Monday, November 28, 2011

Review: HEADED FOR DISASTER: "Jellyfish" EP (Self-Released)

Right from the start, Headed for Disaster come at you swinging like a rabid bear that hasn't eaten for 10 days. They bust out one metallic punk hymn after the other, landing direct hooks on your already swollen head from too much extreme music. Yes, these guys are noise afficcionados and you gotta love them, really.

Now I should mention at first that these guys are Swedes; and in a way, this monstrous ball of aggression still wears the mark of this rock n roll generator of a country. The musicianship is ultra tight and way above average, I mean these guys can PLAY. They have one foot firmly rooted in 80s aggressive hardcore/punk, but at the same time embellish their sound with lots and lots of icing: straight up thrash, pure rock n roll touches, upbeat skater California punk (RKL, Suicidal Tendencies etc), Motorhead crusty dirt, Swedish punk n roll, epic heavy metal guitar harmonies, some melodic singing coupled with sparse crust/death metal growls, some hard rock singalongs in there somewhere too, and the list goes on. I mean... how do they pull it off? This sounds totally consistent yet it is all over the place!

This punk thrash outfit is like a huge lizard wearing an ST shirt and a backwards baseball cap, skating off a 40ft  ramp with a cola in its hand, grinning in your ugly face. As the name says, destruction and disaster is the game here. This is real flaming rock n roll, by people who must live it in order to play it so well. These tunes are so hard and so tight, and have the perfect sense of urgency and emotion. What is more, Headed for Disaster have the power and ability to transmit this feeling to the listener, Yes... good music is always infectious and contagious and I'm glad to have listened to this.

The song below is from an older 2010 release, but I put it up here cause the song is rad and cause the cover for this video simply rules.
- Fotis TYS

also check:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thrash Friday #1: ADRENICIDE

From now and on, every Friday at TxYxS will be Thrash Friday! What that means is that we will post stuff about cool bands (current or from the past) that trhash it up and pack tons of energy and aggression. The reason we dedicate Fridays to thrash is because Friday marks the end of the week, the day everyone waits to get some time off and have fun. And what better way to encapsulate and celebrate this feeling with some balls to the wall, crazy fucking music!?

Here is some not forgetten thrash that worships all things DRI and Suicidal Tendencies. It's the mighty Adrenicide from rainy England with a 2011 thrashterpiece! A must listen...

p.s. All our sXe friends, don't worry about the beer worship either, we're sXe too but can still enjoy fun music.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Review: HARM's WAY "Isolation" (Closed Casket Activities)

Harm’s Way play brutal hardcore, but unlike many peers, they are as solid and heavy as it can get without any melodic ear candies or other trendy elements inside. In the present album Harm’s Way put together the grooviest and heaviest styles from hardcore and metalcore, to transform them into a sound uniquely theirs. You can be sure that this record is going to conquer your soundsystem in heavy rotations!

At first listen, Isolation does not sound that startling or extraordinary, rather tardy worn out and cliché, nevertheless it grabbed me from the neck with its megatone heaviness. Slowly as the tracks went by, I started realizing that Harm’s Way stand out from the crowd of ‘chugga-chugga’ thugs and copycats. Especially after listening the title track things got more interesting and addictive to the point that I kept repeating the tracks again and again. Isolation contains at least three of my favourite brutal hardcore numbers of the last years, namely ‘Breeding Grounds’, ‘New Beginnings’ and of course ‘Isolation’.

Here’s the recipe: 90’s mid-paced brutal hardcore ala Buried Alive, Hatebreed, Strife, Terror,  Naysayer etc., pounding open-chord progressions reminiscent of Machine Head (‘The more things change’-period), Throwdown, Soulfly etc (but totally hardcore and personalized). They make some occasional use of thrashy but warm and tuneful Merauder-like riffing of Master Killer era (pay attention to the 2:18 of ‘Slither’ or the starting riff of ‘Pretender’). There are some influences from darker hardcore acts like Integrity or the newcomers Xibalba but also slow downtuned boneshaking Crowbar grooves alongside doom hints. Yes, there are also breakdowns, but given in the band’s plodding and harsh style.

