Thursday, December 30, 2010

Songs That Rocked The Place: the 'Hazard brings on the "Punishment".

Hey everyone! Welcome to the last post for 2010 and this new section of TYS entitled Songs that Rocked the Place. Within this new section, we will be taking a look at great songs from the past (90s, 80s, whatever) that made an impact on the world through hardcore. We're talking about the stuff that the older dudes will surely remember, while the newer kids kind of need to know if they haven't discovered that shit already. We will also be taking a quick look at the context behind the songs, the bands that made them etc.

We'll close up shop for 2010 in an epic way, with the absolute hardcore classic "Punishment" by 90s hardcore/metal kings, Biohazard. It comes off the 1992 "Urban Discipline", for some Biohazard's best record ever. A lot of people will never recognize Biohazard as a hardcore band and focus on the fact they were a mainstream band (signed on Roadrunner, Warner and all those $$$ labels). These people should just chill out and see the fact that, at this point in time, Biohazard was nothing else but 4 young hard dudes from NYC who played heavy, groovy NYHC. Check the song out for yourself and you'll see what I'm talking about. Give Biohazard some credit!

OK so the video was an absolute classic back in the day. It featured frequently on the Headbanger's Ball show on MTV, which I waited for to start around 02:00 am, pressed REC and then jumped in bed so I could watch it the next day (Friday) after school. The first time I saw this video, and I think I must have been an instantly hooked.

So what about the hardcore history lesson behind this video? Well I think that this type of mid-tempo, heavy hardcore style (yes, with rap elements) really set the style for 90s hardcore and all the heavy-ass shit that was about to follow in the next years. At this point, if you wanted to say you played hardcore, you needed a lot of attitude to back it up and these guys just had it. Hardcore and badass attitude have gone together for a long time ever since--you could kind of blame Biohazard!
Bringin on the punishment like no other

Also... can you spot all the well known hardcore dudes from the 90s NYHC scene? I never knew before, but I've just spotted Merauder, Skarhead, 25 Ta Life and VOD members. What the hell, this is some cool shit! This is a great song, enjoy it with the great lyrics & video!

Oh, and happy 2011!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Suicidal Tendencies - 'No Mercy Fool!/The Suicidal Family' Review (2010)

OK, so we did the Suicidal 2010 video snippet; we posted the new video for "Come Alive"; now it's time to go take a look at the real thing and do a review of the new CD, "No Mercy Fool!/The Suicidal Family"*.

Well for starters, the new CD rocks fucking hard. It's just what you need from a band with the legacy of Suicidal Tendencies. Truth is that this album is not exactly new per se: it is a re-recorded mix of the best songs from two separate 1980s albums the ST family produced back then. Half of the songs come from the ST classic "Join The Army", while the second half of the album is covers of another band comprised of ST memers, the legendary thrashcore pioneers No Mercy. I know a covers album may sound like a bit of a weird thing to some of you. However ST has always been walking off the beaten track, renewing their sound in strange ways, and coming up with unexpected album releases. So yeah, this is all 80s tracks re-recorded (except from "Come Alive"), but it is all good and definitely worth your attention!

The ST 'side' of the record (the 1st half) I'm quite familiar with; I practically grew up listening to ST and "Join The Army" is one of the records I played to death back in the day. So what does this sick 80s stuff sound like in 2010? Well let me tell you it sounds better than ever! ST, with a new crew of - excellent - players in their rhythm section, sound tighter and more technical than they have probably ever been. The bass is on the frontline, with crazy little slap bass solos everywhere, which are only exceeded by Dean Pleasant's ultra-fast guitar lead outbursts. It's all done in a proper old school hardcore tradition; the guitar solos are thrown in like thunders in a mad back to back exchange with the vocals. Perfect! This is truly badass Californian hardcore, like no one else plays it.
Suicidal 2010: Funk it up then Punk it up

I haven't been as familiar with No Mercy to be honest. However, when I was growing up listening to punk and hardcore, it was a name we would see written on magazines and on ST inlays and we knew they were totally old-school, and a cult band to say the least. Also, they were pioneers of the whole crossover (punk/metal) genre. Their stuff on this CD is fucking awesome; heavier, faster and crazier than Suicidal. That's quite a thing! Forget the slap bass here, there's no time for that. Just straight on punk metal pounding with an extra sarcastic dark feeling! Wow... I haven't heard something this good in a long while. I'd dare to say that it beats the ST side of the record. You just have to go for it and listen to this shit and then you'd believe me. All this thrashcore, metal punk, whatever mix out there today, it has definitely been influenced by what we hear on this little CD. History revisited.

Last but not least, I'd like to mention that Cyco Miko gives a perfect vocal performace in all of those songs, thus giving that essential, distinctive madman ST flavor. They can't do it without him!
Mike 'Cyco Miko' Muir: ST soul.

I've been a long time ST fan and I was pretty psyched to see this album hit the record stores. But most of all I was really curious to check out what ST sound like in 2010. Now I've been rewarded and I am so glad that ST hold up to their reputation and high standard. They are truly worth it to be up in the pantheon of the best hardcore/punk bands of all time. The hype is real, dawg :)

* Sorry if I'm not very objective with the review, ST is one of my all-time favorite bands!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Hardcore Christmas (It's Not Really Xmas)

A bit of a punk Xmas is all we need!
And so it's Christmas, Take Your Shot would like to wish you all the best!

