Sunday, June 28, 2020

Review: Second Wind - Testament Of Pain

Bandcamp's feed has a useful feature that shows you how many records someone else has in common with you. I use this sometimes to browse other people's collections to find records on there I hadn't yet come across. When I did this some time ago I stumbled upon the 'Testament Of Pain' EP by Second Wind from Houston, Texas. The heavy intro drew me right in, and I listened to the EP straight through, absolutely loving it! So thank you to whoever it was whose collection I was checking out at the time for introducing me to Second Wind!

So yeah, again a band from Texas... It seems all I do these days is post about bands from Texas! Fuck it tho, Second Wind is well worth posting about... They started out in late 2018 and released a demo in early 2019. After completing their line-up with members from local deathcore band Breathing Forever, Second Wind recorded the 'Testament Of Pain' EP and wow, what a banger it is! As I mentioned above, it starts off with a heavy intro with a basic but very effective riff, the singer shouting the band name, and then the riff is played at double speed before slowing down again. Nothing that hasn't been done before, but fuck me if it isn't an effective way to start an EP! The intro seamlessly goes into first song 'Writ', which sets the tone perfectly for the rest of this EP. Heavy mid- to up-tempo metalcore with crushing slow parts and shouted vocals with occasional heavier vocals to mix things up nicely.

Guitarist and founding member Michael told me their influences include bands like Knocked Loose, Year Of The Knife and All Out War. I also hear a healthy dose of Disembodied in some of their riffs and they way they are structured, and for the Euro's among us, Belgian band xDevourx also comes to my mind quite a bit. Which is also due to the vocals, which are more shouted and hoarse than deep or grunted, occasionally bringing in a second, deeper, voice... It compliments their sound really well! The band also makes sure to switch up tempo often enough to keep things interesting, while maintaining the heaviness throughout, and adding a few breakdowns here and there to spice things up. It's also cool Second Wind understands how to keep things heavy even with fast up-tempo metalcore, for instance in 'Pitch Black' which switches tempos and riffs a lot while still sounding like a coherent song. Great stuff! My favorite track on here has to be 'Destined To Rot' tho, which has some killer riffs and a massive slow breakdown that simply crushes. But there's not a bad track to be found here.

The lyrics to final track 'Thin Blue Crime' feels awfully relevant, chilling and prescient given the recent events surrounding George Floyd, Breona Taylor and so many more before and since. The other songs seem to deal with more abstract themes, including despair and religion if I read them right.

So far 2020 has been a massively crazy year in so many fucked up ways, but at least we still have young new bands putting out great stuff! This might just end up in my best of 2020 list, even if only for the amount of times I've listened to this... Second Wind is also planning to do a split sometime later this year, so look forward to that one as well!

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Review: Bayou - A Cold Day In Hell

After the previous post on Sanity Slip, here's some more beatdown hardcore from Texas for you... Bayou from Houston, Texas. Bayou formed in December 2018 and plays heavy, and I do mean HEAVY, beatdown hardcore. Unlike Sanity Slip, Bayou don't incorporate all that many death metal influences tho, this is pretty much straight-forward, mid-tempo beatdown hardcore. Bayou's 'A Cold Day In Hell' EP was released in late April/early May and if you like your hardcore heavy, this might be for you!

Nikolie from Bayou told me their influences range from Pantera to Irate. The Pantera influences can be heard in some of the riffs, but there's no denying that this band has listened to Irate's discography more than a few times! I love Irate (as any sane person would) so I am digging Bayou's sound, hard! Like Irate, Bayou's sound relies heavily on the flow between the riffs and the vocals, with the bass drum in particular complimenting everything. Bayou does the same thing and they pull it off pretty well, and they know how to write some hard-ass riffs that go with this sound... They do add additional influences, there's some slam here and there as well as some semi-squeals. As far as current bands go, Bayou remind me of a less-metal version of Enemy Mind, but with the same heaviness.

The EP starts with a massive intro before launching into what is in my humble opinion the, relatively speaking, weakest track of the EP, 'Wilted'. It has some good ideas, but it doesn't flow as well as the rest of the tracks on this EP. The standout tracks on this EP for me are the back-to-back tracks 'Beaten Into Dust' and 'Slim To None', which hit like a Killer Instinct ultra combo. Awesome! There are also guest-vocals by members of fellow Houston band Torture and Chicago powerhouse Bodybag on this EP, in case you need some more references...

After the demise of Hardside, I hadn't heard of too many heavy new bands coming out of Texas. But it looks like I was wrong, there's still plenty of heaviness left in the Lone Star state! Bayou are currently working on new material, which I am looking forward to hearing! They're off to a great start however, hopefully this EP will get them some attention, there's a lot of potential here!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Review: Sanity Slip - Submerged In Pain EP

Kyle from Goodjunkie Records contacted me recently about one of the bands his label is doing a release for, Sanity Slip from San Antonio, TX.

Sanity Slip play beatdown hardcore with some death metal influences. They do mix things up here and there, but their sound is definitely centered around mid-tempo beatdown hardcore together with faster death metal parts. This is the sort of stuff that over here in Europe you'd expect on a label like Filled With Hate Records. And Sanity Slip do it well! They have a very menacing down-tuned & brutal sound that delivers. 'Misery' is my fave track at the moment, but the EP overall is damn solid. While I am far from an expert, I hear Irate influences sprinkled throughout the entire EP. And of course, Irate ruled, so nothing wrong there...

I must admit that I initially didn't realize that SS's singer is female. Not that it makes a difference, just that never would have guessed going just by the vocals. They're deep and hard as hell. Definitely a good match with the music.

