Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Posted by xjustinx | File under : , ,
In the politically charged 1990s, there were a slew of bands whose music I loved even though I was vehemently opposed to some or all of their politics.  Abnegation were definitely one of those bands, and this 7" is a shining example of why.  I love chunky, metal-tinged hardcore, but always loathed pro-life sentiments, and I knew I was in for a battle within myself as soon as I heard the heartbeat opening the first track, "Birthright".  However, this definitely didn't stop me from buying Abnegation's future releases.

Abnegation - Extinguish The Sickness
[1994 - Militant Records]

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Posted by xjustinx | File under : , ,
Deathook Records out of France have released Arkangel's second full length, Hope You Die By Overdose on vinyl.  Here's a short blurb from the label:

This is the first vinyl release ever of the second ARKANGEL full length record originally released on Private Hell Records in 2004. First release on DEATHOOK RECORDS, it's time to re listen to these 11 tracks of the kings of the 2000's european metal hardcore scene with a special featuring from Stephen (KICKBACK) on "Warpath 777". Pressing infos : 500 copies with 100 copies on dark red and 400 copies on black

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Posted by xjustinx | File under : , ,

In more reunion news, it has now been announced that Insight will play a reunion show in Salt Lake City on April 12th.  No word yet on who else will be rounding out the bill.

During their time together, Insight released a 7" titled Standing Strong, which would be reissued a year later on Victory Records with a new title of What Will It Take?  In addition that 7" worth of songs, they also appeared on the Voice Of The Thousands and Only The Strong compilations.


Fri, Apr 12 @ 06:00PM MDT
The Shred Shed
60 East Exchange Place (360 S)
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

$10.00(plus $2.50 service fee)

With all of these reunions taking shape, perhaps Jeremy and the rest of Handsome will finally get back together soon as well. Or maybe I'll just keep dreaming...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Posted by xjustinx | File under : ,

I'm not really sure how this originally slipped past my radar, but back in September, the PRP reported that Cast Iron Hike will be reuniting for a handful of shows in June 2013.  

06/14 Worcester, MA – Ralph’s
06/15 Allston, MA – Great Scott
06/16 Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus

I know I will be quite jealous of anyone attending these shows, since Cast Iron Hike never played the Northwest during their initial run as a band.

Posted by xGeoffx | File under : , , ,

“For fans of”…the classic line that is thrown around in hopes of getting plays, new fans, or especially “likes” in this day and age. I usually tend to overlook things like this, but this particular one I couldn’t ignore. After reading “FFO: Unborn, Arkangel, and Morning Again,” I felt the need to immediately check out the band that was being advertised. That band is xRepentancex, a seemingly random breath of fresh air in the hardcore scene that truly impressed me. When listening to the band’s 2013 demo, entitled “In Violation of Aša,” I couldn’t help but think that it sounded like something straight off the Good Life Recordings “The Way It Is” compilation that came out in 1996. They play a perfect blend of 90s vegan straight edge metalcore that we all know and love. I was able to get a quick interview with Pat, their guitar player, to talk about the band.

Introduce yourself and the band, and explain how xRepentancex came to be.

My name is Pat, I play guitar in xRepentancex. The band consists of myself, Oli on drums, John on vocals, and Robb also on guitar. We are yet to get a solid bassist. I basically wanted to do this band for a number of years. I wrote some songs but couldn't find that many vegan Straight Edge people in the UK scene, especially who could play metal. After searching for a while, my friend Charlie of Abolition introduced me to Oli and we started jamming. The original plan was that I was going to do vocals, but we soon realized we would never be able to play live if so due to the lack of xvx guitarists in the UK. So we got John involved, who does a way better job than I could ever do anyway. We recorded in Nottingham in January just the three of us, then later recruited in Robb and he is great.

Does the name hold a certain significance to you or the message you’re trying to convey?

In a way, yes. Without sounding to cliche, I take it to be uncontroversial that human 'civilization' is in crisis in many significant ways. One of these ways is our arrogant and disrespectful treatment of the planet and the creatures which inhabit it. Until we kill our anthropocentric views, I cannot see anything improving. So in some ways, the name Repentance is relevant in that sense.

I hear fragments of bands known to have a militant stance on veganism and straight edge, like Chokehold and Unborn for example, in your music. Do you think it’s necessary to take this stand when talking about that subject matter? If so, why?

I do not think it is absolutely necessary to always hold a militant stance on these issues. It depends what a band's approach is. Moreover, I do not think Straight Edge and Veganism should be treated in the same ideological manner. Both can be seen as forms of rebellion or valuable in some comparable way, but there are significant differences with regard to their moral and practical interpretation. But with xRepentancex, this band is a chance for all of us to vent our anger and rage at issues in the most precise way. In the UK, there are almost no bands who talk about veganism, so in a reactionary sense, we retain an overt and hard stance on it. A lot of this is done through religious metaphor, using lyrical themes from the Abrahamic and Zoroastrian traditions. None of us are religious, but we find value in conveying our message in these metaphorical terms in order to emphasize its importance.

