Page 1

NOFX LIFE OF AGONY BURN TOUCHE AMORE HARDCORE PUNK CROSSOVER

JUDGE OLD FIRM CASUALS JOHN JOSEPH ANGEL DU$T

www.downforlifezine.com

TSOL WISDOM IN CHAINS SIEGE TRAP THEM UKHC SPECIAL SECT

£4.99 ISSUE 2 WINTER 2016 Institutionalized


FOREVER

IN STORES 13 JANUARY CD • DIGITAL • LP

PRE-ORDER NOW AT AMAZON.CO.UK

MERCH BUNDLES AND EXCLUSIVE COLOURED VINYL AVAILABLE AT SHOP.ROADRUNNERRECORDS.CO.UK CODEORANGETOTH.COM

171116_DownForLife_HP.indd 1

17/11/2016 21:56


DOWN FOR LIFE STUDIO G12 REGENT HOUSE 1 THANE VILLAS LONDON N7 7PH Tel 0207 2818880 www.downforlifezine.com EDITOR Miles Hackett miles@downforlifezine.com

ASSISTANT EDITOR James Sharples james@downforlifezine.com

PUBLISHER Eugene Butcher eugene@downforlifezine.com

REVIEWS EDITOR Ian Chaddock ian@bigcheesemagazine.com

DESIGN / PRODUCTION Steve Newman steve@bigcheesemagazine.com

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Paul Hagen Ian Glasper May H John Consterdine Tom Barry James Sherry Darren Sadler James Batty Dave Wroe Chris Wynne Ian Chaddock Mark Freebase James Gates Calum Harvie William Scott Tony Rettman Pat Lui Tim Birkbeck Rob Mair Emily Bielby

PHOTOGRAPHERS Aga Hairesis Christophe Lightbox Revelation Stephen J Messina Dod Morrison Anna Spina

CONTACT General info : info@downforlifezine.com PUBLISHED BY Big Cheese Publishing Ltd

DISTRIBUTION Comag Specialist 01895 433800 comagspecialist.co.uk

THIS MAGAZINE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF NICK MANN ALL CONTENT COPYRIGHT

AGNOSTIC FRONT PIC - AGA HAIRESIS

WE’RE THE CREW

W

e wish you a warm welcome to issue two of Down For Life. It would appear we struck a chord with many of you out there as we’ve made it back for a second edition, so many thanks! Issue one was a labour of love and we’re truly stoked and honoured with the incredible feedback and the constructive criticism from all corners of the globe that we received for the debut issue. A huge thankyou to those you out there who’ve supported us, we’re truly humbled. We’d also like to welcome some fine new contributors to our cause - respected authors, journalists and fanzine writers whom without, this issue wouldn’t have been possible. Your tireless work is greatly appreciated. The past six months have been eventful, both at home and abroad. The political landscape has changed dramatically, some may say for better, some for worse, but we’re not going to get bogged down in the rights and wrongs of politics and the stances of others. Hardcore has and always will be a subversive, free thinking entity, inclusive to anyone regardless of race, colour or creed – this mantra will never erode. This worldwide community has never been stronger, with all of us striving for positive change in the world through freedom of expression. 2017 is going to be an interesting year for our planet and its political landscape, one thing we can expect during these times of unrest is an underground swelling of subversion and revolt, which we expect will be expressed through some very exciting new music. Watch this space. In the words of the legendary Bad Brains – “Don’t care what they may say, we got that attitude, we got the PMA”. Anyway, without further ado, we hope you enjoy issue two of Down For Life. It’s packed with some of the finest hardcore punk from around the world, both young and old. Peace out and print’s not dead!

Miles Hackett Next Down For Life onsale April 17th 2017. Order Down For Life online at www. downforlifezine.com and check out our other magazines-Vive Le Rock and Louder Than War.

PUBLISHING LTD 2016

Facebook.com/downforlifezine www.downforlifezine.com

DOWN FOR LIFE

5


CONTENTS REGULAR

10. START TODAY All the news you need including an essential tours guide, a firsthand look at the American scene and much more.

MADBALL

16. ILL BLOOD Bent Life, Eternal Sleep, Mizery and more profiled. HALSHUG

10

BURN Pic: Lightbox Revelation

78

JACK GRISHAM

78. SCRATCH THE SURFACE New releases from the likes of Code Orange, Fury, Helmet, Petrol Girls and more.

86. CULTURE DVDs, movies and ‘zines to pick up.

88. BRINGING IT DOWN Live reviews featuring the likes of Ieperfest,

AGNOSTIC FRONT

Rebellion, This Is Hardcore and more!

IEPERFEST BELGIUM

Words/Photos: Paul Hagen/Aga Hairesis

DAY ONE

I

EPERFEST has a lot a going for it. The longrunning hardcore festival greatly benefits from an absence of barriers and stage security, indeed there’s a ledge jutting out of the Main Stage to help assist stage divers. Plus, it’s in Belgium so the beer is decent and the festival site was baked in sunshine this year. While Ieperfest is primarily a festival of hardcore, the range of music in 2016 extended to death metal, black metal, and even industrial. US black metal band GHOST BATH put in one of the performances of the weekend, with tracks from their most recent album ‘Moonlover’ demonstrating why they’re one of the most exciting names in black metal at the moment. Oddly enough, German metalcore band BURNING DOWN ALASKA seem more out of place, their glossy, shiny music at odds with most of the other bands. Manchester hardcore band BROKEN TEETH put on an entertaining show on the Main Stage, with a display that suggests that they’ll be playing a lot more main stages in the future. THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER’s ferocious melodic death metal sounded particularly vicious and they bludgeon away to good effect. Really though, the Main Stage is all about SICK OF IT ALL, with the NYHC giants celebrating their 30 years in the business with all the classics during a set that reminds you of how communal hardcore can be. BROKEN TEETH

H2O

DAY TWO

H

20 are up early due to other gig commitments and their melodic hardcore goes down a treat in the sunshine, sparking a mass stage invasion with the joyous ‘What Happened?’ COLD HARD TRUTH put in an intense performance, the UKHC band undoubtedly have aggression to spare. GRUESOME are essentially a tribute act to death metal legends Death but that takes nothing away from what is a blisteringly tight death metal set. xBISHOPx bring the straight edge hardcore and their set has little frills, just full-on hardcore. CRO-MAGS have such an immense back catalogue that there was no doubt that it was going to go off in Ypres and the band’s unrelenting energy was matched by that of the crowd. ATARI TEENAGE RIOT are at first glance an odd chance for Ieperfest but the cold, confrontational nature of their electronic hardcore music means they have more in common with the bands at this festival than at most dance festivals.

DAY THREE

L

BU collective IRONED OUT put in an enjoyably varied set of hardcore tracks while German band RISK IT produce an astonishing amount of energy with their brand

IRON REAGAN

of high-tempo hardcore. Crossover specialists IRON REAGAN are another band that don’t skimp on energy and they perform music that is just made for the pit. KNUCKLEDUST have been going for 20 years and demonstrate why they’re such an integral part of the UKHC scene, looking completely at ease on the Main Stage. The festival concludes with AGNOSTIC FRONT, with the NYHC institution playing songs from throughout their lengthy career in a set that doesn’t disappoint.

SICK OF IT ALL

88

DOWN FOR LIFE

DOWN FOR LIFE

89

94. GET IN THE VAN Upcoming gigs for the months ahead.

98. DON’T FORGET YOUR ROOTS Jack Grisham of TSOL comes clean...

6

DOWN FOR LIFE


ONE WEEK RECORD Debut solo record from ZACH QUINN of PEARS! Produced by Joey Cape LP OUT NOW!

DON’T TURN AWAY fatwreck.com

BIG CHOICE 35 songs, spanning 24 years of FRENZAL RHOMB CD & 2xLP OUT NOW!

FACE TO FACE

To honor their 25th year as a band... The first 3 FACE TO FACE albums remastered, including bonus tracks from the original recordings! AVAILABLE 16/12/16

RUCKTION RECORDS LATEST RELEASES

RUCK 058 TIRADE/PROVEN SPLIT CD OUT NOW

RUCK 059 LIFE BETRAYS US ‘SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN’ MCD OUT SOON

BOTH RELEASES PLUS RECORDS/ MERCHANDISE AND DISTRO AVAILABLE FROM: WWW.RUCKTION.COM


CONTENTS features

26. TOUCHE AMORE Putting themselves through the emotional wringer with ‘Stage Four’, Rob Mair got the lowdown from frontman Jeremy Bolm.

30. WISDOM IN CHAINS Releasing their most ambitious album yet in 2015’s ‘The God Rhythm’, Paul Hagen discovers a band with no plans to slow down.

32. OLD FIRM CASUALS With new EP ‘A Butcher’s Banquet’, the time was right for DFL to meet Lars of the OFC.

36. SIEGE James Sherry reveals the legacy of one of hardcore’s most influential bands...

38. LIFE OF AGONY Mark Freebase caught up with Mina Caputo as the hardcore legends hit the studio for ‘A Place Where There’s No More Pain’.

