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!