It’s been a few years I haven’t listened to records online before buying them. I’m trying more and more to follow my instincts and pick records depending on the cover, the name of the band, the label. It’s like when playing RPG video games, at first you use cheat codes and walk-through but there’s a point when you really want to play, to get the fun out of it, so you just play and do what you think it’s best.

However, there are​ some bands you can’t go wrong with, you know that record after record you might not get something utterly transcending but you’ll get the same good stuff. If the band is a top notch player, you know you’re going in a good direction anyways. That’s what I call the Obituary effect. Each new Obituary record is always an Obituary record and it’s always great.

Foreseen is totally that kind of bands. When you see “Foreseen” on a record, you know what you will spin, a Foreseen records. No surprise, no embarrassing experiment, just Foreseen.

 

The band has been really active for the last few years, after a slow but steady start, they found their cruising speed, and it’s a good one. Since Helsinki Savagery, it’s been a record per year. Delivering that thrashing hardcore, taking only the best from the Crossover and Thrash metal elite.

It’s amazing how Scandinavian people always master the Metal and Punk genre more than any other countries, even Americans. For instance, this year another Crossover banger saw the light of the day: Nightmare Logic by Power Trip. Well, even though these two bands don’t play exactly the same kind of music, the Finnish band is way up ahead quality wise. The same goes for Municipal Waste, which are seen as current leaders in that game, but that migh only be because Foreseen is only under Hardcore kids’ radar.

 

So, you might say there’s no surprise here. Well, musically and writing-wise, not at all. There’s no down tempo or holes in the record, just the regular fast and aggressive Metal influenced Punk they always played. With those crazy solos popping out all the time, head-stomping mosh parts and really well written riffs. There’s a little more heavy metal influences, less “mosh songs” and interludes. I’d say it’s more “to the point” than Helsinki Savagery but there are not too many unsettling novelties either. Also, it’s more for the moshers than the thrashers this time, like the song Bloodline that would turn any emo kid into a crowd killer.

Concerning lyrics, they are still hardcore lyrics, social commentaries, no phony business -even on Suicide Bomber which I was afraid about but was alright after all-, to the point. Just like their music, lyrics were not something to complain about and it’s unchanged on this new record, which is good to me.

 

That being said, I’m kind of disappointed by the production of this record. Not to the point it becomes a despicable release at all, but if there’s a bad side on this new full lentgth, it’s definitely this one.

First of all, where’s the reverb/delay on the whole thing ? Since when did they stop playing in a cathedral ? I can assure you it changes the atmosphere of the music, it has lost this creepy and gloomy feeling. The sound on this one is more bland so to say. It’s not a pop record either but it’s way cleaner than anything they’ve put out before, a bit too much if you ask me. I think the sound quality and production on Helsinki Savagery, with all the unfiltered parasite noises left there on purpose, fitted more to their music.

 

Also, solos are more in the background, with less effects and mixed at the same sound level than the rest of the record, while on the previous release they were covering the whole sound and that was way more interesting in my opinion. Maybe it’s a reference to some obscure Metal records that I surely don’t know about but I’m less into it, because this noisy and full of parasites quality was kind of a trademark.

It might be weird to like a song when you don’t understand a single thing about what’s happening but that’s my kind of stuff, and they sort of lost it on this release, but for nothing in return. They just lost something interesting and didn’t replace it somehow, since the music and everything else stayed the same. I don’t want to say Audiosiege had some part in changing their sound but maybe it’s a good clue for that change of production. It’s only a theory!

 

This LP is definitely a banger for me though! Still good Foreseen stuff that I spin with a lot of pleasure, as always with the Finnish. And one of the best releases of the year for sure, way ahead of any American Thrash Metal/Crossover band. I’m glad there are still bands like these for which I know I won’t be afraid of what I’ll discover when they release new records. Foreseen is still a good pick even though they choose a cleaner path.

