hardcore

Many years ago, I was in New York City for a convention and found myself walking through midtown during some down time.  It was raining moderately, and as I walked I came upon a smallish gentleman standing at the intersection.  He had a slouched demeanor, but one that suggested he wasn’t to be trifled with, a feeling that was confirmed when he started yelling loudly as tourists for jaywalking and littering.  In one bony hand he clutched a half-burned cigarette, and a second one was perched behind his ear.  His voice rang was an accented broken violin, invectives issuing

Emmure is one of those bands people love to hate. While a quick scouring of the internet seems to suggest that straight-up nobody likes this band, the pertinent truth is that somebody must, because Frankie Palmeri and company continue to release music. Somewhere out there, Emmure means something, and their persistence in the face of a continual stream of vitriol is worth investigating. So, with that in mind, we tackle the new album, “Eternal Enemies.”

If “Jurassic Park” taught us anything (and it most definitely did!) it was that ‘life finds a way.’ As the calendar reached the close of 2013 I noted one odd quirk in that musical year – my year end accolades did not contain any album that impressed me with the sheer volume and ferocity of its power. It was a conspicuous absence, to me at least; always there had been a Cancer Bats or an Indestructible Noise Command to whet my appetite for sonic destruction.

The role and mindset of a journalist is different depending on who you ask. The traditional definition maintains that journalists are supposed to be objective, meaning they should write without the perception of bias. Doing so, however, is incompatible with human nature, not to mention being just about impossible to pull off. Rather, the definition that is coming more into popularity is one where objectivity means understanding your own bias, and writing with that knowledge in mind, so that readers can understand where you are coming from.

As a reviewer, when you listen to an album, you are invariably struck with a first impression. It’s impossible not to be, as this kind of reactionary assessment is simply part of human nature. The need for thoroughness typically prevails however, and you end up listening to the album again, attempting to attach your first impression to the lathe and hone it down to something that isn’t a cumbersome generality.

It’s easy to say that “Resolution 15” is a thrash band, but it’s harder to pinpoint the “how” of it all. While the band’s roots are firmly planted in the rich earth of thrash as we know it, the inclusion of electric violins in place of the traditional guitar immediately make their music an eyebrow-arching concern.

Yet, the mere inclusion of what could be seen as gimmickry does not an album make, so for “Svaha” to impress, it must bring more to the table than a banner headline about instrumentation.

The Bunny the Bear is a post-hardcore band that some have said incorporates dance elements into their music to flesh out their sound. More than that, the band is equal parts musical and theatrical experiment, attempting to push both the envelope of the hardcore sound and the envelope of presentation. This is one of those situations where fans will stand by and argue that detractors simply don't understand the fusion and exploration that's going on, and that might be true; but it also makes the bold assumption that the fusion and exploration is worth getting.

The time-tested axiom holds that a person, by proxy a leopard, cannot change his or her spots. The jaws of this seemingly ironclad tenet have firmly clenched themselves around the world of music, backed up by a fervent fan base who reliably and predictably ridicules a band that attempts to do so.

To say that I was less than enthused about putting This Is Hell's "Black Mass" on my 'to-do' pile is probably an understatement. The band's press speaks volumes about the prowess of this evolving hardcore crossover band that lays down sobering, realistic lyrics....snore. I felt like I read those exact words about Hatebreed in 1999. Which only made me more withdrawn from the album. After all, hardcore has never truly died, but the last decade has seen a precipitous fall in both quality and popularity of the once crowded genre.

Coming off two gold certified efforts and 2008’s largely successful “Appeal to Reason,” Rise Against is back, fresh from The Blasting Room in Colorado with twelve new tracks. The end result, “Endgame” is an ambitious and varied effort that showcases the multiple facets of Rise Against’s personality.