I know very well that in hardcore/punk circles, Christmas is usually understood as a solely commercial thing, which isn't very far from the truth, really. However, I've found that a good way to stay happy is to sometimes follow through with what the rest of the world is doing, but do in your own special, unique way. In other words, for people like us Xmas might be awesome because we celebrate it by listening to our favorite hardcore records and/or chilling with our friends. For the rest of the world, it might be just about the usual consuming craze, which leaves them empty and depressed, and with PVDS (Post Vacation Depression Syndrome--ha ha!).

It's easy to make this the best Xmas ever! Enjoy this video from TYS pop punk favorites, MxPx!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Promoe - Straight Edge Hip Hop from the Long Distance Runner

It's no shame to admit that documenting the straight edge hip hop movement is definitely within the scope of this blog. This movement represents a lot of what I love about straight edge and its philosophy, but blends it in nicely with a more chilled musical approach--which at the same time I find to be extremely fun and addictive to listen to. You don't have to be straight edge (or even a huge rap fan) to enjoy this music and even learn a thing or two from its intense social and political message. From what I've seen, the core kids dig the power of intellect, thought provoking hip hop. After all, we should not forget how much it has in common with our own background!

So Promoe is another one of those straight edge (and vegan) rappers out there around the world pushing on with the most positive, yet rebellious message in the globe today. This dude is actually pretty well known as a rapper (but maybe not as an intense vegan/sXe personality) from his career with the famous crew Looptroop Rockers. He kicks it up rapping in both his native language, Swedish, and in English. To be honest, I don't think anyone can understand he's not American, as his rapping is practically flawless and with a crystal clear english accent. The things he says in his raps are just inspirational, with a force to change lives and influence people, not just entertain them.
It's definitely important (and rare) to be cool and keep it chill while representing a positive cause. It's easy to fall into the lame condescending type category. Aren't we all feed up of being patronized and aren't we here because we hate it? But Promoe isn't like that. Like a new age, funky straight edge prophet, he manages to escape all these traps and come out unharmed. All he does is blend a lot of the good stuff together, making pure, unadulterated, 'organic' straight edge hip hop for everyone to listen to.

However, I don't think he can be confined by terms like straight edge. He's been active for many years in the worldwide hip hop scene, releasing one good album after the other and taking it to the stage in front of people who have never heard of straight edge. I don't think there are many artists who've got this level of power, intensity and coolness out there today! Enjoy Promoe!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hardcore Personalities - Jeremy 'Twitch' Stenberg

While subtitling an X Games motocross episode a few days ago, I came across this pretty crazy dude who is the feauture of today's hardcore personalities article. It is no other than Jeremy 'Twitch' Stenberg, the  notorious freestyle motocross rider whose crazy lifestyle and even crazier riding brings him to our attention. Some of you may wonder what a motocross rider has to do with hardcore, but for us 'hardcore' is not just about the music, but also the people. So what if Stenberg doesn't listen to hardcore? He as a personality is way more hardcore than most people in hardcore music dare to be.

Jeremy Stenberg was born in 1981 in San Diego, California, and has been riding since the age of 2. He's won various competitions, but what mostly stands out is the whole mentality behind this player, who goes all out with his 'win or lose' attitude on life. He's the kind of person who when he knows he's going to lose or come second in a race, throws all his cards on the table and does everything to impress the crowd with crazy tricks and of the hook behavior inside the terrain.  He's had  some severe injuries (like breaking both legs doing a backside flip and spending time on a wheelchair), but he always comes back stronger. This is the kind of stuff that I find inspiring as a musician in a hardcore band and a long time fan of hardcore music.
Stenberg is also a long-time member of the equally notorious Metal Mulisha team. He does everything he can to uphold the in your face, don't care attitude that these guys represent through FMX (freestyle motocross). What I really like about kids like Stenberg is that even though they have a background of rockstar behavior that is all eccentric and everything, they are ussually really hard-working dudes who eveolve day by day and really care for what they do. Maybe they really are extreme sports bad boys and whatever, but you can bet that these dudes (or at least the ones who leave a memorable impression) have a really strong driving force in them and are always out there looking for #1.

What I'm getting at is that many people out there have the impression that most of these riders, skaters etc are usually just lazy kids who get rich for doing nothing. That's so wrong! From what we see with people like Jeremy 'Twitch' Stenberg, the truth is that they are out there putting their ass on the line, always showing mad love for their sport, which after all is so goddamn dangerous! I wish people in HC bands were like that and had that type of commitment. All respect to Twitch and riders of his ilk, the true hardcore personalities!
"If you get hurt, you get hurt. You can't be thinking about it."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Positively Negative Hardcore Fest 2010

Positively Positive is a Greek hardcore festival that has been going on for a few years, every Xmas. This year the guys at World's Appreciated Kitsch are a bit angrier, so therefore they renamed the fest into Positively Negative. No matter what the name is, this is the fest's 4th continuous edition, and like every year, there is some mean hardcore and punk going on.
OK so the fest has had some tribulations with the line-up this year, two bands have been cancelled and replaced: Throats (UK) have been replaced with Ruined Families, and Sun of Nothing have been replaced with Middle Fingers High. Both of these bands have a reputation of their own within the Greek scene, so it will be interesting to check 'em out and see what they have to offer. And... oh yeah; Strength Approach. Really looking forward to see these guys.

