It is pretty hard for me to review a Madball record, as it is a band that I pretty much grew up listening to. I also know that Madball is getting a lot of bad rap for being macho, knuckleheads and whatever. But what do the people who talk shit know, when they can't even acknowledge the basic bands in hardcore? You'd easily say that the 'cool' thing to do nowadays is to trash a band like Madball. But these dudes have built a name and a brand that is a trademark of hardcore music and they still uphold it to this day when so many others have changed direction, cashed in and/or quit.
So after this delirium of nonsensical hardcore rambling, I will move straight onto the review of Madball's new album, Empire (2010). I am very glad that Madball has come back sounding rawer and more straightforward than their last albums Infiltrate the System and Legacy. Don't get me wrong, I love these two albums of that more thought-provoking Madball side, but this is what they do best: energetic, no holds barred heavy hardcore/metal with TONS of attitude.
In other words, we could say that Madball have returned to their bad side, and that's exactly what fits them best. They have the mid-tempo HC grooves that get people bouncing, they got the thick guitar riffage, the thundering NYHC drum rolls and breaks and - of course- Hoya's deep sounding bass thuggery. The riffs are really well-written and give way for huge breakdowns and tempo exchanges. Just the type of stuff you need at your hardcore party when you fuck shit up and throw nachos around.
Hoya (right) says call him now.
Another good thing that Madball did with Empire, is that they got Erik Rutan (death metal guitarist and sound expert - Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal etc) to produce the album. I have come to believe that death metal producers make the toughest sounding hardcore albums! Because of Rutan, we get that huge Madball sound we want to hear and groove to. Last but not least, the lyrics are not at all obnoxious or tough guy, and Madball don't pretend to be anything they're not. If you actually listen to their album you'll understand that all the negative hype is a load of BS.
So what are you waiting for? Wear your huge hardcore T shirt and shorts, and start windmilling right now fool!