Thursday, December 29, 2011

Featured Band: Focused X Minds

FocusedxMinds hail from Milwakee, Wisconsin, US. Even if Milwakee is not particularly famous for HC punk, you should check out FxM for some passionate and self-empowering straight edge HC, because they are making big noise right now with incessant touring and recording.

They already have a great demo (2010) that you can download for free here:

Somewhere between a NYHC / Boston sound and fastpaced straight edge HC (at times thrashcore), songs like ‘No Satisfaction’ and ‘Free Your Thinking’ are bursting into youthful blasts of positive energy.

Earlier in 2011 FxM released a 7’’ at 6131 Records, titled ‘Stay Focused’, which contains 3 tracks from the demo plus 3 new songs!  Especially the title track is one of the best songs I have heard lately. A couple of days ago FxM got out of the studio after recording a bunch of new songs to be released in a 3-way split with Out of Time and Another Mistake later during spring 2012 by 6131 Records. So, stay tuned, there is a lot coming from FxM!

FxM are a new band but they are spreading out mature messages (sxe, animal rights, personal change etc.) and seriously positive vibes. FocusedxMinds stand for being open-minded while being a straight edge kid. It is about self-determination refuting stagnation in any doctrines or submission to norms (even within a sub-culture).

I recall the times when the straight edge community has suffered from ‘zero tolerance’ mentalities and militant violence towards people who do not follow straight edge lifestyles. There is a difference between being passionate about your beliefs and being blinded by them. In a passionate state you can go forward while in a blind condition you can become destructive and backward-minded.

- Rigas


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Another Hardcore Xmas: A TxYxS Story

So... Merry Xmas everyone. Even if you see the whole Xmas thing as pure consumerist business, you too probably appreciate having time off work/school etc and kicking it with nice food and your favorite music, fighting with your family etc. And as this year is drawing to a close, I'll throw a quick recap of the year 2011 for our zine.

2011 has been very productive for Take Your Shot. Not only did we release our 4th issue, but the blog was also updated a lot more often compared to all previous years. The action picked up a lot, with constant communication with music fans, independent bands and labels from all around the world. We'd like to dedicate 2011 to them. I personally got introduced to a lot of good and heavy music through those people, and I am really grateful for that. There's no need to make a top-10 or anything like that... it's so hard to choose with all the good stuff hat came out during this last year.

During the last part of 2011, I feel as TxYxS has really found the purpose of its existence. And this purpose is very simple indeed, but also crucial: to merge ourselves with the worldwide DIY network, and become a mouthpiece for it. Since the areas we cover are often really diverse and whatnot (musically - artistically etc), you could say this was the missing link: the DIY/independent factor, which runs through every Metal, HC, whatever release we cover.

I see Take Your Shot as a journey through all things interesting, extreme, thought provoking, entertaining, even life changing. True story. Our path (metal, hc, punk, veganism, straight edge, anarchy, you name it) has the power to do that. Please don't hold it against us for not being strictly a "hardcore fanzine" any more. We cover what we like. As for me I, feel awesome and really blessed to have reached this point with this zine, and to have access to so much good and inspiring stuff. It's a blast!

Needless to say we will continue at full strength during 2012.

All the best, Fotis TYS

p.s. The Elvis song is a joke, by the way. How many punk covers of classic Xmas songs can we take anyway?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

GROWN BELOW - "The Long Now" LP Review

Grown Below is an exceptionally low and slow post-death metal band, and their new album The Long Now easily deserves to go in 2011's top metal albums. This monster of an album contains seven beautifully brutal songs, four of which exceed the 12 minute mark (the longest being a 17 min epic). Trust me when I say that this is enough to fill the plate of even the most exquisite extreme metal aficionado.

