Sunday, April 20, 2014

Splinter

Splinter was a 90s metalcore band from Akron, OH. Unlike the well-known Clevo hardcore scene which spawned a ton of bands including Integrity, Face Value and Ringworm, other areas of Ohio seemed to fly under the radar a bit (maybe because of Cleveland having such a strong scene?). Even tho Akron is close to Cleveland, Splinter never seemed to get the recognition they deserved. They played excellent 90s metalcore that at times goes for an Integrity/Holy Terror style sound but Splinter was far from an Integrity clone. They combined fast metallic hardcore, with hard breaks and tougher mid-tempo parts. For this post I decided to rip all Splinter records I own, which unfortunately is not their demo (I believe they did only 1 demo).

Splinter started out in 1989, but it wasn't until 1992 that their 1st 7" was released. This self-titled 7" was released on Smorgasbord Records, who also released it on cassette tape with 1 additional track. After that they recorded the 'Ten Love Songs' LP in 1993, which was released in 1994 on Desolate Sounds and Tenacity Records. This LP featured a couple of re-recordings of tracks from the self-titled 7"/cassette, as well as a cover of Black Sabbath's 'N.I.B.'. They went into the studio once more, in late 1994, when the band was nearing its end. In 1995, 2 songs from this recording session were released as the 'Scathed' 7" on Stormstrike Records out of Germany. Rubber City Records, out of their hometown of Akron, would release Splinter's 'The End Of The Belief' 7" posthumously in late 1996/early 1997. This 7" featured unreleased songs from the 'Scathed' 7" recording session, including a rather wacky cover of Minor Threat's 'Bottled Violence'.

Splinter also appeared on a couple of compilations including the soundtrack for 1997 horror movie 'Bloodletting', but all these tracks were taken from the 'Ten Love Songs' LP. Their track 'PM 1893 2TL' from the 'Dark Empire Strikes Back' compilation CD is actually 'Three' from the LP, no idea why it ended up with that title on the comp.

Splinter's line-up would remain intact throughout all these recordings, I don't know if they had line-up changes prior to that however. Splinter singer Larry 'Bleachmouth' Gargus moved on to The Unholy Three which after a few years became Don Austin, another pretty cool band which also included guitarist Clint Bott, who ran Rubber City Records. Drummer Joe 'Knuckles' Macchiarole would also move on to Don Austin, however he would quickly be replaced, before any recordings were made if I'm correct. I don't know what the other band-members ended up doing after Splinter folded.

My scanner is no good for scanning LP's so the LP zip contains no scans, sorry about that. You can see scans on its Discogs page however. For some reason this was also the hardest record of the bunch to obtain, it took me years to find (and then I got it from someone I know right here in the Netherlands, go figure!), I only had it in digital for for a long time. Anyways, enjoy! And if somebody has the Splinter demo, please share, I would love to hear it!

Splinter - s/t 7"
Splinter - s/t cassette
Splinter - Ten Love Songs LP
Splinter - Scathed 7"
Splinter - The End Of The Belief 7"

Sunday, April 6, 2014

New blood: Reserving Dirtnaps

Memphis's own Reserving Dirtnaps contacted me recently about doing a post on em... I had no idea what to expect with a bandname like that (is that slang for something?), but after checking them out, I'm glad they decided to shoot me an email! The band features ex-members of Memphis hardcore bands Clenched Fist and Dead City but the band takes a slightly different approach with a tougher and slower beatdown edge. Tough as nails hardcore with deep vocals. Lyrically the band is not afraid to step away from the usual subject matter and style of writing associated with this genre, and take a more introspective and dark approach. The lyrics might not be for everybody but I for one love them. From 'Commune':
Razor's edge
Heightened ledge
So many I wish were dead
Instead keep my soul bound to flesh
Nail of breath
Bands like PA's No Retreat and NJ's Lifeless come to mind when listening to Reserving Dirtnaps. Both bands I like a lot, so I have no problem here. Reserving Dirtnaps can hang with the best of em, their first EP is solid from start to finish, I love it, a very impressive effort. I imagine their hometown shows have some crazy violent pits. If you like it hard, tough and violent, check out Reserving Dirtnaps. Hopefully they'll make it out to Europe someday, I would love to see these guys at a show in the Ruhrpott area in Germany.

*update: Brandon from RD has informed me 'reserving dirtnaps' means something like 'setting up someone's death date'. *

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Confined - s/t 7"

Another random 7" from my collection... Confined was a short-lived 3-piece band from NJ in the mid 90s, and apart from a demo this is their only proper release. This self-titled 7" was released by the band in 1995 and is pretty decent. Fast old school hardcore with some youth crew as well as some slower more metallic/new school sounding parts. Not something I listen to loads, but I've definitely heard worse. I know very little about the band, but there's a decent amount of information available over at Mad At The World, which has a write-up on the 7" (but no download).  If you want more info on this band and the band members, please follow that link. As mentioned on Mad At The World, members moved on to bands such as Autumn, Dogs Of War (not to be confused with Dogz Of War from Detroit) and Another Nothing. If anybody has Confined's demo, please share!

