. But his genuine sincerity and mature humility are the engrossing factors. Combined with Statik at the paragon of his game, and a myriad of funky ass drums, Veteran’s Day is a vicious, moving album.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Malfunction Fear of Failure Review

Fear of Failure
Bridge 9 Records
Release Date: November 20, 2015

Carrying the torch for Buffalo Style hardcore, Malfunction unleashes their first proper full length. Harsh riffs with thunderous drums, Malfunction kill it here on Fear of Failure. This is their first new material in two years. Tempered by years of touring (Terror, Bane, Backtrack, Turnstile, Harms Way), the band has become tight. Recording again with Jay Zubricky at GCR, they then grabbed Taylor Young to mix (Twitching Tongues, Nails, Xibalba) and had Fear of Failure mastered by Paul Levitt (Turnstile, Darkest Hour). The result is a brutal thrashing comprised of two step parts and breakdowns.

We’ve listed the talented dudes behind the album. We have certified that Malfunction is steeped in a synergy from touring relentlessly. The band has recently signed to B9. All planets align. A rough, raw guitar sound with thick riffs ensures the metallic crunch is delivered with a vicious blow. They had a demo and a great seven inch and appeared on some comps, but this mammoth full length crushes far beyond their earlier material. 

They have a big sound here, building stress and strain with songwriting that pays off for the listener. The mixing highlights the drumming which is balanced perfectly. From the hi-hat to the kicks to the snares, all aspects provide a foundation of low-end splendor, while pushing the songs forward.

The lyrical content is negative and angry, as should be expected. Cold and isolated, Buffalo is not known for the happy times. Loneliness, betrayal, loathing, all of these elements push the narrative of the vocals in each track. Anxiety and disappointment are fodder to churn up jaded growls while chugging rhythms and tumultuous mosh parts. Dark atmospheres and maturing songwriting filtered through the top production in the game ensure this band delivering the best example of what metallic hardcore can be. Fear of Failure will get those crowds going as Malfunction ours with Terror and Code Orange through December 19th.

FFO: Xibalba, Backtrack, Buried Alive, Terror, Ruckus, Forced Order, Expire, Incendiary, Downpresser

Park Sparrows Demo Review

Park Sparrows
Demo 2015

It’s comforting to be wooed by a band not on your predictable radar. Park Sparrows is such a band, perched to remind that I love good music. This is awesome music. Park Sparrows relish in down-beat, solemn, atmospheric gritty punk. A solid two step rhythm with an undeniable catchy swing lies in the pith of these five RVA dudes. Park Sparrows deliver a sincere, mature sound.

The morose tones, accompanied by somber and self-destructive lyrics, hit home for any weathered punk or hardcore kid turn old guy. The gang choruses and “whoah-ohs” capture the feel of any 90’s streetpunk band, inviting depressed and downtrodden to join along, after the shot is finished. Harnessing harmonies, Park Sparrows let the snare charge forward and the raw, open chords set the tone. Regret soaked lamenting mirrors the fast paced reminiscent lyrics.

Images come to mind, battling catharsis through these speakers: The golden hue of streetlamps igniting the crest a damp, autumn morning; a bracing wind cooling off the whiskey sweat on your forehead when you walk home at two a.m.; some old guy typing to force poetry in punk rock. These images are there. The lyrics for Spark Sparrows cut straight into the gut. There are talks of break-ups that finally heeded the extensive harbingers, and shouldering all of the blame. “Horoscopes” reflects on getting out of the hospital immediately, despite better judgment and sound medical advice. There is true depth in the words sung here. Freeman Martin’s vocals have a hardened lesson touching each syllable.

“I’ve never been one for waiting and I’m not staying here tonight”

This doesn’t sound like a demo.  I wish they would have just given it a name. I d o not see any level of production pushing this to another level. The open live sound, fits perfectly – and the mixing gets all the kicks and cymbals, the off notes and string highlights and bass level where they should be. Again, the choruses and backing vocals are placed strategically for emotional impact. But if this is a demo, let’ get to the new EP or LP! Steeped in RVA history, members spent time in quite an eclectic array; Wheelbite, Freeman (which was ¾ of Avail), Murder Weapon, Dead Serious, Scarlet, The Hotdmans, Strike Anywhere. Some of those sounds apply here, some don’t but these are seasoned vets playing punk for its own rewards. Shows are quickly amassing and hopefully the word will spread.

“I heard you’re wondering if I’m doing well/ would it make any difference if I was going through Hell?”

RIYL: Strike Anywhere/Inquisition, Avail, Leatherface, Epic Problem, Good Riddance, Only Crime, GC5, Whiskey Rebels

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Blistered The Poison of Self Confinement Review

The Poison of Self Confinement
6131 Records
Released: 21 August 2015 digital; October 30, 2015 for vinyl

A stellar metallic hardcore album came out of Florida recently. 6131 has expanded the sonic-scape of their roster with some softer, more palatable bands. But Blistered hold down the heavy. Blistered killed it with their EP, Soul Erosion, a year and a half ago. Recorded by Kevin Bernsten (Red Death, Noisem, Pulling Teeth, Mindset).

Blistered rip through each track of The Poison of Self Confinement with conviction and their unique take on metallic based hardcore. Songs have section and true song writing, not simply drop-tuned breakdowns. The most alluring factor, and the key to Blistered’s power, is that their music creates and atmosphere. Blistered does not simply rely on a heavy chugging riff to display their power on The Poison of Self Confinement.

I am not trying to subvert the impact of those breakdowns and riffs. Each element is persistent and makes any fan salivate. With the tracks all three minutes or under, we do not have to sit to any tech-dude indulgence. The mission is brutality.  Drawing from the nineties’ European (Liar, Length of Time, Down My Throat, Arkangel, etc) and Florida scenes, Blistered balance that unravelling guitar line that bandies with a bombastic drum fit. That call and response of thick riffs and harmonies made those aforementioned scenes so distinguished and Blistered captures that best aspects. The band can play Slayer sipping lean. But Blistered will also charge forward with a fast part peppered into their homages of the breakdown.