There is a multitude of surprises throughout this doom laden album, some of which being the use of violin, clean guitar parts and some scattered female vocals. But if that scares you away and you think that this is some type of melodic DM, you might want to think twice. This band is totally heavier than you can probably imagine, and belongs to a rare category of ambient and hypnotizing progressive post doom / death. References like DM versions of Neurosis and Cult of Luna come to mind, but for me there is one band that really has touched these depths before - and that band is Asunder. Members of Grown Below have also been in another band called Timer (which we obviously have to check out now).

Essentially, this music really seems to be a whole different genre than all other crushing types of extreme metal (which are fine, too). The difference is that it can go much deeper and touch areas in your mind that really trigger emotions and - how can we put it - nurture deep thoughts. What I hear definitely has a connection with the environment and the world around us, and this is a weird point to make -- because how can all this amplified noise have a connection with the natural earth? Yet, it does. I could imagine Grown Below giving epic 1:30 hour shows on a bill with other anarcho-crust and sludge/doom bands who share a similar philosophy.

Grown Below has this profoundly minimal take on their art, delivering thick layers of sound through multiple pillars of distortion, slow as fuck drums and totally harsh DM vocals. The music is so heavy and melancholic that at times it can become almost unbearable for the untrained. This brutally low combination has the power of throwing you in a whirlwind of emotions dark and spiritual in nature. Indeed, this album is very emotionally charged. But hidden in the noise and brutality, there come hints of powerful, distortion-drenched melodies that give you a chance to breathe and in a way become renewed. The Long Now is filled with subtle guitar effects and atmospheric keyboards, tribal build-ups with clean guitars and - last but not least - a strong bass which fills any possible aural space left. These are additional but definitely not dismissible facts about this album. This will be an hour + of music that you won't forget and you'll frequently come back to.

P.S. Remember to play LOUD.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Archetype - New EP Streaming

In a world where metalcore gets increasingly more polished, it is very nice to hear bands still keeping it aggressive without compromising the most important elements of the metalcore genre: hardcore's intensity and passion combined with a metal character.

Archetype from Britain's Nottinghamshire manage to do the above. Sure they have some clean vocals, but for the most part they just plough on through with some chunky, brutal, downtuned metalcore. At times, the band gets so heavy and metallic that could even be termed deathcore (basically due to the excessive double bass drumming and the fat, discordant metal riffs). They have a chaotic and progressive dimension to their sound, which brings them close to bands like Time in Malta, Poison the Well, British contemporaries While She Sleeps and other metalcore bands with a progressive twist. However, Archetype - as their name suggests - have a unique stamp on what they do and they generally just nail it with this ep release.

Archetype are streaming their awesome new ep and you can check it out for free here. Make sure to give this groovy and extreme British metalcore powerhouse the time it deserves!

Desolate by WeAreArchetype

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bitter American - 7" EP (Cricket Cemetery Records)

Fuck I'm pissed off. And when I feel like this, the only legal way to vent is through some fast, angry, super pissed music. Bitter American is just like that; they have that ultra rough proto hardcore sound (think Black Flag, Bl'ast etc) but played with definitely more speed and dirt. The outcome is totally scorching and although it can make your ears bleed, it has a cleansing effect on your troubled head.

Bitter American's new 7" is another insane hardcore product of the profoundly noisy Cricket Cemetery records. The label specializes at releasing the dirtiest, trashiest (not thrashiest), meanest hardcore out there, and they do it with unique style. Bitter American is the perfect example of what the labels' all about. This band takes no punches and lands 4 short hardcore blasts of frantic drumming, short riffs, loud bass, and madman vocals. The outcome is a swift punch right in the middle of your face, leaving you on the floor wandering what just happened.

The 7" begins with a 28 second build up of feedback noise and incomprehensive drumming, leading up to the general chaos that takes place throughout the short 5 minutes that this ep lasts. Every song hits hard and straight to the point, with the last song packing a bit of, dare I say, melody to it. There is some type of tuneful guitar noodling oin the background, while the singer repeatedly spits the phrase my mind is a wrecking ball. Couldn't be more right on this one.

