Reviews May 2004



Voice of Reason, c/o Stefan Muench, Dreihalde 15, 73527 Hussenhofen, Germany


A FAITH CALLED CHAOS -- Forgive Nothing (CD / Volcom Entertainment)

A Faith Called Chaos is a six piece from Dallas that got together in winter of 2001 as a Metalcore outfit and after an EP called "Beached life hopes" in 2002 on Counterintelligence Recordings, June 1st sees the release of their first full length called "Forgive nothing". As I don't know the EP I can't say if the development away from Metalcore was already present on that one, but "Forgive nothing" has nothing to do with Metalcore (anymore). Instead, A Faith Called Chaos offer a rather unique blend of New School Hardcore in the vein of late Refused or Grade mixed with 70s Rock! Don't get me wrong, I really hate those 70s Rock bands like Led Zeppelin etc., but A Faith Called Chaos is more into the Hardcore direction (thank God!). And the rocking parts are also cool, no kidding. As I said, I think this combination of screaming vocals, Refused-like New School Hardcore melodies and Rock'n'Roll is pretty outstanding, so "Forgive nothing" is a really fine debut. Check it out. (Stefan)



AGE OF RUIN -- The Tides Of Tragedy (CD / Alveran Records)

"The tides of tragedy" was produced by Ken Olden (Battery, Better than a 1000, Damnation AD, Worlds Collide, Face the Enemy), but - surprise, surprise - it's no old school Hardcore record. Instead, Age of Ruin from Washington D.C. are totally in the vein of bands like Darkest Hour which means you get MetalCore at its best with a huge Scandinavian influence. After one full length from 2000 and two EPs from 2002 and 2003, Age Of Ruin are back with full length number two that was - as I said - produced by Ken Olden who also turned the knobs for "The longest winters woes" EP (2003). The music reminds me of "So sedated, so secure" by Darkest Hour, in other words: Not pure Metal as on "Hidden hands of a sadist nation" but more Hardcore influences and mosh parts. A really excellent album featuring new vocalist Ben Swarn, formerly of Tribunal Records' Samadhi who does a cool job on "The tides of tragedy". Good stuff! (Stefan)



ANCIENT -- Night Visit (CD / Metal Blade Records)

I really canīt say that Iīm totally into Black Metal (I wonder why, 'cause you would look pretty cool wearing corpse paint - Stefan) for I own only very few Black Metal albums (Naglfarīs "Sheol" and "Vittra" to be precise). Some things I know about Black Metal I learned from that guy from Philadelphia called Atom and his Package (shame on you if you donīt know him!): "Black Metal is not exactly like Living Color" ("Me and my Black Metal friends"). I guess Atom would be surprised to hear because ANCIENT donīt wear Make-Up (at least as far as I can see) although theyīre from Norway (Atom, I canīt tell if they burned any churches yet). Okay, before I get nailed to an inverted cross Iīll try to write about the music: Itīs really not bad what ANCIENT are presenting on their newest full-length. Besides the keyboards and the screeching vocals the music is strongly Death Metal influenced. The songs are not always as fast as one would expect from a Black Metal band (No, Iīm not talking about Dimmu Borgir) and the sound will leave all of you true Black Metal devotees out there (are there any at all?) cursing that the "true spirit" is lost and the sound is not evil or "cold" enough. I donīt care. This is Black Metal and it is definitely not the worst choice to take a first look into what this kind of music has to offer. (Tobi)



BAD RELIGION -- The Empire Strikes First (CD / Epitaph Records)