All is delivered in Isolation under an ice cold, introvert yet devastatingly heavy prism with black & white aesthetics. It is anguish, nihilism and soreness that drives Harm’s Way, not the street attitude. It is not another band that produces plastic copy/paste patchworks by the pound; the more you dive into Isolation, the more you realize that it is a cult album that paradoxically deviates from the standard macho style in spite of its heaviness and dance parts. Even though Harm’s Way is a straight edge band, this fact passes totally unnoticed throughout the record.

The songs are perfectly-crafted to reach their ends of pulverizing despair and anger: riffs, moshing grooves, breakdowns put in just the right place to create a flow of different tempos. The severe throaty vocals are sparingly used to force repetitive abstract words into the music like nails and make the crash absolutely harder (in ‘Becoming’ the phrase "cast a shadow. plead. freed" is repeated throughout the whole song). That is a real departure from the tiring endless screaming used by most bands nowadays. 

There are also some more subtle elements that push this record even further like the 2:55 minute mark of the ‘New Beginnings’, where the open-chord groove is molded into pure distorted heaviness that brings sludge/drone mantras in mind (especially the opening riff of Torche’s ‘Charge of the Brown Recluse’). When the vocals kick in the outcome is scorching! Another super effective creative detail is the mellow, quiet end of ‘Slither’ that has an Oceanic era Isis touch (and all the feelings of detachment and withdrawnness it denotes). It lasts only 50 seconds but is again repeated in ‘Pretender’ (the album’s closer) which finishes off with a  synth-assisted epic doom riff.

Isolation is honestly delivered, not overproduced but it has definitely a crashing production (by Andy Nelson at Bricktop Studios, mastered by Carl Saff at Saff Mastering) and highly danceable grooves that can tear any moshpit apart. Harm’s Way deliver mid-paced metallic hardcore of monstrous heaviness; a homage to the 90’s with a reclusive personal twist. While they incorporate a dark image and a hard sound they do not mix many styles (crust/black etc.) like other contemporaries do (see Rise & Fall, Oathbreaker, Trap Them, All Pigs Must Die etc.), they prefer to stay on the straight side of brutal hardcore. Not a single note drifts away from hardcore sound, rather all instruments are packed together like a fist of concrete. Thumbs up also for the great cover illustration by John MacNair!

Harm’s Way have been always changing, steadily focusing their sound on what culminated into Isolation, which is by far their best effort to date. Since it is a relatively young band, the expectations are sky-high for their next steps.  I would be surprised if there are any bands out there that can do any better metallic hardcore than these guys from Chicago.

Harm’s Way previous discography:

(2007) Imprisoned 7’’ EP (Organized Crime records, Tooth Decay Records)
(2009) Reality Approaches (Organized Crime records)
(2010) No gods, No Masters EP (Closed Casket Activities)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Featured Bands: NOOSE - Chicago Straight Edge

Noose is a vegan straight edge band from Chicago US. Their 2010 demo has created quite a lot of noise in the worldwide undergound HC scene, and for a good reason: these guys play no frills, pissed off hardcore that is not easy to come by these days! Their music takes us right back to a proto-HC sound reminiscent of Boston HC like SSD and maybe some faster shit like Infest. Even the production sounds like it was recorded in a crappy studio sometime in the 80s - and that's a good thing!

What is awesome about Noose is the sheer intensity of their sound, which - argue as much as you want - only old school hardcore music can deliver. It's so great to find out bands with this trademark sound in this rotten day and age! The band is now signed on React! Records and their new record will be out soon.

