Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hollow Truth - Evöl Street Metal from Ireland

Oh yeah! Hardcore since a long time has infiltrated other genres and since those early days, various crossover genres have been here to stay for better of for worse.

Well in this case all I know is that I absolutely adore that streetwise, sped up crossover hardcore thrash! I'm talking about the type of hardcore that may sound like metal for some, but has a distinct hardcore influence and is of course delivered by hardcore kids, not big headed arpeggio-playing metalheads. In fact, this is the only thrash I want to hear! And that's because it has a street-level quality, a high mosh factor, and it can definitely put me in a good - albeit evil - mood.

So that's exactly what Hollow Truth from Ireland does. It takes the Cro-Mags Best Wishes (or later) formula, and mixes it with a more skatecore influence (especially on the vocals), which makes me think of early Suicidal and other bands of that ilk. The riffs are fucking hard and perfect for the pit, the groove is always on, the vocals are punky and not some ridiculous high pitched yell, the bad-ass aesthetic is in check (see the fantasy/war cover below)... everything is set for a band that will stay on my playlist for the next year, or who knows, even more! I am waiting to see what these guys will do next as I am heading straight for the download of their FREE demo. You should do yourself a favor and do the same!

New & Current U.S. hardcore bands to check out!

One good thing about the existence of labels like Reaper Records is that the search for cool new hardcore becomes so goddamn easier. This particular label is doing a lot of hard work to support the scene by bringing the best of US hardcore to the world. Isn't it true? Noteworthy hardcore bands out there are bound to end up on the bill of a Reaper show! I personally see the Reaper imprint as a guarantee for good hardcore and have gotten into many new bands through Reaper flyers etc. Just like with this one below...



Now let's get to work and do something similar with European hardcore and our own local scenes. Unite and push hardcore to the world!


Friday, December 14, 2012

2 Great Releases from Moonlee Recs!

OK so today we're back with some quality punk rock to review. We don't review much melodic punk here any more, but in this case we couldn't do otherwise cause Miran from Moonlee Records sent us two records that t o t a l l y deserve your attention. Read below and find out why this is some of the best European punk rock happening right now!
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First up we got Debeli Precjednik (Fat Prezident), a band name which I'll never be able to pronounce. Nevertheless, this Croatian band is a force to be reckoned with in the eastern European punk rock scene, since they play some of the catchiest California-type melodycore that you'll get to hear. They've been going since 1994 and this is their 4th release. So in a way we're dealing with legends here.

Believe me when I say, this band has nothing less compared to the best melodic hardcore/punk rock in any scene, I mean musically this is up there with your Rise Against, your Satanic Surfers and your No Use For A Name. I could draw a bigger comparison especially with NUFAN, since Debeli Precjednik too has that overly emotional but also powerful approach to their songwriting.

These are songs that you're really gonna want to fuck shit up to, to skate to, to fall in love to... you get the deal, they are catchy as hell and they have a nice and pleasant, totally feelgood vibe. Just nice and tight punk rock hits with a crystal-clear production to back them up. I know that many hardcore kids out there get pissed off with this type of American Pie punk, but not me, since I grew up with shit like this (along with hardcore) -- back in the day it was OK to like both. But what am I talking about, kids these days like hipster black metal and Title Fight at the same time, so I guess it is worse now.

Summing up: this is a very good record of upbeat, super-melodic hardcore that goes down very smoothly. After song 8 I kind of get the feeling that this isn't an album that will change my life, but it's still good and something I could easily play again and again. Perhaps when the weather is better!

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OK - XAXAXA must come from another planet or something; I mean on paper they are from Skopje, Macedonia, but how else can I explain this band's unbelievable talent in delivering punk music that shoots straight to the heart? This is really what these kids have achieved with their awesome Husker Du meets Leatherface brand of alternative punk. Chaotic yet melodic, their songs are wrapped with the sort of melancholic nostalgia and dry wit that can infiltrate your mind, and give you room to think and daydream.

Yes, punk was invented in order to be like this, life-affirming, revolutionary and self-explanatory through its uniqueness. XAXAXA must have really thought about music and punk rock, because they've done something that very few bands do nowadays: that's playing straight from the heart and inventing their own identity musically. Because yes, we can draw comparisons with the big names mentioned above (as well as a few others, i.e. Hard Ons perhaps, Dag Nasty, Hot Water Music), but this band has life of its own and plays a very unique style that doesn't imitate and can't be imitated. So yeah, don't go thinking that this is your everyday hipster wannabe mid tempo punk!

The production is simple and not too polished, that's totally OK cause XAXAXA bring the potent melodies one after the other, leaving you no room for criticism, only appraise. Quality songwriting with perfect verses, and choruses that are catchy without sounding cheesy or anything of the sort. The guitars are always distorted but not extremely heavy, and there is a minimal use of female vocals, a horn or a keyboard here and there, just enough to give the whole outcome an extra boost of melody and extra terrestrial coolness. The best thing about this record altogether is that its tunes have a sort of spontaneity that creeps in and grows on you--the stuff that makes all good records worthwhile.

I now feel bummed that I didn't go to see this band play when they played Athens a while ago. But at the same time I am glad I finally got turned on to them, and for this I gotta thank Miran. Music is my entire life, and these guys make me remember why :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Brutality Will Prevail - "The Path" (video)

No fancy introductions to make here... just check this awesome, traditional-style hardcore video from moshing heavy-hitters Brutality Will Prevail. They have a new album on Purgatory Records, which is UK's (or perhaps Europe's) premier straight edge hardcore label right now. Check that new BWP shit out or you'll be missing on some real heavy riffs and true hardcore attitude!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Losin' It - "Danger Zone" EP Review

Losin' It is a youth crew hardcore band from Florida, and let me tell you these guys have more youthful energy than you probably expect. They have a new, debut full-length out now on Life to Live Records (check out relevant post from few weeks back), but on this post I would like to present the 7" that Losin' It has put out on the same label back in March 2012. It is a release you wouldn't want to miss if you're into action-packed hardcore. So let's go!