If you're frequently visiting this site you might have recognized that I'm a big Bad Religion fan. I got into them in 1989 when "No control" came out and have been a fan ever since. Albums like "Suffer", "Against the grain" my all time fave one "No Control" really changed my life. In the mid 90s Bad Religion went through a strange phase, seeing Mr. Brett leave the band and the last album in the 90s that saw his participation, "Stranger than fiction" was the last great Bad Religion record for a long while. A couple of mediocre albums followed and 1998's effort "No substance" marked the absolute low point of the band. I honestly didn't expect much from Bad Religion anymore, but I was proven wrong when Mr. Brett returned to the group in 2002, Brooks Wackerman took over the drums, Bad Religion went back to Epitaph Records and the legendary Westbeach Studios, where classics like the early BR stuff were recorded, saw the rebirth of the band with the release of "The process of belief", one of the strongest Bad Religion albums ever. Two years later it's time for a new Bad Religion album called "The empire strikes first" and after listening to it for about ten times I have to admit it's a solid record, but it can't compete with "The process of belief" or reach the magic of the old albums (well, I farnkly didn't expect that). In my opinion you can divide "The empire strikes first" in two halves, the first comprising songs 1 to 6, the second songs 7 to 14. Now the first half is fantastic. All killer songs without exception. "Sinister rouge", "Social suicide", Atheist peace" and "All there is" are high speed songs in the true Bad Religion vein while the first single "Los Angeles is burning" is a mid tempo track with one of the best choruses these guys have come up with in years and a tip to the hat to their first record with the line "More a question than a curse, how could hell be any worse?". I really love these songs! The second half of the record can't quite compete with the first one, even though there are great songs among these tracks, too. "Let them eat war" and "God's love" are great mid tempo songs with magnificent choruses and tons of ooozin' aaaah's, while tracks like "The quickening" or "Live again" see the band play full speed again. But there are also mediocre tracks like "To the abyss", "Boot stamping on a human face forever" or the title track among those songs. That's why I think "The process of belief" is better, because all of the songs were killer. Another interesting thing is that even though the majority of the songs was once again written by Greg Graffin and Mr. Brett, "new" drummer Brooks Wackermann co-wrote three songs (same did Brian Baker) and "Beyond electric dreams" and "The quickening" was co-written by Chris Wollard from Hot Water Music! And another point that I have to mention is that the drumming of Brooks Wackerman is outstanding. I mean regarding the coolness Pete Finestone was my favourite drummer for BR, but Brooks is without a doubt the most skilled one. Forget the simple and boring drumming of Bobby Schayer that was nothing more than a bad joke on his last Bad Religion albums, Brooks Wackerman is great!! To sum it up: Any true Bad Religion fan who's into the early stuff and "The process of belief" will like "The empire strikes first" for sure, and I don't want to imagine how this album would have turned out without Mr. Brett... (Stefan)

Note: Meanwhile it's the fourth day since I received "The empire strikes back" and I'm totally into the record. I don't like "Boot stamping...", but the rest of the songs are killer. Just to let you know. (Stefan)



BEYOND THE EMBRACE - Insect Song (CD / Metal Blade Records)

Now, thatīs a surprise! Some time ago I bought "Against The Elements", the second album from BEYOND THE EMBRACE because I was told that they were playing In Flames influenced Death Metal. "Against The Elements" was a disappointment to me because I really didnīt recognize where BEYOND THE EMBRACE wanted to go with their songs. Of course, there were some In Flames influences indeed. But all in all in my eyes it was a confusing mixture of different styles of Metal that wasnīt really bad but in my opinion led nowhere. That has changed with "Insect Song". BEYOND THE EMBRACE still offer a mixture of melodic Death Metal and Metallica ("Black album" era). But this time it works! Songs like "Fleshengine Breakdown" and "Redeemer" should make all those people happy who put "St. Anger" in the trashcan. On the other side we get some strongly Gothenburg-styled Death Metal songs with lead guitars that would make Iron Maiden very proud. Iīm really impressed by the development BEYOND THE EMBRACE made since "Against The Elements" and even though Iīm not really into that kind of Metallica-influenced Thrash (or whatever) I have to say that "Insect Song" is a good album! (Tobi)



BLACK CROSS -- Widows Bloody Widows (CD / Reflections Records)

Maybe some of you guys remember a band called Black Widows that included former members of By The Grace Of God, Endpoint and The National Acrobat. Black Widows released a couple of 7"s from 2002 to 2003 on Initial Records when they found out that a totally unknown band of the same name owned the trademark for that name. Having in mind the struggles American Nightmare went through they decided to change their name to Black Cross. Now it's May 2004 and Reflections Records puts out all those 7"s one one CD, together with three previously unreleased tracks. So you get the "Black widows stops a beating heart" 10" from 2002 (Reflections Records, the CD version came out on Initial Records), the b-side of the "Screaming" 7" from 2002 (recorded by Kevin Ratterman of Elliott), the "Roll up your sleeves" 7" from 2003 as well as the previously unreleased I talked about before, those being an outtake from the "Art offensive" sessions, an outtake from the "Screaming" sessions and finally a cover by Spiked Bracelet called "Wombat". After all this technical information it's time for the music, don't you think? I guess everyone into the members' previous bands will like Black Cross as well as they come up with a mixture of energetic and fast Hardcore combined with early Punk and Noise Rock similar to bands like Drive Like Jehu or Rites of Spring. As always you get a cool layout, too, and the title on the front cover is a spoof of the Black Sabbath classic "Sabbath bloody Sabbath". Essential! (Stefan)




