When it comes to hardcore I must confess to being something of an elitist. Too many years spent watching too many bogus bands grind out the same old hackeneyed bullshit will take its toll on an edgeman’s appetite. It takes a lot to get me excited. You people made me like this. Blame yourselves.
So when my old friend (and occasional enemy) Vincent Maes emailed me the Force demo, my attention was immediately peaked. You might recognize that name. He’s one of the guys behind two of Eurolands hardest bands Rise & Fall and Blind To Faith. See, the thing is with Vincent, he’s one of those fella’s that kinda divides opinion. On the one hand he’s got an acid mouth and an attitude that can rub people up the wrong way, on the other he’s got a sharp sense of humour, is honest to the point of brutality and he knows how to make top notch music. For good or bad, those are qualities that I look for in a hardcore band.
So with that in mind what does Force sound like? Opening cut Doubt barrels out of the gate looking for trouble, with a head full of bad ideas and a chain wrapped round it’s fist. Take some of that frantic Straight Ahead style pace and then slam on the brakes and start swinging when that dirty mid pace skank part creeps up on you. The Morelli Stomp is ignorant as all hell, it’s pure 80’s NYHC knuckle dragging pit fodder that demands nothing less than unadulterated dance floor arrogance. Water It Down seems concerned with the dilution of hardcore and reminds me of an old Floorpunch song, the name of which escapes me right now. There’s nothing tepid about any of the seven songs on this demo though, nope. This is all straight from the source. Rough around the edges, no song breaks the two minute mark, Spoiler artwork on the front cover. What’s not to like?
Musically there’s no weak links, the bass has got that hard clangy sound like the Cro-Mags demo and when combined with a shit hot drummer that hits like a brick, you’ve got a rhythm section that can really crunch. I believe the line up of the band is a blend of both veterans and new faces and that is evident in the mix of influences, but it definitely works. The singer’s got a tough, slurring voice and sounds like he’s got too many teeth in his head. His phrasing on Get Burned really reminded me of Toby from Cornerstone and that is very cool in my world. Sure he kinda bites Ben Cook’s No warning vocal style a little too hard in places but it’s early days and I’m sure he’ll put his own stamp on things soon enough. That minor gripe aside it’s a resounding ‘Yes mate” from me.
Physical copies of the tape are available through Control Records but if you’re a lazy bum like me just go rinse the bandcamp HERE
or on the player just below.
Back on this side of the channel we’ve the latest effort from the busiest man in UKHC (or NWOBHC in new money) Tom Pimlott. In the wake of Violent Reaction’s demise he’s not been letting the grass grow under his arse. He’s lending his considerable abilities to toughening up the sound for London Clevo enthusiasts Payday and joining up with some of the lads from Manchester’s Insist to kickstart Standpoint.
Whereas Insist clearly draw their influences from the East Coast ‘youth crew’ traditions and Violent Reaction were on that whole Boston 82 trip, Standpoint are taking their cues from the opposite coast. To be more specific mid 80’s Orange County. What we have here are five tracks that have been cribbed direct from the Insted/No For An Answer playbook.
Crunchy, well written straight edge hardcore is what’s on offer here from these North Western herberts. There are some hints of Unity style melodic flourishes scattered throughout that really drive that West Coast flavour home. The intro to On & On owes a lot to Insted’s We’ll Make The Difference.
Frontman Jack Muncaster’s vocals are the real revelation here (pun intended). Sitting somewhere between the soaring energy of Uniform Choice’s Pat Dubar and the drill instructor bark of Dan O’Mahoney. His delivery is clear and suits this style of hardcore perfectly, but he’s got enough northern grit in the throat to distinguish himself. Don’t think that all this talk of soaring vocals and melodic flourishes is an indication of softness or a pretension towards that most worthless of sub genres ‘melodic hardcore’ *spits*. No mate, there’s plenty of righteous scorn available here. The guitars crunch in all the right places and when the breaks kick in, you can’t help but grin and reflect that ‘this old man and that old man cleared this dance floor so fucking fast it wasn’t even funny‘. Plenty of anthemic straight edge lyrics and parts where you gotta climb over your friends to grab the mic, yell and scowl back in Jack’s face. 10/10 Would mosh. You can listen to it HERE or on the bandcamp player below. You’ll be able to grab a physical copy of the tape from React! records shortly.