The 1st side of the 7" kicks off with a classic (for youth crew style, that is) intro that prepares you for what's about to come. Mid tempo and definitely groovy, it kicks off with a guitar squeal that puts Zakk Wylde to shame! Now we're talking. After this super-groovy one minute mosh, it is time for the core to take over; Losin' It start churning out one good hardcore tune after the other, with ferocity and commitment to the sounds we all love. This is super-tight youth crew, but with a bit of a more punky and (may I say) reckless approach!

What we get is a mix of tempos, from mid-tempo jungle mosh, to fast youth crew all-go no-slow. The riffs are all good and energy-packed, while the drums and the bass follow solidly along. Song titles like "Fuck Off" and "Check Your Head" don't leave much room for guessing on what the lyrics are about. These guys will tell you what they don't approve of without thinking twice. In fact, they'll tell it straight to your face with these pissed off hardcore songs!

The good thing about Losin' It is that the are obviously totally about the core, but you can also tell they are chill dudes who are having a lot of fun. Just a look at the back of the cover, and you can tell that this is just a bunch of friends doing what they love, doing their part to "make this shit work". The whole artwork and layout also help in eminding us that hardcore is about venting and having a good time, not taking things way too seriously and adopting a negative stance.

All in all, Losin' It have stomped their way in the hardcore scene in a very promising way. Every note these guys hit is bustling with energy and sincerity and that is exactly what I am asking for from a youth crew hardcore band. If you like speed, anger and a ton of positivity coated with the intensity of youthful anger, then this is for you!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

BLACK KNIVES - "The Rise" EP Review (Uselss Pride Distribution)

I'll be totally honest with you; judging by the packaging of this release, I was expecting something a little more polished, along the lines of melodic metalcore or so... but NO! Black Knives play brutal hardcore the old school way, and that means with killer metallic riffs, fucking mean breakdowns and lots of gang vocals.

These French guys know for sure how to cause some heavy damage. The 4 songs of this CD are nothing but a heavy dose of in-your-face brutal hardcore. Sure, the metal elements are many: not only in the Slayeric/French beatdown elements that are always present, but also in some Obituary-style grooves and even some pseudo-black metal in some parts. However, this band knows how to mix all the elements well and create a solid outcome that can only  be labeled as... h a r d c o r e  b r u t a l i t y.

What I liked a lot about this ep (apart from the Slayeric beatdown parts, of course!) is the clever use of vocals all around. There is a good mix of various vocal styles, but mind you NO clean vocals. There are many spoken/rapped parts  along the heavy breakdowns in classic heavy hardcore style (think Kickback!), and the super huge gang vocals give the whole record an extra boost of strength. And that's surely an extra point for Black Knives, because I just hate it when bands get lazy in the studio and don't lay down those mean backing vox!!!

All in all, this is an awesome release by a band that deserves to get recognized in the hardcore scene. They give off lots of brutality, mosh and hateful urban attitude, so what more could I ask from a heavy hardcore band? Check these French guys out NOW!

www.facebook.com/blackknivesofficial

Also check the video for one of the songs from The Rise, entitled "A Big Part".

Thursday, November 8, 2012

DEPENDENCY - "Love Not Wasted" Album Preview

Good news for hardcore kids! Dependency (one of today's biggest new hopes for hardcore) has a new album filled with chaotic yet melodic, discordant yet catchy 'core!

Dependency is one of the torchbearers for one of my favorite US hardcore labels, Blood & Ink Records. In case you don't know, B & I specializes in progressive but at the same time traditional, spirit-filled hardcore. Check out their stuff and check out the new Dependency album! The band's new work is miles ahead from their 2010 EP on the label, Convicted. And this is something to say in a scene where most bands kind of lose momentum after the first good demo/ep.

Make sure you also stream the song "Everything I Once Knew" from the album Love Not Wasted below, and get in tune with some quality 2012 hardcore.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Losin' It: Debut Album on Life to Live Records

When it comes to hardcore music, I'm not extremely hard to please; but there are indeed some elements I am definitely looking for, and the new song by Losin' It has it all! Before long, the rumbling bass intro convinced me that this band is what hardcore 2012 is all about. Energy, passion, anger, and a shitload of integrity. The rest is just math and hardcore knowledge on behalf of Losin' It: nice drum chops, pissed off vocals, a nice n dirty production sound, a cool label behind them and a GREAT album cover. Speaking of the cover artwork, it was designed by one of the best album designers of our times for hardcore, Chad Lawson. Check it out here:



You can get the debut LP by Losin' It (aptly entitled No Apologies) from Life to Live Records now! You can also check more from the LtL roster for free at the label's bandcamp page. Pre-Orders start Nov. 2nd at http://ltlrecs.storenvy.com. Also, don't forget to check the song "Glass Palace" below, and destroy something through the act of moshing!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Positive Youth - Sampler

Positive Youth is an independent hardcore collective that supports positive & straight edge attitudes in the scene. It is always important to have people gather up and do good things like this in hardcore, if only to remember that the spirit of PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) has not faded away. Indeed, it exists in the kids' minds and hearts!

Positive Youth is here to prove it! Enjoy the compilation and research the bands.

www.facebook.com/thepositiveyouth

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Expire/Bent Life tour poster

Two of the hardest and most crucial bands of today's hardcore, together on tour with one of the best posters I've seen lately (old school tattoo art & hardcore just go well together)... you just can't beat that shit!


And since we're on the subject of brutally heavy no frills hardcore, perhaps you should check out this track from Bent Life to see what they're about! Razor sharp metallized riffs, mid tempo grooviness and a definite reality check with the hard mosh at 01:20!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Interview with SETBACK (NYHC's finest)!!!

Interview with Pete (founding  member, bass) from NYHC bruisers, Setback. Read this interview to learn about Setback's crushing new album Step Up Your Game, and enjoy Pete's unique take on all things hardcore! He's a guy who's been around for a long time and is definitely not afraid to tell it like it is...


1. Please begin this interview by telling us who you are, what you do in the band and a bit of background info on Setback.
Sup I am Pete and I play the bass. SETBACK was started by G and myself back in 1991 in Queens NY. We broke up in 1998 and re started the band in 2008. We released a demo tape in 1995, the No Hope EP in 1997, the Unfinished Business EP in 2009 and our new full length Step Up Your Game was released a few months ago.
 