I always like it when I get demo CDs from young bands because in some cases these acts might get signed and it's a good thing to know that you heard of them before they put out a record on a label, haha. And it's a good way to support the underground I guess. Boys Try Beheading come from a town not too far away from where I live, but I haven't heard of them before. Two of the four guys played in Frameworks Labeled Home before who released a MCD, and the other two played in Me And The Mule who released a couple of demos and a long player during their ten year existence. After the split of both bands the four of them founded a new band and "Leads" is the first effort of this new band. Even though they found together only in 2003, "Leads" sounds pretty mature and ripe, I was really surprised by that. The band's main influence is probably the Canadian group Weakerthans when it comes to the vocals and the songwriting, and that's anything but a bad thing, right? Eight songs can be found on "Leads", and as the production is really good as well there's no reason why not checking out this promising band. To get back to the beginning of this review: I wouldn't be surprised to see them on a label soon. Contact: (Stefan)



BROOD -- Define Content (CD / Nerocheri Records)

Unfortunately I don't have any information about this band or their label, but "Define content" is Nerocheri #02, so I guess it's a pretty young label? Obviously Brood come from Germany, but you really can't hear that when playing this CD. The seven songs all sound pretty mature and I'd say Brood play Indie with straight and poppy moments next to more complex structures. Sometimes I feel reminded to the legendary Dinosaur Jr. ("twilight") and I really like "Define content". The CD comes in a nice digipack with annotations to all of the song's lyrics and a cool sound, so I strongly recommend supporting this band. Get in touch with them through and get this CD because it's available for a really cool price, too. (Stefan)




CHAOSBREED -- Brutal (CD / Century Media Records)

The title of this records couldn't be more fitting, because the debut of this all-star outfit from Finland (featuring members and ex-members of bands like Sentenced and Amorphis) is really brutal as hell. After the release of the Bloodbath debut "Resurrection through carnage" Century Media comes up with another Death Metal super group dedicated to the old school Death Metal style done in the Swedish way. Bands like (old) Entombed/Nihilist (I wonder if the band took its name from the Entombed song), Dismember, or Nirvana 2002 (gods!) surely influenced these dudes, but unlike Bloodbath Chaosbreed also come up with some Autopsy influences, these being the vocals that remind me to Chris Reifert at times and some of those typical doom parts you can hear on the Autopsy classic "Mental funeral". I have to admit that I like Chaosbreed even more than Bloodbath. It's funny, even though I grew up with this Death Metal style in the late 80s/early 90s I still find this particular sound totally entertaining and way better than all this melodic Death Metal crap (ok, not everything in that genre is bad, but... you know). Funny that more and more people remember their roots and put together bands that hail the old days. Chaosbreed is one of them and they do damn well. Thumbs up for Chaosbreed! (Stefan)



xCHERISHx - Demo 2004 (CD / DIY)

While visiting the homepage of some American E-Fanzine I read a review of this Demo CD that was quite enthusiastic. So I ordered it and now, two weeks later, I can listen to this Californian Straight Edge band myself. Six songs with a total playing time of about 15 minutes in the vein of letīs say Mouthpiece or Killing The Dream. You might say "Yeah, okay, another preaching Straight Edge band stepping on the gas and shouting lame messages about how to be uncool". Ha, you have no clue! xCHERISHx have everything from fast-paced old school songs to the melodic new school influenced style. "I believe" is one of the best Straight Edge anthems ever (and I say ANTHEM!). And even more: They have the coolest backing vocals I heard in a long time. Not that overproduced shouting that makes you think the band were standing in the middle of a giant stadium. To put it short: Order this demo as long as itīs still available and get in touch with Chris via Latest thing I heard is that a full-length is planned and Iīm really looking forward to that! (Tobi)



CLAIR DE LUNE -- Marionettes (CD / Deep Elm Records)

Coming soon!





COFFEE SHOWER / DEPENDENT -- Split By Side (CD / nh-n Records)

Along with records from Evolution So Far and Nitrojuice Francesco from nh-n Records sent me this split album (thanks mate!). Coffee Shower from Italy and Dependent from the Netherlands are featured with six songs each and both bands basically play melodic Hardcore, mostly fast but also with some mid tempo parts. After I first listened to the split CD I thought Coffee Shower were better because of their melancholic edge, but after a couple more times I think it's Dependent I prefer, haha. That's basically because their songs are a bit more aggressive than those of Coffee Shower and the vocals are also more screaming. I like that. If you want to find out if you agree with me, check out those two promising bands and support the underground! Nice layout by the way. (Stefan)





Coming soon!





