Danger, Dissent and Unfinished Business – Mosh Round Up

 

For my money Youngblood have been the dons of the ‘traditional hardcore’ (I hate that phrase) game ever since they dropped the Rancor 7″ back in 1995. That was a seminal record for my circle of friends, a breath of fresh air amongst the poe faced metallic chugga that dominated the sxe scene of the time. If you’ve never heard Rancor I’ll do you a solid and include a link at the bottom of the page, thank me later. Anyway Pimlott switched me onto Line Of Sight after his band True Vision did a stint with them and Insist around the USA year. Youngblood continue their unbeaten run with the Line Of Sight Dissent EP in which this DC quartet manage to breathe new life into that most tired of formula’s Youth Crew Hardcore. How do they manage this? Just like Rancor they got that ENERGY my friend.

See I really only listen to hardcore when I’m involved in some kind of physical activity. Chopping wood, running, pretending I know what I’m doing at the gym etc.  That’s when I subject music to my rugged criteria….‘does this record make me want to smash up this stack of wooden pallets in record time?  or Does this song make me want to throw a barbel through the ceiling? and so on.  I was out jogging when the Line Of Sight record rotated into my playlist. Holy shit when they open with Raze and that floor tom build up/ mosh part comes in after like five seconds, well damn it made this old man inadvertently pop the hood up on his C cuff reverse weave and sprint all the way home like I was missing Youth Of Today at The Anthrax in 1986 or some shit.

I stole that pic above from Jeff Lasich of Start Today fanzine/Bottled Up Records. He’s a cool guy and gave me some nice Firm Standing Law pics for my zine, so go check out his most recent issue for free HERE

Anyway, the  LoS vocalist has the coolest style. Spitting his words with clarity and creativity in a pattern that is immediately engaging and memorable. His lyrics are refreshing dealing with reflecting upon oneself and the banality of investing time trying to fit a mould when you should be carving out your own definition of self. It’s this kinda writing that lifts Line Of Sight out of the turgid swamp that this style often becomes. So much Youth Crew is just an excuse to settle for trite lyrics over an exhausted aesthetic, like somehow that’s reason enough to drag your ass on stage. That’s not punk it’s a fucking empty posture and it drives me nuts. Line Of Sight blow that tired stereotype clean off the stage and succeed in making me excited about a style of hardcore that I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with. I honestly cannot recommend this record enough. If you want more (and why wouldn’t you?) they’ve got a demo available HERE and a decent quality live set over on MOSHERS DELIGHT that you can check out  right over HERE

I was out in California for a few weeks  last summer visiting with my friends Chris and Don in Chula Vista. One evening they took me out for a tasty burrito and a drive round the hardcore points of interest. That probably sounds nerdy as fuck but I always take great interest in the people, bands and events that shape a local scene and always like to to get a flavour of that history when I’m passing through. Hardcore is important you know, it’s how I met these people and to dismiss it as something childish or embarrassing makes you look small. Don’t be that guy/girl.

Much of my own personal geography and knowledge of random towns in America comes from writing off for demo’s and zines as a kid in the 90’s. Half the time none of the shit you sent off for arrived but sometimes you got lucky. That’s how I discovered the mighty Amenity back in the mid 90’s and upon arriving in Chula Vista my brain naturally defaulted and made the connection.  I happened to ask if any of the dudes from Amenity were still active and was directed toward ADULT CRASH  

It looks to me like AC haven’t released any new music in a while but a quick scout of their Instagram suggests to me that these dudes hibernate for a few years then pop up with something every now and again. As on older guy I can appreciate that, sometimes you just gotta do grown shit. Adult Crash look to be working on new material whilst remaining politically and socially active through community fundraising shows. Seem like good guys. Their lyrics are intelligent and raise valid questions whilst managing to avoid being preachy or overbearing. Theres an informed political brain at work here. Musically its a tough mix of late 80’s West Coast Hardcore reminding me of Hard Stance here  Stalag 13 there and everything else in between. Tim Gonzalez vocals have a real sincerity to the delivery and  his voice reminds me a lot of early Agnostic Front. Check them out if you like real deal shit.