Check their site below because they post all kinds of cool stuff, like photos from their shows, links to other cool HC shit (zines, bands etc), merch, tour updates etc. Also, make sure to listen to their Fuck Art/No Respect demo.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Review: DEUS OTIOSUS "Murderer" (American Line/FDA Records)

It is just great to see death metal bands taking their music seriously. Any bunch of deathcore kids who wanna have fun can learn to play brutal and fast after some years of listening to Relapse bands and practicing; but the bands that ultimately stand out from the pack are the ones which have something more worthwhile, the ones with members who live and breathe real Death Metal all their lives. I'm talking about bands that can creep into your subconscious mind and make a nasty home in it. And Deus Otiosus is such a band.

There is a big difference between just banging out some solid DM tunes with the right ingredients (death growls, heavy riffs, double bass drums etc), and making a piece of real unearthly, sick, and disgustingly dark music.  While Deus Otisius do have all the right ingredients for sure, they fall into the latter category of true deathsters, and have offered the world a true old school DM masterpiece.

Their brand of DM goes way back to the roots of old school death metal. That means really brutal, with a thick wall of sound created by the the solid guitar riffage, 100% DM vocals and a crazy drummer blasting out necro beats in the background. What I mean by 'necro' is that the beats are not hyper fast, more like an exchange of mid tempo/fast parts, but coupled with a punishing and selective use of the double bass. If you want references of what this albums sounds, then I'd have to drop in some names like early Death, Apshyx, Sinister, Bolt Thrower, maybe even rocking stuff like Entombed and Dismember. At times, these guys seem to black/thrash it a little bit in the old school style like Possessed, Celtic Frost etc. And that, my friends, is where the real inferno is at.

While Deus Otisius plays straight out DM, they manage to create a ghastly atmosphere without the use of long interludes, keyboards, or any other extras. They manage to collectively use their instruments, lyrics and layout in such a way as to create a real deathly atmosphere that drives your mind into hellish images, cold cemetaries and ghouls running amuck. Some of the riffs have an epic feel to to them and create a war/battlefield atmposhere, hence the Bolt Thrower influence I mentioned earlier. These are some of the parts that really start growing on you after you give this record a few listens.

To sum it up, I'll leave you with a line that the band itself used in order to promote the album: "twisted death metal with the reek of the damned". This is what it is!

PROS: Total old school feel, great vox, some truly epic guitar riffs, nice production, high level of brutality.
CONS: None, but strictly for DM fans
LOWDOWN: A true DM album for those who worship the roots of this music.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Record Review: RETOX "Ugly Animals" (Ipecac recordings/Three One G)

Retox, seems to be another project band of Justin Pearson (mainly known for his presence at the noise-chaotic-grindcore band The Locust) and their new album…kick ass! I‘ll try to explain myself by telling you a story.

You press the play button and after 13 minutes you wonder what the fuck blew your head away. It takes less than a quarter of an hour so you wonder. Is this possible? You press the play button again. Same result. Then you realize…it’s true….it‘s really happening. Retox, with their first full-length album Ugly Animals succeeded to produce something brilliant. They had warned us one year ago with the release of their self-titled EP and now they come back with an excellent performance again.

An amount of some noise punk/hardcore filled with drops of crust/fastcore and with lots of energy, sickness and creativity, Tragedy meets Some Girls and Cursed meets Melt Banana. Everything coordinated, everything in its right place. 

I don’t think I have to say anything else to describe something so straight forward and direct like “Ugly Animals”. I believe that it’s better to listen to the album instead of spending time reading this review.

Nick Tolis

Monday, November 14, 2011

Old School Tattoo flash, by Dean Denney

If you're like me, you can never, ever have enough tattoo flash to stare at and get inspired from. Traditional tattoo flash is amazing as a contemporary art piece, as inspiration for those of us who draw, and of course as ideas for our next tatttoo! Get it done!

News: Youth of Today free show in NYC!