2.  The new album is a lethal dose of NYHC!! Can you tell us the story behind the album and what has changed since the ep Unfinished Business?
Thanks man... Well we took like a year to record this record and it is our first full length record. We had been writing the new songs for a while and wanted to just tell everyone to Step Up Your Game and show everyone that D.I.Y. NYHC was still alive and well. As everyone knows we parted ways with our long time singer Bundy and now have Phil taking care of vocal duties for the band. I think he fits in well with us and did a great job on the new record.
 
3. What influences do write such pissed off hardcore music? I would like to hear about something specific that makes you still want to do this and play in a brutal hardcore band.
Influences, in terms of what I have been listening to lately... Judge, AF, The Business, MadBall, Minor Threat, WarZone etc.I guess life in general fuels our music usually the shitty stuff in life. What makes me still want to do this.... I have a lot of fun playing with the guys writing new music and just pride representing NYHC and being a real NYHC band. When we release records etc it's a good feeling since we do everything on our own.
 
4. Is NYHC a way of life for you? How do you perceive NYHC in your mind? How would you explain it to a mainstream person?
Yeah def a way of life for me, in my mind it's all about the music the raw energy this sub culture that we all belong to and have a bond with. I would rather not explain it to a mainstream person, hardcore is not for the mainstream in my opinion


5. How do you feel about (maybe more so in the past) NYHC being duplicated by European etc bands? Do you think the heritage and attitude is stolen in a way or do you like it?
It is not just the Euro bands that have tried to copy NYHC..... I look at it like this your either really from NYC and a real NYHC band or your not it's that simple. NYHC has that special sound and energy that just can't be faked period.
 
6. What bass and equipment do you use? Do you think that stuff matters a lot in hardcore? And if you had another band, what type of music would you like to play?
I use Fender basses and SWR heads/cabinets, this is just my preference for feel and sound. I don't think it matters what equipment you use in hardcore, everyone who plays has different taste. Maybe I would be playing in an oi/punk rock band, maybe something more mainstream, who knows. Hard to say since I have always played in SETBACK and no other bands.
 
7. I know that you last singer, Bundy, is now having a go at pursuing an underground rap career. Did it piss you off that he left hardcore behind? Can you tell us a few things about the new singer?
No it didn't piss me off that Bundy left the band or that he is now doing rap. Look he has been on the scene since the early 80's and he did a great job as our singer for many years, we are still good friends and G, Benny and myself wish him much success in whatever he does in his life whether it is rap or anything else! Our new singer is Phil he is a hardcore kid from NY and I think he did a great job on the new record, he def had big shoes to fill and he delivered in my opinion. I think he brings a different flavor to the band with his vocal style and he has great energy when we play live shows.
 
8. Why would you say most people leave hardcore behind at some point in their lives? It’s not like it’s incompatible with having jobs, a family etc (you’re the proof!). So why does it happen?
Good question... I guess anyone who leaves hardcore behind has their own reason(s), hopefully they find their way back to hardcore one day. I can't speak for anyone that has left hardcore behind but def family, jobs etc would be the top reasons I would think.


9. Can you tell us the main differences in the hardcore scene between when you were starting out (which was when exactly..?) and now?
I first got onto the scene in like 1990 and SETBACK's first release was in 1995 but we played shows way before the demo ever came out....Many people have come and gone more than a few have stayed. There are a lot of bands that are no longer playing and at the same time there are a lot of new bands out there. Most of the clubs in NYC are gone like CBGB'S or do not have hardcore shows anymore. There are no more Sunday matinee shows either. It seems like a much younger scene but at the same time I am much older. We need the younger kids to carry the torch in the future and not having many all ages shows anymore is keeping the youngest kids away from just about every show these days.

10. How do you stand on the fact that tattoos in hardcore (and now the mainstream) have become so popular and therefore sort of decriminalized?
Tats have become very mainstream and there is nothing You or I can do about it.Mainstream fads come and go. I 'm not gonna stop getting tats cause it is trendy rite now but the trendy folks will stop getting tats when it isn't trendy anymore.
 
11. What do you think about straight edge? Could you ever have a go at it, or are you too much of a party animal?
I do not care about straight Edge I am not knocking it just not for me and never will be I love my weed too much to ever be straight edge, love some straight edge bands that are so fucking hard like Judge but it is not a life style for me.
 
12. What does your daily routine consist of? If you had enough money to not worry about it anymore, how would you spend your average day?
Mon- Fri I wake up in the morning and go to work like everyone else. I have about a 30  min drive to get to my office and I am an inside sales person for a start up  tech company just outside NYC. When I get home I take my dog out to shit and piss and then always pack a bowl of the good greens and relax.


If I had enough money and had no worries in life I would be living in Brazil again but this time for good with my wife on one of our favorite beaches that is far from civilization, end of story!
 
13. Let’s go back to Setback. Why did you choose to fund your own album? Is it easy to find good studios that can produce hardcore records like this? (awesome production by the way, who did it?)
Well as you know we have no record deal and have always been a D.I.Y. band. We control everything we do, have no label to answer to, have not sold our souls or sold our music. Putting this record out on our own label Crash Course Records was an easy choice for us to make. We recorded this record at Rich's studio in upstate NY, he plays guitar for SUBZERO.


14. If you could tour with one of the current hardcore bands, which band would that be? Would you be into touring outside NY/the States or do you prefer to stay close to home?
If we could tour with any band I would say we would prob like to with MadBall since they play everywhere and have a strong following. If the time and situation are rite we are open to touring outside the states or far from the East Coast, who knows only time will tell.
 
15. What would you like to be remembered for? I mean both as a band, and also you as a person?
As a band... I would like to be remembered for our music for being a D.I.Y. NYHC band for playing with heart and as band who could play their instruments well. As a person, I would just like to be fucking remembered.
 
16. Close this interview in any way you want please!!! 
Fotis thanks for your time and support! Thanks to everyone out there that has bought the new record, our merch and supported us in any way over the years!!!

15 years ago on (Sept. 11, 1997) we lost Ray from WarZone, one of  the founding fathers of NYHC and one of my favorite bands. Let us never forget his kindness, his message or his music!!  R.I.P. Ray



Sunday, September 30, 2012

Overpain - "Underrated Overhated" preview (coming late 2012)

Hell yes! Greece has always been a place for harder, brutal hardcore bands. A tradition that is kind of fading nowadays, but Overpain are here to reaffirm their city's (proud members of the Salonica Hardcore Cew - SHC) and country's legacy in brutal, heavy ass street hardcore.