“Into the Dying Light” exemplifies this notion. The bouncing of the floor toms rumbling gives the song an anticipation build, not simply resting on the up and down chugga chugga riff. The closer, “Death At Heaven’s Door” rips forward at ludicrous speed only to stop and pummel the instruments for two killer breakdowns. “Caustic Promise”, “Lust for Vengeance”, and “Lash” are other favorites. It’s hard for any one song to stand out as the entirety of The Poison of Self Confinement, from start to finish, is a crushing piece of work. Vicious and strong, the music revealed here is a peak above today’s hardcore landscape.

Peers: Homewrecker, Forced Order, Twitching Tongues, Xibalba, Downpresser, Homicidal, King Nine, Power Trip 

Influences: All Out War, Disembodied, Morning Again, Culture, Damnation AD, Earthmover, Integrity

Monday, October 5, 2015

Vengeance Fools Follow Rules Review

Fools Follows Rules
Six Feet Under
Digital – September 19, 2015; Vinyl - October 9, 2015

Vengeance consists of members of Floorpunch, Underdog, Blacklisted, Reign Supreme and others. They took nine tracks into the study and recorded with legendary NYHC producer, Don Fury. Hard and heavy, Fans of Manipulate, Terror, and Backtrack should pay close attention.

Killer riffs and heavy stomps fill Vengeance’s resume. Nothing new in the genre, but done with sincere venom and ferocity. Marc Zeveny’s bass (Floorpunch, Endeavor, Anger Regiment) rattles with the resurrected sound of the Breakdown demo. Fury gave the entire spectrum a thick, full sound. Songs range from ten seconds, a minute, to three minutes. Vengeance fill time with spastic fits that move into breakdowns. Pepito (Blacklisted, Reign Supreme) spews pissed growls of warnings and hate drenched venting.

Vengeance strip it down to doing right. It’s all about execution. This pissed off hardcore, honed and unfettered. Typical song titles, “Pushed Too Many Times”, “Your Pride”, One Sided Friendship”, and “Brotherhood” show not a regression but a statement of getting back to the roots. After some of these band members’ resumes, some post-hardcore, expansive sounds, I am positive these dudes wanted to just put out ill fucking hardcore. Mission accomplished. 


Neurot Recordings
Release: 9 October 2015

Kowloon Walled City have progressed past the thicker sludge riffs of their prior outputs. After three years, their new LP, Grievances, reflects a sparser, reticent approach. The stripped down approach of the members, one man, one instrument, one pedal have allowed the writing to expand. Less is more. The somber echoes and tones that vibrate through rusted chords create a stark and chilling atmosphere.

The drums plod along. In between tom bounces and scarce snares, the guitars breathe a chilling mood. The constant weight of loss pulls the listener down. Like a painter telling ore of his story with negative space, the emptiness in between each strum coerces the listener to fill in the gaps with macabre thoughts. The San Francisco band delves and revels into dark portrayals of negative emotions.

The bass is a dirty weapon on the title track. Among cymbal splashes and thin guitars, the bass gives the grit and weight in its rumbling spattering. The vocals are pleas; sounding like wisdom from someone who had to learn the hard way.  The heeding is filtered through grey, broken memories. Callous, the instrumentation builds and unleashes and slithers back again. And again.

 Quoted as saying Grievances is a “bummer” of an album, audiences will be excited to be bummed. The album was recorded live in a large roomed studio. The sweat and exhaustion is evident and adds a layer of tortured recitation. This album is a bold step for KWC and a killer one. The somber sonic frustration and desperate grasps for connection can be felt in each tracks. Each pluck and strum and hit is a reminder of our lives’ isolation.

RIYL: 90’s Dischord, Shellac, Unsane, Drive Like Jehu, Jesu, Conan, Coliseum, Neurosis

Nightfell Darkness Evermore Review

Darkness Evermore
20 Buck Spin

If DIY street cred was currency, Todd Burnette could retire today. His past includes Deathreat, His Hero Is Gone, Severed Head Of State, Tragedy, and Warcry. These hardcore bands were uncompromising, heavy, down-tuned and furious. They all claimed a stoic hardcore stance fettered by unrelenting DIY ethics. In Nightfell, Burnette is joined by Tim Call on drums, who has an impressive roster of metal bands to his name. Nightfell released Nightfell’s debut, The Living Ever Mourn, with Southern Lord and McCall’s own Parasitic Records. Call spoke on the pros and cons of this. “The response was positive. I am not sure how much of a push there was behind it. I co-released the vinyl on my label, which is more of an underground entity. I don’t do a lot of big promotion. My releases tend to sell at a moderate pace, as people hear about them through word of mouth. I have noticed more interest in the first record since the tracks for the new one have been streaming.”

Now Nightfell unleashes their second offering, Darkness Evermore, on 20 Buck Spin. Joined in the studio by cellist, Julia Kent, Nightfell churn up some intense d-beat black metal. Use whatever fusion of genre titles you wish, the impact is still as resonant. Heavy, dark, cold music that can trudge glacially and the spark into incendiary speeds. The cynicism is palatable on each track, demining this existence. Burnette’s guttural growls are lower than ever. The weaving dark harmonies of Tragedy are present. That element is cool, but Nightfell truly stand apart from any project either member has done. Heavy and powerful.
The staccato rhythms enveloping the first track’s ending are a belligerent delivery until we return to the cello. Atmosphere and brutality are priority in Nightfell. That is accomplished and surpassed. The opener, “At Last”, is a sinister ten minutes. Forging through “Cleansing” is demonic growl embedded in a swinging riff and thrashing drums. Brad Boatright’s mastering and Evan Mersk’s mixing present all instrumental factors as equal weapons.

