Saturday, February 23, 2019

Review: Embitter - 'Orwellian 2018' tape

A year ago I did a post on Polish band Embitter, reviewing their 'Season Of Solitude' 7". They recently contacted me again to review their current release, the 'Orwellian 2018' tape which was released on Youth 2 Youth Records late last year. Compared to the 7", the new songs sound more focused and intense. The band has tightened their sound, there's more of a sense of urgency to it. The guitars are way heavier on these songs, losing the crunch from the 7", but it also makes their sound fuller and more in-your-face. Thankfully the production is open enough that things don't end up muddy or muffled, the leads still come through clear enough to add some variety and spice to their sound. The heavier, more metallic edge to their sound does seem like a natural evolution for the band, it will be cool to hear how they continue from here on.

If the title of the tape does not give it away yet, some of the lyrics on these songs are inspired by the book '1984' by George Orwell, linking 2018 to 1984. 'Orwellian' even starts with the motto of the nation of Oceania from that book:

War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength

And well... '1984' is still relevant, more so than ever, it does feel at times that ignorance and sheep-mentality are the new cool. It's cool to see a band not just mentioning a literary influence but also incorporating ideas from the book into their lyrics. Embitter is definitely a band where the lyrics are an important part of what the band stands for, and that is always a good thing.

Where I had some reservations regarding the vocals on the 7", which were a bit thin, those are no longer warranted. The vocals are strong and powerful on this tape. They also make the Morning Again cover on this tape, 'Dictation Of Beauty', stand out as his voice is quite different from Kevin Byers'. It's an excellent cover btw, and a great choice, as Morning Again was of course also a band where the lyrics were an integral and important part of what made them so special.

Overall, 'Orwellian 2018' is a great release, it's just a shame there are only 2 new songs here. I need more!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Best of 2018

First off, major apologies for the long silence! I moved from The Netherlands to Belgium over the summer, and most of my records and gear is not yet here. Plus my job has been taking up a lot of my time and energy. Rest assured tho, OnexPath ain't going nowhere! I still have plenty of 90s hardcore to share, so stay tuned...

Okay, moving on. It's December so it's time for a yearlist. All in all, 2018 was a great year for hardcore, with a ton of awesome releases. I couldn't cut it down to 10 releases, so I left it at 15 this time. It's got bands from around the globe, which is always a good sign IMHO: Australia, Belgium, Finland, Germany and the USA.

In alphabetical order:
Crowsview - Lost Resistance
H8000 meets Arkangel meets Kickback. Do I need to say more?
Caged Existence - The Body Cage
Excellent and heavy metalcore from Australia with an animal rights stance. They just re-released the 7" on CD with 2 extra tracks.
Dying Wish - Dying Wish 2018
This is one angry, pissed off and hard demo. I love it!
xEDENISGONEx - Become A Curse
Vegan straight-edge metalcore just the way we like it over at OnexPath.
Envision - A World Unseen
South Florida vegan straight edge hardcore that could have been released in 1995.
Eyes Of Tomorrow - Gone For Good 7"
Great and catchy up-tempo hardcore that takes me back to going to shows in the Rurhpott area in Germany where these guys are from.
Gray State - Our Final Regret
Excellent metalcore from Finland. Mosh it up at -20C!
Great Reversals - Stalactite
This band has been going strong since, what, 2009? Why this band isn't better known is beyond me.
Ill Natured - Twisted Visions
HEAVY punishing metalcore from Australia.
Lift - Harsh Light Of The Truth
Connecticut hardcore that reminds me of 90s hardcore bands like Turmoil, Snapcase and One King Down. Addictive shit!
Mindforce - Excalibur
Mindforce keeps up the high level of their previous records. Thrash-y crossover hardcore.
Regulate - In The Promise Of Another Tomorrow
Strong Island hardcore. Excellent follow-up to their 'Years Of Rage' 7". The groove is strong with this one!
Vein - errorzone
Mathcore that's stripped down, to the point and highly moshable. And they absolutely destroy live.
Victim To None - Divine Understanding
Excellent crossover thrash/hardcore from Salt Lake City.
Violent Life Violent Death - Come, Heavy Breath
I stumbled upon this band while checking bandcamp recommendations... They got it right!

Some bands who had great releases in 2018 but didn't make the final cut (but who you should still check out!): Harm's Way, Eco-Defense League, Bring Your Demise, Forward To Eden, xDevourx, xreignx, Forewarned, Revolve, Embitter...

And now some special mentions...

