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.