 

Get a copy of that LP on the store

 

Label : Svart Records / 20 Buck Spin records

Year : 2017

Tracklist :

1.Violent Discipline

2.Chemical Heritage

3.Fearmonger

4.Bloodline

5.Downward Spiral

6.Grave Danger

7.Government Cuts

8.Suicide Bomber

 

FFO : 85′ Possessed/Early D.R.I/Overkill

 

 

As our boss’ band is going on tour with the Tucson, Arizona’s Powerviolence heavy players, Sex Prisoner for their first European experience, I thought the timing was good to review their latest LP. If one of you European head wants to attend one of the shows and don’t have a clue of what you’re about to witness, it could come in handy.

 

Powerviolence is a touchy subject for me. It’s among one of my favorite types of hardcore, and like 90’s metalcore, I always try to expend my knowledge as much as possible which turns me into a picky sour grape sometimes. Especially when it comes to LPs.

Writing a Powerviolence LP is a hard task in my opinion. Because unlike “regular” hardcore records, you sometimes have to write twice more songs to make it worth releasing on a 12’’ due to the ridiculously short length of some tracks. Unlike grindcore records, you can’t hide behind the heavy musicianship metal requiries, because in my opinion, that’s what separates grindcore from Powerviolence. Just the same than Metal from Hardcore. In both cases, the point is to avoid being boring, repetitive or worse, embarrassing.

Spazz, Infest and DropDead are for me, the kind of bands that succeeded at reaching that goal without any doubt. As a result they are my point of reference to analyse other Powerviolence LPs. Read here: they found the correct formula to create interesting fast/short music without being sketchy or just plain boring.

 

The “problem” with Sex Prisoner, is that they are spearheading this new wave of Powerviolence, with big names like Weekend Nachos and ACxDC. It’s an important point to keep in mind since, with their previous records, they changed how this whole genre of hardcore sounds. But on the other hand, they are still a spawn of these 3 aforementioned bands, meaning that with this first LP, they are still on proving ground. They are the craftsmen of the evolution Powerviolence is going through but they also need to confirm they can go past the LP challenge.

Another thing to consider is that their previous releases were on labels like To Live A Lie Records and Bad Teeth Recordings, which in this PV game are already high level labels and an immediate quality seal. This new LP was released through Deep Six Records, which is the kind of labels I trust blindly. With all that in hands, it sounds like an unbeatable success.

 

To begin with, the name of the LP is great. A reference to Blade Runner is easily grappling me, and it’s the kind of things I could buy even though the band would be unknown to me. At this point, I didn’t even spin the LP yet but I was already hooked.

If this new wave of Powerviolence is reknown for something, it’s for the heaviness, the sludgy down tempo parts and the muddy sound. Sex Prisoner is indeed a prime example of it, since 2009 they are bringing the heaviest guitar sound they can possibly do. But where they differ from other big names in the PV genre is that they still kept a light punk vibe. Compared to Weekend Nachos for instance, you can reckon they tried to incorporate something more than just sheer heaviness. That was their touch, keeping that punk spirit close. Or closer than the others do.

Damn, I wasn’t disappointed there. They put some more mud in the sound while paying a good homage to the classics (read Discharge regarding this LP) which is what I’m waiting for when I see « Sex Prisoner » written on a record. So we still got the blasts, the braindead down tempos and the crust. What could go wrong ?

 

Let’s say that a track like « Lullaby » is a prime example of being wrong to me. I pay a lot of attention to original ideas, to new stuff coming from outside the hardcore realm and how it’s incorporated. And I have literally no problem with bands taking inspiration from the True Norwegian Black Metal and its tortured riffs, as long as it doesn’t sounds cheap or misplaced. In this case, and as it’s in the middle of the LP, it is puzzling. Once again I admire the effort of trying, but it sound a bit like they weren’t sure of what they were doing and threw it there like “well, whatever happens happens”. Like a chicken manipulating a uranium bar somehow.