DOWN AND AWAY -- Set To Blow! (CD / Rockstar Records)

"He's a tic tic timebomb set to blow when the punk rock's playing on his stereo" from the opener "Set to blow" maybe says it all. I guess I'm not the only one who felt reminded to Rancid when reading these lines. Hey, I'm not saying that Down and Away are just a Rancid copy, but take some Rancid mixed with lots of Street Punk and you can figure out how Down and Away (featuring ex-Voice of a Generation member Marcus) sound like. Compared to their first album "Who's got the deliverance" their second strike is another step forward for the Swedish boys and proof that you don't necessarily have to come from the US to play catchy Street Punk. Down and Away have enough melodies, hooks and guts to blow many of those bands off the stage, so if you're into this kinda sound you better start supporting them now because they really deserve your attention. (Stefan)



DYNAMITE BOY -- s/t (CD / Fearless Records)

There are only two words to describe the latest effort from Dynamite Boy: Total greatness! Their third album on Fearless Records and their fourth in total ("Devoted" came out on Off Time) is by far their best to date. Dynamite Boy have been compared to Green Day in the past, but I think that's not quite correct because 1) Dynamite Boy's sound is more in the vein of pop punk bands like Blink 182 (without the fast parts), the Donots (the German heroes, one of the best bands in this genre worldwide) or The Ataris and 2) Dynamite Boy are so much better than Green Day. Produced by Lou Giordano (Hüsker Dü, Lemonheads, The Ataris, etc.), Dynamite Boy's self titled album offers 12 songs of high energy pop punk that couldn't be better. If you're into bands like the aforementioned Donots or The Ataris and also have records from groups like The All-American Rejects in your collection, the latest release from Dynamite Boy is a must. Maybe it's a bit daring to say this before the release of the new Donots album in a few weeks, but I dare say that Dynamite Boy's self titled record is the pop punk record of the year and the perfect soundtrack for the upcoming summer. (Stefan)



EVERGREEN TERRACE -- Writer's Block (CD / Alveran Records)

Oh no, not another cover album. Also Evergreen Terrace come up with a record filled with cover songs. In most cases I don't give much about these kinds of records (see the Guns n'Roses tribute), but somehow Evergreen Terrace come with a really entertaining album that I enjoy very much. Maybe that's because Evergreen Terrace is such an amazing in general. On one of their previous releases these boys from Jacksonville, Florida, did a cover of the Depeche Mode classic "Enjoy the silence" (my favourite D.M. song ever if you want to know), and now they recorded nine more songs that influenced them over the past years. "Writer's block" starts with "Maniac" by Michael Sembello, and there couldn't be a better opener. Great! Next there's "Zero" by the Smashing Pumpkins, and apart from the vocals and some riffing the version from Evergreen Terrace is pretty close to the original. "Plowed" comes next from a band called Sponge. I don't know the original, so I can only say that the version here is great. Track no. 4 is "Stars" by Hum and like Sponge I haven't heard the original before. But it's a nice song. "Knowledge" by Operation Ivy is definitely a classic and almost sounds like the original version, of course with a much better version. By the way, I really liked the Green Day version of this song they did on one of their old 7"s on Lookout. Back to Evergreen Terrace: "Mad world" by Tears for Fears is coming up next and even though this song has a lot of airplay recently because it was covered by some other dude I can still listen to it without getting bored. "Mad world" is anything but boring, I'd say it's one of the highlights on here. Wow, here comes "The kids aren't alright" by The Offspring. I can clearly remember when I heard that song for the very first time. I was watching "The Faculty" in a movie theatre and this song was right at the beginning of the movie. I loved it from the very start, in my opinion it's the best song The Offspring have ever done. Again Evergreen Terrace stay very close to the original apart from the vocals. After that it's time for "Sunday bloody Sunday" from U2, and this is probably my favourite tune on "Writer's block". "Dying degree" originally came out on NOFX' 1994 album "Punk in drublic" and this version here is also close to the original without reaching its class. The last song is a new song by Evergreen Terrace called "Brave reality" and it shows clearly why these guys are getting more and more popular these days. Fuckin' great! That's all? No! There's a hidden track which is another cover, this being "Every rose has its thorn" by horrible hair spray rockers Poison. I wonder if Evergreen Terrace really feel influenced by these guys, maybe they come up on stage with spandex pants the next time, haha. Pick this album up, it's worth your attention. (Stefan)



EVOLUTION SO FAR -- The Armies Of Bitterness (CD / nh-n Records)