Recently, there has been an obvious increase in popularity when it comes to 90s influenced hardcore bands, especially here in the States. How is the scene overseas as far as that style goes? Who are some of your favorite current bands playing that style?

I totally agree and it is awesome! It is great to see. Firstly I would say the UK is pretty good for that style right now. Abolition, Natural Order and the recently revived Ark of The Covenant are all great bands. The US has such a huge scene that there is always going to be something awesome going on which is cool.

I noticed that the cassettes sold out very quickly online soon after the demo was released. Were you all surprised at how well received the demo was? Are any still available?

Man, we are all taken back by how fast they went. I knew they were going to sell eventually as people seemed to really like the song we posted and there were only 60 made at first. But to have the first and second press go in a matter of minutes was unreal. We are all so grateful people who want to check us out. I believe they have all gone, but there will be a vinyl version coming shortly.

What do you guys have planned for the future? Any tours coming up?

We have a bunch of shows planned over the next few months. We are all fairly busy with work and/or university so we don't get a lot of time. But we just want to play when we can and maybe do a tour sometime this year. Once the vinyl version of the demo comes out, we will be working on a full length LP.

Thanks a lot for the interview, Geoff!

- Pat

Check out the band and the recently posted demo here:

Monday, February 18, 2013

Posted by xjustinx | File under : , ,

Shai Hulud are a band that have always seemed to have somewhat of a polarizing effect on a large portion of the hardcore scene.  They have a legion of die hard, passionate fans, but they also have a decent amount of detractors that mostly point to their rotating cast of vocalists as a reason for their disinterest.  That gap seemed to get pushed a bit further when Shai Hulud released Misanthropy Pure in 2008.  Although not a complete departure, the album saw the band's metal side coming more to the forefront, which didn't seem to sit well with some longtime fans.  I found the record to be enjoyable, but have a number of friends that vehemently stated otherwise.

Now we've come to 2013, and Shai Hulud still seem to be without a permanent vocalist, but that didn't stop them from writing and recording a brand new album.  Not only is Reach Beyond The Sun what many people would refer to as a "return to form", but it also features lead vocals performed by Chad Gilbert, who many people fondly remember as the vocalist on classic Shai Hulud albums A Profound Hatred Of Man, Hearts Once Nourished With Hope And Compassion and the split 10" with Indecision.  That means it has been a full 15 years since this combination of characters has been recorded and put to wax, but upon first listen to Reach Beyond The Sun, it feels as if that gap in years never happened.

Kicking off with "The Mean Spirits Breathing", Reach Beyond The Sun begins at full force with a song that is a tribute to the recently deceased Danny Bobis from the Long Island band, Cipher.  From the get-go, elements of past Shai Hulud records are heavily present, but they don't feel like a cheap rehashing of old formulas that garnered them their fan base.  The band's punk roots shine nicely during many of the record's more up tempo songs, the melodies and lead guitar tracks cut through incredibly well while not overpowering the root chords and the gang vocals present on many tracks are mixed so perfectly that they are able to convey a sense of raw emotion and anger.

"I, Saturnine" was originally intended to be the intro for the album, which makes sense, as it's a mere 1:46 long, but there's a lot of aggression packed into that brief time frame.  Reach Beyond The Sun's title track follows next, which can still be heard here.  As with a large chunk of Shai Hulud's discography, it treads the duplicity of both optimism and pessimism quite well, acknowledging a contempt for humanity, but also a hope for brighter times.

As the album progresses through songs like "Man Into Demon", "Medicine To The Dead" and "To Suffer Fools", a sense of boredom never kicks in.  Each song on the album maintains its own identity and song structure, and you can hear the band's wide array of influences on display with riffs that could easily be thought of as homage to the likes of Negative Approach, Propagandhi and Kreator.

Track 8, "Think The Adder Benign" is probably my favorite.  It's not the fastest, nor the heaviest song on the record, but it has a raw intensity to it that contributes incredibly well to a vocal performance from Chad that sounds as emotional ever.  It also provides a great setup to the last three songs on the album, which provide their own arc for the end of the album.  "Monumental Graves" and "If A Mountain Be My Obstacle" are a great two-punch build up to the more melodic sound of "At Least A Plausible Case For Pessimism" that closes out Reach Beyond The Sun.

