Thursday, October 15, 2009

No posts for a few weeks

There will be no posts on the blog for a few weeks, because my gf and I are going on a trip to the USA. Point of destination: Los Angeles. We also plan to go down to San Diego for 7 Generations' final show (see flyer below) and to Las Vegas. I have plenty of posts in the works, so I will start posting again as soon as I can (requests are always welcome). In the mean time, have a blast and if you haven't done so, check out the blogs in the sidebar, they're all good.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Next Step Up - Passive Aggression demo

One of the best known hardcore bands out of Baltimore, MD, is Next Step Up. If you're not familiar with NSU yet, expect tough, hard and heavy hardcore with gruff vocals. To me, Baltimore hardcore bands are exactly that, tough, hard and heavy. And in this case, really good. Gotta love it! Formed in 1991, Next Step Up released their first demo, called 'Passive Aggression', in 1992. There are about 400 copies in total, of which 15 came with a different cover, mine has the regular cover (source). This demo rules, plain and simple. If you already know NSU and haven't heard this demo, you will love it! Some of these songs would later be re-recorded for other releases.

Some bands that members have been in include Wake Up Cold, Hell To Pay, Together We Fall and boatloads more... Singer JR Glass and bassist Aaron Martinek have a new band called Bet The Devil, which is straight up metal but still awesome, do check them out if you haven't already!

Here's a video of NSU's classic track 'Fall From Grace' (from their album of the same name), awesome stuff!

Next Step Up - Passive Aggression demo
Next Step Up myspace

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Way Of Life revisited

After I posted the AWOL demo someone requested a post of their other records. It's been in the back of my mind for quite some time, and finally I've come around to it. Sorry for the huge delay, what can I say, I'm a lazy piece of shit. I ripped their vinyl output and the tracks from 2 compilations they appeared on. I believe that, together with the demo, this represents a complete discography for this amazing and underrated French band.

As you will notice if you download this stuff, A Way Of Life (AWOL) changed their style a bit from their demo. They added more metal influences to their style and dropped the mosh parts. While I think their demo is their best stuff, and it is still easily one of my favorite demo's ever, I do love this period of AWOL as well. The 'Deep Thoughts About The End' 7" from 1997 however, released on Braveheart Records, is not their strongest release. It starts off with a re-recording of 'The Last Scream' from the demo, which unfortunately doesn't add much to the demo-version, it even suffers from a somewhat thin production which lacks bass and heaviness. The B side shows a band that is trying to find a new sound. It's more metallic than the demo but it just doesn't sound right, the band seems to have thrown too many ideas into one song and it doesn't come out too well. Easily the worst AWOL track.

'In This Cold Weather' from the split 7" with Headway, released in 1998 on MoshXBart, shows a huge progression from the 'Deep Thoughts...' 7". Over 7 minutes long, this is a great track that shows AWOL successfully moving into a new direction. An impressive effort. Only 2 months after recording this track they went back into the studio and recorded 3 more tracks, 2 were to appear on the 'The Nightmare Begins... In This Other Land' 2xCD compilation (Overcome Records, 1998) and 1 on the 'KDS Crew: Rise & Fall' compilation (The Age Of Venus, 2001). These 3 tracks are again awesome, especially 'Signs Of The Downfall'. Unfortunately these also happened to be the last official recordings. As I also mentioned when I blogged about the demo, there were plans to release more stuff, but this never happened unfortunately. So enjoy these tracks, and if you haven't done already, also download the demo. I cannot recommend this band enough.

Live picture courtesy of the KDS Crew myspace.

A Way Of Life revisited
A Way Of Life myspace