I know I have been yapping about how I play in one of the bands on the bill (My Turn), so this time I'll just shut up. But yeah, we're playing and we have some new songs ready for this show. We've been anticipating it for a long time, so it should be fun and I hope to see y'all there! Hardcore doesn't stop during Xmas, it's just a good opportunity to reunite with your loved ones and mosh it up!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Suicidal Tendencies "Come Alive" and some news

It's time to hit the road and leave Athens for two weekend shows with My Turn... I'm excited, even though work stays behind and I will have to pay on Sunday. I guess this is what hardcore is about, you put everything at stake just to travel with a bunch of loud dudes and play for 30 minutes. But there is something in this which keeps me alive, and to go up there and crank the amp up to 10 and go crazy is something that I really love and can't give up! Speaking of being 'alive', here is the new "Come Alive"  video by Suicidal Tendencies (from the new record) which has been rocking my world lately! These guys are the biggest inspiration in this kind of stuff. Enjoy people!

My favorite part is at 0:35, when Cyco Miko says "I will take you for a ride"... This is pure, simple craziness! And we come alive!

Hardcore Zen - Greek Translation Edition (Πανκ Ζεν, 2010)

All you punk bookworms and hardcore nerds out there have probably already heard of Hardcore Zen, the infamous book written by an ex-punk who is now a renowned Buddhist teacher. The book has been quite welcomed in the hardcore/punk community, as it is offers its insights through a proper punk style and it is not some boring outdated treatise on Zen Buddhism by some obscure dude. The good news for our Greek, spiritually dumb society, is that this awesome book has been translated in Greek and is out right now available at bookshops about town.

Like we said above, the good thing is that the author Brad Warner himself as a personality is a weird mixture of punk and zen. Unlike our familiar in hardcore Krishnacore scene, Warner is the total opposite of hardcore bad boys who went holy and spiritual; if anything, he was an outsider, relatively irrelevant hardcore kid (he played bass for Zero DFX) who turned on Buddhism and there found his true punk ethos. In his writing, he comes out like a snotty punk rock kid that doesn't respect anything, and criticizes everything for what it's really worth. He sees Buddhism through brand-new eyesight which is good in such a saturated book market. Even though this guy dwelves deep into Zen Buddhism, he definitely incorporates a lot of hardcore punk mentality and offers this fresh-minded Buddhist book for everyone to read. I guess this is exactly the reason why his book became so succesful in the first place.

On the other hand, Warner is pretty heavy on the Buddhist side (hence the title 'hardcore' zen is justified: these are some pretty straight on, no BS Zen teachings). Being a certified Zen Buddhist teacher who comes down from a long lineage of Zen masters (not that it means anything in itself, but--well), Warner's got one or two things to say about the Dharma, the study of Buddhism and its practices. So if you're interested into a bit of a different, crazy philosophy, and you're not afraid to bring a bit of a spiritual side into your hardcore life, go for it and read this book!
For our Greek readers: you can find this book with its Greek title, Πανκ Ζεν, out on EnsO Publications and distributed thtough Lector Publications. The translation is very good, and the translator has done a very good job at capturing Warner's style in the greek language. Moreover, he has some knoweledge of hardcore/punk and makes some spot-on comments and footnotes. Visit his blog here (it's worth it): You can also buy the book online by clicking this link.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hardcore Personalities: Dan Smith - The 'Unknown Tattooer'

In the world of hardcore, there are often personalities who don't exactly fit in with the traditional norms. We often see people who have come from the hardcore scene and have taken that ethos and transformed it into something else. I am talking business owners, filmmakers, tattoo artists, whatever; the examples are pretty much countless. Dan Smith is such a personality and this is why we feature him here on our blog.

Dan Smith is a UK born, New Zealand raised, US residing tattooist and musician. Admittedly, he is a man of many talents who has succeeded in many different aspects and in a way is a role model for many who follow in his path (choosing alternative and/or unconventional ways to earn one's living). As a tattooist, Dan Smith is following a pretty much traditional style of old school designs, but with trademark precision and detail. In many of his designs, one can see the shared influence and similarities that hardcore and tattoos have always had in their aesthetics. The straight edge aspect also comes up quite frequently in his work, as Dan Smith is a very proud X man! Here is some awesome work of his:

Dan Smith's music side is a totally different story from what you might expect. He sings for The Dear & Departed, a band which does not necessarily have much to do at all with hardcore. But it's really not that important, as the band plays a very nice mix of new wave punk, like AFI meets the Cure meets the Damned (or something). It is the kind of music which is perfect to chill out to after an intense hardcore show or when you're just not in the mood for hardcore. Definitely music with a unique sound, to put on as a background while you do stuff, like draw, make a zine or a flyer! In any case, The Dear & Departed already have a loyal following, and have played with bands like Sick Of It All, the aforementioned AFI and Avenged Sevenfold.