Evolution So Far come from La Spezia, Italy, and tip their hats to the first riff from the Gorilla Biscuits classic "Start today" in the beginning of "Postcard from tomorrow". Yeah! Well that's not the only reason why I like "The armies of bitterness" (the title being inspired from the John Steinbeck novel "The grapes of wrath") a lot. It's the overall energetic, furious and powerful mixture of Hardcore and Punk Rock in the vein of bands like Good Riddance, Strike Anywhere and Kid Dynamite that makes you wanna go crazy. Honestly, you can't make out any big differences to the aforementioned bands, so there's really no reason why not picking up this record. I mean the music's rocking and the lyrics are very interesting, so please give them a try. You won't be disappointed, I promise! (Stefan)




GOOD RIDDANCE -- Cover Ups (CD / nh-n Records)

I was very excited to hear the cover album of Good Riddance, because I really like their records "Operation Phoenix" and "Symptoms of a leveling spirit" a lot. Unfortunately "Cover ups" didn't turn out that cool. It's mainly because it's not a new record but a re-release of a record that already came out in 2002 in the US and - this is the main point of criticism - features only old covers that were already on their studio albums, like the Batallions of Saints cover "Second coming", the Black Glag tune "My war" or the hidden track "In my head" from, aaah, I guess it was "Symptoms..."? I mean especially "In my head" is wonderful, it's an amazing song, but it's been already released. I think it would have been more interesting if Good Riddance would have come up with all new cover songs, because "In my head" (I repeat myself) shows that the boys know how to do it. So "Cover ups" is probably only interesting for all those who don't already have the full length albums by Good Riddance. (Stefan)



HEAVEN SHALL BURN -- Antigone (CD / Century Media Records)

Man, I've been waiting for the new album by Heaven Shall Burn! And I think the whole MetalCore scene was waiting as well because a couple of days after the release "Antigone" was No.250 on's sale rank! With "Antigone" Heaven Shall Burn once again make it clear for everyone to see that they're the best MetalCore band around these days, not only in Germany, not only in Europe, but worldwide. "Whatever it may take" was already a classic and helped to define the MetalCore genre, and "Antigone" is totally in the vein of "Whatever...". Once again produced by Patrick W. Engel, once again with dark and angry lyrics by their guitarist Maik and once again just great. "Architects of the apocalypse" is one of the best songs these guys ever did while "Voice of the voiceless" points out the band's Hardcore background because of its animal rights lyrics. So don't be worried about the label change to Century Media, because Heaven Shall Burn didn't change a bit and the vinyl is still coming out on Lifeforce Records. Some clean vocals by Alexander from Honeytoast and very nice intros and outros provided by Olafur Arnalds from Iceland round up "Antigone". Needless to say this is a must have, but hurry up to get the limited first pressing that comes in a cardboard sleeve and with two bonus tracks (by Disembodied (yeah!) and Hate Squad). Fall on your knees and worship the mighty Heaven Shall Burn! (Stefan)



INCAPACITY - 9th Order Extinct (CD / Metal Blade Records)

I guess itīs no secret that INCAPACITYīs debut album "Chaos Complete" was one of my favourite Death Metal releases last year. Since "Chaos Complete" has been recorded in 2001 it is no surprise that INCAPACITY are now back with their second album "9th Order Extinct". Differences? Yes! Development? Definitely! Where "Chaos Complete" offered ten straight forward but melodic Death Metal anthems "9th Order Extinct" is much more diverse. Just listen to a song like "File Under Torture" that is anything but simple. In the second half of this album the straight Death Metal the way we know it from "Chaos Complete" comes back. Songs like "Christless Ways" make it impossible for me to stay calm (I can clearly imagine you growling along or didn't I get the point? - Stefan). All in all "9th Order Extinct" shows a development that in my eyes is quite logical. Concerning especially the first half of the CD it takes more than one listen to get into the whole diversity of the songs. But "9th Order Extinct" grows with every single time you listen to it and in the meantime I love this album as much as "Chaos Complete"! Just one last thing: The sound created by Mieszko Talarczyk (Nasum) is great! (Tobi)



INSTED -- Proud Youth: 1986 - 1991 (CD / Indecision Records)

