Saturday, April 28, 2012

TxYxS Interview: Death Before Dishonor

This interview was carried out during the Unlieashed Hell inFest that took place on the 21st of April 2012. Check it out! Next up we got an interview with none other than Terror's Scott Vogel! Thanks to Nick for doing the interview, thanks to Bridge 9 Records for setting it up and of course thanks to Hard Times and Playfalse who did the show! Photos taken at the show.

Interview with Bryan Harris

T.Y.S.: Death Before Dishonor are well known for touring a lot and giving hundreds of shows every year, probably way more that the average hardcore band. Tell us something about this choice of yours.
B.H.: I always thought that it’s important to go out and play as much as you can. Play for as many people as you can. I think that this is one of the most important things of being a hardcore band. We’ve a got a lot of opportunities to play in many different places and it’s good time being on the road so that’s mainly why.

T.Y.S.: So I guess you prefer being on a tour than being in the studio and recording.
B.H.: For me, I definitely prefer being on the road than in the studio but we have to go back to the studio soon.

T.Y.S.: You usually release an album every couple of years but this time you haven’t released anything since 2009, and that’s 3 years already. What’s the main reason for that?
B.H.: Part of it is touring part of it are some line-up changes. Frankie, our original guitar player/bass player, who does a lot of writing he can’t tour anymore, he has a baby now. He is of course still part of the band he still writes with us. So it’s between these two things. Actually, I believe we didn’t even tour a lot last year as we usually do but here are a lot of things that we have been busy with. We’ve got some new songs that we’ve been working and after this tour we will definitely gonna focus on getting a record done. Hopefully we‘ll have it done by the end of this year or at the beginning of 2013.

T.Y.S.: Did those lineup changes, which you just mentioned, had a negative impact on the band?
B.H.: No, not really. I mean, Frankie wrote most of the stuff like forever you know. He did a lot of music, even a bunch of lyrics. I and he always work together. There have been other band members that did some writings but not that much to make a difference. B-Roll has stopped touring, he has some family issues but he still plays with us also I think he's gonna even come to Mexico to play with us. It's kind of weird but I think that the current line-up sounds great. I get along with everybody and I'm absolutely happy with the guys.

T.Y.S.: You’ve been a part of the hardcore scene with DB4D at least, for more than 10 years already. What do you believe has changed since back then to the scene and how do you think that these changes have influenced DB4D.
B.H.: Though we are a band for so many years we have been actually started touring not before 2005. Things has certainly change a lot and you know you can start thinking what‘s better and what’s worst. I think there are a lot more bands right now and it’s easier for them to go on tour. On the past you had to put something out and work harder in order to do that. Now is a lot easier. Anyway good bands will remain,  bad bands won’t. Things change and we try to take the good stuff and do our best.

T.Y.S.: What does hardcore music means to you? Is this all about having some values and a particular attitude?
B.H.: I think it’s just all about how you live your life. It’s hard to put it on words. For me, you know it’s not just the sound or being D.I.Y. or things like that. It’s just the way of life. Some people get it, some don’t, and some people think they got it but then they realize that this thing is not really the thing for them. For me it’s just the way I live my life. If I could put it in words I would say that it’s about being yourself whatever it is.

T.Y.S.: Illegal downloading and music industry. What’s your opinion about it?
B.H.: I mean it obviously sucks. I do it myself sometimes so I guess I’m also guilty. It definitely sucks for bands that work hard. You know some people say that they’re not gonna buy a CD which has been released from a specific label and they might be right sometimes because some labels really charge a lot. But you know, the CD’s we had on tour it was always to help us on tour. If you download it I guess it does screw the band ultimately. And especially hardcore bands. I’m not talking about mainstream bands, that‘s a whole different world. I mean when you take it from a hardcore band it’s a little more personal. We’re supposed to be there for each other.
T.Y.S.: What’s your opinion about some bands that upload their albums for free in the internet?
B.H.: That’s cool too. You know, some bands they upload their music for free but they also put out a vinyl and that’s also nice cause vinyl has been a big part of hardcore for many years. I would also be okay doing that, thought that is really up to Bridge9 and we are really happy with them, they really help us a lot. But if for example they were suggesting putting our next album in the web I would be ok with that. Bridge9 has also done really cool stuff on the past, like if you buy the vinyl then you get an access for a free download. And that’s nice cause when you get the vinyl you also get the lyrics and then you also have the mp3 version to put it on your mp3 player. Whatever works for the band, you know.