2011 seems to be the most energetic year for Youth of Today since their reunion in 2008, but their latest show was a special event! They recently headlined the free re-release event/festival for the book ‘Making a Scene: New York Hardcore 1985-1988’ book, which originally came out  back in 1989. The book is now revamped with more than double photographic material, new commentaries etc. You can check it out through the following links:

The festival was entitled True Til Def and was held at Santos Party House in the context of the annual CMJ music marathon, hosted by Andrew W.K. (musician/speaker/owner of the venue). Other bands that played the True Til Def festival were youth crew holdovers Mouthpiece, notorious punks Trash Talk as well as heavies Kylesa and The Fucking Wrath (some indie rock and hip hop artists also appeared). The festival was free, with placed reservations.

Hit this link to see YoT rampage the stage:

Check out  some photos from True Til Def here.

further links:


Things that happen at Youth of Today shows

Sunday, November 13, 2011

REBEL 8: LA Streetstyle Worldwide

 REBEL 8 is a clothing company close to the heart of hardcore kids. The company was founded in 2003 and since then it has been making awesome streetwear that stems from graffiti, tattoo and skateboard culture (3 things closely affiliated with hardcore music as well).

The mastermind behind REBEL 8 is the infamous graffiti and tatto artist, Mike Giant. He is one of the guys that take their creativity to the next level, managing to carve a new niche by doing what they love, even though it might not be so popular when they start out. People like Mike Giant are all about utilizing their talents and seeing the possibilites that an underground culture may have. This Buddhist, party animal, bike lovin', legend of an artist has managed to use the things he loves in life to his advantage and has built REBEL 8 into a respectable compamy based on Giant's all original, most characteristic - still hand-drawn - design. Go to and educate yourself on some loud street culture!

Friday, November 11, 2011

News: RINGWORM strike back with 2 cult 7’’ EPs!

Legendary clevo-core heavyweights Ringworm release a split EP with crossover metalcore merchants Mindsnare from Australia! The 7’’ titled Your Soul Belongs To Us, is provided by A389 Records and includes a mini comic book illustrated by the Human Furnace (the singer) himself! We expect some rough & dark quality metalcore here! Rumours say that in this 7’’ Ringworm continue their vile metalcore legacy!

For those who do not know Mindsnare, they have released split albums with Toe To Toe and Congress (H8000 crew rules!!!) while they have shared the stage with bands like Sick Of It All, Agnostic Front and of course Ringworm.

At the same time A389 Records released almost another Ringworm 7’’, this time based on a 1999 demo cassette. It is titled Madness Of War and is limited to 250 copies! It comes with a nice ‘chaos’ layout! The partisans will proceed I guess..:)


regalbigal [at] yahoo [dot] com

Thursday, November 10, 2011

News: Earth Crisis live show at Hate5Six!

EARTH CRISIS rule, and you already know that. This band doesn't need a special introduction as it has established a legendary status and a solid heritage after years of dedication and hard work. The 2011 album Neutralize The Threat (soon to be reviewed here at TxYxS) is a scorching heavy metallic hardcore record that brings us back to the golden days of 90s hardcore. EC has been touring to support the album throughout most of the current year, wrecking venues and spreading the vegan straight edge message to old and new HC kids alike. You can visit the awesome hardcore website Hate5Six (they shoot entire HC shows from well known bands and stream them for free) and watch EC do their thing at a recent show!

With so much of today's hipster hardcore flooding the music media, it's definitely good to still have bands like Earth Crisis. Let's stay with the real, heavy, original hardcore sound and message!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Featured Bands: NunFuckRitual (Oslo, Norway)

Fucking hell!

Every now and then I like to throw a little something that derails from the classic hardcore/metal stuff we post on this blog. Above all, we are into heavy music that makes an impact and when I listen to something too good and too extreme, I want to share it with the people who read this blog. Moreover, You have to do what you can to spread the word on bands that are making awesome music. BUT, this is the 1st time I ever post something from the black metal realm on this blog. However, this is totally worth it as it is pioneering, brutal, atmospheric BM that will make the hair at the back of your neck stand up. It's that scary.