42. SECT The straightedge vegan supergroup have crafted one of 2016’s nastiest albums. Paul Hagen meets the band...

44. SUICIDAL TENDENCIES

44

SUICIDAL TENDANCIES Pic: Lightbox revelation

Dave Wroe goes head to head with ST’s Mike Muir to find out what keeps the band going in a world gone mad.

54. NOFX The punk rock institution are back with their finest album in years. James Gates has an epic chat with Fat Mike.

58. BURN With new shows, tours, an EP and soon an album, Calum Harvie gets the inside story of Burn from guitarist Gavin.

62. JOHN JOSEPH Miles Hackett caught up with Cro-Mag legend and renaissance man John Joseph to talk new band Bloodclot.

66. ANGEL DU$T Releasing one of the albums of the year in ‘Rock The Fuck On Forever’, Tim Edwards meets Angel Du$t...

68. UKHC SPECIAL Down For Life pinpoints big things occurring within the UK scene.

72. TRAP THEM Terrorizing audiences for over a decade, DFL pays tribute to Trap Them and new album ‘Crown Feral’.

74. JUDGE Nobody expected them to return. Yet, today they’re gracing stages once again with their uncompromising take on straightedge. Calum Harvie found out more...

8

DOWN FOR LIFE

62

JOHN JOSEPH


KNUCKLEDUST


NO TURNING BACK

Here’s Down For Life’s guide to some of the monster tours heading through your town during the cold winter months as we wait for the summer festival circuit to kick in. BURN

NO TURNING BACK

D

utch hardcore posse No Turning Back are just about to celebrate their 20th birthday next year and what better way to ring in this big anniversary than by dropping a new album. Which is exactly what they’ll be doing in February with a new long player entitled ‘No Time To Waste’ on Take Control Records. Their blend of NYHC groove, fast breaks and sing-a-long anthems has seen them travel the globe and earn respect in every corner of it. The band recently debuted the video for new track ‘Together’ which sets the bench mark high for this highly anticipated release. The band are on tour throughout November in Europe with Lifeless and will be touring the length and breadth of Europe and beyond in support if the album in the new-year. Follow the band at facebook.com/noturningbackhc

UNIFORM CHOICE

WORDS: Ian Chaddock/Miles Hackett/Ian Glasper PICS: Greg Wheeler/Lightbox Revelation/Jessica Lotti/AGA HAIRESIS

S

10

traight edge may usually perceived as a movement that started on the East Coast of the USA but it’s widely accepted that Southern California’s Uniform Choice were one of the originators on the West Coast. Formed in ’81 they released their much bootlegged UNIFORM CHOICE demo in ’84 and their benchmark album ‘Screaming For A Change’ on the bands own Wishingwell Records in ’86. Long since out of print this seminal LP is getting the deluxe re-issue treatment next year courtesy of Southern Lord records. Expect luxury vinyl chock full of demos, live tracks and outtakes plus revamped artwork, liner notes and a stack of previously unseen photos of the band from back in the day. There’s no word if the band plans to reform yet, but you can see what they’re up to at facebook.com/uniformchoicehc.

HR THE ACTION FIGURE

T

here’s been a string of punk toys over the years, the Misfits kick started it with their GI Joe style Jerry and Doyle figures back in the early 2000’s. Since then there’s been the Aggronautix throbblehead series which has caricatured the likes of Keith Morris, Milo Auckerman and Lee Ving, hell even Gorilla Biscuits turned their cross armed gorilla logo into a toy once. Now HR from Bad Brains is being immortalized in plastic with his own action figure courtesy of US cult toy company Presspop. Still in the prototype phase it promises to ship next Feb and from what we’ve seen looks really fun. So do you like punk rock and collectable toy figures? You do? Well you can pre-order your own HR at presspop.toys/products/ hrbb-doll right now.

DOWN FOR LIFE

SUICIDAL TENDANCIES

PERSISTENCE TOUR

T

he long running Persistence tour has been keeping the kids warm during the winter months with its hardcore circus for over ten years now and after a few years absence is making an appearance in the UK once more as well as dates all across Europe. Renowned for its killer line-ups, the 2017 edition is really something special as the organisers have knocked this one out of the park. Our cover stars Suicidal Tendencies take centre stage, the revitalised Venice mob now with added Dave Lomabardo are on fire right now with their new album ‘World Gone Mad’. Main support falls to NYHC legends Agnostic Front, a band that never fail to disappoint on any level. If you caught their festival appearances over the summer, you’ll know what we’re talking about.Virginian thrash crew Municipal Waste are bound to be whipping up a circle pit or three. These guys know how to party so bring your boogie boards. Metalcore giants Walls Of Jericho are riding the crest of a wave with a new album this year, their first in nearly a decade and are as menacing live as ever. Also from Virginia, Down To Nothing recently passed through Europe as a precursor to their appearance at Persistence, with a new live album ready to go in Jan this quartet are always incendiary live. BURN’s return to the world stage was one of the highlights of 2016 and with a new album waiting in the traps expect something new from this New York progressive crew. San Diego’s Mizery will be opening proceedings with their crossover rage, check out their acclaimed debut ‘Absolute Light’ and you’ll see why. Oh and did we mention we’re sponsoring it? Well we are, so see you in the pit!


Chris from In Effect drops some HC knowledge

TOGETHER FEST 2 017

W

e had no idea when this year’s Together Fest (featuring Gorilla Biscuits, Touche Amore and Modern Life Is War) rolled into town that it was going to be an annual event but then boom, came the announcement that it is coming back, bigger and even more exciting in 2017. YOUTH OF TODAY Headlining the 2017 edition are Youth Of Today - who make a rare European appearance and with the seminal AGNOSTIC FRONTCappo, Porcell, Walter Schriefels and Sammy Siegler. line-up of Ray These guys tore Groezrock’s third stage apart this year so are not to be missed. The supporting cast boasts Boston’s reformed hardcore pioneers American Nightmare, last seen on these shores two years ago, the return of Californian shredders Trash Talk plus the debut European visit of Walter Schriefels alt-punk super group Vanishing Life, who also features members of Bad Religion and Rise Against in its ranks. Openers are German activists Wolf Down. With its clever mix of old school meets new school hardcore, Together Fest is already proving it could be an essential fixture on the touring calendar. We can’t wait to see what happens this year and into the future.

MADBALL ARENA TOUR

T

he nineties was a very fertile time for diversity in heavy music and the Nu Metal movement caught the MADBALL imagination of the global youth on an industrial scale. So it’s no surprise when you see the old guard of that movement, Korn and Limp Bizkit team up to take on arenas up and down the country and get the thirty somethings all nostalgic to break stuff again. This is exactly what’s happening in December this year between the 12th to 19th. However the opening band is a crew that also gained notoriety in the nineties, our very own Madball.Yup, NYHC heavyweights Madball, who arguably sit well amongst these Nu Metal illuminati will be whipping up a frenzy with their boot stomping anthems in enormo-domes across the UK and all power to them for it! In what must be a bizarre opportunity of a lifetime we wait with baited breath to see what Freddy Cricien and the boys pull out of the bag at these shows.

GROEZROCK

T

he first annual fixture in the European festival calendar is Belgium’s mighty Groezrock festival, which will now be in its staggering twenty sixth year and will reside on April 29 and 30 2017 at its usual home of Meerhout in Belgium. Details of who are on this years bill were scarce at time of going to print with only headliners Deftones and Parkway Drive announced. These are quite leftfield headliners for the festival so it’ll be with intrigue as we watch the rest of the line-up unfold over the coming weeks. With heavier bands at the top of the bill, we’re hoping that this will filter down and fingers are crossed for another stellar weekend of quality hardcore and punk. Last year’s hardcore representation was very strong at Groezrock and we’ve got no doubt the 2017 edition will be no different. Get updates at groezrock.be.

W

e must have gotten some things right with DOWN FOR LIFE issue #1 as the powers that be have called upon us for a second issue. Last issue I was asked to give a little info on my scene in the NY area and this time around I will do more of that but also expand it to cover some rumblings from all overI. 2016 has been a solid year to date with some nice releases by bands like IGNITE, FURY, REGULATE, LAST IMPRINT, CORNERED, MANIPULATE and WORLD BE FREE just to name a few. 2017 ain’t looking too shabby either when you see the line-up of bands getting ready to hit the studio or who are already there now.