OK what else do i got for you this week? Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years surely you’ve heard of Foreseen from Finland by now? Helsinki’s fiercest skinhead fronted thrashers have been frequent visitors to the UK as allies of the NWOBHC. After a couple of blinding EP’s they recently unleashed Grave Danger upon the world and it’s a fucking glorious runaway train of an album. The unhinged vocals are all over the shop, seemingly placed without consideration, content to run roughshod over the wild riffs and frantic drums.

The whole record feels absolutely reckless and in a scene that places great emphasis on being tighter than a gnats chuff, this is a real breath of fresh air. That’s not to say this music is poorly played, no no. The guitarists shred like wildmen and the drums are barely able to keep the whole thing from coming off the tracks and plummeting into the abyss. It’s the kind’ve metal I enjoy immensely, stripped of pretence and running rampant. Recommended for anyone who likes fun.

Speaking of fun, Rot In Hell put out a new record early last year and let me tell ya, it is a laugh a minute. A Thick Rope And A Strong Branch was recorded before I returned to lift them from the mire  with my vocal prowess once more, and is about as far away from the furious metallic hardcore of their early years as is humanly possible.

On ATRAASB the band fully explore the Neo-folk aspect of the group that has only been hinted at on obscure demos and assorted B SIDES. Obvious reference points for the layman would be Death In June, Scorpion Wind etc but there’s a bleak tenderness in Poi’s haunting funeral croon that lends the whole thing a surreal lullaby quality. The howling sheets of guitar that typify the A- Side material of RIH are largely absent from this brace of songs and there’s creative use of layered vocals, chimes, keyboards and acoustic guitar to build an infernal  ethereal ambience. It’s working class northern gothic filtered through years of rain, cold and abject misery. It’s the sound of hours of toil in freezing abandoned mills. Of sleet on filthy windows and endless miles of damp concrete.  It’s steel jawed reticence in the face of vacant stares, weak jaws and the adulation of people upon whose faces you would not piss if their heads were on fire.

Reviewing an album by a band with whom one shares a storied history may seem like nepotism of the highest order and maybe it is, but  I can honestly suggest this album to anyone who is unafraid to look outside the narrow definitions of what a hardcore band is expected to create. These songs exist alongside their ragged metal material not at the expense of it. Plus I do some shouting on one song, it’s cool but I can’t remember what it’s called.  You can check out the record HERE and explore the full back catalogue HERE.

Finally we have Eldritch from Richmond Virginia. Once again this band exists somewhat outside the realm of my musical knowledge. They just released 15 minute opus HARVESTER  Much to my disappointment it’s not a song about the UK’s premier restaurant chain but the kinda droning existential doom metal that Boardy tried to convince himself he liked a few years back when he was going through his experimental phase.

I don’t know how Eldritch stack up against the leaders in the field but to my untrained ears they definitely sound closer to something like Earth than say Goatsnake? I think it’s got a bit of a psyche feel to it and I would definitely use it as background music for a particularly trippy Call Of Cthulhu session.

Towards the end there’s a really sinister piano section with some weird cosmic sounds and it makes me feel weird like there’s a swirling vortex slowly opening up under my bed and If i look down I won’t see a load of old fluff and bags of t-shirts but the infinite thirsting void of the universe. Honestly I’m far too highly strung for this shit but it’s cool and if you dig ancient abyssal gods and want space nightmares, my advice is stuff a load of green cheese down your neck and start playing this and you’ll be deep in a cosmic Hell quick fucking smart.

That’s it for this time. Keep the review material coming and here’s some Rancor courtesy of my old friend Ian Vision. Go check out his channel HERE for more classic show footage. Peace.

One thought on “Danger, Dissent and Unfinished Business – Mosh Round Up

  1. Nathan,
    Thank you for checking us out, and sharing your kind words. The band is a very important part of our lives, but yeah, sometimes Jobs, family, and other “grown shit” does take up some of our time. We’ve got a completed 6 song recording that should be out this year. Hope to meet you next time!
    Tim

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