Saturday, May 21, 2016

Straight Jacket - s/t CD

A few years I posted the 'Losing Face' compilation, which featured mostly upstate NY hardcore bands. One of them was Straight Jacket from Albany, NY. Here is their self-titled CD from 1999, which was released on Step Up Presents. Awesome heavy metallic hardcore with great gruff vocals, which falls in line with the rough Albany HC sound of the time, but also displays more intricate song stuctrures and musicianship than you might expect. Underrated stuff for sure! I don't have a lot of background info on the band, but it seems they were around from the early 90s to around 2000. Aside from this CD they also appeared on a 3-way split with Skinless and End Of Line, and also did a CD called 'I See Nothing'. Unfortunately I have neither. Singer Greg Kennedy moved onto to Disciples Of Berkowitz and then Wasteform after Straight Jacket broke up. I have no idea if the other band members did any other bands afterwards. In any case, enjoy!

Straight Jacket - s/t CD

Sunday, May 15, 2016

No Exit No Return comp 7"

Here's the first release on Upstate Records, a Syracuse, NY based label run by one of the guys in Oversight. This 'No Exit No Return' compilation 7" was released in 1991 and has 4 bands on it, Process Of Elimination, Dead Image, Refuse To Fall and Encounter, playing mostly late 80s/early 90s melodic hardcore. Of the four bands on here, Process Of Elimination from CT have the most straight-forward sound, similar to their self-released 7". Dead Image is the least memorable band on here, I'm not into their take on melodic hardcore. Refuse To Fall's track has that early 90s sound that they also showed on their 'Soul Fire' 7", good stuff! Encounter's song is a typical Encounter song and really good, but it sounds almost like a rehearsal recording unfortunately. Damn shame, I love Encounter, but I have the give the edge to Refuse To Fall as best band on this comp. In any case, a decent comp, so check it out! Oh, and that weird start to Encounter's track is the way it starts on my 7", maybe it's a mastering error?

No Exit No Return comp 7"

Sunday, May 8, 2016

New blood: Dretch

In the mid to late 90s Florida spawned a ton of awesome bands, from Morning Again to Culture to Cease to Omega Man to Scrog etc... And there's still quality bands coming out of Florida. Such as Dretch, from Ocala, FL. They released their first demo in late 2015, and it's a rager. The demo's 3 songs are all under 2 minutes long, not counting an almost 2 minute long movie sample at the end of 'Pledge Of Convenience'. Get in, fuck shit up, and get out, seems to be their motto. I'm not complaining when it's done as well as here. Stylistically the band's sound is similar to that of bands like Rise & Fall and Enabler while also adding small hints of bands like old Integrity and Converge, but with a no frills and stripped to the bone approach. Definitely a band to keep a close eye on.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

New blood: Penitentiary

I may be a scrawny 40-something year old 'kid' but I do love tough hardcore from time to time. Here's a relatively new band who are heavy and tough as nails. Penitentiary from the Northwest of Indiana recently dropped their first EP online. Great heavy metallic hardcore that also has some slight thrash metal influences. The band members have been around for years and previously did time in bands like Blood In Blood Out, Imprisoned and Blackwater. I am only familiar with BIBO who were awesome, so it's cool to see some of them still playing hardcore. What sets Penitentiary apart are the thrash metal influences, reminding me of bands like Through The Discipline at times, while their overall sounds also bring to mind bands like All Out War and Anger, and some of the harder PAHC bands. If these guys ever make it out here to Europe, they had better play the Ruhrpott area in Germany, kids there go ape-shit for this stuff.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

New Blood: Afterlife

Afterlife is a new female-fronted hardcore band from Saint Petersburg, Russia, who just released their first EP online, and they love their 90s hardcore. Perfect! Their sound incorporates elements from a variety of 90s bands. I hear hints and influences of bands as wide-ranging as Trial, early Undying, Doughnuts and Nientara mixed with some heavier and more modern influences. Thankfully it doesn't come off as a mess, and singer Natasha's vocals are also quite strong. Excellent stuff. Unfortunately my knowledge of the Russian language is pretty much non-existent, but Google Translate suggests the lyrics are more on the personal than political side. In any case, this is an awesome EP, so check it out! I'm looking forward to checking out more material from this band!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Equity - s/t 7"

Equity was a band from Roanoke, Virginia that played raw scathing hardcore with raspy vocals, and they managed to blend in both softer parts and heavier parts, creating a really cool sound, somewhat reminiscent of bands like Channel. This self-titled 7" was released on At A Loss Records in late 1995/early 1996, who also released the 'Destroy Southern Tradition' comp 7", the only other record I know of with Equity, aside from possible demo's. In any case, this 7" is really good stuff, with lyrics that deal with subjects like abortion (which seems inspired by a local story of an illegal abortion that went wrong?) and the death penalty. Members moved on to bands like Aphasia, Die Screaming and The Sword. If anybody has any additional info on this band, or even access to other recordings, please leave a comment!

Equity - s/t 7"

Saturday, March 26, 2016

New blood: Absolve

Absolve is a great new band from Belgium and the Netherlands. And no, they're not bringing back the H8000 sound nor are they even from the H8000 area (some people still think every metallic hardcore band from Belgium is H8000....)... Anyways, they describe their sound as somewhere between Death Threat and No Innocent Victim, I would also add Hatebreed and All Out War to the mix. They've also added a lot of more modern mosh parts, and while they wear their influences on their sleeves, they don't sound like copycats. It's simply great and solid hardcore with pissed off vocals & lyrics. So if you like your hardcore heavy, metallic and angry, this band is for you. They just had their first EP released on Belgium's Kick Out The Jams, so pick that up if you can!