There is more to check from Mr Dan Smith for those who are interested. He has participated in Peta's 'Ink, not Mink' campaign (hooray!), has designed stuff for famous companies like Macbeth, and has participated in the world-famous reality TV show 'L.A. Ink'. All this is just to show that proper 'hardcore personalities' are not just bald guys who act hard. The way I see it, they are creative people from all walks of life who are out there doing stuff, working hard and making a good name for themselves. It's all about what you put in,  not the posturing. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Psycorepaths - "Your Entropia Has Arrived" Promo CD (2010) Review

Hey everyone and welcome to the December 2010 edition of TYS webzine. This month is really important for us, because it is the month we will -finally- release our 4th print issue. It is done and all we have to do is send it to the printers and this bastard will be over and done with. Expect nothing but pure hardcore as usual!

OK so I will start this month's reviews with the notorious Greek deathcore band from Corfu, Psycorepaths, and their awesome 3 song promo entitled Your Entropia Has Arrived

We all know that many bands out there claim the label deathcore, but these dudes really deserve it. They play fucking heavy and base their sound around metallic riffs that are molded in such a way that the outcome is loyal to hardcore. The vocals are varied throughout the whole brutal (death metal and hardcore) spectrum, and the drumming in the background keeps on pummeling all the way throughout these 3 songs. There is a lot of beatdown and a lot of breakneck moshing, too. Very good!

It's been a long time since I heard a band with such a nice, solid groove to it. Most bands follow the 'thrash path' these days, but Psycorepaths really groove! If you mix 90s style metal with modern day beatdown hardcore and a meaty 00s production, you get Your Entropia Has Arrived. I hope it doesn't sound like an insult to say that these guys must have listened to a lot of Pantera when they were young. Song 3 has an closing riff that makes me wanna mosh and smash everything around here with no afterthought! I am talking about some proper phat Pantera gangsta grooves!

Psycorepaths: Earth Crisis meets Pantera!?

Another thing I want to mention is that Psycorepaths stand out lyrically. In Greece, we don't have many bands if any at all that play deathcore with straight edge themed lyrics. Yes, these guys leave aside the dark, intelligent themes (duh), and talk about the destruction of the environment and of our own bodies by modern society's marketing plans for monetary gain. This is exactly what we need: heavy bands with their minds in the right places, and not afraid to speak them!

So all respect to xThug15x and his crew of moshers, I hope they will do great in the future. I had heard a lot about this band, and now I am glad that I finally checked them out and realized how good they are. I will give them extra points for having the guts to be different lyrically and aesthetically.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Moment of Clarity - 'Learn! Inform! Evolve!' Review (self released)

I really didn't know what to expect from a band with a name like Moment of Clarity (great name by the way*) when they got in touch.  Nevertheless I was lucky, cause from the first to the last song I was dealt with some fierce brutal hardcore like it used to be! Great!

MOC do not play too fast, but they do play really heavy and groovy. They really mix hip hop beats with NYHC but this doesn't sound like beatdown, it is a style of their own that is closer to 90s hardcore metal. The songs are short (around 2 minutes or less), with no guitar solos, just mosh and go! The vocals are heavy growled but some nice spoken/rapped parts are also thrown in (about family, pride and integrity). These parts stand out and make the band sound even more hip hop. You'd naturally expect that this band goes out thug, but they don't; they have a minimal approach to everything, and give out a dark and mysterious feeling like In Cold Blood, Ringworm, Integrity etc. An interesting mix of street & dark attitudes!

If I didn't know the background of this band I'd probably say they are from the US. The production sound is nice and clear, and the singer's pronunciation of English is right on. Nevertheless, MOC hails from Belgrade, Serbia. Yet another Balkan band that unrepentantly moshes, tears and destroys all in its path!

Down for the core & more from Moment of Clarity!

With bands like Moment of Clarity, this part of Eastern Europe rightfully puts its foot on the map and deserves a nomination as kings of heavy hardcore/beatdown. They got the brutality, the technical skills and persevere the true hardcore spirit, so what else do you need when it comes to this style?


*not to be confused with the South African epic metal band that goes under the same name!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Video Teaser of the New ST

Check out the new ST circa 2010! The band redid some of the best songs from two legendary 80s records (Join the Army and No Mercy Fool!). The outcome is some crazy, overhyped punk hardcore with awesome musicianship from truly excellent players and, of course, Mike Muir's trademark vocals. Top it up with a great production sound and awesome artwork, and you got SxTx 2010. Here is the promotional video from the band's official website:
Yep... this is the state of the cyco in 2010. Can you dig? Suicidal Tendencies stood out and paved the way since 1983 with their first, self titled album and haven't looked back ever since. Through controversy, fame, obscurity and now becoming legends in their own right, these guys have done it all. I am in a bit of a trance right now as I just got the new album and I am in the process of just getting crazy with it, but we should have a record review up soon. Until then, enjoy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Locals Only Punk Rock Show - Thu 25 Nov 2010

While TYS is and always will remain a zine devoted to hardcore music and lifestyle, we always like to pledge our allegiance to solid good punk rock! Melodic punk/hc has always been a fave here at TYS, when we feel like winding down a little bit; therefore, we are happy to present shows like this:
To me, good punk rock has always carried the message of youth and rebellion. In heartless times like the ones we're going through, I guess we really need to remind ourselves of this lost message. No worries, just straight on punk rock, hardcore and ska-core! The best remedy for all your troubles.

