Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Trip Back to the Oldschool: Better Than A Thousand

This is just another hardcore classic for all you straight edge readers and adrenaline junkies out there. BT1K was possibly the moving force behind the mid-90s youth crew revival. It is also Ray Cappo's return to hardcore in the midst of his successful career with Shelter and his monastic life (!) as a Hare Krishna devotee. It was 1997, when Cappo teamed up with a league of seasoned hardcore players (members of Battery and Damnation AD) and made two awesome albums, Just One and Value Driven, both of which were destined to become classics.
These two records were ultimately based on the same formula: fast, energetic hardcore. The music is proper mid-90s hardcore, but with outsanding musicianship and Ray's genre-defining shouted/melodic vocals. If you add to the above some high-thinking and extremely positive lyrics, you get the picture of what BT1K was all about. You can feel the pent-up emotion and energy flowing throughout every single second of both CDs. 

Just One was recorded in a home studio (a bedroom with an 8 track), but the skills came through and created a unique crunchy production that kicks ass. The whole recording was done during a single weekend or so, and you can actually hear Ray's voice getting  sore towards the end (the vocals booth was set up in the bathroom)!  On the other hand, Value Driven has a cleaner production, a more dynamic sound (it was released on Epitaph), and a more militant but positive straight edge message. Check out the video (directed by Joseph Pattisall) to see for your self:

Could there be a BT1K revival? I think Ray Cappo has departed from hardcore for good these days (he's a yoga instructor and health nutritionist), but he has always surprised the hardcore community, so who knows! If Cappo ever came back to music, I wish it would be a 3rd BT1K record! I personally must have listened to these two records literally more than 100 times and have been deeply inspired by their message and great music. We are in dire need of some quality hardcore with a good message, so the best thing would be to get it from the people who created it and know how to do it better!

Monday, May 24, 2010

25 TA LIFE - 'S.I.B.' CD Review

So this is a belated review for 25 TA LIFE's new record. I know it came out in 2009, but I'm gonna do this review anyways, because these guys are hardcore giants. I missed out on Fallen Angel when it came out, so I had to go down the record store and get this with no seconds thoughts. A new 25TL new record is 'money in the bank' for a hardcore listener like me!

Let me start off by saying that that I always admired 25TL. I don't care what people say, calling Rick Ta Life macho or whatever, and all the gossip and rumors around this band... fuck that. 25TL were one of the bands that kept the hardcore spirit alive during the 90s and we should be grateful for that. They're still around putting out good records, so more power to them. Maybe not the most popular hardcore band out there (musically or stylistically), but 25TL are legends in their own right.

I didn't know what to expect when I got Strength Integrity Brotherhood (great title!), as 25TL have played around with a lot of hardcore styles, but at least I knew it would be heavy, and probably metallic. That's right! The CD starts with Heroin Demon, a totally in your face, heavy beatdown massacre with Rick Ta Life's trademark madman vocals. Then the songs start coming in a more sing-a-long hardcore tradition, but definitely rooted in brutal hardcore: the genre that 25TL established and are known for. Plus, this time they've got an awesome production sound.

The lyrics are always a big thing in a 25TL record. I'm glad to see Rick Ta Life coming back with the straight edge message and a ton of positivity, amidst all this negativity that prevails nowadays. 25TL lyrics have always been a unique mix of pessimism and optimism, maybe even the battle between the two. The same happens on this record. There are some really deep and bitter statements, based on all the criticism Rick Ta Life has gotten, but he manages to shine through and deliver an insightful positive message!

The guest appearances are many, too many to mention but there are some true legends right there, and they all give their best and add to the album. I will just mention Drew Stone from Antidote, who does some truly GREAT vox on the second song. Finally, there are two covers, a Warzone classic and a GG Allin (!) one. Weird, you might think, but they both fit in really well in the whole album and they are done in a 25TL style.