Savage misanthropy backed by heavy distortion and whiplash beats, Darkness Evermore is a bleak statement on the desperation of today’s world.  The album holds respites of disconcerting plucks and vibes. But, this LP consistently returns to the meaty, dreadful morose sounds. The eight to ten minute durations give Burdette and Call ample time to destroy with reckless abandon. The building of tension and venting is continuously rewarded with a tenacious delivery. Stark and cold while avoiding the thin, tin production of trve kvlt BM is refreshing and welcomed. Thick low end chugging breathe new life into this loathsome genre. 

White Jazz Lies Split Review

White Jazz/Lies (Deathwish Inc) new ep

White Jazz is a new band from three quarters of Rise and Fall, giving nods to Minor Threat with Greg Ginn type lead attacks. In “Bliss”, White Jazz are cultivating aggression into sweeping waves of exhaustion and release. With “Gutter Rainbows”, Noise and chaos copulate while filter through pedals of MC5 + Rollins Band + Dicks. There are many influences. But this erects itself to be adored by a vast spectrum of fans. The riff is the pith, but many other factors pack a pretty deep bite. The throat of the vocalist is as impactful as any snare or guitar string. These are not songs as much as they are four dudes beating their instruments to vent the frenetic swarm in their heads. Lo-fi, DIY recording adds to the dangerous aesthetic. Listening to this is like listening to the burning of an altar.

Boasting from members of Skin Like Iron and The Hope Conspiracy, LIES play the hardcore of Infest, Haymaker, and Extortion until it bursts into rocky noise. This is dirty and gritty. Lies exhibit a bitter restraint while fusing Motorhead and Negative approach. “Deny Me”, the second track is a blitzkrieg of off timing drums and furious barking, powerviolence or what have you. It is noisey hardcore that is vomited upon the two inch tape until we get that breakdown. It is catchy and will have VFW hall floors absorbing blood. Lies have recorded what the internal dialogue of a mapless Mid-Westener navigating Boston’s downtown. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

No Resistance Novus Methodus Review

No Resistance
Nova Methodus
Rebellion Records

Houston’s Brickwall troops are back with new four song EP. Ever since they kicked the door in on my heart with Gentlemen Prefer Bombs on Koi records, they continued to grow and write the teeth clenching tracks that stay in your head all day. Their second album, Vade Retro Satana, was self-released. Soon after, they were snatched up by Dutch label, Rebellion Records. Rebellion, a bastion of new classics and reissued oldies, added No Resistance to their roster by snatching four tunes from both releases on a quick compilation called, V.I.T.R.I.O.L., on vinyl and digipack. Finally, we get four new tracks on Rebellion via a ten inch, at 45 rpm to maximize quality. 

The manner in which No Resistance writes exhibits true attention structure. These lads and lady approach these tracks exercising a true craft. This band knows how to incorporate a foundation of tough Brickwall backbeat with melodies and catchy hooks. When weaving their course rhythms with harmonies, our treat as listeners is the engaging, gripping delivery of rebellious punk. Nova Methodus embraces a clean production sound. This is a slightly different than feel from the first, but fits this sound better. GPBs garage aesthetic fit that taut, frantic sound. With more song writing and the embracing of glam and stadium stomp, the cleaner, crisp sound works better.

“Downtown” kicks it off and grabs me like the GPB did. The track is gritty and rough, while boasting an extremely infectious bounce. Displaying the band’s strengths, this track sums up the best elements of “punk” and “rock” in ‘punk rock’. In the last third of the track, a strut inducing piano comes in as the song pounds away.

“Let's Hear It” starts with a seductive, rumbly bass. This intro of churning anticipation is a quality which all classic skinhead albums should showcase. That bass stays up in the mix to push this track forward with tenacity. Again they're layers of shouts and gang choruses - adding female voices – enhance the somber tone while maintaining the catchiness. The key to a strong track is repeatability and No Resistance push songs the demand you playing it again and again. The guitar nod to Cock Sparrer is a way to break up the formulaic three chords. This tune ends with a strong riff that rides out.

“Alarming” gets us back to the tough guitars, again with a mod strut to it. Terrace stompers, Cockney Rejects, and rock and roll masters, Slaughter & The Dogs, come out in front as influences for this track. A piano brings in the Frankie Flame feel. Whether you are in the bleachers or in the dark corner of the pub, you’ll be pulling your mates close and hoisting a pint. No Resistance herald the undercurrent of rumbling drums here that add a punch. It contrasts the harmonies add secures the depth of their song writing. Can you picture moshing to The Jam?

“In The Morning” is either the darling or the misfit here. The song starts with a piano bounce, almost like a looped sample with the boom bap drums. The rhythm will push your neck. This is their most extreme divergence from their sound’s foundation. It's not an Oi song. But, hell, if you love your punk roots (like The Easybeats), then you will love this as a closer. No issue or gripes here.

No Resistance have written there best material to date. And that’s a huge claim considering I place GPB in the pantheon of punk past 1990. Chad’s drumming is consistently powerful and always versatile. He is constantly adding the necessary bounce and rigid backbone to their sound. Nik
ki and Nibu gather the arsenal of rhythms and staunch riffs to drive the sound. Scott’s vocals have such personality. A sardonic, dark overtone with a hesitant sneer is omnipresent. But, he can be sympathetic when reflective. His dynamic of  attitude paints the songs with humor and well, vitriol. Wrap it up in a fantastic presentation of illustrations by Ramon Girones, who is spreading through the Oi and punk world with his talent and expansive canvas, and you get a fine record by Rebellion. Grab it while you can.