So the bands on the bill are also a bit of an unusual and interesting combination. We got the technical Strung Out/Propaghandi Fat Wreck style of Another One Falls, and the 7-piece ska-core of Bad Bid. We also got the mid tempo melodic punk of Lost Meanings (a band I also happen to play bass for :P) and the all school punk of Toxica Apovlita, a band with a legendary status and a long history behind them.

This show is hosted by WAK Records, the hardcore label that supports good punk rock and justifies the connection between hardcore and punk rock that we talked about above. Anchors Aweigh!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Homerun - Demo Review (2010, self-released)

I am very glad to see that the spirit of youthcrew hardcore is alive and kicking in SE Asia. Kids from this particular part of the world tend to go against the trends, or even better, create their own trends and support styles of hardcore that aren't so popular any more (at least in Europe and the US).  Bands like Homerun from Malaysia prove the abovementioned point with some proper '88 youthcrew!

These young fellas have released a demo that all fans of fast straight edge hardcore should get into. Homerun goes straight to the point, with a raw, almost sloppy sound (like youth crew used to be!) and positive lyrics about the scene, thinking straight and staying drug free. The bass is high in the mix, so are the thundering drum rolls that land on your head in the many breaks and mosh/sing along parts. In other words, this is proper old-school youth crew (maybe like a mix between Chain Of Strength and Insted), and less neo-youth crew (i.e. early Comeback Kid, or Champion). By now you should probably know if this is your thing or not!

Homerun goes out all positive and old-school!

I don't have many other things to say about Homerun cause the band really speaks for itself. They preserve a form of hardcore that has been somewhat lost back in time. They are all about sticking to the basics and promoting a positive message with lots of energy and passion. Things like that definitely get thumbs up here in TYS!!! I give it a [7/10].

p.s. Another thing I should mention is that the band offers their demo for free downloading through their myspace: Enjoy the songs, youthcrew go!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Deathbed Greek Mini Tour (19-21 Nov. 2010)

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for another great band to hit our premises. From Finland, hardcore punk heroes with post/crust sensibilities, we present you Deathbed (ex-Endstand):

Brought to you by the usual suspects (for underground hardcore/punks shows in Athens and elsewhere), World's Appreciated Kitsch. Enjoy!

p.s. Don't forget that apart from the show in Athens this Friday, Deathbed will also travel to Patras and Larissa for 2 shows filled with intensity, supported by some of today's best and most active Greek HC/punk bands!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hardcore Personalities - Bobby Blood

Hey everybody!

Today we're doing another 'hardcore personalities' feature, and it is truly our honor to present Bobby Blood. This dude is one of the biggest but also more active hardcore personalities of our times, so it's definitely cool to have him on this blog.

Anyways, Bobby Blood has not only drummed for Merauder; he is not only the founder and guitarist of the great old school HC band Cold Existence. he is not only a prominent vegan straightedge figure,  and a spokesperson for PETA (going against the 'thug' mentality that dominates heavy hardcore); he is also a rising filmmaker of short films (mainly horror) and documentaries. A multi-talented personality to say the least, this is Bobby Blood!

A bit of an all-around musician, Bobby has drummed in many well-known bands in hardcore and metal, from the aforementioned Merauder to First Blood, Six Feet Under, Crematorium and North Side Kings.When he's nopt busy touring with those bands, he writes riffs for the heavy old school outfit Cold Existence. These guys keep the true NYHC spirit alive, with  lyrics about respect and life in the streets to match their heavy sounds. Here's a taste if you don't believe, the video for the song Fueled By Hate.

I mentioned above that Cold Existence and Bobby Blood are kind of 'street-smart'. In many cases people sneer at the possibility of a musician (let alone a filmmaker) being related to outlaw activities. However, Bobby Blood is one of those rare true examples. He seems to be one of those people whose life-experiences have to show of both good and bad. From earning medals in the U.S. army ,to serving time in prison for weapons and assaulting police officers charges, to propagating animal rights and proudly wearing the Xs, Bobby Blood has done it all.

Bobby Blood's personality has shone the most through the great music he's written and performed. At the end of the day, people are always better off when expressing themselves through something genuine and positive such as music; it is great to see that hardcore music has been that driving force behind people like Bobby Blood and the rest of the hardcore personalities we try to document on this blog. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

FOR TODAY - "Breaker" Review (2010, Facedown Records)

I hope you like a fair bit of metal, cause this is as metal as it gets! Forget beat-down hardcore, forget metalcore; this is pure METAL, but you could call it progressive death metal, post death-core, or new age metal-hardcore! What For Today do (and they do it well) is form an identity which overlaps most boundaries of modern heavy music and borrows elements from a variety of genres: from discordant, mathematically-calculated breakdowns to pure heavy metal melodies and crazy hardcore blasts. In fact, one could say that this crazy record is comprised of 70% devastating metal, 20% paranoia and 10% spoken word/poetry. That's correct!

