Hemorrhage – Chapter One E.P.

(c) 2012 Abduct Tape
Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

hemorrhagecircle1_croppedHey you! Yeah, you. You like new CA hardcore that sounds a little old school but not quite, right? I thought so. Well here’s something for you. Hemorrhage is a badass little combo out of Huntington Beach, CA. You’ve heard of that place right? I think you have.

Following in the veins of, well, I’m not sure. This new EP from Hemorrhage is pretty freakin’ brutal. If I had to describe the sound, I’d say, aggressive. To further clarify, I’d say it’s somewhere between Helmet and Snapcase or even more so, a combination of the two. I don’t want you, the reader, to think that this band is entirely derivative though, they got their own mojo going on. I’ve been rocking the CD in my car for the past few days and I can say with certainty that Hemorrhage has some songcraft skill. Songs are brief; two minute style, which we all know I prefer. They vocals aren’t so filled with broken glass that you can’t pick out the words. The music is artfully complex without being pompous. All and all, a solid start from a energetic upcoming band.

The gist of it is seven tracks of crushing music filled with both angst and spirit. (By spirit I’m talking about the fact that the band didn’t bother with labels. They made their own. They have that much dedication.) So seriously, if you like west coast hardcore (or any fast heavy music) check this band out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

www.hemorrhage.bandcamp.com

-Jerry Actually

Lay It On The Line – A Lesson In Personal Finance

Lay It On The Line – A Lesson In Personal Finance

(c) 2012

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

A Lesson In Personal Finance is the new EP from South London Hardcore act Lay It On The Line. This four track follow up to Midnight In The Bellagio shreds through those tracks with a mighty fury. The music is intense with elements befitting both the hardcore and metal monikers.

Short, sweet track length for the short attention span and more than enough aggression to rock the room. I’d recommend playing it about six times in a row to get the full dosage. Fans of Snapcase and those who enjoy a subtle hint of Maiden in their Hardcore should definitely check this band out: http://layitontheline.bandcamp.com/

–Jerry Actually

Chotto Ghetto – Sparkles

© 2012 Asian Man Records
Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

I’m not immediately sure what to make of Chotto Ghetto. Their music is a bit of a mystery, the good kind of mystery though. I’ve heard folks say that they are “progressive hardcore”. I suppose that is as reasonable a description as is needed for the time being. Reasonable, that is, if you think that unusual structures, instrumentation and odd melodies are progressive.

Vague descriptions aside (to be followed by vague postulation) Chotto Ghetto brings an interesting amalgam of sounds that you are sure you like but aren’t quite sure where they are from. If I had to try to pigeon hole this, which will be hard, I’d go with this. The band is a largely unidentifiable hybrid of Yes, Death by Stereo, The Police, Sound Garden, Pink Floyd and Voivod, only with more hardcore riffs and beats. You’re probably thinking, wtf, but I assure you that it works. I think their website says it all, “Chotto Ghetto is a band from Los Angeles California.”

Anyhow, their new release, “Sparkles”, out now on Asian Man Records, offers 15 tracks of musical diversity and a rare fresh sound that you just aren’t hearing much of these days. Some of the stand out tracks, at least for me are 3. Ghost Finders and 5. These Kids Crave Discipline.

Overall, this release is a winner and a great choice for any serious fan of the arcane art of music collection. It may not be for everyone. However, if you like you music (mostly) fast, diverse and complex, then this is a must have for you.

–Jerry Actually

No Means No – Close Minded (EP)

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

Agro eighties hardcore. Very syncopated. Short and sweet! I guess if you want some pissed off hardcore, this will float your boat. If you aren’t into that, then never mind. You’ve read it all before. You’ve heard it all before. So you’re saying, “what’s there for me?” nothing! You’re a jaded prick that doesn’t’ like anything. So go! Rock it! If you have made it past that section, then maybe, just maybe, this is for you.

