Reviews May 2003
CHAINS IN THE SHED -- s/t (CD / Siloh Records)
Some of you might already know Nathan Daniel Limbaugh due to his drumming on some of Karma to Burn's records ("Wild wonderful apocalyptic", "Karma to Burn", and "Wild wonderful purgatory"). He also played in a Hardcore band called Encounter in the early 90s, so here's some namedropping. Now his first solo album is out, and the words "solo album" couldn't be more precise as he wrote performed and produced all of the 14 songs on his own. The music is a mixture of Stoner Rock and Indie I'd say, so fans of his previous band Karma to Burn should listen to this as well as anyone who's interested in longer instrumental and relaxed parts, accompanied by a clean voice. As this music is not my cup of tea I can't say that this is a must have, but people who are into this musical style may like what they find here. But don't expect a full on Stoner Rock dose with shredding guitars, because this self titled album is way more quiet and laid back.
CIVIL DEFENSE -- Enough (CD EP / Striving For Togetherness Records)
Remember the 7 Seconds classic "This is the angry"? Well, this description fits perfectly to the first six song EP from Civil Defense, a Tri-City Hardcore band from Boston, New Bedford and Providence that consists of members of Intent to Injure, Roswell, Corrin and Beyond the Embrace (those bands put out records on labels like Nemesis, Taang!, Hydra Head, or Metal Blade). The music is pissed off Hardcore directly in your face with almost no breakdowns in between the fast songs (and I really mean FAST). The lyrics have a critical look on today's Hardcore scene ("Cause now we've had enough of insincere bands and kids, 'cause now we've had enough of all these band's religious skits, 'cause now we've had enough of 15 dollar Hardcore shows, 'cause now we've had enough of all these Hardcore fashion shows") and fit pretty good to the angry sound of the band. This definitely is the angry.
DAY OF CONTEMPT -- See Through The Lies (CD / Goodlife Recordings)
Day of Contempt come from Australia and it's good to see that the land down under has some great Tough Guy Hardcore to offer. Often I don't like these tough guy bands because the sound is too blurry or the vocals are pretty weak or the band's appearance is rather ridiculous, but Day of Contempt manage to stay away from all these points. The production is clear and brutal, so are the vocals and the members don't look like they'd spent the last 10 years in prison. Now all of you who think a longer stay in prison is a quality trademark for a tough guy band should re-think this and listen carefully to Day of Contempt's first full length called "See through the lies" which is the follow up to the "Where shadows lie" EP that came out in the year 2000. Day of Contempt were touring in Australia for the last five years and now they're ready for the rest of the world. Sometimes I feel reminded to Hatebreed, but in contrast to the masters of Tough Guy Hardcore Day of Contempt have almost no faster parts in their songs, but rather more mid tempo stuff and heavy breakdowns. But of course anyone into Hatebreed will embrace this five piece, so go out and get thi album.
GOVERNMENT ISSUE -- Strange Wine / Live At CBGB August 30, 1987 (CD / Dr. Strange Records)
Lots of people consider G.I.'s line up with John "Stabb" Schroeder on vocals, Tom Lyle on guitar, Jay Robbins on bass and Peter Moffett on drums as the band's best. With this line up G.I. left behind their full speed ahead straight edge Hardcore and played more melodic songs. Now these four guys can be heard on this live album that shows an entire set from the CBGB's which was recorded on August 30 in 1987. Even though this is a re-release it's worth your attention, because unlike the original release from 1987 "Strange wine" features the entire set (including some cool interactions between the band and the audience) as well as three studio cuts from July 1988 (the new song "Strange wine" as well as two old classics, "I'm James Dean" and "Teenager in a box"). In addition to that, the whole thing got remastered by Tom Lyle himself and includes a new artwork and liner notes by John Stabb. You could really say that this is kind of a G.I. best of as you can find here songs from almost the entire band history, "Caring line" (yeah!), "Jaded eyes", "Blending in", "Fun and games", "Mad at myself" and so on. Even though G.I. were a lot faster on their old songs, they always had this melodic edge to their songs that set them apart from most of the bands of their time. But I really don't think I have to explain G.I.'s importance for Hardcore to you, do I? G.I. rules and this album does, too.
