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Venia - Frozen Hands - Blood & Ink Records #034 - 2009
  -- Sunday, March 21, 2010

Venia. Christian Hardcore. Yeah.


Let me live my life, and I'll let you live yours.

That about sums it up.

If you are interested, hit up their myspace page for more info. If you are dying for merch, try your luck on Ebay.

That's all I have to say on that one.

No seriously, that's it.


Liferide S/T LP - Take It Back Records #002 - 2010

Every now and then, I get a cool package from Take It Back Records. Christian Unsinn seems like a cool dude, no matter what some anonymous people have to say. This time around, he sent me the Liferide LP. Feeling it.

Liferide has a real throwback vibe. Like I could picture any of these songs leading into Backtrack or Dissed And Dismissed or even Fade To Black. These guys play a strong hardcore very reminiscent of late 80s New York Hardcore. I dig it.

I also dig the limited nature of the vinyl. 300 total slabs. 200 on black, 100 on some color vinyl. This is hardcore vinyl for the real fans. Either you snap it up, or you miss out completely. React Records does something very similar. No need to flood the market. And thanks to torrents and the internet, the music will get around. Courtesy of being great music, these tracks will DEFINITELY be heard by a wide swath of people. Good for them.

So if you missed the vinyl, your best best is Ebay. Who would have guessed? You can probably still snap up some black vinyl here. No promises, but give it a go. You won't regret it.


Animal Instinct - Stick Like Glue - Take It Back Records #001 - 2009
  -- Thursday, October 15, 2009

Animal Instinct is hard. They make me think of Judge. That is if Judge had been formed in Cleveland instead of New York. I can definitely see Animal Instinct splitting a bill with early Integrity & Confront. Maybe playing Chubby's bday bash with PX (was that all one show?).

Also, Animal Instinct just dropped this EP on a new record label out of Switzerland, Take It Back Records. This record label is run by at least one solid dude. Christian Unsinn is a name I can recall for well over 10 years. I probably first saw him pop up on the old xmulletx swap site (and possibly the message board). Over the years, he has worked on lots of cool projects, including the GLWDRK magazine I reviewed years back. Seems like a solid dude with a solid game plan:
TAKE IT BACK is a new label dedicated to hardcore/punk. TAKE IT BACK is not about ringtones and wallpapers, it’s not about weekly newsletters. It’s about being active within the hardcore/punk community, it’s about friendship, and most important: it’s about fun.

TAKE IT BACK supports a vegetarian lifestyle.
I can back ALL of these things. And it feels like Animal Instinct can too. Their style is hard, but you definitely get a "we're doing this for all the right reasons" vibe from their sound. There is a very genuine attitude to the whole thing.

My one b33f is with the artwork. Upon first glance, I thought I was seeing a Straight Ahead rip off. But it's not. Instead, there is a jaguar crushing the throat of the king of the jungle. Subconsciously, I then equated this album to one upping the Straight Ahead 12" EP. We all know that is not possible. That album is unfuckwithable. No doubt. Likely, I'm reading too much into it. Plus, the fold out poster insert is awesome -- very frameable.

Head on over to the myspace pages to pick up the EP. Grab me a white tee in medium while you are at it. And if that doesn't work for you, try your luck on Ebay. You never know what you may find.

Lewd Acts - Black Eye Blues - Deathwish Inc - 2009
  -- Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I moved to Worcester in 1997 where I would end up hanging out a lot at 34 John St. A guy lived there named Tre McCarthy. Pretty good dude. One time I saw him acid drop off his couch in the middle of a phone call. The phone (cordless phone, not a cell phone. This was 1998 afterall) smashed everywhere. He put it all back together, and somehow the person on the other end of the line was still there! Also, one time I was riding with him to his new apartment. To make room in his car, he had to push a tennis racket out of the way. Yes, a tennis racket. Can you picture Tre playing tennis? Still a mystery to this day.

Years later, Tre would co-start Deathwish Inc. Jake and him would release a ton of albums over the years. In the beginning, Tre would send me a lot of their releases, but that tapered off over the years. That's fine. We both realized that I would rather NOT review something than give it a less than stellar review. And everyone knows generic straight edge is my bread and butter. Obviously, DWI needs to release more of that ... I think the last package Tre sent my way was the Curse I LPs. Yeah, a while back.

So when Tre hit me with the new Lewd Acts release, I knew I was in store for something awesome. And I was not disappointed.

This LP rips. It's not my normal fare, but I dig it. It gives me an Integrity (less scary) / American Nightmare / Lion Of Judah (minus the wigger mosh, space trip hop bit) vibe. Overall, a quality vibe. I can envision lots of kids slow moshing for this band, plenty of head banging, that's for sure. I've seen the tees everywhere. Never knew why the hype was so big. But after listening to this album, I'm a believer.