T

RUTH & RIGHTS have their new 10 song full length titled “Lies & Slights” out now on Eddie Sutton’s independently formed label, MY REALITY ENTERTAINMENT. You can buy or stream half of the tracks via their Bandcamp page OR purchase the entire CD through the band. The band may be familiar to some as they feature LEEWAY frontman Eddie Sutton on vocals along with a cast of NYHC veterans who have been in such bands as CROWN OF THORNZ, MAXIMUM PENALTY, AGENTS OF MAN, and BULLDOZE. T&R put out a debut 3 song EP titled “Green Light” back in 2010 and have been mostly dormant until this new push which takes bits and pieces of their members’ previous bands and melds them together for a refreshing vibe. In addition to Truth & Rights 2016 saw Sutton and friends play out in the U.S. and Europe under the name “The Eddie Leeway Show” playing tracks off of Leeway’s first two albums “Born To Expire” and “Desperate Measures”. Eddie felt it was important to not call the group Leeway as he was the only member from that time period in the band. Eddie has recently told us that the band will now go under the name LEEWAY NYC and promises a new release on the newly formed My Reality Entertainment label in 2017. https://truthandrightsofficial.bandcamp.com

R

EVELATION RECORDS will be putting out the debut 7” from SEARCH who feature members from Floorpunch, Hands Tied, Turning Point, and Mouthpiece. The new EP will be titled “Between The Lines” and will be out in early 2017.

R

evelation is on a roll also announcing that they will be putting out BEYOND’s “No Longer At Ease” LP on December 16th. “No Longer At Ease” was originally released in 1989 by Combined Effort Records and later reissued in 1997 on CD by Some Records. This is the first time “No Longer At Ease” has been available again on any format since then. The Revelation Records reissue of their full-length LP “No Longer At Ease” is remastered from the original analog tapes, features original artwork, is pressed on limited color vinyl, and includes digital download.

H

ong Kong’s KING LY CHEE made some waves earlier this year by getting added as an opener to a short run of Northeast shows with Sick Of It All. On that tour they gave out free copies of their (at the time) new 3 song EP titled “Be Water”. Things went so well that the band has confirmed that they will return for another run of shows in the Northeast in the summer of 2017 as well as plans to record their next studio album here in the States while on that trip. Make sure to check out their singer’s website which covers many aspects of the widely under-reported Asian underground music scene. https://uniteasia.org/

F PARKWAY DRIVE

resh off a European tour in October with fellow Virginian’s DOWN TO NOTHING Richmond’s BREAK AWAY will soon be hitting the studio to record their sophomore LP which will feature 10 new songs and be titled “Cross My Heart”. Look for this new one in the spring of 2017 on React! Records.

DOWN FOR LIFE

11


Chris from In Effect drops some HC knowledge .

A

H

ardcore may more synonymous with cut and paste flyers more than silk screened posters to advertise shows but that’s all changing thanks to Token Entry / Black Train Jack / Grey Area man Ernie Parada and his DIY print shop, Hellgate Industries. For the last five years he has been creating some amazing artwork to celebrate a number of shows around NYC and beyond, all of which are available to buy at very reasonable prices. Strictly limited edition, hand numbered and signed he’s been commissioned to do work by the likes of Gorilla Biscuits, BURN, Judge and Sick Of It All. Head over to www.hellgateindustries. com and pick something up to decorate your walls.

lso on the new music trail is Holland’s ALL FOR NOTHING who have been busy working on their 5th studio album with producer Brian “Mitts” Daniels of MADBALL. Look for this in early 2017 on GSR Music.

N

YC’s ACHE will release their debut full length titled “Fade Away” on December 10th. The 9 song release follows up their 2014 demo which along with their live performances have shot them to the front of the line when it comes to new bands on the NYHC scene. Dead City Records along with Rising Pulse Records will jointly release this album which will come in CD, LP and digital formats.

T

ERROR are working on a new 7” with Triple B Records titled “The Walls Will Fall” for 2017 although the amount of tracks and a release date are still not announced.

N

YC’s MAXIMUM PENALTY are also gearing up for new music in 2017 as they have confirmed they will be doing a new 7” with Reaper Records with recording to start by years end.

P

OWER TRIP are looking at an early February release for their new 8 track LP titled “Nightmare Logic” on Southern Lord. Much like their last release (2013’s “Manifest Decimation”) the recording was split between their home state of Texas and in Philadelphia, PA with Arthur Rizk. Look for teaser tracks, artwork, and track listings in mid-November.

B

A

s a forward thinking and socially active movement hardcore has, aside from the music been about positivity, activism and helping those less fortunate. We’ve all been to benefit shows for a myriad of causes at one time or another but in 2011 a group of German members of the hardcore scene took things a step further and, in the wake of the Japanese tsunami disaster formed the Hardcore Help Foundation. Initially set up to provide humanitarian aid to those in need of it after the tragedy in Japan they quickly adopted causes to support both at home in their native Germany and abroad. Be it helping the homeless during the harsh winter months or sponsoring health clinics in Africa, the work and fundraising they do is helping great causes that are desperately in need of a foot up. They also get involved in activism against racism and sexism in society, social injustice with a huge array of bands helping them raise awareness and fundraising on tour. They also run a charity festival in Germany to raise money for worthy causes as well as a series of compilations with bands donating tracks for a good cause. Hardcore doesn’t end with just the music, get involved and become a volunteer or donate at hardcore-help.org and help make a difference.

12

DOWN FOR LIFE

rooklyn based THE LAST STAND have completed work on their new EP titled “This Is Real” due out in early 2017. The follow up to their 2013 release “The Time Is Now” will feature 4 new tracks and a cover of the Gorilla Biscuits song “Big Mouth”.

G

ermany’s RYKERS have a mid-November release for a 4 song split 7” with Portugal’s GRANKAPO titled “Outcasts Won’t Fall” on Hell Xis Records. 2017 will be Rykers’ 25th anniversary and they will be releasing a special 7” in 2017 to celebrate this milestone. December will be a busy month with a headlining date set up in Jakarta Indonesia on December 3rd, Thessaloniki, Greece on December 16th, and another headlining spot on December 17th in Sofia, Bulgaria as part of the HC-X-MAS Festival.

M

aine’s CRUEL HAND had their latest effort titled “Your World Won’t Listen” come out on September 9th on Hopeless Records. Their frontman Chris Linkovich describes “Your World Won’t Listen” as a more refined version of their last effort (2014’s “The Negatives”) by creating tracks that take Cruel Hand back to their “Prying Eyes” era while still keeping some of the punk rock elements from their last effort. Look for Cruel Hand on “The Blackened Earth Tour” with LIFELESS. The tour kicks off on Long Island on November 26th and criss-crosses through the U.S. through December 18th. January sees Cruel Hand taking a break but it is back at in in February when they will head back over to Europe to be a part of NO TURNING BACK’s 20th anniversary tour.


LABEL PROFILE

Name: Rucktion Records Hometown: London Formed: 1998 Specialises in: Hardcore/Hardcore punk/Heavy hardcore Number of releases to date: 58 Brief history: Originally formed by London-based bands Ninebar & Knuckledust members as a DIY way to produce and release their own music. Soon expanding to release music by the friends and musical family, which at the time was starting to become the home of London’s modern Hardcore sound. Rucktion family later expanded to the rest of the world releasing bands like Wisdom In Chains (USA), Surge Of Fury (BEL), Billy Club Sandwich (USA). Label mantra: Rucktion is a family first. “Making bands, not taking bands” - “Helping bands to help themselves” Key releases: Ninebar “Urban Legends”, Wisdom In Chains “Die Young”, Knuckledust “Dustrography” Latest release: Tirade/Proven split Website: www.rucktion.com

Our good friends at All Ages Records in London give us their top 20 records right now 1. Descendents Hypercaffium Spazzinate (Epitaph)

2. Nails You Will Never Be One Of Us (Nuclear Blast)

3. World Be Free The Anti Circle (Revelation)

4. Touche Amore Stage 4 (Epitaph)

5. Arms Race New Wave Of British Hardcore (La Vida Es Un Mus)

6. Title Fight Floral Green (Sideonedummy)

7. Knuckledust Songs Of Sacrifice (GSR)

8. Violent Reaction City Streets (Quality Control)

9. Night Birds Mutiny At Muscle Beach (Fat Wreck)

10. Have Heart Songs To Scream At The Sun (Bridge 9) NOMENASNO

NOMEANSNO SPLIT

A

IRON REAGAN

R

ichmond, Virginia has been at the forefront of the crossover thrash revival in recent years, spearheaded largely by the inimitable Tony Foresta. His hardcore punk/metal side project Iron Reagan has grown to become a beast in its own right over the last few years and the band IRON REAGAN will be blasting back with their third album in February next year, amusingly entitled ‘Crossover Ministry’. Expect relentlessly catchy riffs and irresistible, mosh-ready grooves with punchy thrash gallops and hard core punk attitude across its eighteen tracks blasted out in thirty minutes. The band will return to our shores next year in support of the album. Crossover Ministry will be out on Feb 3rd 2017 on Relapse. Find out what Iron Reagan are up to at facebook.com/ironregan.