Man, what a month! Seems like every album I review this time is a must have: Jawbreaker's "Dear you", Martyr AD's "On earth as it is in hell", and Insted's "Proud youth: 1986 - 1991". This Orange County sXe legend is one of my all time favourite bands in Hardcore and this compilation contains everything they ever put out, which means 44 tracks in total! You'll get the three song "Proud youth: 1986 - 1991" EP on Indecision Records, the "What we believe" LP (Epitaph), the "We'll make the difference" EP (Nemesis Records), two songs from the "Workshed" compilation, the "Bonds of friendship" LP (Wishingwell Records) plus nine songs from the band's 1986 demo. I don't know where you've been over the years when you've never heard of Insted, but this band was so great and influenced tons of sXe bands later on. Nothing but terrific old school sXe Hardcore can be found on this compilation, and the "What we believe" album alone justifies the purchase of it, because it features such timeless classics as "Voice your opinion" (probably my favourite Insted track ever), "Not for me", "Give thanks" etc. etc. Needless to say "Proud youth: 1986 - 1991" comes with all the lyrics, tons of photos and liner notes by Dan O'Mahoney and Ray Cappo. Buy or die! (Stefan)



JAWBREAKER -- Dear You (CD Re-release / Blackball Records)

What do you write about a record that changed your life? I'm sure everyone has a band/record he/she would say changed their lives. For me, those records were "Suffer", "No control" and "Against the grain" by Bad Religion, almost everything by the Descendents, early albums of Entombed, and "Dear you" by Jawbreaker. I first heard this band when a friend of mine taped me the song "Jet black" from this album and I was immediately addicted. I had seldom heard such intense music, lyrics and passion in music, and so I tried to find the album the song was taken from. Unfortunately the band had broken up by this time and the album was very hard to find. But after a longer search I bought some kind of bootleg version on vinyl which was a perfect copy of the original release with the original lyrics sheet, photos and all. As I said, that record changed my life. The songs on it were (and still are!) so emotional, passionate and heartfelt I couldn't believe it. Blake Schwarzenbach's (now in Jets To Brazil) voice and his lyrics couldn't be more moving, and the songs are little masterpieces. Now after all these years - "Dear you" originally came out in 1995 - this classic is re-released by Adam Pfahler, Jawbreaker member from the start, on his own label Blackball Records. Apart from the original layout it features lots of new pictures, the video for "Fireman" and five bonus tracks compared to the original release, all from the "Dear you" recording sessions (one of them being a cover of the Psychedelic Furs). I wonder why these five tracks never made it onto the original release because they're of the same high quality than the rest of the album. Short after the release of "Dear you" Jawbreaker broke up and strangely it took the world some years to recognize what a legendary record this band had created. Way ahead of their time and without a doubt their best album ever. You must have this, maybe it changes your life, too. (Stefan)



THE JUDAS CRADLE -- Too Bad They're All Dead (CD / Alveran Records)

Coming soon!





MAROON -- Endorsed By Hate (CD / Alveran Records)

Fuck yeah, the new Maroon album is a killer! I was a bit unenthusiastic first because there are so many mediocre MetalCore album coming out these days, but Maroon proved me wrong. I guess I should have known before that these guys wouldn't let me down 'cause when I saw them play at last year's Pressure Fest they were one of the highlights in my opinion next to Heaven Shall Burn, Throwdown, Amon Amarth and Youth of Today (even though some might disagree on the last band). "Endorsed by hate" is the second full length after "Antagonist" which came out in 2002 on Catalyst Records and later got re-released by Alveran. Even though Maroon have some of the typical MetalCore elements in their songs like the heavy Mosh parts and the riffing, "Endorsed by hate" is still quite original and fresh because unlike most MetalCore bands Maroon is not just simply ripping off At the Gates along with melodic Death Metal harmonies. Instead they're more into Thrash Metal I'd say, and that's the best they could do. I mean who needs another average MetalCore band when there are bands like Heaven Shall Burn around who managed to top that style? So Maroon come up with great riffs, fast parts, Mosh elements, and a brutal singer. The only point of criticism is the cover art that I don't like that much. But that's just my opinion. Apart from that, nobody who's into brutal AND original MetalCore should miss "Endorsed by hate". (Stefan)



MARTYR AD -- On Earth As It Is In Hell (CD / Victory Records)

Finally the wait is over! Three years after the release of their classic debut album "The human condition in 12 fractions" and a switch from Ferret to Victory Records, Martyr AD are back with their second album called "On earth as it is in hell". And damn, it was worth waiting for these guys! There's only one suitable word to describe "On earth...": Brutality! While the debut showed lots of influences from Disembodied, the legendary act some members of Martyr AD played in before this band broke up, these influences can still be heard on "On earth...", but Martyr AD added some new things to their sound. These elements being Thrash riffs and drumming in the vein of Swedish bands like The Haunted. But don't be afraid, Martyr AD are still unmistakably Martyr AD, they only became even more brutal. Maybe a reason for this is the departure of two members and the ensuing frustrating three year break. Anyway, let's not look back but forward, and the future looks bright for Martyr AD with an album like "On earth..." under their belts. Definitely a must have! (Stefan)



