Monday, January 31, 2011

The Cheifs - "Holly-West Crisis" Re-Issue (Dr. Strange Records)

Before hardcore even had a name, there were bands who played a form of raw, unadulterated heavy punk that became the base for what was about to follow. We're talking about that early proto hardcore sound of Black Flag, Circle Jerks, X etc. Today, we - as hardcore fans - consider this sound a must and a lesson in hardcore history. The Cheifs are one of those primitive punk bands lost in the annals of punk history. Luckily, now Dr. Strange records has re-released everything they ever recorded on a single slab of vinyl.

So what's the deal with this lesser known early So Cal punk band from the early 80s? Well they were around for just a short while (from 80 to 82), but put down some quality punk music that captures the essence of that early époque that is so dear to us all. Their sound is crunchy and dirty with snotty attitude but at the same time has a tunefulness that most current punk bands can only be jealous of. Even some thirty years later, the Cheifs have a sense of urgency and a musical power that can't go unnoticed. I mean this is really rad, essential punk for skaters and hardcore historians alike! The bass is distorted, the guitar is fuzzed out to the max, the tempo is always steady and at mid-speed, and the ball just keeps on rolling.

Definitely there before we were punk

Listening to the Cheifs, I just wish for some better weather so I could just rock that shit on a stereo somewhere outside! This is perfect music for suburban punk parties, for having no money in your pockets and feeling good about it, sleeping on people's couches and going around the neighborhood with your bike or skateboard... Yeah. This shit can even make you feel young again. Fans of DOA, Dicks and even pre-MDC should definitely get into this now. This is real snotty, psychedelic punk nihilism!

Limited to 1,000 pieces by

Friday, January 28, 2011

Dead At The Scene's 'Sharktopus': FREE download!

A few months ago, we did a review for Dead At The Scene, the Scottish progressive deathcore pioneers. At TYS, we consider their debut EP Sharktopus to be one of the best records in 2010 for all of heavy music. This record really tears down the boundaries between genres and creates a worthwhile piece of music that you want to keep in your record collection and frequently revisit. Isn't that the purpose of all good music? To create feelings and thoughts that the listener wants to revisit and recreate over and over again? DATS managed just that with Sharktopus. They made an honest album that sticks with you like a good old friend, even though at times it is so heavy that it destroys your ears and unsettles your nervous system!

For all of the above, we are pleased to let you know that DATS has just released Sharktopus as a free download - a thank you to their fans and the support they've received so far. It is available through the band's website, Now everyone can dig into that awesome, mystical death metal meets prog hardcore meets I don't know what! It is also a great move for independent bands to release their music free online. It shows that what DATS wants is to get their music around and don't fuss so much about the decreasing record sale rates and whatever. After all, experience shows that the bands who make it financially are the ones who tour like madmen and have merch to sell, not those that count solely on their sales of their CD!

So go download Dead At The Scene's awesome EP and have fun listening to it! Just remember to give it the time it needs to grow on you and you will be rewarded!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

ADTR - 'What Separates Me From You' Review (Victory Records)

A Day To Remember must have been feeling the pressure in following up 2009's hugely successful Homesic. We've seen how many bands strive to match that one good album which made the difference. Ususally, it doesn't happen. Especially when those bands stick to the same formula and try to create that same album, but bigger and better. And the deal with the new ADTR album What Separates Me From You is kind of exactly that. They've done great, but maybe not as good.

In this new album, ADTR take their already established 'pop punk meets metalcore' formula and run with it. All the elements are here: the real catchy hooks, that huge production sound (provided by Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory, who also did the last album). They've got the phat guitars, the metal-to-pop vocal variety and the state of the art beatdown precision. The only thing is that, even though this album is catchy as hell and fun to listen to, it doesn't grow in your head as much as their previous stuff. But who am I to say? What Separates... has sold 130,000 copies in less than 5 months since its release.

ADTR: ready to be the real deal

To my ears, it also sounds like Tom Denney's (ex-guitarist and HC loco icon) departure can be felt. The dude obviously has great musicianship and even though guitar duo Neil Westfall and Kevin Skaff can pull it off, it seems like maybe Denney made the difference. The bigger - and only - difference is that the overall outcome is a bit more whiney and drawn to the pop-metal side, as opposed to the punk rock feel ADTR had kept up to their last record.

All in all, What Separates... is not a bad album by any means. It is a very entertaining and easy to listen to album; and it will surely keep good company to those kids feeling lost and hazy, while they spend their time trying to figure their lives out. Oh, and check the new video out, practically everyone's in it!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Figure Four Reunion!

It's no big secret that these days, it's pretty hard to find bands that play heavy hardcore in its original form. Basically, there are two beaten paths that most bands follow. Rather obviously, they are hip hop induced beatdown hardcore, and modern american style metalcore. Nothing against these styles of heavy music; but sometimes, we need to return back to the basic elements and get in check with the real.

Therefore, it's definitely good news to hear that Figure Four, one of the OGs of real brutal, stripped down hardcore, have reformed. These dudes have been pretty busy forming and playing in bands like Comeback Kid and Grave Maker. But now the time is right again and they are back to remind us how truly heavy hardcore sounds. They're also here to showcase that hardcore ain't nothing if it's lacking that committed and passionate message. And one thing we can surely say is that Figure Four has always been a band which stood with a strong message - so it's awesome to have them back!