DOWN FOR LIFE

Split (Magic Bullet)

12. Mizery

fter 37 years of pushing boundaries forward, Canadian progressive hardcore punk trio Nomeansno have decided to call it a day and retire for good. Behind them they leave a legacy of some of the finest recordings that the underground has witnessed. From their rough round the edges debut of ‘Mama’ in 1982 through the seminal ‘Wrong’ album in ’89 to their final studio recordings of ‘All Roads Lead To Ausfarht’ in 2006, this threesome have been generating some of the most original and genre defying music that punk has ever known. Their statement read about the break up ‘A hiatus has become a long hiatus and a lingering hiatus has become a permanent one’. No word yet on whether their side project the Hanson Brothers will continue but we’re sure we haven’t heard the last from these three pioneers in some shape or form.

14

11. Powertrip / Integrity

Absolute Light (Flatspot)

13. The Flex Wild Stabs In The Dark (Milk Run)

14. Departures Death Touches Us (Holy Roar)

15. Bouncing Souls Simplicity (Rise)

16. Tirade / Proven Split (Ruktion)

17. More Than Life Love Let Me Go (Holy Roar)

18. Broken Teeth At Peace Amongst Chaos (Nuclear Blast)

19. Suburban Scum Ultimate Annihilation (Flatspot)

20. Desolated The End (BDHW)

Allagesrecords.com


BENT LIFE Nebraksa heavyweight hardcore crew bring a new kind of rhythm

S

IMPLICITY can sometimes come across as laziness, a lack of drive or just trying to take the easy way out. However, for Lincoln, Nebraska hardcore quintet Bent Life, going for a more “simple” sound was part of the band’s journey of re-imagining their sound. After months or writing recording and re-recording, the result was Bent Life’s debut full-length ‘Never Asked For Heaven’, which is out now on Bridge Nine Records. Bent Life have turned something that many may perceive as a negative into a positive by almost giving themselves a completely new sound. “I think it (the record) surprised a lot of people since we essentially reimagined our sound. I’ve seen a lot of people who weren’t ever into us before say they love the LP. That’s always a good feeling,” Bent Life front man Andy

16

DOWN FOR LIFE

considering more and more. The LP is Voorhees tells Down For Life. “We took exactly the record we wanted to write as a a lot of influence from Pantera, Exhorder, band. I would say we’ve progressed almost Carcass, Obituary, mainly just a lot of metal zero as people. We’re still the constantly bands. Then as far as the hardcore element late, totally oblivious losers we’ve always we unintentionally seemed to pull a lot been. Just slightly heavier than we were 6 from Hatebreed as far as structure and years ago. And I like it that way.” The band simplicity of the songs. We wanted to write from America’s Midwest - which Voorhees a record that would hit as hard in your claims to be pumping out some of the most bedroom as it would in a stadium. Not like interesting punk music in the world at the we think we will ever play in a stadium. But moment - will be heading back to the UK we wanted it to have a very metal feel that and Europe early next year and the vocalist could’ve been apart of Dynamo 95.”Even is hoping to make a better go of things tough everything seems to be coming up this time around. Voorhees added: “I loved roses for the five-piece, this wasn’t always exploring Europe and seeing cities five times the case. After extensive touring and older than America. I love it there and really recording 7” records since their formation can’t wait to get back. Hoping to catch and/ in 2010, the band nearly called it a day after or play shows with THE FLEX while we’re a tough 2014. over. Hello, THE FLEX. If you see this, please “We had a pretty rough first time in make it happen.” Europe and didn’t have a whole lot planned Tim Birkbeck after,” added Voorhees. “We actually talked about breaking up at that time. We ‘Never Asked For Heaven’ is out now on Bridge 9 had been touring hard and were getting Bent Life tour Europe in April 2017. burnt out. A lot of our relationships with partners were struggling. But we knew we wanted to do an LP. Brings it like : Hatebreed / Terror / Pantera It was something we had been


BLOODSHED REMAINS Austrian hard hitters celebrate a decade of brutality

A

USTRIAN hard hitters Bloodshed Remains have been around the block, nearing on 10 years. But this hasn’t softened their resolve. Their current EP, ‘Peace’ (out now on Demons Run Amok) is 4 tracks of heavy hardcore in the vein of Terror and Sick Of It All. Although both

bands play an influence on BSR, the band are their own monster. Bassist, Harald explains their progression as a band over the last 10 years is down to “the process of growing up as individuals. At 15 when I started with BSR, we just wanted to get out and play live and have fun. Now 10 years later most of us have already jobs or finish studying, things change and I think one can hear that on the EP.” Also BSR have travelled and smashed stages all over the world over the past

ETERNAL SLEEP Unrelenting attacks on your senses, courtesy of Pittsburgh

P

ENNSYLVANIA hardcore is on fire and nowhere in the state is churning out exceptional bands as fast as Pittsburgh. Undoubtedly, one of the best and hardest bands to come out of Pittsburgh this past decade is Eternal Sleep. Mixing mind blowing breakdowns, ‘90s metallic hardcore

18

DOWN FOR LIFE

decade, which has also helped shaped the band to what it is today: “I think the travels to South Africa, nearly all over Europe, the UK, SE- Asia, Australia twice and New Zealand were pretty forming experiences” Harald tells us “and also important for myself to see the world from a different perspective and how global everything is nowadays as well as regional”. BSR also just finished up playing Remains Fest (which they co-promote and organize) which also doubled up as their release show for the current EP and played host to several local acts including Cold Hands and Warcult. Harald states that the Austrian scene may be tiny, but still active: “At the moment there are some small scenes across Austria, but they are sometimes more active and then they fall in a deep sleep for some time. Overall, bands come and go really quickly and we are in our home- region Ybbs/ Donau, the only active HC band at the moment”. While that may be the case, Bloodshed Remains are still making the loudest noise.

Pat Lui Brings it like : Terror / Knuckledust / Strife ‘Peace’ is out now on Demons Run Amok

including Harm Reduction records, part-run by Code Orange’s Jami Morgan which was vital in getting the band the recognition they deserved. “Harm Reduction was run by two of our friends and offered us the opportunity to put out an 7” EP with Deathwish Inc’s distribution. They helped us grow as a band and we reached new people.” singer Joe says. With their latest record, ‘The Emptiness Of’, the band decided to go with up and coming label Closed Casket Activities, joining their already remarkable roster of bands. “They were able to provide us with everything we could have wanted as a band doing their first record”. The reaction to this record has been incredible from both fans and critics as Joe describes ”some of the songs on the LP have been written for years so we were really anticipating playing them live for a long time. Finally getting to do so has been really rewarding. I think the material on our LP is by far our best but it is also all very high energy and makes it very fun to play.” The band have a lot of exciting plans for the coming months, including playing FYA fest and a winter tour. And Europe? The band haven’t been over since 2013. “We are working on getting back to Europe/UK in 2017. Our very first Euro tour we did with Black Mask. ”

influences with a dash of Ringworm thrown in, the band was founded by Colin Bennington as a solo recording venture. Playing all instruments and also tracking vocals, Colin recorded a demo and then enlisted brother Travis to play guitar and long-time friend Joe Sanderson to drum. In 2012, Colin moved to May H drums, Joe to vocals and they bought in Ben to play bass and the line-up Brings it like : Crowbar / Integrity / Coalesce was complete. They then released ‘The Emptiness Of…’ is out now on Closed Casket Activities a couple of 7”s on various labels,


TOUCHÉ STAGE AMORÉ FOUR AVAILABLE NOW UNITED KINGDOM - 2017 EARTHMOVER / ARKANGEL / EARTH CRISIS

15.02 17.02 18.02 19.02 20.02 21.02 22.02 23.02

THE HAUNT, BRIGHTON FLEECE, BRISTOL SOUND CONTROL, MANCHESTER ACADEMY, NEWCASTLE STEREO, GLASGOW BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, LEEDS ACADEMY 3, BIRMINGHAM ISLINGTON ACADEMY, LONDON

TOUCHEAMORE.COM


HALSHUG Danish crust punk trio bringing home the bacon

T

HE rather wonderful Danish outfit Halshug have a new record out on Southern Lord called ‘Sort Sind’ which Google Translate informs me is Danish for ‘Black Mind’. Scary stuff, anyway it’s another fat dose of that crusty hardcore they do so well. The new record retains the same raw energy of your previous material but perhaps is a little more finessed. How did the writing/ recording process differ this time around? “It differed in the way that we had a little bit more fun. Recording the first LP ‘Blodets Bånd’ was difficult. We were recording it in a studio owned by an insane person who kicked out our producer Lasse Ballade while he was mixing it. They fell out, and it took us more than a year to get all the tracks out of that guy’s place and get Lasse to finish it. Also we were not doing so great during the time of recording ‘Blodets Bånd’, Jakob lost his voice and got