Here's a Confined track that's not on the 7":

Confined - s/t 7"

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Depth Of Mind - This Broken Face demo

Depth Of Mind was a short-lived hardcore band from Ithaca, NY in the first half of the 90s. From what I know they were all teenagers when Depth Of Mind was around, I'm not even sure they did anything else besides this 'This Broken Face' demo from 1993?

Anyways, musically this band is pretty good and falls in line with similar new school hardcore bands from that era like Trial By Jury, Billingsgate and Bloodline, altho never quite reaching the awesomeness of those bands. The vocals however are what makes Depth Of Mind stand out most, most of the time it sounds like the vocalist wants to be in a hardrock band, or even a straight-up rock band, rather than a hardcore band. At times the singing vocals work, but other times they simply do not fit the music at all. I would enjoy this band a whole lot more with a different singer, let's put it like that.

Bass-player Jacob Todd has since moved onto the electronic/house scene and is now a DJ/producer. I have no idea what the other band members did after Depth Of Mind folded.

Depth Of Mind - This Broken Face demo

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Direction - Flatline 7"

This awesome 7" has been waiting to be posted for quite some time, it is stuffed with 90s hardcore characteristics. Socio-political lyrics dealing with anti-capitalism, anti-drugs and anti-homophobia subjects (which some would call 'PC'). Shouted vocals with occasional spoken bits. Mid-tempo new school hardcore with chunky riffs and some chugga chugga thrown in for good measure. Artwork that seems to be lifted straight from library books on woodcuts and such. Band-members with big X's on their hands. A singer kneeling on the floor, grabbing his head with a pained expression. A 'deep' personal piece next to a thanks list that includes every band they've ever played with. And I think I even spot some band members sporting tulasi beads. Yes, this is the kind of stuff I live for!

Direction from Austin, TX were around in the mid 90s and their output is limited to this 7" and a split 8" with another TX band called Anomie (not to be confused with the French emocore band), which I unfortunately do not own. Released in 1995 on Ballyhoo Withdrawal, Direction was a fairly obscure band outside of Texas, but undeservedly so, this is one awesome 7". Whether your 90s interests lean more to the political side or to the chugga chugga side, there should be something here for everybody. After the band broke up, members moved on to New Year, who released a 7" on Moo Cow Records as well as a split 7" with a band call 1066.

Direction - Flatline 7"

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Foundation - Fear Of Life EP 7"

Sometimes hardcore bands start out under a name that's already used by another band. In some cases bands have to change their name due to legal disputes, like Disciple and Shipwreck becoming Discple ad and Shipwreck ad respectively. In most cases tho, nothing happens and there are just multiple bands using the same name. Examples include Kingpin and Intent, both names have been used or are used by at least 3 hardcore bands each that I am aware of. But I imagine the most often used bandname in hardcore is Foundation. In my own collection alone I have records by 5 different  Foundations. There's an early 90s Foundation from Rochester, NY who did 2 7"s. Then there's a Foundation from San Diego, CA a bit later who did a 7" on XWords Of WarX Records and a split 7" with Ecorche. Robbie Huddleston from the indie/punk-band Ann Beretta started a side/solo-project called Foundation in the early 00's, which he's still doing. And then of course there's the Atlanta, GA based Foundation who've been around for 5/6 years now and are still going strong.

Bu today's post is about the 5th Foundation from my collection. This Foundation originated from New Jersey and were around in the late 90s. Their sole 7", released in 1999, was the second release on a NJ label called Dead Alive Records, which was around for 4 years or so but managed to crank out 30+ releases during that time. The label renamed itself Manic Ride Records afterwards and continued for a few more years before finally folding. NJ's Foundation was short-lived and I have no idea what the band-members did before or after. They also contributed a track to Dead Alive Records' first release, a compilation CD (a benefit for ABC No Rio), other than possible demo's that's it. Anyways, this 7" is filled with solid manic hardcore with dual (even triple) vocals which give it a crust/grind-like edge. It sounds like this band would've raged on stage. Good stuff, so check it out.

Foundation - Fear Of Life EP 7"

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Case Closed? comp CD

The full title of this compilation is 'Case Closed,? An International Compilation of Hüsker Dü Cover-songs' (yes, with the ',?', no idea what that is about). That should give you a pretty good idea of what this compilation is all about, a tribute to Hüsker Dü, the legendary Minneapolis band from the 80s which started out as a hardcore band but soon started to add all kinds of influences to their sound. The band would in turn influence a ton of bands, and especially their albums 'Zen Arcade' (1984) and 'New Day Rising' (1985) are landmarks.

This tribute album was released by Snoop Records out of Germany in 1994 and features bands from the USA, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Norway and Australia. Bands include Sick Of It All, Only Living Witness, Big Drill Car, NRA, Motorpsycho, Alloy and Gigantor. This compilation was also a sort of benefit for Artists United For Nature, an artist-based non-profit organisation for preservation of nature. I don't know however if it has any relation to the project of the same name that did the cheesy 'Yes We Can' single in 1989, a project similar to Band-Aid.

Anyways, what's nice about this comp is that the bands chose songs to cover from all stages of Hüsker Dü's career. I'll be honest and say I am not really into Hüsker Dü all that much, let alone have intimate knowledge of their discography, but this compilation is pretty cool, it's got a wide range of styles and most bands do a decent job. So give it a chance.

Case Closed? comp CD