It is hardcore punk. It’s rowdy. It’s angry. It’ll shake the floorboards a bit if your stereo plays along.

Enjoy while you can. The Fascist state will take it away soon enough.!

(I would normally take points away for band name reuse, but this time, it is unnecessary.)

Cheers,

Jerry Actually

Society’s Ills – Full Length

© 2011 Society’s Ills
Rating: ★★★½☆

I don’t want to be the guy that throws labels around. Honestly, there are just too many of them, but since I’m a jerk, I’ll throw one more in the mix. Montreal’s Society’s Ills is (and you can quote me on this) “post-punk-core/hardcore/semi-melodic”

No, but really, I’m listening to the new full length by Society’s Ills and it is pretty damn rockin’. My goofy labels aside, it is 14 tracks of short burst hardcore laced punk with a lot of energy and decent amount of grit. As I listen to this, the tracks get better and better. I can see this becoming a regular rotation release on my car ride to work, ‘cause nothing makes the ride into work better than some kickass fastbreak punk rock.

So, um yeah, 14 fast tracks of hardcore punk with great guitar work, intelligible vocals, and a rock solid rhythm section. It reminds me of H2O a bit with undertones of way fast Black Sabbath, but more punk less posicore (regarding H2O, not Sabbath) if you know what I’m saying.
Bottom line is, great stuff, buy it now!

–Jerry Actually

Armed For A Crisis “Progressions”

Armed For A Crisis are a melodic hardcore band from Nottingham U.K. They have quite an interesting approach to the heavier side of things. Technical, while yet letting the music breathe with layered and building juxtaposing tones.

I very much enjoy this album because I do not get the sense it is driven to achieve anything outside of the satisfaction of its members. Odd clean passages that build into heavy groove laden swells of distortion, that then are met with angst ridden vocals and very tightly accomplished time pushes and pulls.

The production is well done to boot. Original, heavy, impressive, the only downside is it is short and leaves me wanting to hear more. All in all Armed For A Crisis meld awesome musical thoughts together to form a coherent drive that is textured to make you listen and you should.

– Ry-Not

20 Bulls Each – A Glorious and Bloody Revolution

© 2011 Thorp Records
Rating: ★★★★☆

Hell f-ing yeah! Dublin, Ireland band 20 Bulls Each rips it up on A Glorious and Bloody Revolution with a fusion of hardcore, punk and metal. The band has been channeling these influences for nearly a decade. All that time and work has culminated in this brand new release.

Borrowing as heavily from NYHC as it does from late 80’s thrash/metal, the album is a whirlwind of guts and fury. The tracks are articulate and precise with great breakdowns and a spit in your face delivery ala Blood for Blood. However, the outlook on the tracks doesn’t always take the same pissed off at the world path as the aforementioned band. Don’t get me wrong, the band is pissed, they’re just not going about it as many complaints about how they have to live.

11 tracks, just under 30 minutes of modern classic hardcore that won’t weigh down your soul on a Saturday afternoon and more than enough to get you fully revved up for more on a Saturday night. 20 Bulls Each is weighing in heavily as one of the best new (to me) bands that I’ve heard in 2011 and if you’d like to check out more, you can hit up their bio on the Thorp site: http://thorprecords.com/bands/20bullseach.php

So by all means, scream, shout, and let some aggression out because after all it will be a Glorious and Bloody Revolution. Mosh to this and enjoy as 20 Bulls Each turns the Emerald Isle a bit closer to black and blue.

–Jerry Actually

For fans of: Blood for Blood, Gallows, M.O.D.

Lineup:
Vocals, Guitar: Gareth Cummins
Guitar: Gavin Husselbury
Bass: Ciaran Mangan
Drums: Paul Duffy

The Crisis Kings

(c) 2011


Rating: ★★½☆☆

The Crisis Kings are a new band in the old familiar genres of thrash/grind/hardcore metal. Newly formed in 2011, the East U.K. quartet wasted no time in busting out a 7 track EP. The seven tracks do an adequate job of showcasing the band’s skills and for a debut effort recorded in a pig shed, it really deserves praise just for sheer effort.