This is utterly and most definitely music for this bored generation; we have short attention spans, we are bored to death with all the shit people call entertainment, we desperately need to get out kicks and escape this mundane existence. We need bands like Bitter American to accompany our soundtrack and accomplish the above.

Bitter American will go down well with all fans of noisy hardcore, loud punk, maybe even those hipster fastcore / powerviolence freaks. It could also serve as the punk listen for grindcore and crust / dbeat fans. In fact, fuck it, this band should do justice all fans of extreme and pissed off culture. Get into it!

BITTER AMERICAN - "Infinate Tick" by Cricket Cemetery

And make sure to check the label Crick Cemetery here:

Friday, December 16, 2011

Positively Positive Hardcore Punk Fest #5

Positively Positive is a hardcore fest that has been taking place in the city of Athens every December  for a good 5 years now. It has become a staple part of the Greek hc/punk scene, with the kids eagerly waiting to kickstart the holidays with this pre-Xmas hardcore show. Furthermore, the organizers make sure to bring some of the hottest DIY acts of the day, and make our time spent in An Club's basement worth the ride.

This year, the promoter decided to push the fest towards a more melodic hc/ punk rock direction, with a couple of awesome European bands and a few good local acts. Make sure to check it out!

For more info, check

Monday, December 12, 2011

"Suicidal Pathway" - New song by Unveil!

Unveil is a Swiss metallic hardcore band which proudly brings back the true 90s vegan straight edge sound and message. This poltically minded hardcore outfit functions within a deeply DIY HC/punk framework, constantly playing shows in all kinds of independent venues and releasing one good recording after the other. After a very well received demo and a bunch of 7"s (and split 7"s), Unveil is ready to release their debut full length album through a xCatalystx / Cobra Records collaboration. Make sure to check this scene-changing, highly influential band of our times, and don't say we didn't warn you when they've become a household name in hardcore. Political vegan straight edge hardcore is BACK in Europe!

Suicidal Pathway is a ne song that will be included in Unveil's new album. Make sure to give it a sneak peak through the player below!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

WORLD OF PAIN - New Album Hits Hard!

World of Pain is a brutal style hardcore band, in the vein of early Hatebreed and 100 Demons. This San Diego outfit has a new album out on Beatdown Hardwear records that will crush you like it ain't no thing! What makes this band stand apart the thousands of boring beatdown acts is the fact that they actually have that tried and true, oldschool heavy hardcore sound that isn't so easy to come by these days. It takes knowledge and love of hardcore to pull this style off and not come off as another clone, and these guys manage to do it. There are plenty of metal elements here, but all molded into hardcore in such a way that you can't tell one from the other. This is just 100% mosh.

These guys stand tall alongside other contemporary HC heavyweights like Lionheart and of course the whole Beatdown Hardware roster of bands like Ruckus, Stout etc. This is the definite sound of worldwide heavy hardcore at its purest form. Their new, much awaited, self titled album is out now. Get it!

P.S. Props for the awesome japanese-style tattoo artwork which goes hand in hand with the intensity of this brutal HC musicv. Now go get it tattooed on you or something and start moshing!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Record Review: LIGEIA "Welcome to Palm City" (self-released)

Ligeia return after a two-year hiatus and they choose the most direct way to reach their fans: by offering them their new record for free download. No record labels or other merchants in between, just the band and the listener. I personally support this DIY attitude! This is also why I got into this review. According to Keith Holuk (singer), this decision was a present to all the kids that supported them throughout the years. The download file contains also a booklet with cover, lyrics, photos and info. Thumbs up!

Ligeia was formed in Massachusetts, USA back in 2003. The group has 2 records with Ferret Music under its belt, 2006’s Your Ghost is a Gift and Bad News released in 2008. We are talking about a very experienced band that has managed to play over 600 shows in a 2-year period between 2006 and 2009! That is to say they have the attitude of spreading their music by playing all over the place wherever they can, which is respectable.