I'll probably swing over to Ebay to see if I can find some deals on tees. Otherwise, definitely go hit up Deathwish Inc for this album. Support the bands, support the label.


Set Your Goals - This Will Be The Death Of Us - Epitaph - 2009
  -- Monday, August 24, 2009

I've been following Set Your Goals since my friend Matt turned me onto them some years ago. Of course, he was biased. He is their tour manager. Luckily for him, they are an awesome band and chill dudes. I'm a pretty big fan of their previous albums, and even interviewed Matt a few years ago. I've been looking forward to this album ever since Merrick started singing snippets of it.

Now that I have it in my hands, I am not disappointed. Of course, it isn't at all what I expected. Which is not an issue, just surprising. I was expecting SYG to go super poppy for this one. And you know what, I was completely wrong. This album is HARDER than any other release they've dropped.

And you know what? This album reminds me of the Judgment Night Soundtrack. I know, I know, "lay off the reefer, Brian," but hear me out. Judgment Night was this dope mid 90s movie where the soundtrack was all artist team ups. So you had Biohazard and Onyx on one song, Helmet and House Of Pain on another (ill, ill song) and Sonic Youth + Cypress Hill on another. It was just this ill little mashup of bands dropping insane songs where each song had a completely different vibe. That's what this album has. One song has an ill double kick and metal up your ass, while another has a perfect pogo bounce. Throw in some guest spots by Hayley Williams (Paramore), Chad Gilbert (New Found Glory), Vinnie Caruna (The Movielife), Jon Gula (Turmoil, oh what??), and you've got a pretty sick sound.

You can catch these dudes touring constantly. If you are lucky, you hit up Gig Life and witnessed a good time. They even have tshirts for "grown ass men." If you can't find one in their tour merch, peep Ebay. You never know what you may find. Go ahead and spend those dollars on this release. You won't regret it.


Start Today - Blindness EP - 2009
  -- Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Start Today come hard hitting with a 4 track EP. Initially, I was pretty confused just looking at the layout. ALL the text is in English MINUS the lyrics. They are all in a language that is not based on a character set I'm familiar with, ie not Romantic. Turns out it is Bulgarian which has roots in the Slavic language. Something I know nothing about. So I got to listen to some great tunes that MAY have featured lyrics about punching cows or stealing candy from children. Just kidding! It also turns out that they have a link with all the lyrics in English. That's pretty helpful for me at least.

The lyrics are pretty thought out and heartfelt. I can get into that, for sure. Paired with some value backed hardcore. I would use the term emotional but I don't want people to think I'm talking about Brokencyde or some shit. There's a lot of passion here with a definite Strife / Have Heart influence. Get into it.

Try your luck on Ebay and hit up Stoilov's site while you are out on the interwebs,


The Golden Age - Unlock Yourself - Panic Records #016 - 2009
  -- Monday, July 13, 2009

The Golden Age is a band I can really get into. I'm not sure what exactly grabs me, but it grabs tight. Could be the mixture of sounds. Like a weird cross of Set Your Goals (minus a lot of pop and a singer, of course) and Earth Crisis. Or maybe mid-era Lifetime and Count Me Out. It's a great little mix.

Of course, the epic Straight Edge anthems don't hurt either. I'm going on record right now saying, "The Constant may be the Straight Edge anthem of 2009." And as you know, the year is only halfway over. I love a great fucking straight edge sing along. It's not generic youth crew, but it's got balls. "A song can change your life and open your eyes, transform energy, reveal what's inside!"

These dudes are going out on tour with a couple of great bands this summer: No Harm Done and Offsides. Three excellent bands worthy of all your attention. So when they play, quit texting and mosh hard. If you don't heed my warnings and are IMing your friends all night, you'll have to scour Ebay the next day because you'll WANT this CD. Pick up some merch while your at it, bub.


Inhuman - Last Rites - I Scream Records - 2007
  -- Friday, June 26, 2009

Inhuman is for Brooklyn Bastards. If you don't know what I mean, then chances are, you are not a Brooklyn Bastard. These guys have love and pride for their little borough. And it isn't in a I-ride-a-fixed-gear-bike-and-wear-floppy-hats sense. But rather the roots of Brooklyn. Remember that movie Gangs Of New York? I can envision Leonardo moshing to the music of Inhuman while waging an all out street war. I can't really picture Leonardo flying his little airplane to the tunes of Inhuman though. That just would not work.

This last album has a strong resemblance to modern era Sick Of It All or Madball. Lots of heavy, fast tunes, with that nod to more melodical hardcore. Merely a nod. No full blown crooning here.

Not sure if this album is still in press. I'd guess so. Mike handed me a copy at the SOIA/Bane/Capital/Inhuman gig so the band still has them. If that doesn't help you, you can always check out Ebay.


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