Saturday, September 14, 2019

Review: Time And Pressure - The Gateway City Sound

My last review featured a band on Safe Inside Records, and now another band on that label's roster contacted me about a review. Time And Pressure is a relatively new band from St. Louis, MI who just released their first album 'The Gateway City Sound' on Safe Inside Records. The album features 6 new songs as well as their 2018 demo.

I don't know if the bandname was inspired by the Run With The Hunted song of the same name, but stylewise there are some similarities, albeit that Time And Pressure include (even) more influences from early to mid 00's melodic hardcore. The style that Time & Pressure plays takes me right back to countless shows I went to in the early/mid 00's, when most hardcore shows out here would have at least one band on the line-up playing this style... Fast, melodic yet aggressive hardcore, always good for sweaty shows with plenty of crowd participation... And that is just what I imagine a typical Time & Pressure show to be like, kids moshing, screaming along, and generally having a great time. That is not to say T&P are simply rehashing a sound that's arguably been done to death and perfected by the likes of Go It Alone, Carry On, Heavy Heart, Betrayed and so on. They incorporate their own more modern sound as well, esp with the occasional guitar flourish, even sounding like The Effort here and there. It's a great take on a now classic sound, and I dig the vocals, hard. They might not be really different or anything, but there's just enough venom in the delivery to give this band a hard edge that makes them stand out for me.

Lyrically the band has both socio-conscious lyrics as well as more personal lyrics, which are also quite poignant and poetic at times, as the lyrics to 'Scarring Time' prove (excerpt):
When we’re dead and gone
After the last song has been sung
We’ll have the proof we were here at all
The universe is infinite and we are just a blink in it
But we’ll always have the scars we left on time
Overall, I am quite impressed with Time & Pressure. They don't play the type of metallic hardcore that is my go-to style hardcore-wise, but f*ck that, if it's good it's good right? Musically, lyrically and vocally they are the real deal. Definitely give this band a chance, I'm glad I did!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Review: Rejection Pact - Threats Of The World

As I still haven't moved over all of my records and gear to my apartment in Brussels, Belgium, OnexPath has been a pretty quiet place, sorry about that! So it was a nice surprise when Rejection Pact recently contacted me on Instagram about their 'Threats Of The World' 7" which was released recently on Safe Inside Records.

Let me start of this review by saying fast youth crew style hardcore is not my thing generally speaking, altho there are always exceptions (Alone In A Crowd, True Colors). In any case, I decided to give Rejection Pact a chance as they clearly also took a chance on having me review their 7", heh...

The first thing I noticed was the cover of the 7" with its stark photo of someone cheering in front of a burning car (presumably during a protest/demo of some sort?). It already gives the impression of a band that is not content with rehashing the same basic lyrics about brotherhood and such. Lyrically the band touches on subjects involving politics, bigotry, (online) social justice warriors and complacency. Musically Rejection Pact's material also has a sense of urgency and desperation to it, especially in the vocal department. This feeling is also enhanced by the short length of the songs, this 7"contains 10 songs, so obviously their sound is very direct and focused. I do kinda wish the band would have upped the harshness a bit in their sound, as at times I felt the music was a bit too clean cut to match the lyrics, but I guess in a sense it comes with the youth crew territory, heh. But in terms of youth crew hardcore (and my fairly limited knowledge of it) RP's sound should please the youth crew fans out there. If I had to throw in a comparison, I guess I would go with Betrayed and Battery mixed with some True Colors.

As a bonus, track 'Nothing Man' features a guest appearance by Greg Bennick (Trial, XBystanderX) and 'Echo Chamber' has guest vocals by Tyler Short (Inclination), and both do a great job. 'Echo Chamber' is also my favorite track on this 7", it's got a great furious edge to it.

Overall, would I give this 10-song 7" a regular listen? No, probably not, but that has more to do with my tastes in hardcore rather than the quality of this 7". Would I recommend it to people who have a fondness for youth crew hardcore tho? Yes, definitely.

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