HAMARTIA -- To Play The Part (CD / Goodlife Recordings)
It's always a bit sad to review a record from a band that exists no longer when the album actually comes out. Sometimes I don't care much because the music doesn't appeal to me, but in the case of Hamartia from Connecticut it's this feeling of pity that this band is no longer around. Formed in 1999 and after some line up changes, "To play the part" was recorded in October 2001 and mastered at West West Side by Alan Douches and shows great Metalcore. Probably the only thing that makes you feel this band has a Hardcore background are the vocals, but the music is pure Metal. Nowadays tons and tons of bands play Metalcore, and I often feel bored, but "To play the part" is great. As so many bands they are heavily influenced by Swedish Metal in the vein of bands like At The Gates (listen to the vocals) or In Flames (the melodic elements). Fans of these bands or Hardcore based acts like Darkest Hour, Unearth or Undying can buy this album right away, Hamartia showed the same intensity and power than those bands. Hamartia, rest in peace. You left an astounding testament.
RUSTICATE -- Reproaches And Regards (CD / Muselrecords)
After a demo and an EP, "Reproaches and regards" is the first full length (eight songs) by this German band, and as it is released on the band's own label it's pretty much D.I.Y. Formed in 2000 this album is the first piece of music I get to hear from these guys, and for a young band like this it's quite good. Musically Rusticate can be described as a melodic emo / indie band that sometimes reminds me to Brandtson, but of course they can't compete with the great Brandtson. But I think that's normal, because this is their debut album and Brandtson are one of the best emo bands out there anyway. I also feel reminded to their country mates Dear Diary at times, so if you like these bands take a listen to these eight songs and decide for yourself if there's another record to add to your emo collection.
SAD BREAKFAST -- Don't Try To Forget... That's Why People Take Pictures (CD / Puresome Records)
Apart from some obscure Death Metal bands from the late 80s / early 90s, Sad Breakfast is the first band from Mexico I get to hear. Musically this four piece couldn't be more far away from Death Metal, because their sound is in the vein of indie rock with lots of melodies, quiet parts and cool vocals. Unfortunately I have no further information concerning the band history or if they have any previous releases out so far, so all I can tell you is that "Don't try to forget..." was recorded in January 2002 in Mexico City and produced by Sad Breakfast. Outside Mexico this album is distributed by Swedish indie label Puresome Productions, so why don't you check out their site and try to find out more about this band? You really should take your time, because the music is pretty good and unlike some of today's indie bands melodic and not some mediocre and boring noise.
SHAI HULUD -- That Within Blood Ill-Tempered (CD / Revelation Records)
Finally it's out! Definitely the most anticipated Hardcore album of 2003 and probably one of the most long awaited records of the last few years īs released on May 20th on Revelation Records. After their last full length from 1997 (!), some EPs, countless tours and numerous postponements, "That within blood ill tempered" is unleashed in the end. And Shai Hulud are still the earth's premier and only musical guild of bitter and compassionate misanthropists. Coming with an extremely beautiful and lavish booklet and layout, "That within blood ill-tempered" won't disappoint anyone who liked the ingenious Shai Hulud before. Maybe there aren't as many fast parts on this record than on previous ones (there still are lots of them of course), but the combination of aggressive and melodic parts, heartfelt lyrics and screaming yet touching vocals is still there. It's amazing how many different elements and parts Shai Hulud throw into one single song and still manage to create catchy tracks. You see, there's now way describing Shai Hulud's music as a mixture of Hardcore and Metal, because Shai Hulud are one of the few bands that created a sound on their own with the result that other bands are often described as "playing music in the vein of Shai Hulud". Needless to say, this is a must have for anyone into sincere and heartfelt music.
THREATS -- Demos & Rarities (CD / Dr. Strange Records)
To be honest, I never was a big fan of old Punk Rock, so I was a bit afraid of this album by The Threats, because as the title indicates it features demos and rarities from 1979 to 1982. And even though this Scottish band played Punk Rock they're better than many of these old crappy bands from England (I can't stand them). So what you get are 27 songs in total from different recording sessions. 18 of them are available for the first time on this compilation, while the rest was featured on the "Go to hell" 7" from 1982 and the "Politicians and ministers" 12" from the same year. Some songs cane be hard in earlier versions, and at times I prefer these versions compared to the newer ones. Now over 20 years after The Threats made their first appearance in the world of punk rock they're back together with at least two original members and recently released a new album. Everyone who wants to know about their history now has the chance to do so. As I said, not my cup of tea, but better than many bands of that time.