I have to say that I've been very positively surprised with Overpain's new stuff, which sounds totally brutal but still has that definite old school approach. This is not the shitty, overproduced metalcore beatdown shit that most bands churn out these days; no, this is real hardcore with a metallic edge, slow 'n' heavy breaks, but the 'core' is definitely here (both attitude and music-wise).

Overpain's music brings me back to older times, when the harder street attitude was definitely mixed with hardcore, when throwing mosh parts in your music wasn't a crime, when bands were competing for who makes the grooviest and heaviest shit, and not who is the most politically correct.

Support this Greek band that has paid its dues and is still continuing to put out quality hardcore and perseveres an almost forgotten legacy!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Strife - "Witness a Rebirth" recording sessions (small documentary)

Strife has stayed in hardcore's history as one of the most recognized and important bands of the whole 90s straight edge hardcore movement. Alongside Earth Crisis and Snapcase, I think they could be considered as the "Big 3" of the 90s straight edge era.

Well, those times are long gone now (the same goes for Strife's straight edge beliefs), but the band is back and has a new record of metallic, hard as fuck record for us to hear. Produced by Terror's Nick Jett and with guest drums by no other than Sepultura's Igor Cavalera, this shit is bout to hit hard.

Edge or no edge, I am willing to support the new Strife and get into some 90s revival action! Check out a small documentary about the new album entitled Witness a Rebirth below.

 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hard Resistance - "Lawless and Disorder" Review (full length, Strength Records)

Getting into European hardcore in the mid/late 90s, it was impossible to miss Hard Resistance. Alongside bands like Right Direction, Backfire!, Brighside, early Discipline and a few others, Hard Resistance pioneered (or perhaps brought in Europe!) the original hardcore sound that stood out from the Oi and hip hop oriented hardcore trends of those times. Well, it is 2012 now and these guys are making a big comeback. They're here to cause some serious havoc and crush your fake attitude with a new record of totally in your face political hardcore. The newly form but already notorious Strength Records (Roger Miret/Onno Cro-Mag) is behind this record, so you know it's gotta be good!
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This whole record is one big surprise; I was pretty fucking astonished to find out how damn FAST Lawless and Disorder is all the way through. I definitely did not expect to be battered with such rapid-fire hardcore blasts, heavy vocals and 100% oldschool attitude. It's like, these guys are back and they're really pissed. Forget about slick metal riffs, don't wait for the 'hardcore anthem' which will sound good at a party. This is just real hardcore for the hard times we're living in. It might be a bit antisocial due to its intended lack of commercial value (no solos / catchy melodic choruses etc), but hey, that's the whole point! Just loud, mean and in yer face!

So, like stated above this record is all go/no slow badass hardcore music, but I also want to add that I feel a definite crust/punk touch. I mean if you played this to a bunch of punks they would surely like it and find common elements with Exploited or other UK82 type stuff. This record would also go down nice for fans of crust hardcore, since it brings this ongoing machine gun attack that makes your ears bleed. But most of all, this record will suit hardcore kids' apetite for fast, pissed off and unprocessed hardcore music. The vocals put the definite hardcore stamp, with a thick and raspy tone that will punish you during the 21:50 min that Lawless & Disorder lasts.

The common theme throught these 12 hardcore songs is a total resentment towards today's political system. Yes, by listening to this record we will feel Hard Resitance's burning political message and we will remember that this world aint no paradise. It's always good to witness bands taking the time and effort to attack this stupid, slave-breeding society we live in. Angst and hate against the system has alays been a part of hardcore/punk, and it must continue till the end! Therefore, Hard Resitance go all out and spit their guts about all the shit that has gone wrong through the capitalist values that have been forced upon everyone in the modern world.

I will recap by saying that this is a true hardcore record that shows how some peope never mellow out. This is the kind of music that makes you want to pick up something heavy and go break some stuff. Hard Reistance back their political message with such ferocious music that you won't doubt these guys for playing the part o anything silly like that. If this band's old school and legendary legacy doesn't convince you, then listening to this new album definitely will. This one's for the real oldschool diehards!

www.hardresistance.be

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Olde York: new album "Shallow World" out late Septeber 2012!

There are few bands that can truly uphold the realness and street spirit that NYHC is originally known for. It is so nice to see bands like Olde York putting out quality NYHC records in this day and age, and thus help persevere this awesome form of underground music!

The new record Shallow World is released by Dutch hardcore label WTF and contains 11 songs of intensely aggravating traditional hardcore that is bound to get kids kids seriously pumped! This is true hardcore: groovy tempos at various speeds, in your face vocals filled with anger & attitude, and speedy wall-of-sound guitars!!!

Check out the song "Peeling Paint" from Olde York's upcoming album below! Or even better... do yourself a favor and research this awesome band's history and back releases if you haven't already!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Setback - "Step Up Your Game" (full length, 2012, Crash Course Records)

In a world of maximum political correctness and general kindness, sometimes it's good to go back to the anger and negativity that has fuelled so much of what is good about hardcore. Therefore let's take a look at NY's finest Setback who have returned and boy, are  they pissed. They surely have that bad ass feel that makes you want to go wild, cause some havoc, prowl the streets like you are a crazy motherfucker and all that. Yes, this music intends to bring out your bad side and if you let it, it will!

NYHC might be an easy genre to fuck up -- but not if you are one of the underrated OGs of the scene. Setcback? They are just that. No matter what they do, you know they'll have their hearts in the cold dark streets where hardcore initially emerged from. As soon as you hear the rolling drums over the spoken rapped intro, you know your're in for some pent up, hard-edged NYHC intensity. The only difference to many other hardcore bands of this kind is that Setback actually live what they preach, and thus give a very real lesson in streetwise mentality and real hardcore music.

Setback has always sung about the realities of living in a cold fucked up world. In this new record, they do it through short, heavy hardcore blasts that have one foot in beatdown hardcore, but definitely not in the way you expect. It's just that the heaviness of beatdown has been applied to the NYHC formula. Great fucking job! Yeah sure, there are some metal moments, but mostly this is just brutal hardcore that will stand the wear and tear of the scene changes and trends. It would have sounded good 5-10 years ago, and it will sound good in 5-10 years from now. And that's a fact.