Us Europeans may feel a little left behind in front of American bands like For Today, which formulate new sounds while still managing to stay brutal and heavy and true to their roots. Speaking of roots, For Today is an outspoken Christian band that has stayed true to spreading the gospel since their 1st album (Breaker is their 3rd release). I guess this is the element that keeps them close to the hardcore scene (I bet they have more HC fans than metal fans), cause only in hardcore are bands so outspoken and in your face. The lyrics are straight out Christian, and I honestly don't think these guys can be moved from that. They have chosen to tread this dangerous path which might throw off many close-minded fans, and may attract criticism for being overtly vocal of their beliefs; but I for one like the fact that they do what they want regardless. It's the bands with a clear identity and a clear vision that stand out.
For Today: Christian hardcore kids

Back to the music side, we mentioned earlier that For Today have a strong avant-garde/new age flavor to their sound. This is not something we meet every day in metal or hardcore. They combine a technicality that sounds like they came straight out of Berkley, while they just keep throwing the screamo and the beatdowns and the melodic parts at you non-stop (they even end the record with a traditional gospel sing along!). They manage to fit it all into the overall brutality and make it all sound more interesting. There are some very good avant-garde drum intros and guitar interludes, as well as some spoken parts that create an intense spiritual atmosphere from start to finish. These spoken word parts sound like a hardcore poet declaring an age of spiritual independence and profound devotion. It really separates For Today from the countless other bands that do the post death metal/hardcore thing.

In the tired metal/hardcore world, it's bands like For Today that make the difference. They have a distinct message and some strong music to back it up. What else does a band need? This gets at least 8/10.
'Repent or Perish': a different style of devotion

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Old School Classics: Judge - Bringin' It Down (1989)

The story of Judge - a history of intesity, violence and regrets?

Throughout the years, Judge has gone down as one of the most intense, militant and of course influential straight edge hardcore bands of all time. For many, they are considered the most essential sXe band of the 80s, and of course, Bringin It Down is their highest point. It's right there, in 89, when the youth crew scene was starting to die down (with Ray Cappo -its emblem- turning all the kids into Krishna consciousness), and these guys were seeing it all slip through their hands. The scene they had given everything into was just turning into something else, filled with violence and tough guy attitudes, pushing fans and active participants away. Bringin It Down is a mix of all the above: provocative straight edge militance, but also an expression of sadness and regret.

Now Judge was active from '87, having released the New York Crew 7". Originally a side project of John Porcell (guitarist, Youth Of Today) and Mike 'Judge' Ferraro (one of the most imposing frontmen in HC to this very day), Judge was the heavier, more outspoken alternative to YOT. Judge went right against the positive straight edge proselytizing that went on up until then, and used a definitely more provocative stance. It's interesting because this stance is exactly what drew the hordes of kids to this hardcore phenomenon of a band called Judge, as well as their new, 'in your face' hardcore style.
Mike Judge: an intense HC personality

Musically, Bringin' It Down is also a turning of backs to the previous straight edge sound, which was all about speed and energy. Far removed from the previous bands Judge members played in (the aforementioned YOT, Side By Side, Project X, Gorilla Biscuits, Death Before Dishonor), this was one of the first metal-influenced records in straight edge. Bringin It Down is a totally solid record, with super-crunching riffs by Porcell and a solid strong rhythm section to back him up. All in all, it is a very strong mix because the metal/thrash riffs are exchanged with crazy hardcore bursts and Mike's heavy sounding (but not metal) growls, creating a unique mix.

Old school flyer from back in the day

We could say that everything with Judge was deliberate. The provocative lyrics? For sure. The metal in their sound? Absolutely. The band actually wanted to sound more like Cro-Mags and Leeway by recording in the same studio as them. Nothing was left to chance in a band like Judge. I think that they are actually responsible for the creation of the tough-guy image in hardcore as we know it (their version is much closer to tough-guys in hardcore today, in contrast to to Agnostic Front's and Cro-Mags' skinhead tough-guy images). For me, they are also responsible for the newer, 90s straight edge (and not only edge) hardcore sound which dominated the scene, all the way from Earth Crisis to Fury of V.

Always wreckin' the pit

So how does Bringin It Down go down today? It's hard to say because I've personally owned the record for more than 10 years. But when I got this record at 19 or whatever, it sounded like nothing I expected; too much metal for sure, and in a sense too familiar with the metal/hc I grew up with in the 90s. Nowadays, I can surely recognize the impact Judge had on modern hardcore. Definitely a band to look into and study if you're into hardcore and its history. Below you can also watch the Revelation Records' Judge documentary (which never officially came out); it is 17 minutes of nothing but interesting hardcore stories about a band with a great impact. Get to know the story behind Judge, why all the violence around them, the militant attitudes, and about intriguing 80s HC personalities like Jimmy Yu, their early kung-fu buddhist bassist!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

First Blood - 'Silence is Betrayal' (2010) Review

Wow. Well this is the record all the politically minded straight edge and vegan kids have been waiting for. Now their anticipation is finally rewarded with some heavy as fuck metallic hardcore!  Here is a relatively young band (only 1 full length behind them) that has already become somewhat legendary with their intense political vegan straight edge message. They are back stronger and angrier than ever before. Let's see why.