Also massive props to Rick and Justin at Warthog Speak, for unearthing 24 year old recordings by Bound (aka Hatchetface) that were never released before. I didn't want to add it to the regular list, but it's also too amazing not to mention:
And last but not least, props to AJ (Path To Misery blog/band, Preserving Silence Records & Distro) and his current band Facewreck for the hardest video of the year.
Best wishes for 2019, and thanks so much for keeping an interest in OnexPath and especially 90s hardcore!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Relentless - '98 demo

Here's another demo I picked up at Alain OFB's distro back in the day... Relentless was a hardcore band from Massapequa, Long Island, NY in the mid to late 90s. The band had a heavy and groovy metallic hardcore sound with hiphop-esque vocals, and they pulled it off pretty well. A band like Standing8Count comes to mind at times. Before this demo the band did a split 7" with Denied, and they also appeared on a compilation with my old band which I blogged about here. The latter has their song 'Bloodline' on it, which is the opening track of this demo. I'm guessing the band did some more demo's, but I've never come across any unfortunately. Information the band is also pretty scarce, so if anybody has more info, please leave a comment... In any case, enjoy!

Relentless - '98 demo

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Holdstrong - Pursuit In The Face Of Misfortune 7"

I posted Holdstrong's 1st 7" 'Gaining Ground' several years ago. A comment was left not too long ago, asking for a rip of their 2nd 7", 'Pursuit In The Face Of Misfortune'. So here it is. Released in 1997 on Pin Drop Records which was run by one of the band members, this is some seriously good crunchy and heavy 90s hardcore with lyrics about believing in oneself and challenging the world. I never really understood how Holdstrong never got the recognition they deserved, and I still don't. Anyways, check out the old post for some more thoughts on the band, and then mosh it and sing along up to their 7"s. I know I am. Enjoy!
Taught! Told! Shaped! Instilled!
Taught! Told! Break! Instilled!
Holdstrong - Pursuit In The Face Of Misfortune 7"

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Silent Fall - In A Perfect World... CD

Silent Fall was a melodic hardcore band from Minneapolis, MN in the second half of the 90s. Formed out of the ashes of a band called Standpoint (not to be confused with Standpoint from NJ which I blogged about here), they were never able to get the same sort of attention as their contemporaries like Harvest or Disembodied. Here is their sole full-length, 'In A Perfect World...', which was released on One Percent Records, also out of Minneapolis, in 1997. I am not the biggest fan of melodic hardcore, so I never really listened too much to this band. Listening to it now tho, I have to admit it holds up way better than I had expected. It is quite hard & heavy in places for this style (including in stand-out track 'Burning Away'), while the vocals alternate between screamed and semi-sung vocals. They were definitely good at what they played, and I dig the personal lyrics. I haven't a clue if the band members played in bands after Silent Fall disbanded, so please leave a comment if you have any info! Do enjoy!

Silent Fall - In A Perfect World... CD

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Exist - 1996 demo

Exist were a short-lived hardcore band from a small town in Bavaria, Germany (near Munich). I think they only did this one demo, and they also appeared on a couple of German compilations. This demo was recorded in the summer of '96 and the band plays a mix between faster hardcore and more 90s style hardcore. The band, also because of the vocals, sound like they were still quite young at this point and trying to figure out their style. At times I am a bit reminded of early Refused (This Is The New Deal period). As mentioned on the insert, this demo was recording in their rehearsal space, so that explains why this sounds pretty rough (altho I've heard much worse!). It's not bad but also really not that great, it reminds me a lot of going to random small shows and seeing young, local bands as the opening band. I'm fairly certain I never saw Exist tho, I'm guessing I must've picked it up from someone selling their demo collection. Anyways, members moved on to bands like Empire, The Blackout Argument and GWLT. Enjoy!

And just to make sure, this is not the same Exist I wrote about a few years ago here.

Exist - 1996 demo

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Compression - s/t CD

And another request, hehe... This time Compression's self-titled album from 1997. Compression was an alternative metal band from Maryland, who came from the hardcore scene but their sound doesn't really reflect this anymore on this CD. Their style is hard to define as it takes so many influences and melts them into one. You can hear hints of bands like Helmet, Soundgarden, Quicksand, Black Sabbath and many many more. But at the same time Compression never comes off as a copycat, it is more that they simply didn't limit themselves and played whatever the hell they wanted. I'm not gonna lie, I am not a fan of the entire album, some songs don't do anything for me, while others are great. This album was first released on Tolerance Records out of the Netherlands in 1997, and then was re-released the next year on Chord Recordings in the US. Chord was run by the people behind the well-known Chord fanzine, Too Damn Hype Records and the band Dare To Defy btw. I only have the version on Chord (despite being Dutch myself, hah), I am not sure the hidden track that is on this version was also present on the original CD, which is also my fave track on this album, I don't know why it's not a regular track. The band reunited a few years ago and even released a new album, which I've not heard it yet. In any case, give Compression a chance, they're certainly an interesting band.

I also wanted to rip their split 7" with War Prayer from 1995 for this post, but unfortunately I couldn't find it, I must've misplaced it. I'll rip it when I stumble across it, which is probably next time I'll be searching for a competely unrelated 7", hahaha...

Compression - s/t CD