Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Some News and Converge's "Axe to Fall" Review

Before 2009 goes, it'd be a good chance to throw in a few reviews of records that were released  in 2009 and deserve a mention in this here blog, as they'll be too old to be included in the upcoming TYS print zine (out early 2010). I should also mention that in the next issue we won't be reviewing any records that were released in 2009 by bigger/corporate record labels, but we'll obviously still review DIY bands and labels that put out stuff during 2009, as these people get so much lesser exposure.
Converge - Axe to Fall (Epitaph/Deathwish)

-->So this new scorcher by Converge has been taunting me for a good 2 to 3 weeks now. I can't for the life of me decide whether I like this album or not. I mean, OK, before I listen to a Converge album I know it will be complex and weird as fuck, but this time I admit I was caught a bit off guard!
      -->To say that Converge play a chaotic mix of metalcore and post metal would be generalizing, as there are so many different musical elements incorporated into this album. I don't even know if any labels fit. I mean it flows from extreme and complex to dark and chilled and then all over again! Yet, this is Converge's most "universally acclaimed" album somehow, and could go down easy with any fan of extreme music.  It brings a  bit of Neurosis and Cave In (members of both bands appear on the recordings), so you can imagine that's it's a lot gloomier and more progressive.
      -->What is hardcore about this album?, you might ask. I guess it all comes down to the approach the band takes towards their music. They can really call this album their own, as they self-produce their records, make their own cover artwork, bring in lots of acclaimed musicians in the recording etc. Also, they always take many good hardcore bands as support acts with then on tour, and have their own (mainly) hardcore label, Deathwish Inc.
        -->As for me, well I think I'll stick to the more straightforward and hardcore stuff, but I'll throw this disc in when I'm in the mood for some progressive weird hardcore shit!

        Wednesday, December 16, 2009

        VODKA JUNIORS - The Dark Show - Live 18th Dec 2009

        True to their fans and their annual Xmas  meeting, the Vodka Jrs will hit the stage @ Gagarin this Friday, 18th December, for a night of punk rock mayhem!

        Being what I believe the best Greek punk rock band to date, the Vodka Juniors have developed the habit of delivering a hell of a show every time they play. Laid-back attitudes, drunken smiles and a mad mosh-pit should be expected amongst the attendants!

        This particular show, entitled The Dark Show, should be a bit of a surprise, as the band always has something new up its sleeve. So will it be a big party like most of their shows, or will it be more of a mellow night influenced by their last record Dark Poetry? I guess nobody knows, apart from VJ... so, like my grandma always sayz, just B THERE FOLKS!

        Price: 8 euros
        Place: Gagarin Club
        Doors Open @ 21.30
        Pre-sale: Rhythm Records Shop

        Monday, December 14, 2009

        POSITIVELY POSITIVE HARDCORE FEST - 19th December 2009

        Date: 19th Decempber 2009
        Place: An Club (www.anclub.gr)
        Price: 12 euros
        Time: Doors open at 21:00, Show strarts at 21:30
        Pre-Sale: No sir, just go straight at the door (or contact World's Appreciated Kitsch)
        Organizer: World's Appreciated Kitsch (http://wakhc.blogspot.com)
        Taste The Floor - www.myspace.com/tastethefloor
        Do Something Now - www.myspace.com/dosthnow
        I Want You Dead - www.myspace.com/iwantyoudeadhc
        Against All Odds - www.myspace.com/againstalloddsgr
        Inhuman Poison - (no website) 
        One good thing about Christmas is the  increase of shows, as people have more free time to make it to the shows, as well as the fact that so many people travel back into Athens for the holidayz. You could say there is an influx of hardcore kids and punks, and what better chance can you have to get together, than a Hardcore show taking place in the very middle of the city, and undoubtedly its most classic Punk venue, the An Club.

        So this is the 3rd continuous year  for Positively Positive Hardcore Fest (taking the name from a Good Clean Fun song) , which seems to grow into a bit of an institution over the years : a  DIY Hardcore mini-fest that takes place  around the Xmas period, kind of just before the year ends.This year is the most 'Greek' one so far, with  just one foreign band (Italy's Taste The Floor) and 4 Greek ones.

        * Taste The Floor are headlining the fest with their blend of fast fast fast HCpunk in the vein of  Scholastic Death, Vitamin X and DS-13. An unusual band to book for Greek standards, as opposed to the more metalcore or melodycore choices promoters usually take. Nice one! Let's hear some fast thrash and chug some green tea before moshing!