All in all, Reach Beyond The Sun is a ridiculously great record.  The production is spot on, giving equal weight to all instruments with just enough room to breathe on their own while still keeping a sense of cohesiveness.  For those that were fans of Shai Hulud in the 90s, but have drifted away from them over the years, Reach Beyond The Sun could be a more than fitting re-entrance back to the fold.  And for those of us that have continued to like just about everything the band has done over the years, this album fits perfectly amongst the rest of Shai Hulud's gems.


Reach Beyond The Sun is available via Metal Blade Records.

Posted by xjustinx | File under : , ,

Pre-orders for the upcoming Incendiary full length, Cost Of Living, are now available via the Closed Casket Activities webstore at All In Merch along with some new merch designs as well.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Posted by xjustinx | File under : , ,

In light of the recent news that Left For Dead are not only going to record a 7" with new material, but that they are essentially a full fledged band again, I ran a few quick questions by Chris Colohan to find out how it all came about.
Also, in the near future, I will be doing an extensive retrospective interview with Chris that will cover his entrance into hardcore and the timeline of all his bands.

In 2004, it seemed like the final nail was in the coffin of Left For Dead.  When did A389 approach you about re-releasing the discography and playing the fest?

Yeah, we thought so too, and hadn't talked much since then until recently. I was in Baltimore last summer when Burning Love was out with Black Breath and Dom came to hang out. He's an old friend and was still living around here circa LFD. He just asked me on a long shot what it would take to get LFD to play, kinda joking but not, and there really wasn't any good reason not to do it just for kicks, and everything rolled out from there. We had never played outside our immediate area, and never in the US, so Baltimore seemed like a fitting place to break the ice. And added to that, the time since even that reunion, 9 years, is whole waves of kids later. There's kids that weren't around even at the time of the 2004 show, let alone 1996, so it seemed worth doing again for that reason too. Maybe every decade (or 4 generations of hardcore kid) we'll do it. Bigger Picture Hardcore.

Did it take much to get everyone on board?

No, we were just pretty far out of each others' loop was all. But Jeff and I got talking and were on the same page with everything and our ideas for it. Curtis and Jeff live in Hamilton and Joel and I in Toronto, so we just had to do some acrobatic scheduling to practice, which despite the 6 months heads up ended up going down mostly the week before the shows, the first complete one being the day of the first show. Pretty much like old times.

Considering the conditions in which Left For Dead material was recorded, did you think much could be done with a remix?

Hah. No, I definitely didn't think it could be made to sound much better considering the quality of it. Also, for what it is, it wouldn't want it to sound too polished. But somehow they did it just right, it's sharper and you can distinguish the riffs in there. I was impressed by that turd-polishing.

Given that you had already announced a 7" worth of new material, who then brought up the idea of continuing as a band?

We didn't really plan it, I think we were all going by how the weekend went and how it felt. And when we got there it was all just old friends hanging out and raising hell like old times and all the shit and downsides between us was just water under the bridge. Considering all our love of and opinions about what hardcore is and isn't, it seems kind of fake to play reunion shows if you still couldn't back it up in real time or write songs like that. Any monkey can do karaoke of their own younger selves but if that's all you're going to do with it, it makes kind of a joke of it. If the weekend had felt like it wasn't true to what LFD was it would be different but no, we came out of it wanting to write more, faster, nastier songs and pick up where we left off, whatever that ends up meaning or producing. There's definitely no shortage of things around us in 2013 that we're genuinely misanthropic about.

What does it feel like to be adding new material to a band whose original output was written 17 years ago?

It's fine. We wrote almost all those songs in an afternoon, it's pretty much our thing to do what we want with. Just like before, we're not gonna overthink the process, just hit record and see what comes out. We all still play in hardcore bands and haven't stopped since, so the 16 years doesn't mean much.

Does Jeff still passionately loathe America?

Ohhhh yeah.

Any closing comments or reflections on Canada getting rid of the penny?

It makes no cents. Ehhhhhhh. Dad jokes. That's what I'm reduced to.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Posted by xjustinx | File under : ,

The folks over at Decibel Magazine are currently streaming a new Incendiary track titled "Primitive Rage" that is from their forthcoming LP, "Cost of Living", on Closed Casket Activities.  Pre-order info should be up soon.

Posted by xjustinx | File under : ,

I can still remember the buzz about new Day Of Suffering material in 1997.  The few people that had heard this final unreleased song at the time were touting it to sound like Cradle Of Filth, although that was most likely only due to the addition of keyboards.  Every person that claimed they could send me a cassette copy completely fell through in the end, so there was a long stretch of years where I just thought I would never hear this much ballyhooed song.  Flash forward to 2009, and an mp3 of the track finally started making the rounds.  Encoded at 128k and sounding like it was ripped from a twelfth generation cassette, it was still great to finally hear the unreleased track.
Given the mediocre quality of the mp3 I was originally supplied with, I tweaked the EQ a bit, but don't expect top notch sound here.

Day Of Suffering - Unreleased Song