That was my opinion until « Church Key » hit me. This might be my favorite song from the LP, because this is typically the kind of things I want to hear on a LP : using influences outside hardcore and nailing them like it’s natural. This intro riff and the following one are amazing. They are well thought out and over all, they don’t sound like second hand “original” ideas. but like they knew what they were doing. Coupled to those classic down tempos, it’s just the perfect combination to create some “yo, we matured” material ; LP material. The downside is that they only tryed it twice and only one of them worked fine.

 

But, given the fact I can’t deplore any filler song and the general quality of the LP is really high, I easily pass through those little disappointments. Because for me, they nailed it. They nailed the LP trial. They literally set an example for the new generation on how to write modern Powerviolence. Riffs are great. Just heavy enough and avoiding the disgusting ignorant “we play heavy riffs for no reasons” attitude. The quality of the sound production is on point, not too clean but yet pretty understandable.

And the lyrics. You can see Kevin Kennedy tried to step his game up and that’s really interesting if you compare to their other material. I’m also glad they experimented with the sound in general. They made it noisier, gloomier but didn’t fall into the trap of an overproduced record nonetheless.

If I was pretty much optimistic about this record, I’m definitely satisfied with what I listened to. It’s not an “at least I haven’t been let down” release, for me it’s a really good release. It shows that hardcore can evolve and we certainly didn’t go full circle with it, even though there are some little problems here and there with failed experimentations. They definitely didn’t stick to what they knew, or stayed in their comfort zone, and brought some fresher ideas to the mix with this full length. Last year, it was definitely in my top ten, and it’s totally a record that will withstand the test of time for me.

 

Get the LP on the store

 

Label : Deep Six Records / RSR Records

Year : 2016

Tracklist :

1.Final Judgement

2.Shoulders Straight

3.Ghost Hit

4.Loaded Dice

5.Creaking Door

6.Underbite

7.Story Time

8.Nos Cadenas

9.Lullaby

10.Midnight

11.Cauldron Of Hate

12.Lamp Lighter Inn

13.Church Key

14.Delocated

15.Half Smile

16.Trichotillomania

 

FFO : Crossed Out / Hatred Surge / Infest

 

 

Free-Ex-Tenebris

“Behold, Have Heart have been brought back from the ashes and shall be known as Free.”

At least it’s how the Boston band were served to me, a reincarnation of the mourned and long lost Have Heart. I don’t want to start a fire here, but it’s not totally true, in fact, it’s more a gentle cross between everything Verse should have done and everything Have Heart shouldn’t have.

It’s not a bad thing what I’m stating here, because it’ll clear the table : don’t expect something supposed to follow Songs To Scream At The Sun, because it is not. It’s a new band, that has to make themselves a name for what they are, a new band. This 7” is pretty much a new tentative to achieve this task, and at first, I was confused.

I was pretty pumped by the demo they released in 2015, it took a different path from what bothered me on the last Have Heart record and I found it interesting to say the least, so I was expecting more for this new release, a step higher if you want, and believe me, I literally felt down at the first spin. The first thing that came to my mind was they were doing the exact same mistake as before, trying to play a heartfelt kind of hardcore, as Turning Point did in the end, but just delivering some cheesy and overly melodramatic gum that is just sticky.

But I didn’t gave up, to appreciate a record, you have to spin it. And there, at this precise moment, I found the whole problem this record got : a filler song. You see, usually on a four tracks 7” EP, it’s pretty hard to put a filler song, as hard as it is not to put some in a 12” LP, because you usually have enough material to choose what you want to put on that said 7”. Well, maybe they didn’t choose the right song, or they were out of ideas, but that “Equity Head” song, just nope. It crystallizes everything I couldn’t bear on Have Heart at the end of their career and it’s actually what bugged me at first because you can definitely hear this song has nothing to do here. But I wanted to be fair, so I played the record multiple times, and I came by the same result !