MORRISSEY - You Are The Quarry (CD / Attack)

I always wondered why MORRISSEY and The Smiths have such an influence on the Emo and Straight Edge movement. I guess it has to be the lyrics which - once again - are outstanding. After the release of his last album "Maladjusted" and the following tour MORRISSEY lost his record deal. I was not the only one who didnīt understand that but I guess we all got used to the often strange behavior of major labels. To be honest: After that I didnīt really expect a new album from MORRISSEY so Iīm really surprised that "You Are The Quarry" is so strong! With a few expectations "Maladjusted" was not really a good album and MORRISSEY always stood in the shadows of the mighty Smiths. But now, six years after "Maladjusted" heīs coming out of nothing and proves me wrong: "America Is Not The World", "Irish Blood, English Heart", I Have Forgiven Jesus", "First Of The Gang To Die" and "I Like You" are for sure the strongest songs I heard from MORRISSEY in a very, very long time. Maybe the music got a little bit more mainstream but that doesnīt bother me at all. MORRISSEY has always been on the edge of pure pathos and he still is. But with "Come Back To Camden" heīs taking it a bit too far. But thatīs really the only thing Iīm complaining about. Iīm stunned! An awesome record! Welcome back! (Tobi)



NARZISS -- Neue Welt (CD /Circulation Records)

Coming soon!





NITROJUICE -- Dark Room Vernissage (CD / nh-n Records)

Francesco from nh-n Records (which means "now here, nowhere" by the way) continues proving that the Italian scene is pretty vivid and alive these days with each of his releases. Nitrojuice from the south of Italy come of with their 7 song debut EP and can easily compete with every band from overseas. The band's main inspiration is the Washington DC scene and I think one of their favourite bands is At the Drive-In (even though they're not from D.C.). Sometimes those bands from Washington D.C. are too complex and jazzy for me, so it was good to hear that despite all those influences, Nitrojuice still write catchy and rocking songs. I really like this EP, even though the drum sound could have been a little bit more powerful. But hey, this is their debut EP and it's a damn fine one! The artwork is very much in the Japanese style which is kinda cool, too. So get yourself together and support this young promising band. You won't regret it. (Stefan)



PSYCHOPUNCH / WINDFALL -- Split 7" (7" / Smorgasbord Records)

After a long break Jeff Terranova from Smorgasbord Records (and Up Front fame) is finally back on the map with some new releases, these being the Up Front compilation and this split 7" by Windfall (Jeff's other band) and Psychopunch from Sweden. Both bands contributed two songs to this 7", and they are exclusive to this EP. Apart from Jeff Up Front Windfall feature Jon from Supertouch on guitar and Jennifer Catucci on vocals. Compared to their album "Loud with the windows open" I think the vocals are still the trademark for Windfall, and Jennifer even has some rough screams to offer this time. Psychopunch remind me to the Backyard Babies ("Total 13" phase) which is no wonder as they're also from Sweden and have four albums out on White Jazz Records. "Compulsive misery" is a really, really strong track, so I guess for everyone into Punk'n'Roll this 7" is a must. Moreover, it's limited to 1.000 copies and on blue vinyl, so better be fast. (Stefan)



RAZOR CRUSADE -- Infinite Water (CD / Reflections Records)

Wow, this is great! A friend of mind repeatedly talked me into checking out Razor Crusade because according to his words, the band rules. And I guess he's right. "Infinite water" is the debut full length of this young band from the Netherlands after their successful MCD. After that MCD and two tours through the UK their old singer quit the band. Despite this setback the band never thought about calling it quits and found a replacement in Ivo Jansen who played in fellow Punk band Against Time before. "Infinite water" is a cool mixture of bands like Refused, Snapcase, Boy Sets Fire (just listen to the vocals on "This is not you, Holland") or even Quicksand, combining New School Hardcore with Post-Hardcore sounds in the vein of Helmet. Recorded at Studio Bunt in Utrecht with Menno Bakker and at Rekorder Studios, Hamburg, "Infinite water" has a really fat sound a features some weird synthesizer noises as well as a violin parts. I really like the blend of heavy riffs and screaming vocals on the one hand and clean vocals and more laid back parts ("I wish you were me") a lot, and as this CD comes up with a beautiful layout there's no way around "Infinite water". (Stefan)



TEN FOOT POLE -- Subliminable Messages (CD / Go-Kart Records)