We could say that First Blood carry on what Earth Crisis have been doing since the early 90s, that is spread a revolutionary sXe message through riff based, punishing heavy hardcore. FB is in away the modern version of EC, vegan straight edge for the new millenium. Now I say modern, but this record is as old school as it gets. Think of 90s metal hardcore but filled with crazy beatdown that would even make Jamey Jasta feel jealous. Throw in a big NYHC/Madball influence and some sing-along parts, and you get the whole First Blood picture. This record has been thoroughly worked upon and is also very well-produced. It can definitely turn many metal kids or whatever to hardcore and its whole positive message. It's the type of shit that can draw fans from outside hardcore and show them what it's all about.

First Blood: gettin' bigger & angrier

As you'd expect, there is great importance placed on the lyrics here. It would be good if you can sit down with the lyrics and listen to the album like that. You'll definitely get more out of it like that, and then the merciless double bass drumming, the death-core riffs and the beatdowns will take up even more life within your shocked subconscious level.

Yeah.. this is overly political, overly incediary, overly heavy, just how we like it. I think that First Blood will be remembered in the years to come for this record. Silence is Betrayal. Setting up the challenge as one of the best hardcore albums for 2010? Quite likely!

Red Sparrows live - Thursday 4 Nov. 2010

Tonight, a chill night. A favorite alternative among hardcore kids world wide. Premium US alt rockers Red Sparrows live in Athens!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cruel Hand-Studio Footage

Cruel Hand have been making quite a bit of noise with their latest album on Bridge 9, "Lock & Key". We're talking about some quality heavy, pissed off hardcore in the Terror tradition, but with less metal. Seems like Cruel Hand will be one of the bands that will take the hardcore scene by a storm in the remaining 2010, as they are on this year's Persistence tour (along Sick Of It All, DRI, Blood For Blood and many others) and they are creating a huge buzz around their name in hardcore circles, and for a good reason!
Cruel Hand: True hardcore sounds from Maine, US

This following video (off the band's myspace) was taken during their recording sessions for the above mentioned album. It documents the everyday hassle of committing yourself to recording your music. Such an activity might not be easy, but it is always a memorable part of making something happen. Having recently been in the studio myself, all this feels pretty familiar. Being in the studio is definitely a lovable part of playing in a hardcore band. Don't we all love it? Enjoy!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pamela Anderson Lectures @ Oxford Uni Vegetarian Style!

Vegan pizza went 97% up at Oxford Campus
after Anderson's prolific speech.
Good news for vegetarians: their cause is officially under discussion at Oxford University. Not only that, but the person who actually brought the issue is no other than Pamela Anderson! The actress and model, known for being a vegetarian and working with Peta (an organization promoting vegetarianism for those who don't know), accepted the  world-famous university's invitation and payed a visit to lecture its students. She based her speech on the easiest ways to go vegetarian, as well as the ethical and environmental parameters of taking the 'veg pledge'.

This may seem to some of you as a cheap promotional trick on behalf of Peta, but on the other hand shows that the  people at Oxford know how to maintain their students' attention. The best people to deliver a message are the most unconventional ones. I mean, how boring would it be to have a lecture on vegetarianism by some Phd dude who would talk about percentages? So thumbs up to Oxford for being ahead of their time, and also thumbs up to Pamela for showing it's never too late to work for a good cause!

p.s. What does this article have to do with hardcore? Absolutely nothing, aside our own vegetarian considerations!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Absinthe Rose/HUMANWINE- Split CD (2010)

Well I knew Rodent Popsicle Records for putting out good HC/punk records of the crusty variety; what I didn't know is that they also put out quality folk punk. Yes! It may come as a surprise to read a folk punk review in a blog about hardcore but trust me, this is good. After all, we all want to occasionally listen to something lighter and unwind; this will do just fine cause it has the punk foundation to back it up.
Split out now on Rodent Popsicle

Anyways, so this is a split release between two bands, Absinthe Rose and HUMANWINE. Absinthe Rose starts the record  with some quality and straightforward acoustic/electric folk punk. It wouldn't be unfair to say that AR stick to the roots of Americana folk and go the extra mile by coating their sound with some punk/folk instrumentation. Yes--this is definitely more country than punk. What makes it punk though is the mind-frame behind the whole music, which is totally DIY punk, of course. The band promotes 'DIY awareness and skepticism' with incendiary political lyrics, which many will love and sing to howling at the moon on their drunken or tea-soaked nights. If you like to find your punk somewhere at the outdoors, in an old house in the woods or by the railroad tracks next to empty sticky bottles, this is for you!
Kimbo Rose forgets the lyrics again

HUMANWINE (always written in capital letters) is a different story. This band is much more experimental within their acoustic folk, drawing influences from everything ranging from Nick Drake to Matt Elliot, even fucking Tiger Lilies (which I hate). Just experimental acoustic folk sung by both male and female voices. These two take the whole indie-DIY punk mentality to a different level, and it's not necessarily based on music. On the contrary, they use music in order to transmit images, words and thoughts, like a primitive stream of thought into the minds of the civilized. The music is 'fluid and changing'. So sometimes it's mellow/sweet, some others discomforting, sometimes just plain weird. HUMANWINE needs a fair few listens before anyone can actually say they 'get them', but if it's your thing you should definitely catch on to them as they're a must for primitivist punk ethos!
HUMANWINE: back from the wild side 