The music is great. It is aggressive and brutal with overtones of Sick of it All, but tempered with more plodding riffs and screamo / growl vocals in the vein of Superjoint Ritual and perhaps Crowbar. There is also a certain dissonance that I enjoy. This style is especially prevalent on track 4 – S.O.W. the overall effect really reminds me of Leatherface.

However, (and here’s where we bring in the down note kids) As with so many things musical, the major detractor for me is screaming vocals. I just don’t like ‘em. So take that in stride if you’re reading this review. Again, the music lives up to its brutal roots, but takes it over the top with too much throat sandpaper. Seriously man, you’re gonna snap a vocal cord or something.

But, here, check ‘em out for yourself: http://www.facebook.com/thecrisiskings

–Jerry Actually

Only Fumes & Corpses Who really cares, what really lasts

(c) 2010 Lockjaw Records
Rating: ★★★☆☆

In a genre that has been around for quite a long time, with both great and sub-par examples, Only Fumes & Corpses exceed the marginal with piss and vinegar. Driving rhythms dressed in aggressive attitude, with a spirit of quality musicianship that shows they truly feel the passion for their music. I don’t think this album will make it to the top of the heap of the best hardcore albums, but it is far superior to the mass releases, and shows to me that I should keep a keen eye on this band and their development. I do not find a bad track on this album. It courses along with heaviness, emotion, heart, and a diverse arrangement of influence . If you like hardcore, pick this album up. You won’t be disappointed. Cheers to Only Fumes & Corpses!

–Ry-Not

Heads Held High – Dogs and Cats, Living Together

© 2010 Failsafe Records
Rating: ★★★½☆

Because I’m so disorganized as of late, I’m not only running behind on reviews, but losing bios and other materials. At least I didn’t lose the CD, right? At whatever rate, I present to you Heads Held High, a melodic hardcore band hailing from Cincinnati, OH. Turns out they are actually from Cleveland. My apologies. (at least the interwebs indicate as such) Dogs and Cats, Living Together is their new release, out now on Failsafe Records (not that I could find them on the Failsafe site)

Dogs and Cats, Living Together is 10 tracks of melodic yet rhythmic hardcore punk with a mid-fast tempo and angsty growling, yet articulate vocals. It isn’t quite hardcore in the sense of SOIA or Blood for Blood. As opposed to the initial punch in the face, it is more the linger pain as the bruises heal. At the time of recording, the band’s lineup consisted of Elliot, Jack, David, Kevin and Rob. The album related feats of these mono-named entities shall remain unknown.

The tracks tend towards guitar riff oriented with overlayed talk/sing vocals in a manner that reminds me of a more aggressive Bouncing Souls meets Hogan’s Heros, with the exception of track 9, Van on Fire, Head Hurt which has more of a jangly sing-a-long road track sound. Track length is quick with all 10 clocking in at just under 23 minutes. There are pithy movie sound clips on many tracks including personal favorite, track 5, Groundhog Day. (I’ll just bet you guess what movie gets referenced.) The lyrics are philosophical and searching. While I rarely comment on lyrics, I appreciate the thought and emotion that goes into work that seeks deeper meaning. That said, open your ears when you listen to Dogs and Cats, Living Together

Overall, a decent release. I generally prefer things more anthemic. (see track 9) I’d like a few more tunes in that flavor, but maybe I’m not singing along, ’cause I just haven’t read the words enough. I would absolutely see these guys live.

–Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Refurbished Kids
2. I’m Probably Wasting My Breath, But?
3. Ex Machina
4. Waiting for the Barbarians
5. Groundhog Day
6. Dear Kilgore Trout
7. Live Average, Die Average
8. Stay Mad, Stay Outrage, Stay Puft!
9. Van on Fire, Head Hurt
10. This Too Shall Pass