20

DOWN FOR LIFE

punk scene. Sure, there are shows of punk/ really ill. It was all a bit stressful. This time, HC every week featuring local bands, but recording Sort Sind was just really cool. yaaaaaaawwwwnnnn. There are some pretty Lasse has his own place now, and we were all good bands that play metal, and some good feeling way less anxious and stressed. Writing weirdo/lo-fi rock bands too. But the punk the songs was more fun too. We did it much scene is like a seniors-society or a country more together this time, whereas with the club where the members dutifully show up and previous releases we wrote more separately dutifully get wasted and mosh around a little and interfered less with each other’s songs.” bit. It’s nothing like what it has been in the Is there a secret to producing a record with past…at all.” a real sense of immediacy and brutal power? Are you planning on touring any countries Do you record live and use the minimum of you haven’t been to or is there anywhere overdubbing? “Yes, we record live. It’s crucial you are particularly excited about visiting? to the sense of immediacy and power that “We are always up for going somewhere we try to capture on our records. We dub and doing shows in cities we don’t know. some guitar parts and vocals, and that’s it. We’d love to do the UK more and there is Some times after recording one song, we a bunch of places we’ve talked about going. look at Lasse like ‘don’t you hit that Stop We haven’t planned any extensive long tours. button dude, keep that tape rolling’ and rip We do have a fair amount of shows coming off another one if the first one felt good. up in other countries though. We are playing The spontaneous feeling of doing something Stubborn Fest in Barcelona and in February unplanned in the studio is present on a lot we are working on playing Moscow and St. of our songs, we don’t know if anyone can Petersburg. We try not to play Copenhagen hear that, but to us it gives a feeling to the too often so people wont get sick of us!” songs that is very much like what HC/punk is James Batty about.” What is the scene like in Denmark Brings it like ; Negative Approach / Motorhead / Doom at the moment? “There is fuck Sort Sind is out now on Southern Lord all going on in the Copenhagen


SOUND CONTROL • GORILLA • ZOO • FONT • ZOMBIE SHACK • UNDERDOG • RETRO BAR

TICKETS NOW ON SALE: MANCHESTERPUNKFESTIVAL.CO.UK


WORLD EATER German hardcore crew redefining the new school at maximum velocity

F

ounded in winter 2009 this 5 piece from southwest Germany demonstrates how refreshing classic hardcore can sound in 2016. WORLD EATER combine the best elements of classic NYHC bands like Agnostic Front, Warzone or Straight Ahead and newer bands like Floorpunch or

Shark Attack. Fast paced, short in your face songs are World Eater’s trademarks. This summer the band dropped their fearsome new album ‘The Path’ on Farewell Records to critical acclaim and have been backing this up by touring tirelessly, taking in Ieperfest and Sound Of Revolution along the way. Vocalist Alex discussed their inception with DFL, “Well we started out in September of 2009 and till this day we have the same line-up which consists of Steven on drums, Dominik on bass,

SEEKER Texan blast beat nihilists take no prisoners

A

FTER forming incidentally after a chance meeting back in 2011, Texan band Seeker has since been unstoppable. Their blend of loud, aggressive and chaotic heavy metal seems to have left a very prominent mark on the underground metal scene, although the band

22

DOWN FOR LIFE

Michael and Steve on the guitars and myself Alex doing the vocals. I had the idea for World Eater in my head for a long time. I wanted a band that played “classic” fast hardcore with simple and short songs like the bands I grew up with.” So where do the band stand on the lyrical front? “I’m responsible for all the lyrics and they all deal with personal subjects about how I see things, experiences and things I don’t like in our society or even in our scene... Like usual hardcore lyrics, but I’m not the judge who tries to tell people what to do.” Alex explains. The German scene has been very furtive for many years, Alex lends his view on it “The scene is still going strong. We have a bunch of really cool bands and promoters who care also about the small bands, giving them a chance to play. Of course not everything is gold when it comes down to some stupid gossip, jealousy or whatever. But mostly it’s cool these days.” One thing’s for sure, World Eater are doing things on their own terms and winning fans wherever they play with their energetic live show and incendiary energy. Be sure to catch them when they next hit your town.

InEffectHarcore.com Brings It Like : Floorpunch / Warzone / Breakdown Out Now : The Path on Farewell Records

a new direction resulting in their latest record ‘Loss’, a much heavier, faster and deliberately dark record. “We’ve always wanted to push ourselves as musicians and write really aggressive music, but after everything that has happened over the last three years we wanted this album to be as dark and extreme as possible. We wanted it to be suffocating and unrelenting”. During the last three years, Seeker went through a very miserable period of inactivity but Lucien admits was a very positive thing for the band and without it they wouldn’t be the band they are today. Having been allowed time to become the band they’ve always wanted to, it seems ‘Loss’ has given the band new life. “It has rekindled all our excitement for this band, and we want to pursue this harder than ever now. When we came back together we did a few tours that went OK, but now that the record is out, it’s been mind-blowing watching people’s reactions to the new music live. We may have written this album for us, but we love seeing people have such a visceral, emotional response to the album.”

point out they’re not ones for fitting in and instead prefer to be themselves. “We’re not concerned at all with trends or fitting into a certain scene or genre, all we’re concerned about is having the freedom to express ourselves however we see fit; without that Emily Bielby there’s really no point to this band”. After releasing ‘Unloved’ in 2013, vocalist Bryce Lucien felt the band needed Brings it like : Nails / Magrudergrind / Napalm Death change, his distaste for their Loss is out now on Victory Records current sound pushed the band in


EARTHMOVER / ARKANGEL / EARTH CRISIS


WARWOUND Incendiary D-beaters resurrected and ready to fight

W

HEN a band surfaces featuring members of Discharge, Varukers, Sacrilege and Stampin’ Ground, it’s only right your ears prick up. This isn’t a run of the mill side-project though, it’s a reincarnation of incendiary 1980’s Brummie D-beat outfit Warwound. “It all revolves around Damian Thompson, [then bassist, now guitarist] who was in a band called Cadaverous Clan, but then formed Warwound” states current bass player Ian Glasper. “Warwound did three demos, and lots of gigs around the Midlands, but then Damian joined the Varukers, then he formed Sacrilege.” In the years since, Damian disappeared from the scene, doing his share of travelling and starting a family, before resurrecting the band last year with Ian on bass, Steve Wingrove on drums and Tony ‘Rat’ Martin on vocals. “Damian got Sacrilege back together for the anniversary edition of

24

DOWN FOR LIFE

enough to whet our appetite. “We played ‘Behind The Realms Of Madness’, and they with them on our US tour back in February, wrote and recorded a new song, which got Damian all fired up to make music again. About and they were lovely guys, who we hit it off with immediately.” Ian elaborates further, “it’s the same time Profane Existence decided to coming out through Doctor Strange in the release the Warwound demos on vinyl for US and MCR in Japan, both labels we admire. the first time” explains Ian. “Unfortunately it We contributed one new song, ‘Faith Or Fear’, became apparent Sacrilege would never play and re-recorded two old tracks, ‘No Escape’ live again, but Damian was enjoying himself and ‘Brainwashed’, so people can hear them far too much, so he reformed Warwound, as we play them now, 2016-style!” It may well with a view to not only playing old – and have taken the best part of three decades for new – Warwound songs, but also choice cuts Warwound to get it together again, but despite from his back catalogue.”With just 2015’s the years ticking by it seems some things ‘A Huge Black Cloud’ demo compilation to always stay the same, so says Ian. “When I look their name, Warwound are very keen to push back at what’s been before politically, nothing the envelope and create something new. “We has changed; the world is still fucked, mankind don’t want to just churn out the same old is still a bastard, the old, the young, the weak stuff Warwound were doing over 30 years and the poor are still chewed up and spat out ago; that’d be a cop-out, we’ve got to bring by the rich and power-mad fuckers in charge… something fresh to the table” proclaims Ian. I only have to turn on the TV and watch the “We’re writing and demoing loads of new news for five minutes and I’m pissed off and songs for a brand new album, which we’re reaching for my guitar to vent my frustration. I recording in February 2017. It’s fast, furious think that’s why punk is as healthy as it’s ever and pissed off, just like the old Warwound, but been. We need it now more than ever.” it’s also been dragged kicking and screaming John Consterdine up to date.”In the meantime, the foursome have partnered up with Minneapolis ‘Split’ is out now on Doctor Strange/MCR crusties War//Plague for a split 7” Brings it like : Discharge, Victims, Anti-Cimex due at the end of the year, just


GRIEF, ASSERTS FRENCH AUTHOR MARCEL PROUST, DEVELOPS THE POWER OF THE MIND. RARELY HAS IT BEEN DESCRIBED ON RECORD AS POWERFULLY AS ‘STAGE FOUR’, THE LATEST EMOTIONAL WRINGER FROM TOUCHÉ AMORÉ. ROB MAIR GOT THE LOWDOWN.