So that's all new and different for Rodent Popsicle Records, I know for a fact that there are many out there who dig the anarcho primitive punk style, we got many such fans right here in Greece, so I hope they will discover the wondrous & mysterious punk world of Absinthe Rose and Humanwine. Salute!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Just a Reminder

So it's been sort of quiet here at TYS for a week or so, as I was crazy busy and also out of town with My Turn for a weekend show in Sofia (will report on that laters); but now we're back and I am personally hungry for more hardcore, and definitely ready for action.
This Wednesday we got the "Locals Only" show hosted by WAK, with a bunch of Greek bands playing covering the wider spectrum of hardcore and its musical divisions. So (starting from the way down), we'll warm up the crowd with My Turn , it will be our first ever show here in beloved hometown Athens. We're playing at 9 pm, so if you're coming then come early so you can check us out! We'll blast out our entire brand-new demo plus a couple of covers.

Next up we got Against All Odds, these guys play straight up old school (maybe a little Oi-influenced) hardcore. Hard stuff, no shit indeed. Next band on the bill is Eternal Hated, metalcore kids from Volos with an extra dose of talent and brand new ideas. Melody combined with youthful energy and fucking in your face metal. Finally, personal faves & heavy beatdown champs Eden Demise will groove your freakin head off with their stomping brutal hardcore. 

Yo yo yo so check it out, the show's gonna be a blast, lots of friends are coming, it should turn into a big party and if the turn out is good there will be a DJ set afterwards.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hungarian Fans Show Sum Love

Talking about dedication....

Here's what the Budapest kids had to offer the bands when the NYC United tour dropped by their country (taken from
Cake reported not to be vegan

This is great! There are just so many ways to welcome a band and make it feel like more than just another band visiting your town. People, remember: bands will appreciate eating your food.

Monday, October 18, 2010

'One Life One Chance': The SXE OG Strikes Back

Toby Morse, singer of legendary NYHC band H2O and all-around positive hardcore persona, is reaching new hights with his new public speech project entitled One Life One Chace. Within this project, Toby visits schools and talks to kids on living a drug-free life. Honestly, I can't think of a better person to do this as Toby has the charisma, the energy, the coolness and all those little characteristics that make for a good speaker (which is also why he's been such a influential & inspiring frontman).
Toby Morse: More than a hardcore frontman

We at TYS totally appreciate a positive move like that, cause it directly benefits the kids. It's important to have alternative voices (hardcore voices) speaking for what is right. I wish when I was in school I had someone like Toby to tell me that drugs suck! It's also nice to see hardcore people evolving and taking it one step up. If hardcore is a way of life/thinking, we should be able to express our minds beyond the relatively narrow boundaries of the 'scene'. Now... how do you see yourself at 40? All respect to Toby & H2O!
Xs abound with a PMA hat on! 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Every Time I Die antics

Every Time I Die, the US chaotic hardcore band now has a reason to be stupid and crazy: they are being sponsored by Vans for it. The clothing company has teamed up with ETID to make a weekly series of episodes documenting the band's life on the road. The 12 episodes uploaded so far are just a display of general mayhem and absurdity, as ETID go around fucking stuff up. This is all far removed from the typical hardcore DVD stuff we know, where bands usually just play and speak about the music. This is more MTV-oriented stuff, with a bunch of heavily tattooed dudes going around wrecking stuff as well themselves.

As frontman Keith Buckley put it in a recent Metal Hammer interview: "Filming the shows and those serious interviews is boring... if I want to see the show I'll go to the show." Is all this entertaining or simply lame? It's up for you to choose. However, the band's latest, 2009 album New Junk Aesthetic (out on Epitaph Records) is a brilliant sample of modern discordant hardcore, with no trash involved whatsoever.

Every Time I Die: Gifted but absurd

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spirit Remains - Old School Brazilian Straight Edge

Our biggest love is and always has been plain, old school hardcore! It's been here for us and we will be here for it: clear cut hardcore filled with intensity and a good message. Spirit Remains is one of those bands that remind me where it's at. Their place of origin is Santa Catarina, Brazil, however if I didn't know that, I'd swear they come from a suburb of California and that they were a late 80s straight edge/youth crew band! And that's because their sound is really stuck on that 89 shit! 
Yes! These guys got it all down. The old school production, the desperate vocals (a la Chain of Strength), the thundering drum rolls, the YOT breaks, the gang vocals in the background. All that in combination with some strong riffs and a high-energy delivery, make out for this great demo called We Demand Powerless. I'm not even sure whether the band's still active (the demo's from 2008 and I don't see much action these days), but at least they've left this little gem behind them, a testimony of good old hardcore the way it should be and a paying of respect to the favorite bands of old. This is 'positive peer pressure'.
Happy lads: where are they now?

In any case, search this awesome band out if you wanna get into some cold Cokes, Youth of Today shirts, hoodies, Xed up fists and the party just won't stop! Thumbz up!