Some changes that this new record brings is the absence of Bundy's characteristic vocals, who - I think - is now only doing rap. This is a big change and new guy has big shoes to fill (as I consider Bundy one of the biggest voices in modern NYHC). But Phil, the new singer is doing just fine as he screams like a rabid bulldog! Maybe not as a distinguishable tone, but heavy and angry as fuck! Other changes can be found in the production section, which is so solid and heavy you won't believe. Strong bass presence, nice and 100% NYHC drum sound and playing.

I also want to give an extra point for the perfect album title (and title track): Step Up Your Game -- what an awesome title for an album, amidst all of today's hardcore empty words. It's also a statement of purpose to those who stay down because... well, they choose to stay down!

I will be honest with you. I love this shit so much. The toughness, the integrity, the brutality makes me feel good, it makes me feel stronger, ready to take on the world. It's everything to me. Hardcore like this made me survive and brought me until here, so how could I ever say something bad about it? No! Nothing else to say... Just get this fucking album and wait for the interview that's about to come soon!

My Defense - "Delorean" EP Review (2012, Major Threat/WAKRecords)

My Defense is a Koln (Germany) based, melodic hardcore band in the vein of Good Riddance and other good stuff. This band is also kind of special in our homeland Greece, since the singer is a Greek dude living in Germany. I recently got their new CD handed to me via World's Appreciated Kitsch records, who co-released this record. So let's review it and see what's up!

Back in the early 2000s, My Defense seemed to be totally on their way to become a household name in the entire Euro hardcore punk scene. We're talking about awesome independent releases, featuring ex-members of notable hardcore bands, and shows with the biggest worldwide hardcore bands that toured through Koln. However, I hadn't heard so much about them over the last years, and it's definitely good to see them back on the map and still going for it. Or maybe I just had my attention somewhere else and didn't know the progress of this band...

This EP contains 8 songs lasting a brief 12 minutes. What we get  during those 12 mins is some fast, raging but also melodic hardcore that borders with punk rock. Like I mentioned earlier, Good Riddance is a solid influence, together with that whole late 90s fast melody-core sound. These guys know for sure how to write a catchy song, and also to layer their music with lots of melodic hardcore guitars and nice background gang vocals. I could to with a bit of a dirtier production for this style, and I would also prefer if the lyrics - for consistency reasons - were in one language (instead of three!).

So to sum things up, Delorean is a powerful hardcore punk record by a band with a strong background. I just think the only thing missing is a higher level of consitency and a more solid sense of identity. I am sure that this will come with their next release as these guys have both the collective experience and musical skill.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

"Being vegan edge is just being myself": An interview with PURIFICATION

Purification is in my opinion one of the most important bands for the vegan straight edge movement. And why, you may ask? Well, simply because they are one of the few who can combine both the important message and the hard music to make the perfect combo. Stalwarts of a scene in which the norm is to come and go, these Italians have stayed the course and now they are here to reap the results. They have been through a lot as a band, and it is definitely nice to see them coming back with such a strong album and the same comviction in veganism and the straight edge!

p.s. Review for A Torch o Pierce the Night coming soon!
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1. Hi there and confradulations on the crushing new album! Can you tell us where "A Torch To Pierce the Night" picks up compared to last album? What is the meaning of the album title (please elaborate)?

- Thanks! Well, the new album sounds a little bit more metal than the last one and the major change has been the switch at the vocals, consequently changing the lyrics style as well. The meaning of the title is to carry a positive message in the sense that we still have to be brave and even if few we must carry the torch (our values) that enlightens todays era where you see so few of them.


2. You're a legendary band. What are the pressures of being one of the few vegan edge hc/metal bands left today? Is the message as important as it used to be or do you want to focus on the music?

- Thanks but I'd doubt very much we're legendary! There are no real pressures other than the urgency of putting out a record that has a meaning. Hence the heavy importance of the lyrics, where we try to convey a hard yet compassionate message to whoever interested.


3. The new album has a heavier Slayer influence but also many atmospheric intros and keyboard parts. Do you think metal is a good carrier? What about the hardcore aspect? Where do you feel you belong as a band?

- We've always been more on the metal edge of the core, the album is just another evolution towards that. I believe the hardcore aspect is more in the lyrics and on the message we carry rather than musically.


4. Your lyrics portray a post-apocalyptic/war imagery & notion which hide an environmental/eco message. Can you tell a little more about the lyrics and the use of metaphors in your songs?

- I can tell more about the latest ones, which are the ones I wrote. I've tried to be focused on a slightly more positive and open message but keeping the hard edge on. I want people into this music to be able to identify themselves in the lyrics and the message to be a positive change for the world we live and for the vegan edge ones to keep on going on and try to be the best example, to lead and have people be interested more into veganism rather than pushing them out. I want people to be conscious of their choices.


5. The new album contains a spoken word by all-time hardcore icon, Jon Joseph (Cro-Mags). Can you tell us how that came about? What about other scene pioneers you've met (i.e. Vegan Reich's Sean Muttaqi and Earth Crisis's Karl Buechner): who is the most influential?

- The idea just popped up as I've been following John Joseph in his vegan quests and battles for quite a long time and I thought it could fit perfectly with what we're trying to say with this album.
Hard to say the most influential, every one of them has something special in some way that is worth to get to know and that contributed to veganism.


6. Is it hard to maintain you beliefs in veganism and straight edge while growing up? Have you mellowed out or compromised in any way? Is the scene better now compared to the past?

- Not at all, being vegan edge is just being myself. I think I'm trying more nowadays than yesterday to get more people aware of their choices, to change some lives for the better.
 
I know almost nothing about today's scene, and to be honest I don't really care anymore. I care about veganism and I care about people with something to say, which is rare today.


7. It seems common for people in vegan/sxe to fade in and out of the public eye (including Purification). Why is that?

- The public eye follows trends, vegan xxx has never been one but for a short time at the end of the 90's.


8. Can you shed some info about your personal life? What are the things you love/hate in everyday life, and what is your typical day?