“M

OST bands say ‘we don’t care about the reaction, we write the music we want to write’, and I kind of call bullshit on that. Everybody worries,” says Touché Amoré’s Jeremy Bolm, affording himself a wry laugh. California’s Touché Amoré are on the cusp of becoming one of the largest bands in hardcore – and certainly the biggest to break out from ‘The Wave’ – a collection of like-minded bands who have pushed post-hardcore in new and dizzying directions. It started out (and remains) a joke term, but there’s no doubt that such a collective drive has helped to push each band on to subsequent highs. It felt like Touché Amoré (completed by guitarists Nick Steinhardt and Clayton Stevens, drummer Elliot Babin and bassist Tyler Kirby) had hit the summit with 2013’s ‘Is Survived By’, an album wrapped up in self-doubt and ideas of legacy. La Dispute and then Pianos Become The Teeth both set new high watermarks with the emotional sucker-punches of ‘Rooms Of The House’ and ‘Keep You’ respectively, throwing the baton back to Touché Amoré to once again set a new standard. And that they have. ‘Stage Four’ – an album centred on Bolm’s experiences of dealing with his mother’s diagnosis of and death from stage four cancer – makes the ideas explored on ‘Is Survived By’ seem trivial in comparison. It is an astonishingly personal – and brave – body of work, and sets yet another creative high-point for a movement which shows little sign of faltering. And, naturally, while Bolm might be concerned

about people’s reactions, there’s no doubt that the powerful emotional content will make a connection with people, regardless of what they’re going through: “I hope people can relate to it,” says Bolm plainly. “I hope if someone’s in this situation it’s an album that can help them, that would be great. I assume we have a lot of young listeners who are maybe lucky and have not lost a parent, and I’d like to think that maybe it’s a record that will stick with them when they come back to it when the inevitable happens. “You know, art can help people find a way to express themselves and help them find comfort.” Indeed, Bolm found solace in the work of other artists, and even references songs that helped him deal with his grief in ‘A New Halloween’, citing Death Cab For Cutie’s ‘What Sarah Said’ and Sun Kill Moon’s ‘I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love’. Bolm states in ‘A New Halloween’ that he’ll never listen to the songs again, highlighting the deep emotional connection between artist and listener. “It’s kinda absurd,” says Bolm. “In that Sun Kill Moon song, he’s singing about all these things he fears is gonna happen when his mom eventually passes – whereas for me he’s singing about all the things I’ve just experienced after my mom has passed. “Obviously, I’m being a little dramatic saying I won’t listen to those songs. I mean, when you listen to them out of context; like that Death Cab song, I had always really liked that song, but had never really paid too close attention to what the actual story was. And then, when I did, I picked up on every single line.

“I HOPE PEOPLE CAN RELATE TO IT. I HOPE IF SOMEONE’S IN THIS SITUATION IT’S AN ALBUM THAT CAN HELP THEM.”

26

DOWN FOR LIFE

“But that’s the thing about music; as a listener you can take any phrase or word from a song and create your own narrative to it. One simple line can mean one thing to you and something completely different to somebody else. There might be some people who listen to this record and see it as a break-up record. It all depends on how you take the content. “There’s also people who will listen to this band and not have lost a family member close to them yet, so maybe it’s a record that will come around to them when they’re a little older and will reflect on it and think ‘Okay, this means something different to me now compared to when I first heard it’.”

Y

et, for all the emotional heft, what makes ‘Stage Four’ such a huge step forward for Touché Amoré is the introduction of light and shade to the unrivalled intensity. This can be seen in Bolm now singing – something that would have seemed a jump too far even three years ago. While they’ve teased fans in the past with this new approach – cover songs of Nirvana (‘Lounge Act’) and the National (‘Available’) in particular –this is the first time it’s been seen on a record with their name on it. While it’s stylistically a triumph, Bolm says the context is crucial: “The other guys in the band, they continue to grow as musicians,” he says. ”I genuinely felt like if I didn’t grow with them, I’d be holding them back. That’s a little self-deprecating, but I’d been writing these songs and these parts and I said to the guys at one point, ‘you probably know what this record is about; when you’re at home writing for the record, keep in mind the context of the record’. “We didn’t want someone to bring a riff to practice which was really happy as that was just not gonna fly,” he laughs. “But it was just worth keeping in mind what I was going for so we didn’t have to figure out what to write for it. “So all these parts were coming in that were really quite sombre sounding and it didn’t make any sense for me to be screaming over it, so I wanted to try my hand a little more at actual singing. “But those songs [the Nirvana and National covers] felt like a good testing of the water about how I felt about singing – like my confidence and things like that. I still suffer in my own way, and


TOUCHÉ AMO R

É

DOWN FOR LIFE

27


“BANDS SAY ‘WE DON’T CARE ABOUT THE REACTION’. I KINDA CALL BULLSHIT ON THAT. EVERYBODY WORRIES.” it’s definitely getting out of my comfort zone and figuring out how to make it work, but I’m really proud of myself for how it came out on the record. I think it suits the record really well.” For casual listeners, the first time many would have heard Bolm sing would have been on lead single for ‘Stage Four’, ‘Palm Dreams’. Awaiting the fans’ reaction was something Bolm found nervewracking – although following it with the powerful ‘Displacement’ has meant the group have had fun playing with people’s conceptions of the band. Bolm explains: “When we put out ‘Palm Dreams’ and it has that tiny bit of singing in there, you could just see it in the reaction of people. There was a lot of positivity, but there was also a lot of hesitation too – people were saying ‘well, I hope the whole record isn’t like this’. Then we put out ‘Displacement’, which is just one of the most aggressive songs ever in the history of Touché. And I like doing that because people can see that we’re still ourselves. “When you listen to the record, you notice

28

DOWN FOR LIFE

that there’s a fair amount of singing on it, but it’s not like we’re ‘going for it’. We’re just putting it where it works and we’ll likely continue to do that.”

A

s well as being one of the most intense songs on the album, ‘Displacement’ is also one of the most shocking. “Last week I crashed my car, and I walked away unscathed,” blasts Bolm, before asking the higher powers if it was a test; “Maybe that was you, asking me to keep my faith,” he concludes. Bolm’s somewhat more matter-of-fact about it today, but there’s no doubt it left him pondering some big questions, as he explains the crash, its aftermath and being ‘lucky’: “So, in January of this year I was driving home from writing the record and I got to be car number three in a four car pile-up. It was just bad luck. There was a steady flow on the highway and someone slammed on their brakes, the car in-front hit that person, I hit that person in front and then someone hit me. My car was totalled. I was going pretty fast when it happened, and I didn’t have time to react – but it could have been far worse. My car got completely destroyed. “So I guess, yeah, I was ‘lucky’, if you wanna use the word ‘lucky’ in that sense. People kept telling me that, but I just kept fretting over how I could have

such bad luck. I lost my mom in 2014, then a year later a good friend of the band passed away because of a drug overdose, then towards the end of the year one of my dogs died, then my cat of almost 20 years died, then I got in this accident. I was just like ‘what is happening! This is just absurd’. Thankfully, after a while, things mellowed out.’ “The thing is, as I said, this was January. I was like okay, ‘it’s the New Year, things are gonna get better’. Then seven days later, I’m in this car accident. “I just laughed. ‘Ah well, that’s life’, you know?” laughs Bolm Bolm may be somewhat sceptical about ‘luck’, but the group’s unrivalled work ethic has afforded them a great opportunity, making the leap from Deathwish to Epitaph. Now home to the likes of Joyce Manor, Pianos Become The Teeth and the Menzingers, the Californian label has experienced a renaissance over the last two years, and Touché Amoré are the latest to benefit from attention from the tastemakers: “We’ve known quite a few people who worked at Epitaph for a while now,” says Bolm. “They’ve always supported the band, even coming to see us at some very early shows, and we knew that they still worked there and worked hard for their artists. And yeah, I guess those people were pushing for our new album at this point in our


TOUCHÉ AMO R

É

‘career’, so there’s an extra incentive really. “It’s down the street too, which is something we’ve never experienced – we’ve been on Deathwish for so many years and we’re in Los Angeles and they’re in Boston, which is across the country. It’s not like we need to knock on their door and ask them anything in person, but it’s an extra level of comfort. So if we need anything, we know they’re only a couple of miles from where they live. “It’s a bit more exposure too, and I feel like that over the last couple of years Epitaph has taken an interest in a lot of the bands we came up with, or we’re friends with, or we admire – so anyone from Converge – I mean, that’s a big thing, as we were on Deathwish, which is part owned by Jake (Bannon) from Converge, so we just get to be on their other label – but then they have Title Fight, Joyce Manor, Deafheaven, Pianos, Defeater, Menzingers – so many bands we’ve toured with and have become friends with over the years, and it’s nice to be alongside them. “It felt like the right move to do and we’re flattered that they cared as much as they did.”