T.Y.S.: Do you have a weird story that you want to share with us from one of your shows. I guess you’ll have a lot but just try to remember a good one.
B.H.: One time we were about to play at a club, the things were set up, the first band was playing and then the club just burnt down! The whole place was on fire! We had to literally go in and take all of our stuff out while the whole place was on fire. We had to wait like four hours and finally we played a basement show at around 2.00 a.m.

T.Y.S.: Do you believe that the reason that you have a hardcore band is connected to the fact that you come from a place with a huge tradition in hardcore music?
B.H.: Of course it was cool to grow up at a place like Boston and you know all the cool shows I got to see there and all this mix of hardcore, punk-rock and OI music might have affected me in a way. But I certainly believe that I would still be the same person no matter what and I would still have a hardcore band. I don’t even think that the way that DBD sound is really a Boston sound.

T.Y.S.: Tell us something about the bands that you are on tour with this period. I am of course talking about Terror and Take Offense.
B.H.: We toured with Terror a bunch of times before. We are very good friends and it’s really awesome. Take Offense, I just‘ve met them on this tour and they are also great. It really gets along. This tour is just great; we have all become good friends so that makes it easier.

T.Y.S.: Do you want to send a message to your Greek Fans and to the readers of T. Y. S?
B.H.: It’s cool to be here again. Last time we played here it was awesome. We had a really great show. I am really happy to be here again and I am really looking forward to our show tonight.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Final Prayer - "I Am Not Afraid" Review (Let it Burn Records)

Genre: Brutal/Street Hardcore
Location: Berlin, Germany

Through years of solid work Final Prayer have managed to establish themselves as kingpins of German (and why not, European) heavy hardcore scene. Yes, I am glad cause in this world of uncertainty at least I know what to expect from a FP album: groovy beats, heavy guitars, mean vocals and all the ingredients that make for a brutal, streetwise hardcore record. But watch out, the surprise on this album is that FP pack a lot of catchy parts (still heavy, don't worry) and memorable songs.

While Final Prayer plunder and pillage with their heavy-ass, beatdown-flavored hardcore action, it's like they pack the Midas touch this time around; I say this because every song is special, every song has character and  something unique to it. This record is mature, it is clever and catchy and and at the same time it is loyal to its roots and full of attitude. FP is not another band pretending to be tough and using the same old ingredients, on the contrary they have a lot of imagination and have made a record that goes beyond the fashions and cliches of today's scene. I bet that I will be able to listen to I am Not Afraid some 5 years later and derive the same pleasure from it as I do today. It's the type of HC that can stay untouched by the wrath of time.

You can understand that there is no necessity to talk about the quality of the production and so on; you and I both know that on a Final Prayer album and a Let it Burn Records release, shit like that is always meticulously delivered and this is also the case here. The production sound is huge, crystal-clear and thankfully for this style, not too metallic.

If you care about the hardcore scene and what it represents, I guess that this record will hardly escape you. You will meet somewhere along the way. If you are into hardcore for real, you will understand and become friends with the integrity delivered on I Am Not Afraid. It contains the essence that has always brought together fans of this music and lifestyle from around the world; it's the force that unites all of us with one common parameter, and that parameter is living by the rules of hardcore. While I listen to this record, I can imagine the cloudy Berlin skies and the city concrete that these hardcore dudes step on. Now it's taken on a worldwide level.