- I'm just a regular guy who works as a web developer, I like vegan food, traveling and stay with my family :)

9. Militant and hardline scenes seem to arise again in vegan/sxe hc. What are your views on hardline vegan sxe? I am talking about people being pro-life, anti-gay, anti-tattoos, sxe who don't drink coffee or eat tropical fruit and all of that... what is your stance?

- I had no clue about those bands, people who are too hard and pure tend to fade away quickly, we've seen so many already. I don't see many problems in being pro-life, I've plenty of tattoos and I have no problem with people with a different sexual preference than mine. I don't drink coffee because I don't like it, I try to avoid sodas and I love tropical fruits.

9. I hate to ask this, but would you care to clear up the rumors about people in Purification being right wing or racist? I have seen pics with you wearing anti-racist tshirts, so what is the deal with the rumors?

- People love to talk shit when you don't sell out and have strong beliefs, personally I don't give a crap about the losers that are big mouth on the web and when you play don't even have the courage to come up and have a chat about those things they make up while they don't even know you are.

10. Do you have any other music projects? What type of music do you listen daily (both hardcore and non-hardcore)? Do you have any other source of inspiration (books/art/anything else)? Do you have any reading material to recommend to people?

- We don't at the moment, we're quite too busy with life itself! I do listen to quite a lot of regular music, the one that plays on the Italian radios...I also like a lot the indipendent Italian hip-hop as well. Inspiration comes mostly from the regular people we meet on the day-to-day basis, people that dedicate themselves to make this place a better world. People running farm sanctuaries, people doing demos, people doing actions, volunteers, people writing, people not giving up.
 
I recently read Eating Animals by Safran-Foer and the documentary Forks Over Knives, bot highly recommended to everybody.


11. You've lived this scene from the inside out. What keeps you inspired to do what you do? Is there an ethic or philosophy that you would like to pass on or be remembered for?

- The vegan straight edge.


12. That is all, thank you very much. Please close this interview in any way you want to. Give a message to the still vegan straight edge kids and those who sold out/who will sell out in the future.

- Be who you want to be but think responsibly. Be part of the solution. Peace.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Truth Inside - EPs and Comp songs (2012)

In the near futute, we will be reviewing records from a label which has been putting out good hardcore that gets us psyched about all kinds of shit. This label is Life to Live Records. With the craziness of personal life and vast amount of music I have to go through to actually get to what's good, I almost missed out on Life to Live. But hey, I didn't, so good for me. First up will be Truth Inside, which is actually the band of Dan who runs the label.

Truth Inside (I'd like to write it Truth X Inside) is a band that's fairly well known in the hardcore circles of today. Especially within the straight edge hardcore scene, this band has spread its name and rightly achieved a status of hard earned respect. I can easily see why: this is the type of youth crew... no! -- just plain hardcore that we've always loved, the style that's been in our heart. We got catchy, fast hardcore songs with a positive message about unity, staying true (to the straight edge but most of all yourself) and giving respect when it's due.

Best Times is the 5-song ep that Truth Inside released in January 2012. The cover art is consistent with the positive lyrics and album title and generally adds to the overall upbeat feel. It all blends together perfectly for a hardcore record that overflows with energy and that I can play both summer and winter. My favorite song has to be "Abstain" since I am biased and down with the straight edge, but really -- all the songs are good.

In addition, this positive hardcore combo recently had two songs released by the legendary Commitment Records (in the form of a three-way split with other notable straight edge hardcore acts). OK that's gotta be good! What we get by Truth Inside on this one are two short and anthemic songs of hardcore appreciation. Nice grooves, positive vibes, a rawer 'organic' production and a total thumbs up is what I'm feeling about this. It's good to have bands like Truth Inside to remind us the good old solid values of hardcore. The awesome thing is that they can do it in such a fresh way.


p.s. Truth Inside also released a 7" on Ugly and Proud Records in 2011. The label is run by Nikki, an awesome dude who has done a lot for straight edge hardcore in his native Bulgaria, but also in Europe and the world. Respect!

D&D Allstars: "1,2 Pass It"

Why the hell would I ever post a hip hop video from the 90s on this blog? Well, partly because I just feel like it, but also because I really love old school rap. I've actually always felt that real hip hop is awesome as the chill alternative to hardcore (which undoubtedly will always be this blog's first love and main focus). It has a street mentality and it is undoubtedly an outspoken, in your face form of music. Enough said.

But anyways, "1,2 Pass it"  is a dreamteam collaboration and a true hip hop classic with a bunch of legendary rappers in one video (personal fav's are: Jeru the Damaga, KRS and Fat Joe, but the rest also nail it!). Don't you know what this style is about? It's all about keeping it fresh in the city jungle and stepping up your game amidst the urban chaos. These guys show how it's done. So take their lead, wise up and do your thing!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Resurgency - "False Enlightenment" (full-length, Hellthrasher Productions)

I realized it's been a pretty long time since we had some death metal going on here... and this review has been sitting around for quite a while, so it was finally time to get off my ass, edit it and post it. It's written by one of our favorite contributors... enjoy it together with the undiluted realness of this awesomely-titled, barbarous Greek death metal album!
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How does it feel to be capable to relive some glorious times? How does it feel to hear the maggots crunching in your teeth (well that's a different story)? Anyway, my point is it smells like Florida death metal around here.. and that is definitely a compliment!

These guys seem to bring back the glory of the late 80s early 90s era, when death metal shorts and sunglasses were regarded as poseur antics by Norwegian black metallers. We're talking about an era when Morbid Angel used to live together in the same house, where Nile's Karl Sanders would randomly show up and listen to Pete "Commando" Sandoval constantly molesting his drum set in the basement (source: http://choosingdeath.com/).

Well if these stories sound fascinating for you too, we are born in the wrong era my friends. Nevertheless the seeds of death metal have grown and many bands are keeping the tradition nowadays. One of them is Resurgency from our very own Athens, Greece. They deliver death metal the old way, with razor twisted melodic riffs, excellent drumming, proper production and thunderous growls along dark lyrics.

Tracks like the opening “Cranium of Slain Disciples”, “Black Hole of Antiverse” and  the title track “False Enlightenment” are my personal favorites! The artwork is definitely a plus since it combines harmonically with the music and the lyrical context. 2xDeicide t-shirts in the band photo, this pretty much sums it up. Comparing this release with the split they did (with Desolator), I can clearly say there has been progress, so guys keep up the good work! For the rest of you: Dive in, this is pure old school death metal!