NunFuckRitual is a Norwegian BM outfit (from Oslo), which however has nothing to do with the BM tradition of this country (musically at least). The black metal we have here is creepy and atmospheric, maybe even psychedelic. However, it maintains a pretty fucking high level of extremity. Perhaps the whole outcome musically and aesthetically points to something more American BM-influenced. Or maybe the Nordic tribes of BM are at it again, reinventing the whole sound of this genre.

NFRitual has released an album in 2011 called In Bondage to the Serpent, you should check it out if you are into weird, extreme BM. Fucking go for it, listen to something that will creep you out! (label website)

Interview: BEAR (Belgium, Let It Burn Records)

A few days ago we did a review for Belgian progressive hardcore/metal pioneers BEAR (their Doradus lp on Let it Burn Records). In fact, we got so excited with this album that one thing led to another and we ended up doing an interview with these guys. We managed to steal some time ftom those brainiac metallic hardcore kids in order to learn some more about this monster of a band that answers to the name BEAR. 

1. What music did you grow up with and what is the process that led to having such a varied musical landscape? Do you have any formal music backgrounds? Were you in other bands before?  
I think I speak for all of us when I say we grew up listening to more heavy music, but learned to appreciate and love all kinds of other stuff during the years. Like funk, free jazz, flamenco...everything that is played with heart or brings something else to the table. That reflects in the music we write. Unavoidably you get influenced by everything you listen to. If you only listen to one kind of music the chances are big you won't be able to step out of that mindframe and get caught in repetition. We were all in other bands before, bringing those experiences into BEAR makes that we can work more focused.
2. What is you it want to achieve with BEAR? Is there a message behind the band and if there were three words to describe BEAR as a whole, what would they be?
We just love to play the music that we do. And like every other band we like to see people enjoy our music. It would be cool to see BEAR influence other musicians or bands in what way so ever. We don't really have a message other than do what you love and believe in, do your own thing, Three words that could describe us would probably be :  Non typical metal !
3. Tell us a few things about the recording process and your cooperation with Let It Burn Records.
The recording process was fun! It's awesome to hear the things you've been working on for a couple of months come together on an album. We recorded at Red Left Hand Studio with Sven Janssens who is a good friend of ours. He knew what we wanted, we trusted him so we just went for it. The album was recorded and mixed in 2 weeks and we're all stoked about the way it came out. As for Let it Burn we couldn't have wished for more at this point. Chris (the label boss) totally believes in us and was willing to give a band that was only playing for like 6 months or so a record deal. That says a lot! 
4. Do you do music as a hobby or do you want to take it a step further in the future? Would you like to have music as your normal job (which is..)?
Well I think when you've been playing in bands all your life like us it isn't just a hobby. And of course we would like to take it as far as possible with BEAR. We love to play together, we've got something going on so it would be a shame to just let it hang. As far as 'normal'  jobs go... well I make a living teaching guitar in music schools so I couldn't ask for more :) Our bass player is a teacher too and our drummer and singer are working in the 'graphic design' department.
5. I've seen some crazy action going on from your live videos. How hard is it to maintain top notch musical accuracy while moshing so hard?
Haha, good question! Well, let's say there are certain parts you can let it go and certain parts you have to stay focussed hard on what you are playing. You kind of make out for yourself which are the 'easy go crazy parts' and the 'shit I wish I hadn't made this so technical parts' haha. All of us have kind of a reputation of going bonkers on stage from our previous bands so we've had some good practice in the old days. 
6. What are listening to nowadays? Do you still listen to metal and hardcore or have turned to other stuff?
My personal taste has always been a bit eclectic. I like music or bands that try to do something else. We all are big Dillinger and Meshuggah fans. But then again I can enjoy a good Katy B track much more than the umpteenth breakdown hardcore band. And as I said before, you need to keep an open mind to evolve. Serch our drummer and Dries our bassist still also listen to a lot of hardcore stuff aswel as other things. What can i say, when it's good... it's good. 