Dirty Wombs: "We Rise" Demo Review

Genre: metallic punk
Location: Patras, Greece
Band Website: bandcamp
Label: (-) self released

The Greek scene has a lot bands breaking out right now, and they are doing it in style and with ferocity. I am happy to say that some of these young fellas aim very high and really raise the bar, thus creating some music that's totally worth the attention of the worldwide metal/punk/hc world.

A good example of such bands is Dirty Wombs, an awesome metallic punk band based in Patras. Now people may want to call this style they're playing "japcore" and make comparisons with all kinds of crazy underground punk bands that I am sure the band listens to in order to craft their sound... however, since I am not too big on Japanese HC, I will break it down for you in a more simple way. What DW really do on this one is take the tight metallic basis of old school thrashy punk and combine it with crazy-ass solos, memorable double-guitar harmonies and barbarous crust vocals. Their style is all go no slow, and maintains its character throughout all the 6 songs of this self-released demo. This band could go down well with crust/dbeat fans but also with thrash freaks, and of course the more open-minded and underground-loving metal kids.

Anyways, so DW has just released this incendiary demo (which was a long time in the making) on a nicely presented, limited cassette release. What we got here is a neat little package with cool artwork that is loyal to the band's style, accompanied by a nice layout with lyrics, drawings etc made by the infamous Jerboa Illustrations. The production is ultra tight to the point I am quite amazed. The mixing brings the  flaming guitar leads at the fore, while the organic-sounding drums, rhythm guitars and truly distorted bass make this mother sound tight and mean. I want to give an extra point for the vocals, which are heavy but sound really clear (you can make out the words and everything) and go back and forth between english and greek.

All in all, this is a very solid piece of work by this Greek band and I am sure the underground will catch up on it fast. Won't you?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

TERROR, DBD, TAKE OFFENSE, OVERPAIN - TYS Exclusive Hardcore Live Report


Going to a concert like that is always gonna be a good experience. Somehow you know it before you even go there. You expect the best and you know you are gonna get the best. When two of the most acknowledged hardcore bands of the last decade are performing there is no room left for expecting anything less. So, Saturday night we grab our good mood and some extra energy and we head up to Kyttaro Club, Athens. Terror and Death Before Dishonor are the major acts but before them, the locals Overpain, 20 Bulls Each from Ireland and the promising band from California Take Offense were going to start the show and warm us up. Surprisingly we found out that 20 Bulls Each cancelled their performance so there were four bands left to enjoy.
The show started at about 21.00 with Overpain presenting their hardcore/metalcore tracks at the best way possible. Full of beatdowns and with an admirable sound they gain the applause of the people that where at the venue at this time. And here is the disappointing part. Though the concert was about to start at 21.00 (and that is what happened), at the time that it started there where less than 30 people inside the venue. Definitely something that can negatively affect a young band that tries to present its work in a venue that is expected to be packed.

Overpain - SHC in action
Anyway, things started gradually warming up and the venue was half-full when Take Offense went on stage. Full of energy and with a very talkative frontman, that didn’t stop for a second jumping around; they made the first mosh-pit appear. They played songs from their previous works ("Walks Of Life", "Happiness Under Chains", "What Goes Around", "No Tomorrow") and some songs from their new EP ("T.O. Zone", "My Sacrifice", "Serving Our Time"). Their 30 min performance really seemed to be the best intro possible for Death Before Dishonor who were following.

Take Offense breaking shit up
One of the most intense touring hardcore bands with hundreds of shows every year took the stage and the audience started to cheer up even more. Transforming the venue into a huge party place seemed to be a piece of cake for Death Before Dishonor. With energy deriving from every part of the stage and with good interaction with the crowd it seemed that these guys really enjoyed their time there. I guess, the fact that the crowd was expressing it’s admire for DB4D in the most passionate way (mosh-pitting all the time and singing along almost every song the band played) helped them to give a great show. They equally represented their three last releases with songs like "Born From Misery", "Boys In Blue", "Remember", "Never Again", "Friends Family Forever" and "Peace & Quiet" but the highlight of their performance was the time they played their famous cover "Boston Belongs To Me", and I think that there is no reason to explain why. I would be extra pleased if they were staying on stage for at least 10 more minutes since the 30 minutes of their performance was really not enough.