I don't feel Sanity Slip's sound offers anything new. But if yer into beatdown hardcore, is that really necessary? If you want to do some roundhouse kicks and crowdkill your buddies, this is as good a soundtrack as any beatdown band out there.

If you're into what you're hearing, consider picking up a highly limited lathe cut 10" directly from Goodjunkie here.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Review: disappear. - momentum. CD

I am still one of those people who prefer physical releases, even if I do appreciate the convenience of sites like Bandcamp, which has proven to be a great resource for discovering new hardcore bands... Fort Wayne, IN's disappear. popped up on my Bandcamp feed recently and I enjoyed what I heard, so much so that I ordered their CD the same day.

The band lists bands like Dispair, Integrity, Turmoil and Foundation among their influences. Of those bands, Turmoil and Foundation are closest to disappear.'s sound in my opinion, most obviously in a song like 'Cerebrum Carcerum', but thankfully without sounding like copycats. The sound of disappear. can only be described as devastating and crushing. There are elements of crust-core with its bulldozer riffs and sound (check 'Reality TV?' and 'Conveyor'), as well as more melodic influences and lead guitars as in 'The Antagonist'. At the same time, with all these different influences they managed to create a coherent sound. The gruff, angry vocals help bring it all together, adding a bleak edge to their sound that is complimented by the lyrics. They cover a range of topics such as animal rights, police brutality, institutionalized racism and people being made umb and complacent by the media. In short, disappear. plays ugly but real music. And that is just fine by me!

Overall, 'momentum.' is a great debut album by a still very young band, having only started in 2018. It is also an album that is growing more and more on me, it might have even made it into my best of 2019 list if I had discovered it sooner, that's how much I enjoy it. Here's to disappear., and let's hope they stick around long enough for a follow-up.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Best of 2019

Well, 2019 came and went by in a flash. I am not sure what the future holds for OnexPath, we shall see. There's still plenty of 90s hardcore I want to share, so hopefully I will get around to it in 2020... The blogging scene seems pretty dead tho, so I am not sure if there's still a demand...

In any case, that hasn't stopped me from checking out (and buying) new releases and still being excited about hardcore and discovering new bands. In that respect, 2019 has been a pretty good year with a lot of good releases and exciting new bands popping up. For whatever reason I've been drawn to demo's more than anything else this year... I guess I just love discovering new bands, hah.

So here's the list, I managed to keep it down to 20 (hah), listed in alphabetical order... Enjoy!

Avow - 2019 demo
Ex-members of bands like xRepentancex and Firm Standing Law going into full-on Strife mode.

Enslave - Spiritual Authority & Temporal Power
90s inspired straight edge metalcore from Tatarstan, Russia.
Frame Of Mind - Irieshun
Frame Of Mind is dead, long live Frame Of Mind. Featuring one of my fave musicians right now on guitar, Ben Woolf, this should be mandatory listening material if you enjoy bands like Burn, Absolution and Eye For An Eye.

Guilt Trip - River Of Lies
A great follow-up to their 'Unrelenting Force' 7". Riffs and spinkicks.

Hellhook - No Retreat demo
Excellent Euro-inspired metalcore from Arizona.

Hell Of Self - s/t demo
Kickback-worship done right. This band crushes.

Inclination - When Fear Turns To Confidence
Excellent straight edge metallic hardcore. We want more!

Machette - Deal With The Devil
Great crossover from Nantes, France.

Magnitude - To Whatever Fateful End
This band plays 90s hardcore like no other band at the moment.

Moment Of Truth/Kruelty - The Beginning To The End split
Hard as nails deathmetalcore, for fans of old Japanese bands like Dyingrace and Second To None. Kruelty is s-i-c-k!

Mutually Assured Destruction - M.A.D.
Members of Fire & Ice, Bracewar and Break Away paying respect to 90s bands like Life Of Agony, Section 8 and Only Living Witness. So good!

Never Ending Game - Just Another Day
Detroit's hardest did a good demo some time ago, but this LP crushes it... My scrawny self shouldn't listen to this band, but fuck it. HARDCORE!

New Methods - Where We Go To Burn
Great catchy stuff. Would love to check out this band live. Their new promo dropped not too long ago and is also killer.

Null - Inferno
Great metalcore from Glasgow, UK. At first I thought it was alright, but man, this demo has grown on me a lot over time.

Rain Of Salvation - A War Outside And Within
Metallic straight edge hardcore. For fans of Turmoil and Despair.
Renounced - Beauty Is A Destructive Angel
They've become hardcore and heavier over time, and this album rules, hard.

Resilience - Demo 2019
Arkangel-inspired metallic hardcore from Switzerland. Nothing you haven't heard before, but I love it!

War By Other Means - The Damage/What It Once Was
More 90s hardcore inspired goodness. Somewhere between Outspoken and One King Down, WBOM needs to stay around for a proper release!

War Prayer - Spring 2019 demo
This demo is addictive as f*ck, sucks they've called it quits recently.

Watch Me Die - s/t demo
Heavy straight edge metalcore from London, UK. 'Human Damnation' is the straight edge anthem of 2019.

And that's after I had to drop a ton of bands off the list that all had releases worth checking out as well... Gulch, Combust, Excarnate, Cro-Mags, Chokehold, One Step Closer, Stages In Faith, Don't Trust A Soul, Abuse Of Power, Circle Back, Tausend Löwen Unter Feinden and so many more... It's mostly just that I've listened to the records listed above more than the ones that didn't make the list.

Lemme know in the comments what I should have added to the list... I feel like I haven't even heard half of the good stuff that was released this year!

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.