I don't know how much has changed since I was a kid and and was buying all the 25TL shit; back then, they were one of the most respected bands in the scene. The music, the messsage and the few photos on the insert gave this band the legendary status it took in our minds. All I know is that they still hold true to the values that inspired me and so many others to get involved with hardcore. Get this and mosh to it!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Serio - Speakin On It video

Hey hey!

So we've been noticing that a lot of hip hop has been getting back into hardcore lately. Some people like that and most don't, but either way the truth is that both cultures have been influencing each other since day one. I personally like hip hop. So for this post I got this video by a proper underground hip hop MC, just to take a break from all the hardcore stuff we've been reviewing the past two months or so.

This guy is Serio, a Chicano rapper from California similar to Kid Frost, The Stomper , Chino Grande etc. This is real mexican hip hop. When I saw this video, Speakin On It, I just knew I had to post it here. If you're into Suididal, gangster movies like Bound By Honor and acting ignorant, this one's for you. This is a really funny video, good stuff! Check it out!


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Better Left Buried - "Get That Bitch In The Backseat" (EP Review)

Everyday I wake up, and I thank God for European hardcore :)

I mean, there are so many good bands coming out all the time, it is becoming hard to keep track and it's a bummer to miss any good bands out there. Like I've said before, my belief is that European hardcore is basically the heaviest hardcore on earth!
So let's go to this cool hardcore band that inspired me to write the above. BETTER LEFT BURIED is an awesome heavy hardcore outfit from the Netherlands. These guys have got the groove and brutality down to a T. They manage to keep their hardcore clean while incorporating the right metal elements like full-on double-kick drums, breakdowns and some guitar leads (not solos!) that add a lot of atmosphere and maybe even darkness to the sound.

The vocals are fucking tough, but not death metal stuff. Just right, cleanly pronounced gruff hardcore vocals! You can think Hatebreed or Terror but Koos (the singer) has his own quality, so as you understand this guy is pretty good at what he does. The rest of the band keeps things locked with quality heavy riffage and mid-tempo to slow grooves, which are so rad that could keep a whole van full of hardcore kids bouncing up and down (rap style but with no hydraulics)! 

Most of all, I liked this EP for the variety of different sounds that keeps things interesting. I say this because in this genre it is not that easy to be versatile, usually it is just heavy/beatdown/heavy. Check these guys out and you'll believe me! Just some more quality ignorant hardcore for ya!

Artwork: TYS fighter!

Hey buster! 

Here is some wicked TYS art made by my good ol' pal Ted B. The guy does the craziest shit, from cartoons to oil paintings, while also being the chillest dude ever. There's more TYS art coming so stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Brazilian Hardcore Legends I SHOT CYRUS R.I.P. (1999-2009)

So as the days get hotter and we're getting tropical up in here, what better to do than listen to some fast, tornado-style hardcore!

When I'm seeking for some raging, crazy thrash with energy that can blow off the ceiling, one of the sure-shot bands is Brazil's I SHOT CYRUS. Their combination of insanely fast hardcore blasts with Kalota's screeched vocals and cool Black Flag style guitar leads, has been perfected during their 10 year-long career! With influences ranging from mid 80s crossover/hardcore to D-beat and punk/thrash classics like Heresy, Infest and C.O.C., I SHOT CYRUS have something to say for every fan of extreme music. 

Unfortunately, I recently found out that these fastcore legends have disbanded. This is our tribute to them. However, we will always keep them close to our hearts and play their stuff over and over again (check Refuse Records for their 1997-2001 discography of 7"s)! Yeah... it seems like I SHOT CYRUS will be the soundtrack for the process of doing the layout for TYS #4!

I SHOT CYRUS R.I.P.! (pix taken from I.S.C.'s myspace)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Urban Discipline Records & Still In Da Game!

Wow man! I swear for every person who says that hardcore is exhausted as a music style, there are always bands and labels that push the boundaries and make it heavier and heavier! I knew Urban Discipline records through Face Your Enemy, the beatdown kings of Italy (check to read review here). But Urban Discipline's new release really turns the game on with some of the heaviest stuff I've listened to lately! 