RIYL: 45 Adapters, Templars, Dog Company, Roadside Bombs; Slade, Sweet, Slaughter & The Dogs, Cockney Rejects, The Boys, Cock Sparrer, The Who

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Throat Short Circuit Review

Short Circuit
Kaos Kontrol/Reptillian Records

Throat is a quartet from Turku, Finland. Their approach could be best described as noise rock. When I label a band “noise rock” the usual litany of AmRep and Touch & Go bands get listed. And while these influences are present, supplemented by a strong NYC post-hardcore vibe, there is songwriting here that uniquely stands. Throat cultivate tension and aggression, ebbing back at times to scrape the anxiety from their flesh.

The stripped production constructs a feeling of a menacing, large room. The instruments rain noise and tumult into your ears. The drums and vocals, echo from the far corner; chaotic strings of guitars pull you in varied directions. The production relishes the live feel of the band. Listeners get a calculated, thin feel of razors and wires instead of a big thick feel.

Time changes are Throat’s main weapons. Throat employ these sections of songs to stretch tethered emotions. Certainly at times, a rocking groove runs. Often though, Throat retreat into hollow vacuums of slow, purposeful whining and plucks of the guitar. The average song is about four minutes. This gives Throat enough time indulge but not overstay the listener’s welcomes.

The beauty of Throat is in the ugly discomfort their songs emit. The cover of Short Circuit, shows an illustration of a girl about tp compete a circuit between and outlet and herself with a bobby pin. She has a look of fear on her face, yet the impending motion will be completed. That cautious harbinger, founded in the certainty of the tragedy, reiterates the feel of this record. The listener knows from the first notes that this adventure will elicit sharp, slicing memories, but the listener will continue. Hell of a record.

RIYL: The Jesus Lizard, Godflesh, Helmet, Stillsuit, Shift, Quicksand, Cows, Melvins, Pissed Jeans, Drive Like Jehu

Throaat Blck Speed Review

Black Speed
Invictus Productions
Release: 3 August 2015

Black Speed is quite the appropriate title. The title fits because the sound of Throaat is from the era of Black Metal being speed punk in the coarsened vein of Bathory, Hellhammer, Mayhem and especially Venom. Hell, Throaat even covers Venom here. They are a power trio creating disturbing, violent metal. They have a few EPs and demos, but this four plus cover tracks is brutal and evil in all the right way.

The production is on point in letting the feral beast snarl and gnash without suffering from muddy quality. “Coven” embraces a cold breakdown. The drums smash along as a winding solo boasts bravado. And dare I say, a melodic part is teased before thrashing to the end. Slower parts meander through the EP to add power to chugging riffs. Throaat also speed it up when needed. While paying homage to the great of leather clad Satanists, Throaat inject their own, err, venom into the blood of the listener. Black Speed is not mimicry or copies of classics.

The balance of medium paced riffs bursting into speedy damage is exemplified on “Explode”. This b-side opener is a treacherous rager.  Sinister growls of devious plans and intentions slither through the speakers. Chains rattle as the jangly bass driven “Rampage” charges forward. The bellows grow deeper and the spirit is enveloped by an even darker force. Faster and colder, the vision of Throaat comes to full fruition on this beast.

RIYL: early Slayer, early Metallica, early Bathory, early Venom, early Death Angel, Tormentor (Hungary), Motorhead, Razor

Demon Lung A Dracula Interview

Demon Lung
A Dracula
Candlelight Records
Interview with Shanda Frederick by hutch

Shanda Fredrick - vocals
Phil Burns - guitar
Brent Lynch - guitar
Jason Lamb - bass
Jeremy Brenton - drums

Produced by Billy Anderson
“It was one hundred percent intentional to go much heavier this time,” Shanda Frederick replies to my question, asking the obvious. A Dracula is a low-tuned, full-sounding doom concept album. Demon Lung exhaled on hell of an album with The Hundredth Name in 2013. A Dracula is a masterful doom album released from a gestation of maturity and focus. “Our first album,” continues Frederick, “we didn’t know how to achieve that. “We were intense this time.”

The relationship spawned from producer, Billy Anderson, and the band sharpened the intent and attention of all involved. Anderson’s steeped experience was a guiding light. “This time during writing process, I talked to Billy. We have a friendly relationship. He knew what we wanted to achieve. He was aware of us emotionally. He gave us this epic sound.”

The sound is epic. Thick, sludgy riffs steeped in horrific atmosphere are the product of all elements syncing during four months of writing. Frederick reports while writing, hanging appropriate paintings and playing old horror films in the background. Of course, Demon Lung also used great metal narratives to guide their mentality. “We listened to other bands to set the mood.  King Diamond. The way he will stretch a whole story for an album is inspiring. Iron Maiden. They do a lot of concept songs about history.”
The direct inspiration for A Dracula is Alucarda by Mexican horror director, Juan Lopez Moctezuma, in 1977. Frederick explains the process. “We come up with a story. We discuss scenes and emotions. Then they start writing riffs. They record video their hands writing the riffs. We compile themes, what lyrics fit with what song. The film was a starting point but we adapted the story from fit to our ‘end of the world’ agenda and changed some characters.”

Shanda Frederick examines another inspiration as we discuss the harder sound and her vocals approach. “Candlemass. I use them vocally. I like their approach. I get the comment that I sound like a man.” That comment does not insult or bother her. “I prefer that. It feels natural.” Frederick grew up with her dad. Her father’s friends, older men, represented the bulk of her human interaction. She worked at her dad’s office, a construction business, where she dealt with even more men. She elaborates, “My first band had a forty year old guitarist. I am comfortable around older men. There is no sexual pressure. They can see me as an individual.”