        * Do Something Now! is a relatively new band, but they're coming out strong as they contain members who are active in the scene for years, most notably Apostolis from WAK who also organizes this very fest. Their sound is a mix of hardcore/punk with some rock'n'roll elements.

        * I Want You Dead from Patra will bring it with some dark and heavy Hardcore. Comparisons to Integrity and Terror have been drawn, so... it should be good! Looking forward to their show as they contain members from that amazing streetcore band, the Oilers, let alone a friend who I haven't seen in a long time.

        * Against All Odds have been around for a good couple of years, playing a lot of live shows and delivering a solid brand of old school hardcore with a street-flavored touch. A down-to-basics Hardcore band, and that's the way it should be!

        * Finally, brand-new band Inhuman Poison will make their first appearance ever on-stage. It would be nice to give them a round of applause as they'll be breaking the ice. They play a mix of different styles (Tragedy and Comeback Kid are mentioned together in the press release!), so it should be pretty interesting... Therefore go to the show early!

        It's fucking cool to have small fests like these. It's a good time to get together and meet with friends old and new, have a few beers or just keep it clean and have a rocking good time moshing. We'll be reviewing a couple more shows that are coming down the line until the new year arrives, so bear with us..!

        Monday, December 7, 2009

        EVASION - Free to Roam!

        This morning I was going through a bag of old zines and books, and after getting my fingers really dirty, I remembered how much I love Evasion. If you're into living free, you should read Evasion. And yes, the book itself is free, too. But let's take things from the start.

        It's really hard to categorize Evasion. Is it "just" a book? Is it the person(s) behind the book? Is it a sort of movement? I for one, can't really say. I think it's probably all of the aforementioned things together.

        Published as a book by Crimethinc., Evasion was originally a 100-page photocopied zine documenting the tales, philosophy and lifestyle of being a (straightedge vegan) squatter. What makes Evasion so special, however, is that it is written by a person who has actually lived that lifestyle to the extreme, and who is able to defend it with solid arguments and real-life examples.

        So what is Evasion all about? Some of the themes the book goes into are traveling/squatting, freeganism and crime, as alternatives to homelessness, unemployment, poverty and worldwide society's many other ails. It takes personal action and activism to a whole new level, which is based on individualism and freedom. This book opposes boredom and negativity, being lame and uncreative while stuck in the modern slavery system of 9 to 5 . Most importantly, it shows how it can be done, and in a very compelling way. Here's a little extract from the introduction of the book:

        We left behind the other kids, their path -working, drinking, and being grown up- and rejected all that made them grumpy, uncreative and lifeless. We dumpstered, squatted and shoplifted our lives back. Everything fell into place when we decided our lives were to be lived. Life serves the risk taker. [...] Some of us read all day, others chanted and held signs, some were full-time defendants. Every day, and every plan and plot were a reaffirmation that our lives were our own.

        The above is just a small taste of what's about to follow in the book: tales extraordinaire, full of action, friendship, art, vandalism, philosophy, and punk rock. All that you may love about Punk and/or DIY is in this life-changing book. Even though it's been published since 2001, I urge people who haven't read Evasion to seek it out and do so... But wait a moment, you can have it for free here:

        Thanks, people. Now go out there and see what you can make of your anarcho-independent-skillz!

        Monday, November 30, 2009

        Delinquent Habits - Live @ Bios 28.11.09

        The Delinquent Habits must be up there in the hall of fame of hip-hop bands, not only for establishing their own brand of Latin-influenced hip-hop, but also for maintaining a solid presence for over 15 years!

        Their show last Saturday (28.11) totally justified their reputation as party animals and good entertainers. Starting only about 10 minutes after Knackleboul's set (the support act, hip-hop and beatbox from Switzerland), Delinquent Habits took no prisoners and marched straight into a set of funky-sounding yet streetwise hip-hop. It was cool to see them so energetic on stage, supporting what is possibly their best album to date, entitled The Common Man. One thing's for sure: they definitely have a lot to offer in today's saturated hip-hop industry which is all about the money etc.

        Ives Irie and the gang blew the crowd away with a series of hits old and new, only stopping every now and then to drink tequila and talk to the crowd. Countless shots were handed out to the crowd (a straight edger's nightmare), while the beats and the rhymes were landing on our heads one after the other.