Still In Da Game play a mix of hardcore, death metal and rap that can really shock the unprepared hardcore fan! All the elements are here: the hardcore speed and style, but also the death metal mosntrosity and the rap breakdowns! You'll drop your jaw at this guy's gore-metal vocals, and then will blow you away with some real hardcore attitude & music. In contrast to other bands that mix all those elements together and create one consistent mix, SIDG stand out because they switch from one style to the other. So you really don't know what to expect in this whirlwind of different styles!

Yeah... I'm really proud of the European scene taking the initiative and supporting extreme stuff like this! Urban Discipline records has been around since 1990, so they know what they're doing! Like they state on their website, they promote bands that do not necessarily sound hardcore, but are made up of hardcore kids who live the hardcore lifestyle everyday.

That's what it's about!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Video Interview w/ Lorenzo Antonucci (ex-SWORN ENEMY)

So as many of you probably know, Lorenzo Antonucci, the mastermind and riff-making machine behind SWORN ENEMY has left the band. He's now focusing on his Rock Hard studios (based in Austria) and his other band, Smashface, where he's taking up the vocal duties. Here's an entertaining video interview with Lorenzo just before quitting. It's fun, and it has lots of swearing and NY attitude!


Sworn Enemy Interview HARDTIMES.CA

HARDTIMES.CA | MySpace Video


Monday, May 3, 2010

Photoblog: Bouncing Souls & Vitamin X

Today, we got a photoblog from 2 great live shows that happened here in Athens during the last week: Vitamin X and Bouncing Souls. The house has been rocked! Photos taken and contributed by Boohahart (Bouncing Souls) and Fotini D. (Vitamin X). Vitamin X "autograph" scanned and emailed by Elizabeth S. Thank you all very much!

P. S.: Click on images to see full-view 

Bouncing Souls

Vitamin X

Vitamin X Represent da real :)

Well... what can I say apart from thanks to everybody and just state again how psyched I am with all this shit that's going on with good music these days. I'm having the time of my life y'all! And with Take Your Shot issue  #4 out in a few weeks, things just seem to look OK. 

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Live Show: Bouncing Souls @ An Club, Sunday 2 May 2010

Type: Live Show
Date & Place: Sunday 2 May 2010, An Club
Organizer: TFK Bookings
And another Sunday transforms into a party with a live performance by a favorite band!

Indeed, The Bouncing Souls must be one of the most loved bands in the entire punk scene. Kids from all kinds of scenes (punk, hardcore, skinhead, whatever) listen to and love this band. I can't tell how they've managed to attract so many different people to their music, while at the same time keep it true and release one good album after the other. For me, the combination of aggression with their simple, heartfelt pop-punk approach, really does it. When I want to chill from hardcore or metal and punk it up a little bit, Bouncing Souls is always one of the first options. Let's go!

Congrats to TFK Bookings, for choosing a good set of supporting acts!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Live Show: Diskelma @ Katarameno Syndromo, 4 May 2010

Type: Live Show
Date&Place: Tue 4 May 2010, Katarameno Syndromo (8pm)
Bands: Diskelma (Finland), Endsight, Delete The Mass
Hey everybody! Finland's Diskelma are playing @ Katarameno Syndromo on Tuesday! They play a mix of punk 'n' metal, with many catchy guitar leads and harsh vocals. To my ears they play true party music, just perfect for some mid-week drinking (or maybe just chillin). But just remember, Disklema have nothing to do with D-beat or Scandi-punk, as many people think because of their name and their place they come from. This is like stuff on 625, Kangaroo etc.

The supporting bands are Endsight (chaotic metallic hardcore-punk) and Delete the Mass (good grind/metal/punk) and they're both from Athens, Greece.

p.s. Check out the awesome art for the poster!