I remember attending a Ten Foot Pole some years ago at a packed club with about three hundred kids going totally nuts. Ten Foot Pole were very nice guys and I still play their old albums "Rev" and "Unleashed" from time to time. I somehow lost track of the band in the following years. I noticed the switch from Epitaph to Victory Records, but the relationship with Victory lasted only for one album. Now Go Kart Records takes care of the band and their new record "Subliminable messages" (a phrase that was coined by George W. Bush, who else?). The opening track "Wake up" is pretty untypical for Ten Foot Pole, at least I had a totally different sound in mind. So I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. I skipped to the next track and that's Ten Foot Pole in its purest form: High speed, lots of melodies, great vocals and mid tempo breakdowns. It just continues on this level with "She looks like" and "Rachel Corrie" even though these songs are more mid tempo. But the captivating vocals by Dennis Jagard are an unmistakable trademark of Ten Foot Pole. So what you have are 12 songs full of energy and... well... Ten Foot Pole. I mean the didn't change their style, but why should they if their songs sound this great? Even though the songs are highly melodic there's always kind of a melancholic feel to them. Needless to say I totally enjoy this record because it's proof that you can still come up with interesting and catchy songs in the so called MedlodyCore genre and not bore to death. Thumbs up for Ten Foot Pole. (Stefan)



THULIUM -- Unleashed Dragon (CD / DIY)

Coming soon!





UP FRONT -- Five By Seven (CD / Smorgasbord Records)

If you have never heard from Up Front, then you're definitely reading the wrong publication (for an interview with Up Front click here). Up Front were one of the forerunners of the sXe Hardcore sound, and their 1988 album "Spirit" is an all time Hardcore classic. Up Front were always different to the other sXe Hardcore bands of that time, because they were about twice as fast as other outfits. Even though all the members are involved in other bands or things - Jeff is running the legendary Smorgasbord Records and playing guitar in Windfall for example - Up Front was never officially laid to rest. Over the years they recorded some songs that were released on different labels and played some shows as well. "Five by seven" is no new Up Front record but a collection of all those EPs from 1988 to 1999; EPs that have been out of print for a couple of years (except for the "What fire does" 7"). All those songs, 25 in total, can be heard on this compilation, all taken from the original masters and in their original mixes. So, you get the five songs from the Doin' it live on WNYU" 7" from 1996 (but recorded in 1988, including the vinyl scratches!)) on New Direction Records, the seven song "Daybreak" EP from 1990 (New Age Records), the four track "Changes" 7" on Striving For Togetherness Records, five songs from the "What fire does" 7" (1994 on Smorgasbord Records plus a previously unreleased alternate version of "Shame") and finally the three cuts from the split 7" with Building (1999, Sobermind Records). It's pretty interesting to have all those songs on a single CD, because you can see the various stages Up Front went through, the high speed Hardcore assault of the early days, a mixture of both fast thrashing and more mid tempo oriented Hardcore on "Daybreak", a more Dag Nasty like sound ("Changes"), and finally a return to their old sound combined with some 7 Seconds influences ("What fire does" and the split 7" with Building). This is definitely a document of Hardcore history, so you'd better get up and grab this CD, it's highly essential. The European version comes out on Striving For Togetherness Records. The CD features all the original cover artworks as well as detailed information on the release date and line up, but unfortunately no lyrics or rare band pics. Anyway, get this. (Stefan)



V/A -- Rock Against Bush Vol. 1 (CD + DVD / Fat Wreck Chords)

I think it's pretty obvious by now that Fat Mike doesn't like George Bush Jr. that much, so it's no nig surprise that Fat Wreck Chords comes up with this compilation called "Rock against Bush Vol.1". More surprising is some of the bands participating. I mean wouldn't have expected groups like Sum 41, Strung Out or The Ataris on such a compilation. There are 26 bands in total on this CD, and about 95 % of the songs are previously unreleased or hard to find just like "Baghdad" from one the very first 7"s by The Offspring. I also wouldn't have thought that the Descendents could be heard on such a compilation, because a couple of years back Bill Stevenson wrote the lines "Keep your politics out of my music". But the song "Sad state of affairs" by the Descendents is once more great. Some other of the 26 bands featured are None More Black, Alkaline Trio, Anti-Flag, The Get Up Kids (!), Ministry, Strike Anywhere, the aforementioned Ataris (with an acoustic version of the Bad Religion classic "Heaven is falling"), Pennywise, New Found Glory and of course NOFX. But there's more than music to this compilation: You'll find extensive liner notes and finally a separate DVD filled with tons of information concerning the war on Iraq, the Bush administration and four video clips by Anti-Flag, Bad Religion, Strike Anywhere (great!) and NOFX. Not your typical compilation and very interesting in any case. (Stefan)