Female fronted bands, especially in doom metal and psych or stoner rock, are common now. There becomes a thin line of being respected and being an object of desire. For the female, it can be a double-edged sword. “The situation can be a hard time for fans, not relating to a female perspective. I convey deep emotions. I definitely struggle with double-edged sword. I want not to be treated as one of the guys, but receive the same level of respect.”

Frederick notes that her band and her audience are thankfully constructed of different types, though. Well, and she consciously does not portray the sex object. “I am fortunate with my guys. I don’t put out that sexual vibe. So, I don’t reap that attitude. I wear long dresses. I cover my boobs. I am feminine, not sexual. People treat me delicately.” That has its downside as well, back to the double-edged sword. “People assume I can sing, like my skills aren’t valued. They think, ‘you are a woman, of course you can sing. They say it as if I didn’t work hard to achieve this talent. But, that is how it is in the world today.”

Frederick relays the opposite impression. She notes that she always could sing. Her mother pushed her with musical theatre and chorus. After multiple karaoke sessions in her late teens, her friends pushed her to sing. “I was horrible live. It took a year and a half to be comfortable in front of people. I was twenty-one. It was a hard process.” That fortitude is ingrained in her constitution, though. “I just go out and do something until I can do it. I am not afraid of failing. Everything is a learning process.”

That process of working through an endeavor and accepting that time is needed to hone the product is portrayed in this album. A Dracula is a sculpted script. Each track, expertly improved and molded by Billy Anderson and the band, represents a plot point in the arc of Alucarda and her love, Justine. They triumph and are resurrected to reign in Hell and demolish the Earth’s inhabitants. A dark, frightening atmosphere champions this cinematic album. Prepare for the wrath.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Doomentor Second Ceremony Review

The Second Ceremony 7” EP
Iron Bonehead
Release July 24th 2015

 The trio, Doomentor, slip us two songs via Iron Bonehead. Over twelve minutes of raw doom metal bless this vinyl. The crew cultivates a mysterious aura in reputation and sound, wearing cloaks on their first LP or not at all here. As if emitted from a cursed castle during Walpurgisnacht, an organ opens up with a haunting tune. The one minute-plus intro dives into “Maligne”. “Maligne” has a swinging, thrashy feel.  The production is extremely raw, appreciating a lo-fi aesthetic.  The music is fast, galloping, riff-loving metal. “Nocturniae Monumentalis” is side B with nearly eight minutes of slower but menacing metal.

They describe themselves as “black occult imperial doom metal hell”. That could sum it up. They list influence like Trouble and Manilla Road. Certainly, those bands are applicable for a foundation. But, this music is much darker and infuses nuances of thrash and speed metal into the mix. There are elements deriving from Venom, Hellhammer, and Motorhead. This is stripped down doom. The vocals are low growls and sneers. And they should be. I don’t want this sung. Even a Wino approach would detract from the sinister punch Doomentor packs.

This is a great seven inch. The songwriting and execution is bad ass. I do wish for a higher quality of production. I get the sound they are going for, but the low end needs more of a punch. And while the cymbals are up in the mix, lower toms should be more present. I don’t need clean by any means. But doom should have big thick fuzzy bass, in my opinion. Their self titled embraced a thicker feel while maintaining the savagery and raw grit. I still recommend it.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Shame Foreign Legion Split Review

Foreign Legion/The Shame
Split EP
Aggrobeat Records/Rebel Sound Music

Foreign Legion:
Foreign Legion have been representing Welsh streetpunk/Oi! since 1984. After a few names changes, they finally settled and got to cranking out consistent records in 2001. That is when the Major Accident split LP was released. Then, they had a full length, again on DSS. 2007 saw the strong, Death Valley on Durty Mick. Other great splits with Red Alert, Suburban Lockdown, Riot Company, Paris Violence and Cervelli Stanki show their tenacity. Well, they throw a quick two songs here (after another solid LP, Light at the End of the Tunnel, KB records) for The Shame. 
Social and political concerns are the basis for these feisty, pissed songs. Foreign Legion are calling attention to the disarray and dysfunctional society that plagues all cities globally. A cry for people like us that see the issues, these tracks should incite disdain. The strong back beat harnesses the focus. This material boasts thicker guitars and more ferocity than Foreign Legion’s prior output. The intensity is stronger and enticing!

RIYL: One Way System, Menace, Major Accident, Brass Tacks 

The Shame:
Tough, gritty and angry Oi! here. The Shame come from Tulsa, OK. “Cross the Line” is gruff track, pledging allegiance to defiance. This track is fast. Tight guitar chords propel the beat forward. This will certainly get people singing along.  

“Faded Glory” is not just a drinking song, but a “let’s drink” rally cry to lament. The tone of the song, the guitar chords, and the pace bring a solemn feel that is in line with needing just one more shot of whiskey to go with the pint. The chorus is catchy and morose, in a nostalgic fashion. The feeling is perfect for an old skinhead who is reminiscing about the days that weren’t so caught up in daily grind and respnsibilty. Get a friend and hoist a pint.

RIYL: Wretched Ones, The Booked, Squiggy,  

Record label: Aggrobeat Records (Europe) / Rebel Sound (USA)

Pressing info: 500 copies: 250 cyan blue (Europe) / 250 solid red (USA)

Loud Boyz Hard Feelings Review

Loud Boyz
Tough Love, Hard Feelings
Cricket Cemetery
Released: June 28th 2015

 On Anthrax’s, Sound of White Noise, they used a sample of Griffin Dunne in My Girl, saying, “Be dangerous unpredictable and make a lot of noise”. I don’t think a cool quote validates seeing such a sap filled film like that, but it sure could be the creed of Loud Boyz. These DC dudes are releasing their full length, Tough Love, Hard Feelings. The band is tight as hell, but still harnesses danger, unpredictability and well, yeah, Loud Boyz make a lot of noise.