        A band that has gone around and sold so much could easily behave like hip-hop superstars (which they are anyways), but that wasn't the case with the 3 Deliquentes: what we saw was a bunch of honest dudes doing their thing, and then selling their own CDs after the show, talking with the crowd and signing autographs. Even the speech that Ives gave towards the end of the show, about leaving the commercial BS outside and being thankful for having a community to belong to, was straight from the heart.

        So make sure you find the new CD The Common Man so you can party your way through it! It's some 43 minutes of straightforward hip-hop action.

        CREDS: pic 1 taken @ Marsatac Festival, Marseille by anonymous--pic 2 by Lucas Maeder. Both pics off the band's official Myspace Website.

        Saturday, November 28, 2009

        Faithreat - "Back To The Pit" album review

        I don’t think I’ve heard another Greek Thrashcore band, let alone a Greek band with good lyrics and a positive message!

        That’s how Faithreat goes out; Fast and straight to the point, no messing about whatsoever! And these fellas don’t beat about the bush musically: you get your first mosh -break just on 0:19 of the first song, while John (the singer) proudly yells: Thrash for yourself, not for your fucking sponsor! How cool is that?

        Also, let’s make sure this is not your mama’s Municipal Waste. OK, maybe some similarities can be drawn, but Faithreat is not in the copy-cat band category, as they owe more to DRI and even the Haunted (!) than they do to the aforementioned band. I can hear a lot of Slayer-ic guitar harmonies, which rules, of course, but also a definite two-step Hardcore sound (i.e. breaks, mosh-parts) that changes the whole game. After all, some of these guys used to play in the defunct all-school Hardcore band Disharmonic, so you could say they have cut their teeth doing this Hardcore s*it.

        I have to give props for the very good production sound, which is really fat and you can hear everything. For example, the double-bass pedal with its modest but very effective use!

        What I liked more about this album is the way certain words or phrases are spat in a spoken-word style over the music, kind of like.. Youth of Today, or Gorilla Biscuits maybe!? You know, phrases that have an extra meaning and stand out, and push the whole song forward. It's nice to hear a heartfelt posi quote while having your face melted by the extra-distorted bass! This is the type of s*it that makes exceptional bands. Moreover, the lyrics are simple, sincere, positive on the whole, and with something that comes out as an honest worry for this world, nature, wars etc. You know how it shows when some people just say it, while others truly mean it, and I firmly believe that Faithreat falls into the second category.


        Out collectively by the following labels:
        www.myspace.com/selfabuserecordsdiy (Self Abuse Records)
        www.myspace.com/athensthrashattack (Athens Thrash Attack Label)
        www.myspace.com/aristeos (True To The Game Records)
        www.myspace.com/keepitrealhc (World's Appreciated Kitsch Records)

        Monday, November 23, 2009

        Thanksgiving Jam - with HR from the Bad Brains!

        Talking about reasons one would like to be in California, and more specifically, OC: Well, how about shows like this one for a start!?

        All the above Hardcore (and Punk) old school dudes amaze their fans once again, by having the heart to go out on Thanksgiving Day and play a benefit show for the Eli Home (a non-profit home for abused children in OC). The whole positive message of Hardcore can be found in the acoustic performances of this show, even if the music itself is not Hardcore.

        HR of the Bad Brains is a true living legend, obviously belonging to a league of his own, while bouncing back and forth from Hardcore to Reggae. The Rastafari Icon's latest input is Hey Wella, an entertaining mix of Reggae, Hardcore, Metal and Hip Hop out on DC Hardcore. Definitely worth checking out!

        Walter Schreifles
        , which is known in Hardcore from his time in old school straight edge favorites Gorilla Biscuits, but also Quicksand and Rival Schools, will also be giving an acoustic performance, which to him is nothing new: check out his acoustic cover on Agnostic Front's Society Suckers below!

        Along with the two aforementioned musicians (being the 2 more closely related to the type of Hardcore we @ T.Y.S. cover), the lucky attendants will also watch performances by Jonah Matranga of the band FAR, Jeff Pezzati from Chicago's old timers Naked Raygun, and Steve Soto of one of the most old school and pioneering punk rock bands, the Adolescents.

        It's nice to see the worldwide Hardcore Community being there for those in need. It's nice to see some older dudes still caring, and not resting on their laurels and/or selling out. Props to these people!