So it's all good news; newer hardcore kids will be able to dig into some hardcore history, while older people will remember this classic band, or check it out anyways in case they missed out back in the day. Blood and Ink Records will be releasing the LP version of Figure Four's classic album "Suffering the Loss", while the band starts out 2011 by playing some big hardcore fests in the States.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

RZL DZL - "Ignorance is Bliss" video

In times of stress and bewilderment (like the ones we're going through), one of the best things to do is to take it easy and chill to some party hardcore. This site's been a bit heavy on the straight edge content recently, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy decent hardcore music just because is made from big-time party animals.

One perfect example is RZL DZL, the infamous Detroit hardcore/rock outfit. These guys are guaranteed to get the party going and lift your spirits with their fun approach to hardcore. They're filling a serious gap in that lovable 'party hardcore' genre. If you think about it, hardcore always had its fun side (early Warzone, Gang Green, Murphy's Law, even early Dog Eat Dog - you name it). The way I see it, you don't even have to be into  partying to enjoy such music, just as you don't have to be straight edge to listen to all these awesome edge bands out there. At the end of the day, we all like pizza, chilling out and having fun, which is what RZL DZL is all about - so we can all relate on that level.

So here, dedicated to all the party animal TYS readers, Rizzle Dizzle straight from the Lockin' Out roster (also an edge affiliated record label if I'm not mistaken, at least in the past). They might have grown up a little since this video (shot a coupla years back), but that means nothing as long as they're laying down cool hardcore r'n'r! Cause at the end of the day... Ignorance is truly bliss!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Clothes & Hardcore: 1981 Straight Edge Clothing

As you have probably noticed, the latest trend in hardcore is to start your own clothing company. Many people including famous hardcore musicians, are dwelling in new territory by launching clothing lines that represent the famous hardcore aesthetic (whatever that may be). Perhaps it's the next step to take; during the 90s and 00s, people started their own record labels, but now that buying CDs is dying and everyone is downloading, creating a clothing company seems like a better choice to make if you want to stay invloved in hardcore in some way other than music. Today, we'll take a look at 1981 Straight Edge Clothing.

Let's not lie to ourselves: the 'dress' part has always played an important role in hardcore - it's just something we can't deny and partly are to blame for (we, as fans). Bands and people have always used aesthetics as a way to set themselves apart from the rest of society - and even other music subcultures like metal or punk. Is it a crime to define yourself through style and outside appearance? I don't know. Nevertheless, even if you're the anti-consumerist hardcore type, isn't it better to buy from a relatively small hardcore clothing company than from the big conglomerates that are always the most common choice?

In any case, a pretty straight way to define oneself is to go and  buy a t-shirt or hoodie with a big 'DRUG FREE' logo on it. What better way to stand out than choose a strong philosophy with an anti social message such as not drinking and rep it through your everyday clothing? Such clothes you can find on the 1981 Straight Edge Clothing store. These guys got everything from t-shirts to hoodies to all kinds of sXe accessories like hats, gloves and headbands. They've made a nice business that looks better than most of the stuff at your local mall.

Hardcore clothing lines: Friends or foes?

I know that a lot of people -and especially some dedicated straight edge fellas I know- would see this as a cheap move to cash in on hardcore, straight edge and its values. But then again, most of these people have spent so much money on hardcore that they can't really speak about consumerism (sometimes I think I am one of them). I guess it's a "hate the game, not the player" type scenario.

And remember: we don't necessarily support it here at TYS, we just show what's up.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I Want You Dead - "We are the Legions of Scums" Review (2010)

OK people, it's time to get serious, cause this band is surely not joking around with their core. Hailing from Patras/Greece, I Want You Dead is a dark heavy hardcore outfit that has hit the premises of our country (and beyond) with such force and ferocity that you won't believe your ears when you listen to them. This is their 1st full-length (self-released on vinyl, free download), entitled "We are the Legions of Scums" and it is here to destroy all our ears.

IWYD plays a form of hardcore that incorporates both ultra-heavy and oldschool HC sounds. It may be based on old school hardcore (let's say some Boston stuff comes to mind), but is definitely layered with heavy and dark modernity which pushes the whole thing forward into another direction. You can hear some Integrity type mosh, some Cursed style crustcore sensibilites, some drone/doom and a fair bit of plain death metal (especially on the vocals). When I saw them live recently, I had thought it is dark post-metal with a hardcore side; now I see that it's the opposite: it is actually all hardcore, but with a post-apocalyptic metal side to it.

I Want You Dead: happy stuff

The riffs are all epic and stick to your mind, and so do the vocals which have some pretty nice catchphrases thrown at the listener's face. In this way, the chaotic element actually becomes a tool for IWYD without leading their whole sound. Clever shit. The rhythm section follows through in a manic style, with hardcore drumming blasts that just go crazy and give you the impression that the dude is having the time of his life doing this. It is perfect to hear some heavy hardcore grooves matched with straight on hardcore drumming. I had missed that!

Special edition vinyl

Another reason to take our hats off for this band is the perfect production sound they got on this album. They've done a very good job, escpecially on the combination of the razor-sharp guitars with the natural sounding drums and the huge old school hardcore shoutalongs. That's some quality stuff right there. IWYD is now leading the way with a professional sound that at the same time doesn't sound overly big or fake (a common trap). It's just the right balance between going pro and going down to the basement. Thus, I Want You Dead manages to provide the feeling that accompanies their music: a suffocating, dark and angry feeling, like a caver buried alive two miles below surface.

Give these guys their props while they're returning from their 1st ever European tour, and catch them on the print version of TYS!!! Get this album and listen to their awesome, almost unrecognizable cover of Slapshot's "Old School Hardcore"!