Death Before Dishonor - FFF realtalk
 Terror were about to appear on the stage at a few minutes and there was still much energy left. First song, “One with the Underdogs”, and after that we had no reason to doubt or wonder about what was going to follow. Total chaos. A crowd in ecstasy and a band that was proving once again why they are one of the best hardcore acts today. Scott Vogel is a very charismatic vocalist and frontman and has the best way to communicate it. He entered the pit, he shared the mic with the fans, he was jumping around all the time, he was motivating everyone to stage-dive (he even suggested to move out some tables that were in front of the stage to make that easier) and kept everyone on the highest level of excitement. Anthony Herrera, the vocalist of Take Offense, went on stage and grabbed the microphone to assist on the singing part ("Stick Tight" if I remember correctly) and just before the end of the show the stage was full of people singing and dancing. A friendly, hardcore feeling and I really can’t think of anything more to ask from a hardcore concert. Oh, no, I know what I can ask. Same as with DBD I believe that Terror could add a few more songs to their setlist (complete setlist follows). I had the impression that the crowd could handle more than 40 minutes of Terror.

Terror: Fucking hardcore

Terror – Set list
One with the underdogs
Out of my face
Stick Tight
Never Alone
Always the hard way
You‘re caught
Lowest of the low
Spit my rage
Return to strength
Push it away
Keep your mouth shut
Keepers of the faith

Words: Nikos Tolis
Photos: Dimitris Douskas

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fuck Yeah Bandana Thrash

Lately and while the weather is getting better every day, I am going through a major skatethrash revival phase. This all happened after accidentally running into some old Suicidal, Excel, Beowulf etc type of 80s skate thrash... It is indeed time to kick it with some major thrash action!

While we're at it, why not take this shit a step further to the extreme side of town and check Brasil's fastcore thrash bandanos, Satanaiz?

Monday, April 23, 2012

SLAPSHOT Live in Athens (Mon 23 April 2012)

One of the first hardcore albums I ever got into was Slapshot's Old Time Hardcore when it came out in 1996. The honesty and hostility it delivered was like nothing I had ever heard before and totally turned me into a hardcore kid. This piece of vinyl is still one of the most precious items of my record collection some 16 years later! In fact, I consider Slapshot hugely influential and probably somewhere in the pantheon of the 5 most important hardcore bands of all time. Tonight, I will finally have the chance of seeing them live in one of Athens' most legendary clubs. Yes!

The design for the poster was made by graphic designer/tattoo artist and total hardcore fan, P. Ntolas (panosntolas [at] hotmail [dot] com).

Sunday, April 22, 2012

FAITHREAT - "Thrashing with the Stars" EP Review

Genre: Crossover/Thrashcore
Location: Volos, Greece
Band Website: Bandcamp, Facebook
Label Websites: n/a

Released in the middle of fuckin' winter, here comes a 7inch release from the 5 stooges of Faithreat that reminds us there's still summer in our hearts!!

Co-released by 4 labels in 350 hand-numbered copies, there're no real words to describe this ep of theirs (I'd say PENIKUFESIN, ha-ha!), with the band to be inducted to Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame after all the fuss ends! Rumors are circulating that, initially, Chuck Norris and Steven Seagal were to write the review for the 7", but due to insurmountable differences and terrible disagreement they started trashing everything up with roundhouse kicks, so the band called on me to salvage the situation once again!