Check them out: Resurgency Facebook
Review by Lord Warm

Monday, August 13, 2012

I Want The Moon - s/t Demo

What I find interesting about some Greek punk and hardcore bands, is the fact that their influences are  not so direct and harder to trace. And this is something that's good in a world of copycats and tried gimmicks. This is also the case with I Want The Moon, a Athenian melodic hardcore band made up of real old schoolers of the local scene (learn more about their bio at their reverbnation page).


With that said, I guess that we could say that I Want The Moon pay their respect to an older, slower, and proudly harsh form of melodic hardcore. It borrows inspiration equally from Leatherface as it does from Mudhoney and even Deus. I don't even know if one could actually term this music as "melodic", since the vocals are pretty rough and the melodies are on the pessimistic side but without a single hint of mainstream, romantic punk rock melancholy. Just grim, weird music with nicely accentuated and discordant guitar work. Also, it is not necessary to term IWTM "hardcore" as such, since there is no fast hardcore drums here; but I guess post hardcore is the only genre that could serve as a home for these lonely punk souls.

The reality of the matter is that the potent melodies that these guys have thrown in their songs have their own antisocial brand of melody and catchiness, and have something that grows on you with every time you listen to this demo. I should also mention that this demo is a live recording, and that's something that has worked very well on this occasion: a prefectly rough sound with a high impact on your ears (in fact, it all sounds very decent and 'clear'). There is nothing pretentious in what this band plays at all; and that is a good reason to start liking them a lot.

To sum this review up... IWTM's music is good at painting pictures of introspection, ferociousness and loneliness... a strange mix indeed. We have to do with that sort of matured ferocity that accompanies much of the good Leatherface-isnpired punk. it's like a bunch of angry bears giving you a lesson in irony, apathy and bitterness. Very nicely done!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Gallows - new self titled album

With 2009's Grey Britain album, Gallows achieved pretty much the very top of the hardcore/punk world. Since then a lot has changed for them, with the departure of their singer (and main figure) Frank Carter, and his replacement with Alexisonfire's Wade MacNeil.

This is not really big news for any punk fan (just a boring introduction). The news is that Gallows have a new self titled album ready to be released by Bridge 9 records. "Last June" is the first track that has leaked as a pre-taster. It has been released as a video and it can also be downloaded free at Gallows' official site. You can also check the video below.

In my personal opinion, the song carries that characteristic trashy rocknroll hardcore feel, and definitely needs a few listens before you can actually get into it. Check it out!




Poster from Gallows' upcoming Euro tour

Monday, August 6, 2012

Minority Unit (Last show) Sound & Fury 2012

Gotta love that internet... Actually I mostly hate it, but the fact that a hardcore show happens at the other side of the world and the next week you can kick back and watch it online is just insane. What a great way to check out bands and see if they rep their music like they should on stage.

Which is the case with this video here. The band is Minority Unit, a band that was made in order to pay homage to that old school Boston hardcore sound. Can't go wrong with intentions like these, really. Anyways, enjoy the video, the quality is not all that great, but we're sure you'll appreciate the energy and the general madness that goes on.



 And if you are somewhat bummed that this was Minority Unit's last show, don't despair. Walter Delgado's (vocals) other band is Rotting Out, so there is plenty more hardcore action for you to check out there!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sound And Fury Poster

Some of the best names in contemporary hardcore music can be found in one single event: Sound & Fury fest.

Us Europeans may have Fluff Fest, which is of course awesome and a great event for HC kids worldwide, but man... the bands on Sound & Fury! This bill is just crazy.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Hardside "Controlled" (Album Preview)

Throughout the past couple of years, 6131 Records has undoubtedly been one of the most active record labels putting out nothing but quality hardcore (and some awesome punk rock). Enlisting bands like Rotting Out, Focused Minds, Bent Life, The Beautiful Ones & otherss, 6131 is definitely one of the important labels for current hardcore.

6131's upcoming release will be a dose of mean as fuck hardcore: Hardside's scorching Time is Punishment will hit the streets some time in August 2012. What we have here is some hard-hitting brutal hardcore that is not afraid to blend in some Rock influences, just like many 90s hardcore bands used to do. Enjoy the song and check 6131 Records!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Out Crowd ("Just Us" Record Release Flyer)

You can sleep safe when you know that record labels like Reaper Records are working hard to bring you the best in real, undiluted hardcore music. The bands on this flyer (from Out Crowd's record release show) are just some of the new names in hardcore that you should definitely keep an eye out for. Stay hardcore!

Out Crowd's new 7" entitled Just Us is out now on Reaper Records, available in red and green vinyl.


Saturday, June 30, 2012

ANCHOR Summer Tour 2012

Swedish vegan straight edge stalwarts Anchor will be touring all around Europe this summer. Make sure you go check them out if you find yourself around these premises! Tour powered by the mighty Refuse Records.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Foundation - "When The Smoke Clears" Review (Bridge 9)

The modern hardcore scene has started turning its attention back to good old solid hardcore, and this is something I couldn't be happier about. I mean... bands mixing hardcore with other elements is fine and everything, but the real hardcore sound needs to be preserved for the next generations of HC kids!

With the above rambling off my chest, I will proceed to our review and Foundation's new album When The Smoke Clears.

These straight edge kids from Atlanta/US are all about heavy, chunky hardcore. Their new record brings the pain through 10 songs of metallic, brutal hardcore that will help Bridge 9 records stay close to the hearts of HC kids worldwide.

The thing is that even though these guys' sound is 100% solid, they still have some discordant guitars and offbeat parts, thus aligning themselves with the reality of modern hardcore which needs to be more than just fast / fast / breakdown / end. The whole record is practically full of breakdowns (hell, it's all one big breakdown if you will), but there is also nice and fresh work regarding the guitar sound and rhythm patterns -- without mellowing out of course.

I don't know if it's done intentionally (probably yes), but Foundation don't really have hooks and catchy parts. I've listened to the album a number of times, and it's all about the evil and the mosh. Nevertheless, the anchor here is the combination of modern heavy hardcore and well-thought, socially aware straight edge lyrics.

