Starter Kit – Youth Crew

Ah yes, it’s finally that time. I’ve discussed my love for the “edgy” forms of hardcore often, constantly citing powerviolence, screamo, fastcore, and crust as the superior forms of the genre. After all they’re the least “bro”-y of all the styles, less full of Hitler-youth-esque guys in Nike Air Maxes in camo shorts than the other genres (PV has always been more of a “you bet there’s a skull drawn in my notebook” type look). In fact I’ve often embraced those styles due to their rejection of the hardcore bro, their ability to remain fiercely independent in the face of senseless 90’s worship and rejection of some of the more intense aspects of straight edge. That is, however, all about to change as we delve deep into the style that spawned all the horrible hardcore “fashion” that so many awkward 20-something men, fresh off their warped tour phase, have adopted in a vain attempt to prove their masculinity. I’m talking of course about Youth Crew, where shirts aren’t necessary but the incessant need for gang vocals and floor-tom heavy breakdowns are.

Loathe – The Cold Sun

What’s the difference between a good concept album and a shit one? Hard to say. Does it depend on the lyrical content? Thematic refrain and reprisal? Who knows. There’s even sneaky concept albums, the likes of which the layman listener wouldn’t even begin to fathom had intentions beyond riff, chorus, solo, repeat. The Cold Sun might be one of these; Loathe seem like a band bold enough to attempt such a thing on their debut full length. What isn’t up for debate is this – The Cold Sun is just about all filler. Twelve tracks. Six songs. Zero (or damn close to it) cares.

Hey! Listen to Regurgitate Life!

The artwork for the new Regurgitate Life record Obliteration of the Self may have drawn me in, but the music is what got me to pre-order. It’s bludgeoning death metal with the added bonus of being performed with the energy and exuberance of a hardcore punk record. Sometimes death metal records can feel so dull despite being technically impressive, but luckily Obliteration of the Self doesn’t fall into that trap. It helps that they incorporate elements of other genres, such as sludge and doom, to keep things from getting stale.

Pissed On – The Hanged Man

Rash bursts of powerviolence are the best bursts of powerviolence. Why pack ten songs into twenty five minutes? Five in ten is just right. This fresh-as-all-fuzz release from Pissed On only stops to piss on a burning pedestrian at the culmination of a brief, brutal attack. Raw and ready, five tracks merge into one erratic performance, over so quick that words can’t catch up. Hence this rough, chopped up review of The Hanged Man.

Darkest Hour – Godless Prophets & The Mindless Flora

To simply sum Darkest Hour up to yet another ATG-core band would not only be insulting, but wildly inaccurate as well. The band has been different ever since their inception, as they started much more closely in line with the hardcore-metal crossover of their heyday in the mid-90’s. Eventually this would change, of course. The band began to overlay their blistering metallic-hardcore with melo-death riffs galore, showing that they were not only impassioned Integrity fans, but At The Gates fans as well. The hardcore always lingered though, driving their sound to blistering speeds and intensities that other bands simply could not keep up with. At the time it was remarkable in its own right, the perfect marriage between death metal and hardcore, but soon it led to just as many bands trying to rip them off as closely as many before them had tried to rip off In Flames.

Power Trip – Nightmare Logic

A five step plan to maximizing your experience with Power Trip’s new record Nightmare Logic: Step one: Enter automotive apparatus. Step two: Drive somewhere. Step three: Roll down your windows (I’m aware it’s February… DO IT). Step four: Hit play and crank the volume to an unholy level. Step five:…

Hey! Listen to Mystery Weekend!

Considering the prog metal trajectory they’ve been on for just shy of a decade now, it’s easy to forget that Canadian stalwarts Protest the Hero started out their career as a punk band. Of course, the punk roots are still intermittently noticeable throughout their post-Kezia discography — take the verses in “Spoils”, for instance — but for the most part, it’s plainly apparent that the band have comfortably adapted to a more technical, progressive sound over the years. In light of this, it’s actually somewhat surprising in retrospect that it took until 2017 for a more punk-oriented side project to arise from the band, but we’re now presented with Mystery Weekend, a three-piece featuring vocalist Rody Walker and drummer Mike Ieradi from Protest alongside guitarist/bassist Dan Hay.

Stepping Stone: Emmure // Felony

This post probably seems way out of place among the many pieces I’ve written for Heavy Blog. But for anyone that knows me, bands like Emmure comprised the bulk of my high school listening, and I threw down hard during their set at Warped Tour 2010. That same year marked the peak of my adoration for “-core” music, though, as I started gravitating more towards the old school metal bands that my friend Mark would show me during lunch. My iPod started filling up with songs like “Dead but Dreaming” by Deicide rather than “Dead but Dreaming” by Carnifex, and before I knew it, I was another metal elitist scoffing at the very thought that Emmure used to be one of my favorite bands. Thankfully, I’ve matured quite a bit since then; not to the point where I’d write an “In Defense Of” post for Emmure, but enough to ignore any news updates about the band rather than leaving an unproductive shitpost in the comments section (“lol, binary code metal, amirite???”). And as I saw updates on their latest album Look at Yourself, it made me reminisce about my old listening habits and prompted me to revisit what used to be my favorite record of theirs: Felony. The result was the following nostalgia-ridden Stepping Stone for a band I view as both one of the worst and most important bands that defined the trajectory of my growth as a metal fan. It was my full intention going into this to be as objective and honest as possible, and I hope this will read as a fair critique of one of metal’s most polarizing bands.

Iron Reagan – Crossover Ministry

Iron Reagan is made up of the singer and bassist from Municipal Waste, Darkest Hour’s old drummer, and DRI’s Crossover DNA. Then again, if you’re at all familiar with the thrash revival scene then you probably already know that about this band. And you can probably take a healthy guess about what their latest album on Relapse, Crossover Ministry, sounds like. All hints of predictability aside this is a rollicking throwback to the heyday of thrash when bands like Testament, Exodus, Forbidden, and so many others were as likely to be found shredding guitars and skateboards as digging themselves out of the pit.