7. What are your main likes and dislikes about the modern metal/hardcore music scene (both industry and people-wise)?
It's cool to see a lot of hardcore/metal bands trying to do their own thing, without copying other bands. More and more kids are trying to make their mark. And you make your mark by standing out, you stand out by doing something else. The only thing we don't like is narrow mindedness but you have that in every scene.  

8. What are your current and near future plans with BEAR?
Well currently we are trying to get our record DORADUS heard everywhere as much as possible by playing gigs, doing interviews :). Trying to get it as much media exposure as possible. We'll probably shoot a second music video to support the album. Near plans: well we are already starting to write music for our next album. So we'll be working on that in our spare time. 

9. If you were going traveling for a year and could only take one tape with you with 2 albums recorded on it, what would they be?
Damn, that's a tough one! Well it would probably be the things I'm listening to currently being: Camaron (great Spanish singer) and Karnivool (Sound Awake).
10. Do you have any other interests aside from music, i.e. art / photography / literature / politics whatever? How do you spend your free time?
Well yeah, we all have our non musical hobbies. But they are all in the creative sector too. I'll just give you a list of some of our free time spendings: basketball, martial arts, photography, comic books, b-movies, drawing, designing, eating, ... yup a whole lot o' other stuff :)

11. Thanks for the interview and for the great music!!! Please close this interview by telling TYS readers how the new BEAR record will benefit their world.
No prob! You're gonna love it or hate it, either way you will have discovered something new!


Right! So I will just close this by saying a big thanks to everyone involved in this interview: BEAR, Chris Let It Burn, as well as, the guy who took these awesome pix. Music speaks louder than words so remember to check BEAR on their social media. You will be rewarded with some awesome music and remember, these guys BREAK STUFF!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Harley Flanagan: the Cro Mags Legend Continues

The CRO MAGS have got to be one of the (if not THE) most legendary bands in hardcore. When we say "hardcore", we generally mean stuff that sounds like the CRO MAGS, no matter the diversions and trends that have emerged throughout the years. That's the sound that's always been, and that's the sound that's gonna continue to inspire kids to go hardcore and make their own music and bands, now and forever.

Throughout the yeats, a lot of energy has been spent on debating who the true leader of the CRO MAGS really is. Is it the legendary Harley Flanagan (bass/vocals) or is it the iconic Jon Joseph (vocals)? The truth is that, during various times in hardcore history the CRO-MAGS have been led by both members collectively, and have also been led by Harley and Jon independently, to the point that there have been two CRO MAGS at the same time. Fans and people in bands seem to part in to two directions with the legacy of this legend of a band still remaining out there for generaitons of kids to discover and enjoy again and again.

As hardcore fan I've never cared too much about this debate, cause to be honest I look up to both of these guys. Jon has the crazy Krishna holy vegan warrior thing going on, while Harley is the embodiment of hard as nails, bad ass hardcore attitude and a killer martial artist. And because we at TYS zine tend to take sides (unlike many other fence sitters), I will go  and say that judging from these guys' general precence in hardcore throughout the years, I have come to personally think Harley really  is the CRO MAGS. When I look at Harley, all I know is that this guy is for real, he's 100% hardcore and he doesn't claim the CRO MAGS' legacy for the money.

I will leave this here and take it to the music which as always, speaks best. Many people don't know that the CRO MAGS released two killer songs in 2010 with Harley on vocals (and on bass, of course). This last output is totally influenced by their early classic stuff, and especially by the thrashy Best Wishes album. Here is a track that, in case you've missed, you should definitely check out.

