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!

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