        Organizer: The Wishing Well Crew, www.wishingwellcrew.com
        Note: We'd like to apologize for uploading the article a day or two after the show--we decided it was worth to check out anyway!

        Saturday, November 21, 2009

        Old School Classics: CRO-MAGS "Age of Quarrel" - Part 1

        Welcome to Take Your Shot webzine's new section, where we will be reviewing old(er), classic old school records that made an impact and deserve to be heard by EVERYONE! All kinds of people will be reviewing all kinds of stuff, so feel free if you want to send a review of your own favorite Hardcore or Hip Hop old school classic. OK, so we know some of these records are "too" classic, but this stuff is fun to write man, and basically we just want to bring a few old school gems back to the spotlight. So Let's Go!
        What better place to start than the Cro-Mags seminal Age of Quarrel, a Hardcore record that still influences the genre and rocks hard some 23 years after its release. We could easily argue that this album is the pinnacle of Hardcore Music, when it was fresh, angry, and intimidating. Hardcore bands all over the world site The Cro-Mags as one of their main influences, and you can still hear the sound created in Age of Quarrel everywhere today. As Danny from North Side Kings put it in Take Your Shot #1, "anyone who doesn't recognize this sound, should get a brick smashed in their face"!

        The album kicks in with We Gotta Know, and Mackie Jaysons super-phat drumbeat clocking in with the full-drive guitar&bass distortion. It's definitely one of the strongest intros ever in HC, the type that forces you to press "repeat" 4 or 5 times, and gets the wannabe bands copying... Then when the mid-tempo intro stops, it's time for war, my friend, and about half an hour of non-stop, circle-pit, frantic Hardcore music!

        Now imagine it's 1986 and the heaviest/fastest band on the planet is... Wait a minute, really--who!? On the Metal side there are the likes of Venom, Slayer, Bathory, Sodom etc. On the Punk/Hardcore side there is definitely the UK Discharge sound and Agnosic Front with their Victim In Pain masterpiece. And now, with this album, HARDCORE is truly established: it is separated from Punk (because it's waaaay faster/heavier), and set apart from Metal (because there is no f*cking theatrical interplay involved): Just a no-frills, in-your-face street sound. Of course: That's the sound of the Cro-Mags!

        Musically the album is like a ten-ton hammer landing on your head, but lyrically, it is divided in two separate parts: the "Fuck you, we are the Cro-Mags and we're gonna punch your lights out" side (Street Justice, Hard Times, Survival of The Streets); And there is the other side of the coin, which is the Hare-Krishna inspired, spiritual identity of the Cro-Mags (that also inspired thousands of others in turn). Songs like Seekers of the Truth and We Gotta know are classic examples of Bhagavad-Gita mentality. Even the very title of the album is drawn from Hindu philosophy: "Age of Quarrel" refers to "Kali Yuga", a Hindu term that means "Times of Degeneration". Srila Prabupada, inventor of the Hare Krishna movement, often used the term Age of Quarrel in his public speeches.

        Back in 1986, it must have been shocking for the scene (and the music world in general) to encounter a bunch of tough, tattooed NY kids doing this totally "in-your-face" thing with no compromise! Age of Quarrel brought so much into the world of music and has become that much of a classic, that it transcends the boundaries of Hardcore and can be found in all kinds of extreme music fans' record collections. The specific characters that made up the Cro-Mags are the very essence of the Cro-Mags legend: the people behind the massive wall of noise and hard-ass attitude. People like Harley Flanagan and John Joseph, as well as Mackie Jayson and Parris Mayhew to a lesser extent, are Hardcore icons that have influenced everything as we know it in Hardcore today. But their individuality also sparked a war between them, a war that has gone on for years and years, and has created so many other projects, influential bands, professional musicians, bookwriters etc. But that's just something that will have to be continued another time, in another article!

        F- T.Y.S.

        Monday, November 16, 2009

        Stigma - "New York Blood" video!

        You all know Vinny Stigma as the guitarist from the Godfathers of NY Hardcore, Agnostic Front. After almost 30 years of paying his dues in Hardcore and Punk, this legendary personality has just released his 1st solo album entitled New York Blood on I Scream Records!

        This is the video for the song NY Blood. A true NYHC flavored street-punk anthem!