Books: Think. "A Compilation of Cheap Poetry, Lyrical Crap, Words and Images"

Compared to the amount of countless records and demos constantly coming out from the hardcore scene, there is definitely a lack of zines and books coming out of that same scene. Think. is an independent publication emerging from the Greek HC punk scene which breathes some fresh air in this music-oriented scene.

Think. is a small book which features short poems, lyrics, opinion articles and photos. It falls under the personal publication category, and while some of the abovementioned features are in one way or another related to hardcore, most are purely personal and introspective. In fact, I'd say that most of the material in this book is a way of the author venting his emotions on personal issues like friendship, relationships, depression, loneliness, money, politics, growing up, bittersweet feelings about the scene, etc. I happen to personally know this guy and hardcore is his whole life, so it is kind of interesting to read and find out what kind of mark some 10 years in the scene have left on him.

The opinion articles in this zine are more positive in relation to the poems; they are mostly guest articles written for friends' zines trhoughout recent years (including an article featured in Take Your Shot #4!). They are uplifiting and sometimes pissed off articles about getting active in hardcore, maintaing your integrity and passion, and acting with sincerity and common sense. The zines that the articles were published in are scattered pretty much all across the world, so here is a nice way to think about how hardcore can take your words and thoughts, and pass them on around the globe.

This book is a hardback edition, printed in black & white and even though the layout is quite artistic and minimal, THINK. looks more like the type of peace anarchist publication you'd find on a DIY merch table at a crustcore show. That's cool! In fact, the author makes a point about avoiding any form of artsy/hipster wannabe status and I couldn't agree more.

Like I said the author is a friend and a long time colleague in hardcore activities, so it's hard to take these words in without thinking who's behind it all. I have to pretend I am someone else reading some guy's I don't know work, so that the words speak straight to my heart (and indeed, that's how I read this book). Maybe in a way I don't want to accept that a stand up guy I know has his own issues and anxieties, so even bigger thumbs up to him for making such an all-out, honest and fearless expression of his thoughts.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Featured Bands: SLEEPING GIANT

SLEEPING GIANT is an insane metalcore band which calls Redlands, CA home. They play brutal metalcore with huge breakdowns that hit way harder than most metalcore bands out there today. Luckily for us, they don't go down the clean vocal path and just deliver sheer vocal brutality with all kinds of growls and variously pitched screams. Another thing that may hit kinda hard about this bruising hardcore machine, is that they are a heavily outspoken Christian band. The amount of good Christian hardcore bands out there is unbelievable, and more often than not they seem to produce some of the heaviest, hardest music. It's hard to figure out how a bunch of devout kids can make such extreme music. Of course, we know that Christian hardcore bands don't usually get the acceptance of hc kids, but if we can judge hardcore for the intensity of the music and the integrity of the lyrics, SLEEPING GIANT is the real deal!

These guys compare their music to a soundtrack for the judgement day or the apocalypse. The destruction of this world is what fascinates them to create their music (and that's pretty dark, if you ask me!)

All in all, we don't care what you say, these guys are awesome and make great music!

Trivia: All SLEEPING GIANT members were at some point in the legendary straight edge deathcore band xDEATHSTARx.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

SPED - "Dad I Learned it From Watching you" (Self Released)

Sped is an unusual treat for us at TYS. This NYC punk band manages to crank up the fun factor and combine the grit and the melody in a very catchy way. Just listen to these 12 songs of snotty punk and you'll find out (or better, remember) a sense of freedom and wildness that only true punk rock music can deliver!

Today punk is filled with bands made up of kids who perhaps grew up listening to a newer generation of punk bands, which unfortunately is not always true to the roots of this music. Gladly, this is not the case with Sped. At all. This band plays real, tuneful punk rock that takes us way back to a time when punk was dirty and in your face. These three-chord tunes are distorted, fun and straight to the point. Without crossing over to crust punk or anarcho-punk, these NYC dudes manage to get the job done and create a sufficient amount of damage!