Raw and raucous, a flood of influences crash my mental, but the island of originality stays solid at the core. The grumpy stalwart in me despises when someone tells me they like “punk” and then names some clean, polished production band on a major label and an image. Loud Boyz are young and celebrate many elements of Oi, Glam, rock, and fifty shades of punk. Pure intent fuses and patches and slaps together these pieces without caution to complete their body of sinister music.

Tough Love, Hard Feelings is a heavy album mostly. But it is an angry album thoroughly. The songwriting on certain songs, “Hard Feelings”, “Loud Boyz in Love”, “4 The Ladies”, conjures the speed and tense frustration of 90’s streetpunk. They have the ethos and appearance of an art space band. Certain songs will lend to that crowd. In the end, this is all DIY punk. “#goodluck” will bring out the kids for the pit with a vicious breakdown and sing along. Songs rip through speakers, with a dirty twang and impressions of relentless beatings. “World is a Cage” kills too.

The live feel of the production approach retains the classic punk sound of this band. “Knives” kicks off the album with a Bad Brains’ Black Dots feel, with supplemental gang vocals that will enrage a live crowd. The sweat will manifest on your headphones. All five members push their limits. While the band has no real boundaries, they never indulge. They never get too weird or veer to experimental. A catchy strum is the foundation for most songs, but a harsh feral feel is what you’ll remember afterwards.

 Expect that this band will light up shows, from VFW halls to basements. But they have the potential to be bigger. They will make that decision. Their vision and sincerity is palpable. The authenticity of the urgent need to spew unfettered truth in their manner is undeniable. Keeping it this real will let them do whatever the hell they want. They can go a different, more indie way, a la Iceage or Cerebal Ballzy, or stay this clinically insane and ravage hardcore shows.

RIYL: Fucked Up, Cerebal Ballzy, Blue Bloods, Deep Sleep, Cloak/Dagger, Pissed Jeans, Night Birds, Coliseum, Stiff Little Fingers, Whiskey Rebels, 86 Mentality, Nerve Agents; 77 punk, early 80s LA hardcore.

Bad Engrish No Passing Trend LP Review

The Bad Engrish
No Passing Trend
Rebel Sound Music
Release: 27 May 2015

 Rowdy rock and roll from one of my favorite band names. Bad Engrish finally put out an album of older (but unreleased) material.  No Passing Trend contains thirteen tracks of fast-ass punk blaze through this piece of wax in less than thirty minutes; including a four minute track, a bonus track and a cover of “Harry May”.

Production is solid. The guitars have that UK82 crunch without getting mired in dark feedback. The instruments are recorded in a crisp fashion. The elements can be distinctly heard, just not kept up with. The drums are backbone here. And they are played in a fury. Jangly bass lines and exciting guitars will push circle pits and colored spikes top bounce and rush the stage. “True Breed” is a fierce track. This shows a more focused song in the bunch.

Not here to contemplate too many deep inquiries, Bad Engrish profess titles like “Pogo Power” and “Fish & Chips” and “Oi!’s not Dead”. Songs of drunken mayhem, friendship and their underground subculture are all subjects. Bad Engrish does slip in lines disavowing politics, but has a line about a woman’s right to abortion. There are fun rebellion songs; more a “fuck you” than a debate – more Blanks 77 than The Virus. “You Hate Me” is straight forward, but will always be a sentiment of each punk and skin at heart.

Rebel Sound, via Pirates Press, put out some sweet vinyl here. The choice of a white twelve inch with black and red splatter or Red with black waves gives a vinyl lover some hesitation. The LP received an honorable mention in Pirates Press Record of the week blog for May 8th, 201. The band played MidWest in May and is touring now with Sniper 66. I am sure they are fun band live. The album could use a touch more serious lyrics, and maybe a few time changes in the tracks – but that is my opinion coming from Oi! and hardcore. For the spikes and bristles crowd, this is a great record.

RIYL: Cobra, Towerblocks, Oxymoron, The Krays, Blanks 77, Lower Class Brats

Pressing info:
50x Black Vinyl
325x Heavy BLACK Splatter on BLOOD RED

125x Heavy RED(ISH) and BLACK Splatter on WHITE
Glory Days
Glory Days
Aggrobeat Records
7" EP, vinyl; ABEP019

Fresh off a split with Dead End Street (Italy) and the Oi! Against Racism LP Comp, Glory Days now have their own EP on Aggrobeat records. These kids from Poland deliver a rough (and welcome) version of Oi! They take the early English sound and mix with a good dose of the French sound. Their sound is loose and tough, with hard back beats and harsh guitars.

The song writing here loves the English style guitar intro of building the anticipation of the songs. When the songs kick in, they do so in a raucous manor. Good songwriting with catchiness (but not melodic)and sing along phrases keep feet tapping and fist pumping.

“The Line” feels like the most honed song. The beat is faster, the guitars are crisper. The crowd inducing chorus will get fans singing and beer spilling. The middle has a great breakdown with a slow but bracing solo.

B-side wins again was a Chuck D phrase; and I must apply it here. “Out of Sight” starts with a ripping beat. The energy is charged and direct. The middle employs another tense breakdown the builds to a gang chorus. The guitars are intentionally sparse but impactful. The track is tighter than the A side.

Glory Days is a stand out EP with great skinhead soundtracks. The songwriting shows effort and thought. There is room for some improvement that a strong producer and the time of a full length could certainly bring. That said, this is from a demo last year. An album worth of these quality of track would be called a classic. Classic sounds and tools ensure that the needle will drop on this at a drunken part or a bitter basement night solo. Pour a pint and sing along.