The EP kicks in quite fast and hard without wasting any moment. During the first half a minute of ‘Simulated Drowning’ there is a newschool melodic hardcore passage ala Ruiner/Modern Life Is War.  Soon after different aspects of their music are coming into surface like the standard modern metalcore vocal ranges (from pop punk to distorted screams). I need to mention the nice rocking riff at 01:20 leading to a breakdown. The song closes with a dramatic hardcore melody and some poppy vocals on top. The second number ‘Two Weeks Notice’ is more typical metalcore style but has a drunken rocking touch that reminds a bit of Every Time I Die.

Welcome to Palm City contains some memorable songs like the ‘Vodka Demon’ (with guest vocals from Drew York of Stray from the Path) or moments like the driving riff at the beginning of ‘Lie To Me’. The production is neat and clean by Jay DeLuca at The Bear’s Den studio and delivers what Ligeia wants, albeit it does not manage to move much from the standard. Especially the rhythm section has the modern cliché plastic sound, although the musicianship is quite accomplished. However, there is more stand out work on the guitars, they have an exceptionally versatile sound that is less distorted and more rocking in comparison.

Overall, this EP kept me hooked throughout the listen, although I am not too much in this type of hardcore music. It marks some progress for the band since their last effort Bad News: they sound more ‘mature’, with improved guitar work and more serious lyrics. What makes a difference with the rest of this overpopulated scene is the honesty of the band and their more melodic hardcore approach. At least, I prefer this EP than the new super-selling overproduced metalcore stars The Devil Wears Prada or Asking Alexandria not to mention Design The Skyline, who are all drenched in synths that remind impoverished black metallers like Dimmu Borgir.   

I am thankful to Ligeia for sharing these 20 minutes of music with us! You can have it yourself here:

Friday, December 2, 2011


Legion of Parasites was a very noisy UK band that formed in 1981 and released three albums and an ep. Although they truly belonged in the political, crusty punk hardcore scene of their time, their sound is undeniably much closer to a proto-metal thrash sound that still sounds heavy and disturbing some 30 years later. All their recordings are different from each other, meaning that the production is totally different and that the band also fluctuated back and forth from metallic punk to the more traditional UK82 and anarchopunk sounds. This band has gone largely unnoticed throughout the history of heavy music, but I think that their contribution should be reconsidered and credited. Thrash it up with some original old school UK necro sound!

For some sparse info, you can visit Moreover, the song below has been uploaded straight from vinyl (not by us) and it sounds just like it should, so enjoy!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Featured Bands: SICARII - Sheer Brutality & Pure Death

Death metal is a style of music that just doesn't run out. No matter how trends come and go, there will always be bands who form with the sole intention of making some heavy, ugly music that destroys all in its path.

Sicarii is this type of uncompromising band. You won't know what hit you when these guys start delivering their guttural, sickly blasts. This mysteriously named outfit churns out pure death metal in a very punishing manner that could easily be termed as old school. Sicarrii dosn't make any use of contemporary DM musical trends like breakdowns, grindcore parts, burpy vocals and the lile. They have riff upon riff of twisted, heavy as fuck guitar work and groovy, brutal death metal patterns that groove like a motherfucker. This sick, blackened sound owes as much to Immolation as it does to Suffocation, and the reference points couldn't be better really for a DM band. We also have to give extra points for the awesome vokills, which stand out and make such a nasty wall of sound with the concrete guitar riffs. With songs like The Omega Tyrant and Bones of the Fallen, you can understand what this band is all about and that they don't sing about no happy stuff!

You can listen to some Sicarri samples for free on their social media. You can find them on, their Facebook page and also click on DMMCOmpany's band page, to listen to the song Abort the Flesh and check out some awesome graphics which together will give you the complete Sicarii experience.

p.s. I had this on full volume and it made my cat mosh like crazy. Enough said.

Fotis TxYxS