It's interesting to observe how his record nods to various directions of punk; it has the uptempo punk/core songs, it has the poppier moments and also its mid tempo groovers. the first thing I think about when I hear this is Dee Dee Ramone, plain and simple. There are also other influences, like Rancid, Screeching Weasel and many many others. These guys follow the tradition of lowlife punx who want to write catchy and snotty music. Maybe Sped isn't crazily innovative or anything, but you can tell they have fun making this music and they do what they do well and with commitment.

There is something in this record that will send your mind straight to the dirty roads of New York and make you think of love stories, fist fights, drunken nights and being up all night. This album has a school theme throughout too, which fits nicely with the dirty punk attitude. Can you relate to being the odd punk kid at school, feeling out of place, being always late, falling asleep in the classroom? Maybe even getting drunk at school? Ha ha. For most of us this shit is history, but these guys have made an album for this kind of stuff.

So! If you like your mid paced punk laced with teenage attitude but also filled with spikes and worn out clothes, then this is for you. It's a nice break from all the metal and hardcore. Sped will do you some good.

UPs: following a not so trendy punk tradition, crazily catchy songs like "Jenni's Got a Nosebleed".
DOWNs: lack of originality and perhaps the school theme gets too much at some point
LOWDOWN: Snotty punk rock with tiny hints of hardcore and a careless attitude!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Record Reviews: SSS "Problems to the Answer" (Earache Records)

SSS are a bunch of English hardcore dudes who probably loved their skateboards and thrash too much. They have been delivering blistering crossover thrashcore since the late 00s and have been doing it better than many 'thrash revival' muppets. They have a new album on Earache Records, which is a total scorcher! Review by Rigas (rigalbigal [at] yahoo [dot] com).

Do you think there is a gap between NYHC, fast oldschool trash metal, crossover, fastcore and grind? Well, SSS (meaning Short Sharp Shock – not Super SS or other nazi stuff) are filling this niche pretty well with their 3rd full length. No fancy stuff, no polished production - just music straight in your face and I appreciate that. These guys from Liverpool, UK manage to pack 25 songs in 41 minutes, hence most of the numbers are less than 2 minutes long.

The first song ‘The First Kill’ starts in an oldschoool Crossover / thrash manner akin to SOD, Whiplash, Slayer and Dark Angel. The vocals are shouted, reminding me Billy Milano (SOD), Roger Miret (Agnostic Front) and a bit of Ray Cappo (Youth of Today) but also Benediction in the few death metal growls. The second song is a short r’n’r d-beat tune while the third is a 15 second fastcore blast reminiscent of Cause for Alarm (self-titled 7’’), but also newer acts like early Bratpack. The fourth song ‘Laughing leads to crying’ is again somewhere between crust and NYHC while the following ‘White bread’ is a grindcore injection. Obviously, there is quite some variation between tracks. I heard even a Suicidal Tendencies style crossover in ‘Tales out of school’. ‘Direct Action’ could be the last snap before activists hit the streets! :) The last song ‘Strangenotes’ is a long experimental closer for the album, but it did not impress me.

Overall, although Problems to the Answer is not totally groundbreaking, it has a lot of stimulating moments like ‘Foreign Body Plot’ which is really a punk-thrash-crust crossover or the throwback thrash of ‘Sick Pleasures’. The vocals are fitting all needs of the songs, the bass is quite pronounced & pummeling and the music is altogether well-executed. SSS seem to possess a vast knowledge of U.S. hardcore punk and everything crossover plus they put a good deal of effort in this release, taking care of the songwriting and the general flow of the record.

Compared to their previous releases, this time they come with more speed (grind!), tempo shifts and variety, something which is positive. I think crossover thrashing skaters will appreciate this release as it is easy-to-follow straight music. Don’t leave your brains on the pavement! SSS continue their crossover revival discography carry keeping the tradition of crossover in the new age, where ‘the armies of punk rock and thrash metal finally come together into a unified front bent on exposing social injustice and political hypocrisy’.