I think that Foundation may very well be in the handful of bands that will carry the torch of modern hardcore to the next level.

p.s. I want to give an extra mention to the cover artwork, which perfectly describes the combination of old/new shcool that Foundation goes for.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Eternal Hated - New Song June 2012

Since we've been on the subject of current Greek hardcore recently, it shall be good to take things a step further and dive into the progressive metal/hardcore world of Eternal Hated. We'll do that through their new promo song they uploaded only a few days ago. Just press play & listen now!


So these guys are still freaking young but with an early start at making awesome music, they have already made 2 full lengths. At this point in their history, Eternal Hated are coming off the ultra-experimental 26:48 Minutes of Life, which was a somewhat risky and garage-y approach to metalcore. However now EH are down one member (i.e. the singer is gone) and in this promo song the vocals are shared between the guitarist and the bassist. And you what...? Good for them! They are back on the heavy side of things, which for me is obviously a good thing. They are darker, meaner, heavier and more pissed off. They still keep the experimental side, but without losing focus of what should be done and the fact that music like this must always be accessible. This song fucking grows on you with every time you play it.

Eternal Hated definitely belong to the new generation of modern alternative musicians who have taken things to the next level. They combine the knowledge of the music we all know (hardcore/metal etc), but give it the extra twist that only fresh and talented minds can bring. I am just so curious what their next step will be.

Pitcam TV Blood for Blood Interview

This interesting interview with Buddha & Ian contains some precious info on the latest goings on of the infamous Boston hardcore legends, Blood for Blood. I personally didn't know that guitarist & main composer White Trash Rob doesn't follow the band at live shows anymore, or that BFB plays with Billy Graziadei (Biohazard) filling in. According to the interview, Rob is taking it easy at home writing material for a new album. Let's wait and see what's next!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gutter - "Modern Decay" demo (self-released)

Today is a good chance to take a peek at the current state of Greek hardcore and what better way to do this than with Gutter's Modern Decay demo.

Gutter is a band that doesn't fuck around at all and plays some truly aggravated hardcore punk. These guys know what to do and how to play for sure, as they are all  experienced by playing in other bands (Sarabante, Antimob, Jaggernaut a.o.). This 9-song demo is a very nice example of real punk music: snotty as fuck, paying respect to the mid/fast tempo, proto-HC sound. If this sounds like your thing, check this Athens-based band right now! The record also contains two covers (of Void and Reagan Youth) and has a pretty decent production. The originality factor is not extremely high, but I don't mind, and after all this is something that will shine through on their next recordings I'm sure.

Last but not least, I would like to add that in my opinion, Gutter also gives off a real anarcho-punk vibe, even if the music itself is closer to US hardcore. Somehow, in my ears, this music fits nicely with dirty squats and dreadlocks hanging from caps with patches :)

Find Gutter at http://gutterhxc.blogspot.gr/ and also stream the songs below!!!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

"In Effect 91 NYHC Documentary": A Trip to the Real Old School

In Effect is one of the relatively lesser known documentaries about the NYHC scene. It contains live footage and interviews with some of the real, universal HC legends, like Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, Murphy's Law, Sick of it All and Gorilla Biscuits.

What is great about In Effect is that you get to see the different personalities and approaches behind each band (i.e. Cro-Mags' tougher 'bad guy' stance, SOIA's more mature HC approach, Gorilla Biscuits' intellectual straight edge), which has pretty much evolved into different schools of hardcore in all these following years. It's awesome to watch documentaries like this, because you gain some insight of how hardcore really used to be back in the day, before the hype, the style, the tattoos, the rejection of the oldschool by newer schools, and before touring and putting out records was easy as it is today.

It can't be a coincidence that all the bands featured in this documentary actually created such a strong name in the history of hardcore, or the fact that most of them still continue to this day. It really makes me happy to know that most of the people in the documentary are still involved in hardcore in one way or the other. I guess it's evident that these are the people who are "in it for life" and who - no matter what the kids of today have to say - have paved the way for all the rest. However, this important documentary marks a hardcore era that for better or for worse, did not serve as the political correct mouthpiece that hardcore bands & people have inarguably become nowadays.

So... know your hardcore history, enjoy the awesome music and check out these 58 minutes of O.G. NYHC action!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Review: BURN EVERYTHING "Hollow Victory" 7"

Genre: Metal-Hardcore/Mathcore
Location: NJ, USA
Band Website: Bandcamp
Label: Dullest Records

Do you happen to know a band called Burn Everything? If not, I believe it’s about time to discover them. Cause their two previous releases might have prepared the ground and warned us about what’s coming but their new release leaves no room for doubt. It is extremely positive when you see a band evolve and improve things whilst keeping all the good elements that has previously created. The 4-track 7" titled Hollow Victory that has just came out it’s simply the natural continuation of last year's EP and the beginning of a sound avalanche that has started to 
grow dangerously and nothing seems to be able to stop it.

So complicated music and style yet so simple. Burn Everything don’t step on their technical abilities in order to create a sound effect without order and structure. They don’t overwhelm with complex riffing and numerous changes. Cause through the complexity and the “out of tune” tempos, diffuses directness and simplicity. The distance that you have to cover is full of twists and turns but you‘ll have a pleasant trip and you will never lose your way. Everything is placed in the right spot, energy and passion is present at every second and when necessary they bombard you with death-ish tunes that shake your head miles away.

Okay, I can’t neglect the fact that the “math” sign, as also the huge similarity with Burnt By The Sun, is stuck on them but their music is enriched with all the elements needed to make a difference and to make this band special. Most important is that apart from the excellent bonding between guitar riffs, tempos and changes, each moment has a story to tell and has a reason to be there, at any point of this release. Thumbs up also for the improved production and sound compared always to their previous releases. The sound has the clarity needed to reflect the complex riffing and the heaviness and volume required to make Hollow Victory a bomb ready to explode at any time.

Burn Everything no longer bear the title “promising band”. They are far beyond that. Listening to Hollow Victory you will acknowledge that this band has a great potential. My only concern is whether they‘ll manage to break free from their influences (mainly Burnt By The Sun and Human Remains) and make their sound and music even more unique. Four tracks were perfect as a starter. I look forward for the main course!


- Nikos – nikostolis@gmail.com