But what a relief, it just make the other songs way more enjoyable, because if “Equity Head” is as itself everything I couldn’t stand with late Have Heart, the rest of the vinyl is definitely some quality original Free songs, with these bluesy parts and that Outspoken/Undertow intensity. It honestly feels like a good breath of fresh air, you can even hear some influences from their Sweet Jesus project, which is more than welcomed. Indeed the lyrics are on point, thanks to Pat Flynn as always I assume, with “May I Be I ?” being the best of his work to me.

So if this Ex Tenebris EP experience started badly and spawned the ghost of Have Heart’s mistakes, it’s definitely far from that, and I got to admit I’m pretty impressed by this 7” that just build the identity of the band as it was intended to happen. Even though I have to deplore that filler song, it’s easily covered by the quality of the other compositions.

 

Get the 7″ on the store.

 

Label : Triple B records

Year : 2017

Tracklist :
1.Sisyphus
2.Out of Darkness
3.Equity Head
4.May I Be I

 

FFO : Outspoken / Late Turning Point / Undertow

 

Search-BETWEEN THE LINES — Revelation Records —

It was a year ago or two, that Tim McMahon (Singer of Search and mostly renown for having fronted Mouthpiece) asked on Instagram (and maybe other social media) if anyone wanted to start a new hardcore band. I don’t now if Search was born at this moment but apparently he found some friends to mess around. And it’s not “random” friends that answered the call. You got the best New Jersey’s players from the nineties, people from Floorpunch, Turning Point and Resurrection to name their most prominent accomplishment.

With a line up like that, I didn’t have high expectations. Don’t get me wrong, I just mean that I knew it would sound like it was ’97 all over again, and I didn’t get anything more. And I’m totally fine with that, the dudes know their jobs and they do it perfectly. It’s clearly not the record of the year for me, but you got 6 songs between Twin Killing and What Was Said, it’s efficient, it’s not cheesy, perfectly straight forward and it’s on Revelation Records, what else ?

When you’re good at something, keep doing it, sometimes it’s just for the better.

FFO : Do you remember hardcore ? Well they do.

 

Get the 7″ on the store.

 

 — Second Guess Records —
It’s so sick and refreshing to see familiar faces getting together with some new faces to start a new band. Culture Shock feature members of other Adelaide bands Reactions and Level but bring a different sound to the table with a much more slam based approach. Similar to something you’d find on the roster of labels like Triple B or Mosher’s Delight. This demo is a breath of fresh air from a city that is often criticized for being stale, seeing them play live the songs translate well and are a lot of fun. 6 tracks of no filler, all killer hardcore made for slamming, with such a strong demo a new release will hopefully be not too far off.

 

 

— Seventh Day records 

Vegan Straight Edge Youth Crew is quite the mouthful but Fearless from Sydney are looking at breathing new life into a genre that hasn’t had much love in Australia. Their sound is remiss of something you’d find on the early React! Or Livewire records, but what makes this demo stand out, amongst other bands of the style, is the lyrical content; the first song consumer chains discussing the consumerist modern society in which we’re all trapped in, Inhumane discussing the need to protect animal life’s through changing diets and Force for Change being about the need to create a inclusive scene that’s representative of all genders not just males. Overall it’s easily of the best youth crew bands to come of the country in the last few years and worth a listen even if youth crew isn’t normally your thing.

Fearless Facebook

 

 

— Last Ride records —

Following up from their split released last year with Controlled from Sydney,Primitive Blast return with two songs of pure Caveman hardcore bliss.

Released to coincide with their national tour with Angel Du$t, the two song promo perfectly showcases their unique brand of modern hardcore. Soundwise it lands somewhere between Boston hardcore and the grunts of a Neanderthal dragging his dinner back into his cave.

This demo is highly recommended for those living the raw life, expect the 7” out in the hopefully not too distant future.

This year performing at UNITED BLOOD FEST!

 

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