A

s Bolm said it brings added exposure, I ask if it means there’s more pressure: “To be honest, I felt so much more pressure and nervousness for ‘Is Survived By’. ‘Is Survived By’ was, for me, the hardest record to write in the context of pressure,” replies Bolm, before explaining how he sees ‘pressure’ in the context of the punk and hardcore scene. “So, you have a demo, and it gets loads of attention; well, if you’re lucky you get hype and attention,” he corrects himself, before laughing. “Then you put out your first record, and you have

to prove on your first record that you can keep up that energy.You can’t disappoint people. “The next record, you have to write more exciting songs – most likely better recorded – and they still have to be relatable. If you can accomplish that, you’re in a really good spot. But the third record, you can’t do the same thing again.You have to show that you can write better songs. If you do the same thing again, you’re gonna show that you’re very bland and you can’t really grow from that sound that you’ve got.You might keep enough people interested, but you’re lucky if you don’t bore people eventually. “So in that context, ‘Is Survived By’ was the hardest one to write, but I’ve always said that if you reach the fourth record, you’ve probably built people’s trust enough in your band that they’ll pay attention regardless, and you’ve likely hooked enough people on that you have a strong support, so you can experiment and do what you want and not worry too much about the reaction.” At this point a voice pops onto the line; it’s Epitaph saying our time’s nearly up. Bolm is a huge record collector and I wanted to finish by asking him about the artwork to the physical copies of ‘Stage Four’, as well as the special edition photo booklet. Traditionally, all of the artwork has been done by Touché Amoré’s Nick Steinhardt, but I was curious as to Bolm’s artistic input, particularly given the personal subject matter. The art for ‘Stage Four’ in particular is hugely powerful, focusing on before and after photos of Bolm’s mother’s house, filled of her belongs then cleared empty. “Nick and I have an amazing relationship when it comes to the art,” says Bolm. “He knows that I

have 100% trust in his vision. He’s brilliant in that way. But he’s also caring and considerate, and especially so with this record, being what it is. “He let me be very hands on in terms of choosing what we used. He would send me constant updates as he was working on it, or I’d go over to his apartment or he would come over to mine to show me what he’d been working on. So we chose the album cover together. He’s considerate and talented, so working with him is great. He’s unbelievable. We’re very lucky to have that as a member of the band. Most bands don’t get that lucky to have such an in-house person.” What’s most striking about talking to Jeremy for half an hour is the respect he has for his fellow bandmates and musicians; there’s a trust there regarding the content and delivery of the record and it’s clear from the very first riff of ‘Flowers And You’ to the dying embers of ‘Skyscraper’ (which features the wonderful vocal talents of Julien Baker) that ‘Stage Four’ is a special record, played with heart and compassion by the band. “I know every band states that the new record is their best record – it’s a pretty common thing to say”, laughs Bolm, knowingly, “But I can say, without a doubt, that for me personally, this record is the best record we’ve ever done. I’m unbelievably proud of it.” ‘Stage Four’ is out now on Epitaph

DOWN FOR LIFE

29


“I DON’T THINK THAT WE’VE PEAKED YET”

30

DOWN FOR LIFE


WISDOM In Ch ains

WISDOM In Chains played the Camden Underworld with Terror in January 2016 and a mere six months later they’ve returned to headline the venue. Prior to the gig, I meet up with vocalist Mad Joe Black and drummer Luke backstage, while Mav strums along on his guitar. What have you been up to since you last played the Underworld. Have you been touring regularly since then? Luke: “Mostly weekends in the States and writing.” Joe: “It’s like saving our money so you can tour and that type of stuff. Like getting your home life in order so you can do stuff like this. Started thinking about writing a new record, we’re trying to come up with a plan so we can start writing a new full-length.” It’s been about 10 years since ‘Die Young’ came out. Would you like people to think of it as your debut album? Joe: “Yeah, yeah. The album we had before that was not written by any of us, except for I wrote the lyrics but other than that, musically we don’t sound like that band much. There’s a tie between that and what we are now but we didn’t really have a plan to be a touring band or write more full-lengths when we did that project. It was just a fun thing with a friend [Maarten from Daredevil] and we thought that was going to be the end of it so now, once we realised that’s what we want to do, this is our main band, forget all the other bands, this is only one that matters, the song writing got a lot more mature, a lot more… not complicated but grown-up.” Luke: “Honest.” Joe: “Yeah, even lyrically it got more honest once I realised this was the one I wanted people to associate with my name, with my face, we started taking it a lot more seriously. So yeah, ‘Die Young’ is when that started.” What are your memories of working on that album? Joe: “It was kind of rushed. We had probably eight songs or 10 songs written and then the rest we wrote in the studio and we were only in the studio for maybe four days for that album and a lot of that was writing songs real quick. So we wrote a bunch of songs in the studio and then I had to come up with lyrics to all these songs and I had a lot of shit that I wanted to talk about back then. It kind of flowed real easy and it came together nice. It was probably 500 bucks to record ‘Die Young’ in about four days.”

Luke: “Does it show you think?” Joe: “I think it does (laughs). Looking back it was a really cool, raw, honest release. People really dig it still and they definitely dug it right off the bat.” Luke: “That’s when I became a fan. I was a fan back then.” Joe: “The one that got us like noticed by people was ‘Die Young’. I would never want to record a record like that again but it had to work out that way, you know what I mean. It kind of had to work out that way. We got real lucky that it’s a good record.” Luke: “Great record.” Are you happy with the reception that it has always received? Joe: “Yeah, I think if you did a poll of people’s opinions, I think most people would say ‘Die Young’ is their favourite album. I don’t agree with that personally, it’s not my favourite Wisdom In Chains album. A lot of time nostalgia comes into play, into people’s opinions you know.” How do you think your sound has developed since ‘Die Young’? Luke: “My opinion as a fan and a member now, I just think Wisdom is always going to be the Wisdom sound. You’ve got the same solid guys writing the songs, besides me, but from ‘Die Young’ to now I don’t think they changed. I just think they matured more, like what every good band should do but with Wisdom In Chains I think you’re always going to get solid lyrics, you’re going to get real lyrics, you’re going to get great music. I think it progressed in a way that it should. The right way.” Joe: “I think that it’s like if you took ‘Die Young’ and just turned up the clarity on everything, everything just gets sharper, better. Whatever ‘Die Young’ was, when I look back at the discography, everything just gets slightly better, better, better, better, better. Which is great, we’re lucky with that too. I don’t think that we’ve peaked yet. I think we still have more good songs to write and more good albums in us.” ‘The God Rhythm’ seemed to display a slight change in style and increased production

values. Did you intend to make a broader-sounding album? Joe: “We just wanted it to be better than the last one.” Luke: “We take every song and piece them together, song by song and then we try to make it how you want to hear the full album. If we don’t like something, we change it. If we like it, we keep it, we work on it more. Everyone has their own opinion.” Joe: “It’s majority rules. If three people hate something and two guys love it, it’s out. It’s majority rules. Treat the band like an audience. If the majority of an audience doesn’t like something, then they don’t like it. We use our band as an algorithm and whatever most people in the band like, that’s the one we go with and then you’re happier when you’re playing it, when you’re recording it.” Do you think a song like ‘Mathematics’ would have sat well on some of your earlier releases? Joe: “Nah, not really because I wasn’t ready to write those lyrics yet. Musically it could’ve. The music is dope. The music could have been on anything. But lyrics are like a time capsule. It’s like a moment and then you want to preserve that moment forever. As a lyricist I do my best to paint a picture and preserve it for eternity. I want it to be there forever, I want people to enjoy it for ever.” You’ve always had a good relationship with the London hardcore scene. You sang: ‘I’m down with LBU my family across the sea’ on ‘Fighting In The Streets’ and you’ve got a couple of LBU bands playing the gig tonight. How did your friendship with the scene develop? Joe: “It started with [former band] Krutch. Krutch met Knuckledust back in, what, ‘97?” Mav: “Maybe ‘96.” Joe: “It was like old bands we had and old band members and stuff like that, we just formed these friendships from playing shows and touring over the years and for some reason, I don’t know what the reason is, we just really clicked with a lot of people in London. In London particularly, not all over the UK. For some reason there’s people in London that we just really clicked with and became good friends. I’m not sure why. Because they speak English and teach me how to speak English better (laughs).” ‘the god rhythm’ is out now on fast break! ‘die young’ 10 year anniversary edition is out now on vinyl on fast break!

DOWN FOR LIFE

PICS BY LIGHTBOX REVELATION

HAVING RELEASED THEIR MOST AMBITIOUS ALBUM YET IN 2015’s ‘THE GOD RHYTHM’, PAUL HAGEN FINDS THAT PENNSYLVANIA HARDCORE/OI! TITANS WISDOM IN CHAINS HAVE NO PLANS TO SLOW DOWN.

31


THE OLD FIRM CASUALS HAVE A BRILLIANT, BRUISING NEW EP OUT WITH ‘A BUTCHER’S BANQUET’. JAMES GATES CHATS WITH OFC SONGWRITER AND PUNK ICON LARS FREDERIKSEN ABOUT OI! MUSIC, POLITICS AND, ERM, NODDY HOLDER.