RIYL: Blitz, Veros, 4 Skins, Snix, Attack, The Crack, Eastern Youth, Combat 84

Track List: A1 Reality Check; A2 Glory Days; B1 The Line; B2 Out Of Sight

Pressing info: 300 copies: 150 oxblood red / 150 black wax

BUY: aggroshop

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sonic Poison seven inch review

Sonic Poison
LifeLine Records
Release June 22nd 2015
Review by hutch

Ron Grimaldi – vocals, Rick Lopez - guitar, Anthony Corallo - drums, Tom Clavin - bass.

The first time I heard the name Ron Grimaldi was on Kill Your Idols’ release, Fur is For Fucks.  He showed up again on “Miserable and Satisfied”, sealing my attention to this screaming bitter dude. When KYI disbanded, Paul Delaney and Gary Bennet formed Deathcycle appropriately with Grimaldi screaming. Deathcycle released two sinister full lengths and few splits. They broke up, and musically, Grimaldi had stayed quiet. Until Now. 

Enter current Sheer Terror drummer, Anthony Corallo and Rick Lopez of The Casualties to sling six strings and Tom Clavin on bass, the New York punk Rock/hardcore resume is stacked. Their first release here is four tracks of chaotic destruction.

Steeped in punk and DIY ethos, these four tracks hammer out rage and rebellion in the usual short fast loud fashion. It’s glorious. The synergy, from Tom and Anthony playing in Concrete Cross and Disnihil together, and everyone’s experience is a tight machine of anger. Production is on point, raw but focused. Each instrument is discernible, with low rumbles balanced with the galloping bass and clanging cymbals. Corallo produced this himself in the band’s space. 

Grimaldi’s honed spewing is aimed at social and political imbalance in a suffocating society in “Mass Surveillance”. Then with the opener, “Will It Ever End?” and the sequential “Another Day of Misery”, Grimaldi spits vocals of depression and jaded memories. KYI fans will rejoice in the malaise. The latter boasts a dope breakdown that will arms swinging and feet two-stepping to a hardcore beat meant to incite.

Round out this release with artwork from Chad Lawson (Rude Awakening, Expire, Backtrack, etc) and this EP is a must have. Influences are there, but Sonic Poison emulates no one directly. Similarities to Kill Your Idols are there, and will be noted. But that’s a huge bonus in my book. This EP is crushing. It rips out of the gate and is unrelenting to your speakers, ears, and guts. Inciting your emotions and sense of justice, this music will trigger all of punk’s attractive qualities.

RIYL: KYI, Discharge, Conflict, ENT, Negative Approach, Violent Arrest, Direct Control, Strung Up, Government Warning, Dead Stop, Tear It Up.

Bitter End Interview for New Album

Bitter End
Illusions of Dominance
Deathwish Inc
New Noise Interview with Jacob Henderson by hutch

This is an email interview with guitarist Jacob Henderson of Bitter Mind. It was answered around the second week of May 2015, right before BNB Bowl. Solid, down to earth dude. I have been into these dudes since they started. They stick to their guns and make kick ass metal tinted hardcore. The lyrics - and the artwork - represent views on a chaotic world. I am used to more general replies responding politics. I tossed an umbrella softball question re: Middle East and this intelligent man called me out on it. If this was a phone interview, we could have elaborated. Great to see smart people wwriting relevant, informed lyrics. I got this digital promo. After a few spins, i ordered the vinyl from DW inc. Had to support this band. I suggest you do the same.\

I have been listening to you guys since Mind in Chains. I think Guilty as Charged was your best, carrying the momentum of prior releases and years. And then… What happened? Where have you guys been?

We have been right here! It is so awesome that you have been listening to us since Mind in Chains. We have consistently been playing shows, fests, touring, and writing a new LP. It has been five years since our last release, which in hardcore, or music in general, can be the equivalent of a lifetime. So many bands have formed in that five year time frame. It is only natural that attention will be focused on the newer breed of bands. In music, you have to constantly be putting out new material and promoting in order to keep that momentum. Also, the everyday demands of life often get in the way of our ability to tour as much as we would like. We might not have the same hype or attention as we did when we first started. But for over a decade, we still write music, we still play shows, and we still doing it.

Can I have a present line-up? How does it differ from Guilty?

Currently we have Daniel on vocals, Shane on guitar, Sammy Pain on bass, Ethan Mania on drums, and me (Jacob) on guitar. It is different than the line-up for Guilty as Charged. However, this for the most part, has been the main touring line up for the last few years.

This album is heavy… tell me about the songwriting. Does the metal to hardcore ratio have a formula? *like “oh shit – we haven’t done a fast part in a few…”

Everyone in the band loves all different styles of music. We incorporated all the different genres, bands, and styles that we listen to in this record. Bitter End is above all else a hardcore band. There might be some parts on the record that deviate from a traditional hardcore sound, but I think that just makes the record sound more interesting. I think we created a great blend of different sounds for this record. We have some fast parts, mid-tempo upbeats, heavy parts, musical parts, mellow acoustic parts…we have a good combination of just about everything.

Not super technical Revocation; but you are not shying away from guitar solos…but it feels woven into the songs – not the metal showcase of: “oh that was the second chorus, solo insert here.”

I’m so happy that you said it feels woven into the songs! Ethan, Nick Jett, and I took a lot of thought in the structure of these songs. I didn’t want any of the leads or guitar solos to seem forced or unnecessary. My intention with the guitar solos was not “hey look at me shred like an asshole.” With every track I wanted the flow of the song to be the focus. I think all the guitar leads that are on this record just add to the song structure. Inserting leads are a good way to break up vocal lines and move songs along to the next verse or chorus. After we demoed our songs, I would record guitar leads at my house on my iPhone using garage band. I wanted to be sure all the leads were dialed in before I went to record with Nick. I am not much of a “guitar shredder” and I tend to favor simpler guitar leads. I wanted the leads to sound catchy, almost as if they were a chorus. Some of my influences were leads on Integrity – For Those Who Fear Tomorrow and even Tom Petty. Simple, memorable, effective, and catchy.

