Saturday, October 18, 2008

NO WARNING - Suffer, Survive

Suffer, Survive
Warner Bros. Records

No Warning combines hardcore and metal in a manner that grabs your attention and never lets go for the duration of “Suffer, Survive” ending up as something of a mix between labelmates Linkin Park and Suicidal Tendencies in terms of the band’s overall sound.

This mix comes off as being a lot tougher than it sounds, with “Modern Eyes” coming off like a bag of gravel in flight through mid-air, coarse and uneven, but weighty and bruising upon impact. Vocalist Ben Cook can let loose with an angst filled blast of verbal venom just as easily as he can launch into a highly tuneful refrain, abrasive as his delivery may be.

Catchy choruses never hurt, and this record is filled with those. Riffs are designed for maximum force, whether ringing chords or chugging mosh-inciting power rhythms. No Warning are at their finest when they let loose inhibitions and just bust the music out, which makes it such a pleasant surprise that there’s not a clunker in the bunch here.

Each of the songs on “Suffer, Survive” has the ability to get your neck snapping’ and your body moving, regardless of your own personal musical tastes. This is a band that has the personality of a Daisy Cutter, the chops to back it up and most of all, ass kicking jams that will have you counting the days until they arrive to destroy your local concert venue.

Written By: Musclehead

Saturday, October 11, 2008

SWORN ENEMY - The Beginning Of The End

The Beginning Of The End
Abacus Recordings

There’s little question as to where Sworn Enemy fits into the extreme music landscape. Playing an upfront form of modern hardcore with a serious helping of highly metallic riffs, this is a style that was once known as crossover music, best represented by bands like D.R.I.

Due to the emergence of even more extreme forms of the metal, hardcore vocals were required to evolve toward being even more abrasive, most likely as a result of crossover bands sharing the stage with metal groups whose fans were more accepting of the style than the punk crowd.

Although artists and fans at times bemoan the stereotypical classifications that crop up when a band harbors a specific set of identifying attributes, such generalizations are impossible to avoid in the case of Sworn Enemy.

Like following a recipe, the group has thrown together x and x ingredients, namely gruff, angry white boy barking, neck-snapping guitars that alternate between bullet train chugging and jagged, Slayer-flavored dual-axe strafes. Thick breakdowns and jackhammer bursts of energy alternate as the group slams it down during strength-laden outings such as “Scared Of The Unknown”, “All I Have” and “Absorb The Lies.”

Thematically, the group touches on somewhat predictable subjects, among them the topics of unity, pride and mental vigor and determination. This is the flag of the movement whereas the music reflects the constitution of an entire scene. It is refreshing to find that Sworn Enemy is interested in giving the fans something that digs a bit deeper into the old-school as most bands today merely reference bands like Biohazard and Pro-Pain when seeking to build up a measure of New York tough-guy credibility.

Instead, Sworn Enemy steers their music in more of a thrash metal direction, a sound preferable to many metalheads whom never quite understood the actual nature of hardcore music and it’s roots, which are firmly embedded in punk rock.

You’ll find no pseudo-rapping or hip-hop thrown into this mix either, with tracks such as “Beginning Of The End”, “No Second Chances” and “We Hate” all serving as sufficient grounds for throwing elbows and making the pit rough.

In terms of being a cohesive outfit, Sworn Enemy assuredly has their act down pat. The styles of the players as individuals mesh together in a most excellent fashion. “The Beginning Of The End” is a recording that finds Sworn Enemy sticking with their guns and busting out they type of music that fans expect.

To pair this band up with the like-minded moshcore acts like Throwdown or Hazardous Waste would make for a no holds barred skankfest on the concert trail. If these guys can execute this material with the vigor captured on this recording, many of these songs are going to be the scapegoat for plenty of bloody noses and that’s exactly what the fans expect. While it doesn’t break any fresh ground, it delivers that which is promised without remorse or lament, making it exactly the type of album that fans have been hanging on tenterhooks for.

By: xkingofallcorex

TERROR - Lowest Of The Low

Lowest Of The Low
Trustkill Records

A reissue of Terror’s first full length, originally released on Bridge 9 Records shows the group could lay the hardcore smackdown just as well in their early days as they do so well today. No nonsense, stripped down tracks like “Don’t Need Your Help” and “Keep Your Distance” were made to get the crowd pumped, and it’s hard to imagine a mosh pit not breaking out during intense ragers like the skull pounding “Push It Away” or the ultra energetic “Life And Death”.

Live favorite “What Have We Done” is represented both in its original version and in a violent rendition portrayed on the live portion of the disc, which was recorded in Tokyo and originally released on Alliance Trax in Japan. Fans also get a chance to check out the band’s side of their Deathwish Records split seven inch with Ringworm, as “Out Of My Face” and “Nothing To Lose” are represented here as well. The tracks that were cut live in Tokyo are excellent, imparting the true energy and out of control insanity that is a Terror live performance. “Push It Away” stands tall as one of Terror’s toughest live tracks, while “Keep Your Distance” closes things out with an aggressive burst of energy.

Also of note is the group’s studio rendition of Dag Nasty’s “What Can I Say” that seethes with all of the intensity of the original. The record contains some hype, refurbished cover art as well as all of the lyrics to the songs, including liner notes giving the story behind each track. If you consider yourself a fan of true hardcore and you haven’t checked Terror out as of yet – What in the Hell is the matter with you?

This is mandatory hardcore shit right here.

Written By: xkingofallcorex


New Deception
Inner Strength Records

TZN is a group which sounds more core than it really is due to the fact that the bass drum is less than prominent in the mix. What you are hearing from the drums is a lot of snare, a lot of cymbal and a bit of the aerial toms. In terms of speed, you have to respect their use of souped-up pseudo blast beats which emphasize some very traditional sounding metal riffs of several different styles.

Having said that, the drums could certainly be much louder and with a bit more compression and maybe a juicier sounding set of hats. So many things end up sounding less like Lamb Of God and more like Winter Solstice because of it. Axe-wise, The Zimmerman Note has a lot of great things happening here.

Most types of metal and hardcore fans will get into the grinding riffs and wicked scales fairly quickly. The group can also kick things up a notch in the technical department performance-wise. The MCD is also successful of striking at the root of things without becoming a sleeper in terms of arrangement and overall songwriting. All of these tracks fit very well together. The packaging contains a map, which is always handy when you’re out cruising around selected areas of France, Belgium and Germany. Seriously, it is.

Lyrically, you’ll find this record to be angry and impressionistic. Topically, for instance, this is some pretty heavy matter that might be interpreted in a many number of ways. Considering the five track collection’s packaging, one might believe that the thematic substance of intent is war. If so, these meanings are underlying in many areas of the recordings whereas generalizations and random thoughts are often conjoined.

But irregardless of all of these factors, if you enjoy metal and you’re looking to get your ass kicked with some extraordinarily slamming, heavy music, ‘New Deception’ will do the trick quite nicely. These songs all jam pretty well in a unique manner and the band members each put forth a good amount of individual effort.

If you listen to a lot of weak music or think Roses Are Red is a really heavy band, then The Zimmerman Note may be just a tad too abrasive, heavy and blissfully deep for you.

Written By: Musclehead