        Saturday, November 14, 2009

        Live Show: No Turning Back, Eden Demise, Tardive Dyskinesia

        (click on image for bigger view)

        Place: An Club (www.anclub.gr)
        Price: 12 euros
        Time: 21:30
        Pre-Sale: Nope, just go straight at the door.
        Organizer: World's Appreciated Kitsch (http://wakhc.blogpsot.com)
        NO TURNING BACK (http://www.myspace.com/noturningbackhardcore)
        EDEN DEMISE (http://www.myspace.com/edendemise)
        TARDIVE DYSKINESIA (http://www.myspace.com/tardivedyskinesia)

        If you listen to Hardcore, you probably know who No Turning Back is: one of the most-hard-hitting, but also most hard-working Hardcore bands in the world! Coming from Holland, they have nothing less compared to the big US bands that make the way. So it's definitely a pleasure to see them again in Athens! Last year their show was amazing: nice long set full of mosh, good vibes, nice merch... All good!

        Eden Demise hails from Athens and I couldn't think of a better support choice for NTB. With their NY-influenced metallic Hardcore, they will definitely be IN THERE, wrecking shit with their beatdowns and thugcore/hip-hop approach!

        When you go to a show and the 1st band is opening, things are pretty slow. Well, this won't be the case with Tardive Dyskinesia and their crazed bulldozing mathcore! Sounding like the heaviest Hardcore band but just about X10 more technical, they deliver the goods and leave you wandering WTF?
        All in all, this is a proper Hardcore show and it seems like everything is set for a good turn out, and a fun time for Hardcore fans! Proving that Hardcore is better, and heavier, gigs like this are just the evidence that this style of music is alive and kicking in this m/f country!!!

        Monday, November 9, 2009

        ZAO - Awake?

        ZAO (Greek for "alive") have surely gone down like legends in Hardcore music history. Coming up in the mid-90s, they were one of the bands that formed the extreme side of what we call post-hardcore. I think they've managed to be one of the most special bands of that period not only due to their brutal sound, but also for the weird, dark spirituality and sense of unease they generate.

        This is ZAO's new killer record and as the sticker on the CD says, they're back to "unnerve and provoke". And this they do: The best thing for me is Daniel Weyandt's vocals, a mix of black metal screams spat out with brutal hardcore monstrosity. At the same time, the music is dark heavy hardcore style, definitely metal-influenced but with no interludes, electronics or fake metal production. In fact, the production sounds really thick and warm, which is best-fitting for this style.

        But Awake? is not just pummeling hardcore music; The album is filled from front to back with great discordant guitar work, some very well-put clean vocals/spoken parts, and constantly changing metallic drumming. In fact I don't think I heard one hardcore drum-beat going on, which is good: keep things mid-tempo and heavy!

        Last but not least, the lyrics are dark, pessimistic, sometimes incomprehensible, but they so fit in well with the music (you won't understand a word unless you have the lyric sheet). But these words ooze with a sadness of the skeptic, the person who feels life and is immersed in it..

        What's most important is that this record is an entity: it has 10 memorable songs that grow on you and leave you wanting more of Awake?. I personally always play the CD more than once in a row when I put it in the stereo (maybe 2, 3 times). After all, Awake? is complex enough for you to invest your time in listening to it again and again.

        Wednesday, November 4, 2009

        November 2009 update!

        So.. 2008 & 2009 were 2 really a slow years for Take Your Shot! But we're back!

        To be honest I personally never ever considered this mag dead, maybe more like a project that had been been stuck in the freezer for a while. What's important though, is that T.Y.S. is officially back on the map, and shit's about to seriously bust!

        We've started working on the new issue, which is definitely not going to be just Hardcore music. In the last few years, musical horizons have been somewhat broadened, and I think it's definitely worth it to present more stuff than just HC. Not that T.Y.S will turn all MTV-like (as if), just that there will be other styles of music featured, as long as they are something we @ T.Y.S can dig.

        Of course we're still interested in new and/or unsigned bands from everywhere, so please send all your demos and CDRs and all that, to the address written on the blog's information next to this column you're reading. We'll definitely hear that shit and feature it on the next mag or even here on this blog.

        This web-page will also be more active. Many record, band, and label reviews/interviews will be posted here on a frequent basis, so keep checking back! I think we'll have some of the most interesting, energetic, thought provoking music going on here, so as Ice-Cube says, check yo self!

        Take Your Shot is back!