Tell me about the recording of this record?  How was working with Nick Jett? How long did it take?

Working with Nick was such a great experience. The whole experience was really a dream come true for me. I flew out to Los Angeles to record an album with a person who has been a huge influence on Bitter End and to me as a fan of hardcore. We had been writing these songs for a quite some time. Some of the riffs and ideas I had for this album started a several years ago. Nothing is more infecting or aggravating than an idea. Finishing this record had become an obsession for me. And like any obsession, it had started to make me a little crazy. I would be driving on the highway thinking about different song structures, riffs, or drum beats and would go off in a sort of daze. The next thing I knew, I would be miles away from where I was going. My experience of being lost on a road due to my obsession became a metaphor of my life for the few months leading up to finally meeting with Nick. All the songs and parts were there, but he really helped clear my head. We did a few rehearsals before recording and he helped with the song structure and validated parts that I had doubts about. Once we started recording everything started clicking. There was a creative atmosphere and everyone was throwing around some great ideas. It was very rewarding being able to finally hear the finished products of all the songs I was obsessing over. Even though it made me slightly crazy, I had a lot of fun writing and recording all the music. Hopefully everyone has fun listening to it.

What is up for 2015? Tours? Fests?

This weekend we are playing the Black and Blue Fest in New York City which I am very excited about. We have plans for some fests in early Fall and we are trying to make plans to tour Europe again and hopefully (fingers crossed) Japan.

Not that you guys were singing about sunshine and rainbows before, but the lyrics feel starker and deeper on this album. What has been going on in your lives that created these lyrics?

 Older, Colder, Crazier. I think that kind of sums up everyone in the band. I’ll answer this question by telling you about how I feel in my life at this moment. Keep in mind, my experiences and thoughts might be different than someone else’s When I was in high school I remember reading an interview with the singer of Good Riddance. He said that being a punk at 29 was a lot different than being a punk at 19. I wasn’t really sure what he meant by that at the time, but now that I am older I think I’m beginning to understand. With each phase of your life you start to see the world different and you start to see yourself different. Being in a band or even just listening to hardcore is incredibly rewarding but it can also be painfully lonely. Everyone in the band has normal “average joe” lives outside the band. It is very difficult to relate and interact with people who haven’t experienced what it is like being in a band, or never traveled to go see a show. When co-workers or just ordinary people find out we are in a band they will call us something generic like “rock star” and then laugh. How can you explain to them what it is like seeing the Cro-Mags in Germany in front of 1000 people? You can’t. How can you tell them what it’s like to drive 20 hours to play a 20 minute set? You can’t. It is a balancing act trying to juggle the reality of growing up, with the desire of doing what you love. I think these feelings of frustration combined with our tendencies to over-think, over-analyze, and over-obsess contributed to the starker feeling of the lyrics on this album.

Any thoughts on the continuous wars – Syria, Iraq III, etc… 

I have a lot of thoughts. This question is difficult to answer because you didn’t ask anything specific and these conflicts are very complicated. I’ll try to answer the best I can though. The Arab Spring gave hope that there would be positive changes and reforms to countries that have been ruled by dictators. However, the end result has been violence and conflict. There seems to be no real solutions, answers, or end to the conflicts. Any sort of intervention by the West has had negative consequences. The West intervened in Libya to get rid of Gadhafi and now militias are battling for control of that country. As a result of the breakdown of authority in Libya, smugglers are taking advantage of Eritreans, Somalis, and Syrians trying to make their way by boat to Europe. The U.S attacks ISIL in Syria which benefits Al-Nusra. The U.S condemns Iran for backing Assad but then attacks ISIL targets in Syria which helps Iran. Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting a proxy war in Yemen. Foreign fighters joining ISIL and supplies make it to Syria through Turkey, even though Turkey is a United States ally. Turkey is very vocal about removing Assad. It is all just a complicated mess. With all these struggles of power for territory and influence the civilians are the ones getting caught in the cross fire. Hundreds of thousands have been killed or displaced in Syria alone. This has led to the overcrowding of refugee camps in small countries such as Lebanon and Jordan. It is also the reason why civilians are so desperate to escape that they will risk drowning at sea in overcrowded boats just to make it to Italy. There is going to be an entire generation that will be uneducated because schools have closed due to conflict. It will also be a generation suffering from emotional and mental issues due to the stress of witnessing extreme violence.

Watching Baltimore explode the past few days – care to comment?

Explode might be the wrong definition to use. Inequality, poverty, policing practices, extensive prison sentences, and discrimination are all contributing factors to what we have seen in places like South Carolina, Ferguson, and now Baltimore. These issues have been occurring for a long time and there needs to be a national dialogue on how correct these problems. I don’t claim to have all the answers and I only know what I am talking about around 20% of the time, but this practice of revenue policing, to me, is completely un-American. This notion of increasing a cities’ revenue by issuing out tickets and warrants to people in a low-income area only creates a cycle of poverty. This revenue policing practice occurred in Ferguson and certainly occurs in other areas of the country as well.  It makes me sad that the United States has the largest prison population in the world, a disproportionate number of which are black or Hispanic. I do have some hope for the future since there are discussions about reducing prison sentences for drug offences or even decriminalizing drug possession. However change can move slow, and there are lots of changes that need to be made.

If not yet – breakdown the themes of  Illusions of Dominance?

“An epidemic of violence, men born into chaos, intoxicated with illusions of dominance.”

What do you want an audience to get from a BE show? What do you want to see?

I want them to have fun. I have been going to shows since I was 12, and I still go to shows at 28. Shows and concerts have been such a big part of my life and I feel blessed I am able to play music that people enjoy. I want to see people having a good time and I want them to drive home safe. Thanks for having us do this interview, I really enjoyed it.