Let's get a little serious there for a while... The 8-song ep is aptly titled Thrashing with the Stars. Ιt consists of musical leftovers from the band's auditions for "Dancing with the Stars" [-We said, serious!!-Oh, ok…]. As you can tell, it's dedicated to movie characters who marked our childhood and continue to haunt our lives, such as Steven Seagal ("Unstoppable Force"), Chuck Norris ("Man or God?"), Mitch Buchannon and Robocop ("Iron Bin"). It also contains a Christmas debunking of the myth of Santa Claus, this corporate-created bearded man, a fuck-off to posers ("Meatballs") and my personal best, "Hairless Charm", dedicated to mighty fuckin' Tsakonas, the favorite 80's cult Greek comedian! No need to explain about him, he's already a legend!

Regarding the music: We got eight fierce short songs that really take no prisoners!! Straight to the face, kick-ass thrashcore / crossover that leaves you begging for more. Fast and intense, riffs cut like a razor, vocals sound just right and the production kills! Thumbs up also for the collage cover and gremlin artwork, courtesy once more of the notorious P. Ntolas. Overall, the ep is a nice foretaste of the band's full length to come, hopefully after the end of the world (12-12-12). Yeah you jive turkeys, Faithreat will survive the blast, cause they are approved by Chuck Norris himself! Highly recommended for fans of Suicidal Tendencies, D.R.I., Vitamin X, R.A.M.B.O. and the like.

That's pretty much all. I'd like to suggest that a free copy of the 7” along with a thank-you letter be sent to mr. Tsakonas, for the endless laughter he's been offering us all this time with his hilarious acting!

Enjoy life and thrash' em all,
Leonidas "For Those About to Mosh" (again)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Life After Death - "Scum of Society Forever"

50%-50% beatdown & oldschool hardcore is what you get from this Indiana, US mosh machine! These guys certainly know how to bring the ruckus with their negative mental attitude and pissed off hardcore action. If the name Filled With Hate Records sadly doesn't say anything to you, then check out the video below to find out what this band is all about and proceed with some background research on the label.

The band's free download ep (check their link below for download link) delivers 4 songs of streetwise hardcore with an awesome exchange of moshcore and fat oldschool grooves! We expect more of the same goodness from their upcoming 2012 full length.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

TERROR, DBD, TAKE OFFENSE & More Live in Athens

This weekend, better brace yourself for some supreme hardcore action coming to our city. Terror (pretty much the biggest band of today's hardcore) hits Athens once again, this time as part of the Unleashed Hell inFest VII, together with Boston hardcore heavyweights Death Before Dishonor and Reaper Records' heavy old schoolers Take Offense. The ticket would be worth it for each band separately, let alone all the bands together!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Featured Band: Holodomor

Holodomor was a man-made famine that violently took the lives of  millions of people in Ukrainia back in 1932. Also known as the "terror famine", Holodomor has often been compared to the Holocaust in terms of its violent extent and severity.

Based on the above concept, one can easily imagine that a band which goes with the name Holodomor won't be singing about no happy stuff. This extreme death/thrash/crust outfit from the UK puts its name on the map with its EP Temoignages de la Gnose Terrestre. What you'll get by listening to this recording is 5 tracks of unholy, heretical deathly modern thrash with some subtle post crustcore touches. Clearly going out like an extreme metal band, but with the extra modernity and straighforwardness that fans of metallic hardcore will surely appreciate, this is a band to keep an eye out for. Their songs need a bit of getting used to, but in our book this is a good thing, and Holodomor will reward you by wanting to listen to this self-released EP again and again.

Listen to the song below if you feel like being treated with some vile thrash riffs, harsh death/crust vox and unholy oldschool blastbeats that will crush your head like it ain't no thing! Negative metallic mayhem, here we go!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

BACKTRACK @ United Blood Fest

Backtrack is one of the better known new bands on Reaper Records' all-star hardcore roster. To me this band is awesome cause it manages to continue the NYHC tradition in a fresh way, and packs tons of pure hardcore attitude to boot. Their album Darker Half is out now and deserves your attention.

