Insist – Manchester Straight Edge


Insist Pic by Nat Wood (cheers!)

Back in the mid to late 90’s Manchester was one of the key locations in the upsurge of grass roots UKHC activity. The scene, largely centered around local Salford band Area Effect and their immediate circle of friends the MYC who started churning out zines (Five Deadly Venoms, One Face etc), booking regular hardcore shows at the Star & Garter and running the No Holds Barred distro that (in those metal saturated times) made available the classic sounding hardcore that was experiencing a rebirth. Boardy is responsible for putting the Floorpunch 7” in my hand along with the infamous issue of Tension Building zine that our crew obsessed over.

Whilst Area Effect were never the most original or even competent band, the aesthetic and ethical impact they had on the local scene cannot be overstated. Hardcore shows prior to their arrival had devolved into tectonically dull affairs, lacking energy or participation beyond polite applause and a gentle swaying at the knees. it was fucking lame. Area Effect encouraged stage dives and pile on’s, head walks and sing alongs, the type of positive energy that can bring a room of strangers together in glorious celebration of simply being young, angry and out of step. Much as I hate to quote Chain Of Bullshit ‘man, those were special times, those were our times’


I hate the Red Hot Chilli Peppers so much.

Things changed after AE (and subsequently xSafeguardx) broke up and that youth crew spirit gradually disappeared from Manchester for a long time. I’d go to occasional shows at the S&G over the following years and it bummed me out no end to see a room that held so many fond memories of defiant youth appear so devoid of energy or life. The point of this idle reminisce? Simply to provide a bit of context for the layman and as an observation upon the cycular nature of regional hardcore scenes . Bands like Broken Teeth and Survival have breathed new life into the lungs of Manchester hardcore, echoing the spirit of yesteryear with packed out rooms and energetic shows, and from their extended circle have emerged a number of new bands like Headroom, Below and now INSIST!

Insist play what I consider to be classic sounding straight edge hardcore. You can trace the lineage of that sound back to the mid 80’s and Youth Of Today’s early attempts at melding the bombastic aggression of Agnostic Front with the naieve positivity of 7 Seconds. The sound and style had a resurgence in the mid 90’s and again more recent years with Carry On, The First Step and Peace its from these bands that Insist appear to draw much of their influence. A lot of youth crew bands suffer from mewling vocalists whose pleading boy scout lyrics are just embarrasing, but thankfully thats not the case here. Rogers vocals definitely have the same type of gruff, honest quality as Wrench or the dude from Peace. Lyrically it’s nowt fresh but the feeling of frustration behind the words is genuine and I can get down with that.

Musically, they’ve nailed those buzzing early Carry On riffs that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up right before breaking down into a crunchy floor tom/mosh part. The intro to Step by Step is an exercise in how to nail that dynamic perfectly. The recording is tight as a drum and crisp as hell but not so polished as to feel squeaky clean or euro sounding. What impresses me most (and the same can be said for Survival) is how earnest and sincere this sounds. So much hardcore sounds like its going through the motions or created simply for cheesedicks to swing their fists to, so when something comes along that sounds real and passionate it stands out and grabs my attention immediately. I have seen some of these guys around at shows for a few years now and the vibe I always pick up from them is that they truly love hardcore, and for a cynical dick like myself, that is a refreshing atmosphere to be around.

I understand that Insist will be releasing their demo through New Instinct records. NEW INSTINCT is a label run by one of Survival’s boys, stage dive maniac Jimmy Baddley. He has already released the awesome SHRAPNEL demo and the new Survival 7” Forged In Iron (expect a Survival interview and review coming soon). Like I said earlier community is everything and it’s warming to see the current generation of hardcore bands in the UK holding on to those values. Despite the fact that their logo reminds me of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers (worst band ever), Insist still make me wanna break out the champion reverse weave hoody and rock my Levi’s with a cuff whilst treading on the faces of chumps and sellouts. Go listen to Insist HERE and look out for them playing in your shitty town in the future.

4 thoughts on “Insist – Manchester Straight Edge

  1. Area affect! Still got got the scars from star and garter gigs.. i met the guitarist ‘Graham i think’ through a friend of a girl i was seeing and was so pleased to have found some “proper hardcore” i used to drive down from sunny bridlington as often as they played. Still got a “strength of one” t shirt now thats got to be rare! Any ways fond fond memories…

    • cheers Gaz and Martin for the kind words!!
      great danes indeed!
      Martin….yeah that a rare shirt!!

      Gaz…Salford Van Hire Crew…your moshing!

      • Area Effect was the fucking one! I remember seeing them loads at the S&G being supported by the likes of Symbiosis etc!

        Yerp…. still got an Area Effect T-Shirt as well, needs to be framed!

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