Check out the video below to seem them thrashing the stage at this year's United Blood fest! The quality is poor, but the mosh factor high and the sound quality is OK.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Review: MUTANT SUPREMACY - "Rotting Season" 7" (Blastbeat Mailmurder, 2012)

Genre: Old School Death Metal
Location: Brooklyn/NY, USA
Band Website: official
Label Website: Blastbeat Mailmurder

On any given day, I am up for some scorching and chaotic death metal brutality. It is a genre that just doesn't run out it terms of hate and violence; it just cannot die out, just like mankind's profound hatred cannot die out. Philosophies aside, Mutant Supremacy have just released a 7" of total ugliness through Blastbeat Mailmurder, which will take you back to the dirty and underground roots of death metal, giving you a demonstration of the "ugly side of town".

This Brooklyn, NYC band has already established its name in the underground scene and I dare to say that it can't that hard when you play like this. Throughout the 4 songs of this ep we are punished with all kinds of beautifully sloppy blastbeats, old school death metal pounding and relentless whirlwind riffs. The vocals are 100% brutal death metal, spat rhytmically and not letting up for any kind of melodic inclinations. All in all, tt is not that easy to draw specific comparisons, as Mutant Supremacy takes from the best in the DM genre to create its own beast of a sound. It would suffice to say that MS has one foot in barbarous death/thrash while lending inspiration from perhaps Leprosy era Death, and definitely some good old Morbid Angel and Malevolent Creation. That, by alll means, can only be a good thing! Finally, the murky but well crafted production seals the deal for every kvlt freak.

There is enough chaos going on in this ep, with all the noodly Slayeric solos, the extravagant drumming and the non-stop slaughtering joining forces to create the nightmare we all crave for. However, this record definitely needs a few listens before you can understand what's truly going on. I would like to believe that this is death metal for the learned and experienced listener, and not for the general metalhead (or clueless deathcore new jack) as it is complex, vicious and - yes! - hard to listen to. Don't expect any groovy slam parts to shake your ass to, or any metallic artistry. To approach bands like Mutant Supremacy you need a love for violence, and the ability to sit down and take brutality with a smile.

Song taken from Mutant Supremacy's Infinite Suffering album

Monday, April 2, 2012

In Clear Sight - "Fuck Fairytales, this is Reality"

Band: in Clear Sight
Country: Belgium 
Band Website: soundcloud
Label Website: Clenched Fist Records

Metalcore/Deathcore are genres generally viewed upon with much contempt, however, there will ALWAYS be the bands that make the exception to the rule. Personally, as a fan of all things brutal in metal and hardcore, can't find myself to resist bands such as In Clear Sight and their heavy as fuck metallic hardcore.

Withoutout deviating too much from the norms, ICS manage to avoid the ultra-boring cliches of the metalcore genre and go on to create some dark, powerful and devastating music. All you need is here: the pounding drums landing on your head like a ten-ton hammer, the mean NY-flavored riffs, and of course the state of the art brutal beatdowns. The vocalist spits the lyrics in a pretty guttural manner, but there are many other types of vocals (perhaps coming from other band members?) which keep a good balance between the guttural, the street, the death metal and a more hip hop style. In fact, there is quite a bit of dark hip hop imagery going on, not unlike Wu Tan and Jedi Mind Tricks. The production ties everything together in such a way that In Clear Sight is the aural equivalent of a rabid, fighting pitbul barking right in your poor face. Some more metal-oriented elements come to finish things off and put the last nail in the coffin... And if you didn't catch the above reference, this album is perfect for fans of Born From Pain, Walls of Jericho, old Hatebreed etc.

Not all music needs to generate introspection and beautiful feelings - not all music needs to display profoundly high technical abilities; music like In Clear Sight is specifically manufactured in order to do one thing: keep you angry as fuck. If you have a hard day in front of you or something pissed you off real bad, put this band on and you'll remember what I mean. This shit is also perfect for long and exhausting runs, pumping iron, relentless moshing with no reason, and general venting of frustration and hate. If you don't get it, the best thing about this band is that it is fucking frantic, and that is exactly the point most current bands miss these days.

If Clenched Fist Records puts out music like this, I'll make sure to check it again & again!