“W

PHOTOS BY AGA HAIRESIS

HEN people stop thinking that it’s a fucking religious war or a fucking race war, they will finally fucking figure it out and realise it’s a fucking class war. It’s rich versus poor, that’s what this is all about.” Lars Frederiksen briefly apologises for going off on one. It’s the only time during our conversation that he will say sorry for anything, during the rest of it he will speak passionately about the one thing in his life for which he makes no apologies; punk rock. Frederiksen is a legend in the punk community, and with good reason. He has spent most of his entire life creating music that speaks from the heart, whether it’s with multi-million sellers Rancid or his current project, Oi! brawlers The Old Firm Casuals. He is also an inspirational guy to talk with, speaking with conviction as well as a fearsomely encyclopaedic knowledge of punk music both old and new. The OFC’s latest release, ‘A Butcher’s Banquet’, is a brash, scrappy and immensely listenable mini-album that is meant to soundtrack beery nights out in abodes of ill repute. The band has materialised relatively late in Frederiksen’s

32

DOWN FOR LIFE

career, but its output is a love letter to a genre of music that he listened to when he was first cutting his teeth as a young punk. “My brother was a skinhead,” Frederiksen explains, “So he would bring back reggae music, Oi! music, all that skinhead stuff. For me, the first stuff I listened to was The Ramones and then I’d listen to Kiss and AC/DC. I’d been listening to that shit since I was four years old. After that it was Cheap Trick, Black Sabbath, The Cars, shit like that. Then I got exposed to Oi! bands like the Cockney Rejects, Cock Sparrer, Last Resort, the list goes on and on and on. I was 10 or 11 and the first stuff I heard was probably the first Oi! compilation ‘Strength Through Oi!’ from around 1981, and of course it was music I’d never heard before.” It was love at first listen for Frederiksen, who dove head first into the genre: “It just seemed like they were all coming from the same place I was. I grew up in tenement housing. We were working poor before that was even a fuckin’ term. Oi! music was working class rock ‘n’ roll. And like I said, my brother and his friends were skinheads and punks and shit like that so when you’re 10 years old, you want to emulate your older brother because he and his friends are all teenagers, sitting around and drinking beer and beating the shit out of each other.” And with the music came the uniform: “I found how to dress by looking on the back of those records. I didn’t know anything about Fred Perry but

then I saw pics of skinheads wearing Sta-Prest and then all of a sudden I’m looking through my Dad’s old clothes and he’s got Sta-Prest jeans and I think I stole them. That’s how I got into it. You looked at pictures and you bleached your jeans and that was kind of easy. You got a pair of boots and a white t-shirt and you shaved your head.” The records that he devoured as a youth brought with them a sense of belonging to something: “It was us against the world,” he says. “It wasn’t about race, religion or creed or politics. It was just about the music. You’re growing up in a shitty neighbourhoods and these are the bands that are having the voices for us, you know?”

N

owadays, there are dozens to labels to help categorise and subcategorise the many strains of punk, but as far as Frederiksen is concerned, punk rock and Oi! are pretty much synonymous: “To me they were exactly the same. I loved GBH as much as I loved Last Resort. It was us against the world. It wasn’t about race, religion or creed or politics. It was just about the music. You’re growing up in shitty neighbourhoods and these are the bands that are a voice for us. I discovered all of this through my brother. His friends became my friends. Everybody was meth heads and fuck-ups. We were outcasts. That’s it. Just other misfits and outcasts who liked the same music, who didn’t feel like listening to Culture Club and who didn’t feel cutting their hair into a wavy hairstyle. That’s what we weren’t doing. We were anti-society. I mean, I don’t know, I was just a kid, I was just going for the fucking music and how I felt. It wasn’t like a conscious decision, I didn’t say ‘Oh, I’m gonna be punk rock, I’m gonna be a skinhead’. I just did it. I didn’t make some conscious decision to do it. It was just me.” The new selection of songs on ‘A Butcher’s Banquet’ take the form of an EP, but that was


OLD FIRM CAS UALS

DOWN FOR LIFE

33


PHOTOS BY AGA HAIRESIS

something that came about more by accident than design. As Frederiksen explains: “I wrote the actual music while I was with my other band The Bastards. We used to soundcheck with it. The intro to the first album, This Means War, was the intro that I used to play before I came out on stage with The Bastards, that was for our live show. So that ‘Butcher’s Banquet’ riff is something I’ve had since 2005, and I knew I could never sing over the rhythm as it’s just too hard to play and sing. And I just didn’t want to put the practice in,” he adds with a laugh. “I had that song floating around forever and there was an idea where I was going to write some songs for Animal from the Anti-Nowhere League. I thought it would be a good song for the ANL to do. I did an acoustic version and I sent it over to him and he said they loved it and they were gonna use it and then I never saw anything about it again so I thought ‘fuck it, I’m gonna take it back’ and then I just kinda wrote some lyrics, I had the chorus and it just came together. Time constraints were a key factor in making sure everything came together quickly: “We had this recent tour that we’d done and we had the Rebellion festival coming up and I knew

34

DOWN FOR LIFE

that the longer it took to record, the longer it would take to get the record out. I knew I wanted to do a video as I thought the title track would be a cool song to do a video for. It was fun, it was really fun. We just kind of blasted it out like we normally do.”

T

he visceral, gutsy nature of the songs is matched by the album’s striking artwork, a parade of flesh, gore and caricatures reminiscent of death metal album covers from the 1980s. A certain US presidential candidate sits on the far left of the cover. “Is that Donald Trump? Maybe,” Frederiksen chuckles. “The guy who drew the album cover is an old friend of mine named Tim Lehi who’s a tattoo artist. I originally wanted to get a record cover like ‘Cause For Alarm’ by Agnostic Front. A lot of thrash metal bands sort of ripped off that cover, that’s the one that really started it off. I mean there were other covers by artists like Pushead or whatever but that was the one for me where I really liked that style of art and I liked the artist but getting hold of him was kind of impossible. I don’t think he was really into doing that kind of style anymore

so I just went to Tim and said ‘can you do something like this’? He just said ‘fuck yeah, I’m totally down on it’ so the whole thing is basically an homage to the ‘Cause For Alarm’ cover. The one thing I love about Oi! is that The Last Resort didn’t sound like Evil Conduct, who didn’t sound like Sham 69, who didn’t sound The Cockney Rejects, who didn’t sound like Cock Sparrer, who didn’t sound like The Business and so on. It was all different kinds of styles and even with a band like The Last Resort, some of that sounds like Black Sabbath. That’s what Oi! music is, it’s an attitude, it’s a way of life, for lack of a better term. It’s about incorporating all of those ideas together and I thought: ‘You know what? I haven’t seen a record cover like this for a long fuckin’ time, let’s do it like this’.” Of particular interest to British listeners will be the EP’s barnstorming final track, ‘Noddy Holder’ a hefty dose swagger that, were the EP a movie, would be the music that plays over the end credits. Frederiksen is happy to elaborate on the inspiration for the track: “Well of course I love Slade and I’ve loved them for years. A few friends of mine had their 7-inches, and


OLD FIRM CAS UALS there was also that particular to make the best music I can. musical style, The Sweet also The song ‘Gods and Guns’, the had that style, and we always reason why the lyrics are the liked that kind of stuff. Even way they are is because I’m though it was on the Glam tip afraid for my fucking children. it was still rock and roll boot I’m afraid about what kind of boy shit.” That same rock and fucking world they’re gonna live roll boot boy shit is currently in, and I feel like I almost wrote that song for them even though enjoying a renaissance, thanks it has a lot of adult content to a burgeoning movement and I probably wouldn’t let which the mainstream press STRENGTH THROUGH OI! them fuckin’ listen to it. That’s are labelling ‘Bovver rock’. Various Artists where I‘m being inspired.” As The label is something which he speaks, Frederiksen picks has been around for decades, up steam: “You hear people according to Frederiksen; all the time, once they have That song (Noddy Holder) is children they soften and that’s kind of like a two-part thing. just not been my experience. It’s obviously an homage to I’ve just gotten angrier with the the man himself but it’s also state of affairs. We mentioned about celebrating that style Donald Trump earlier. You have of Bovver music and you see OVERKILL a fucking bigot racist running it a lot now in the new stuff. Motorhead for president and people are There’s a lot of bands out saying “Cool!” and once again there doing that 70s style, a America is the fucking laughing lot of great bands like Giuda stock of the fucking world.” I and Faz Waltz. A lot more point out that with the advent Europeans are doing it. It was of Brexit, the UK and the US an homage to all of that music, are now a joint laughing stock. I’m a fan of all those bands Frederiksen responds: “It’s just a and that style of rock and bunch of old people. Old people roll and I was doing that with MIX CD get scared, that’s what happens. Rancid 20 years ago. You can G.B.H. (“There’s so They either get liberal or they hear that influence for sure many fuckin’ great get scared, especially with all so it’s not anything new or songs, I’d just have to the fear-mongering that’s going conscious. I just came up with make a mix CD of all my on. How do you keep the that chorus when I was in population under control? You my bunk one time, ‘big boots keep them scared, you keep them fat, you keep that’ll knock you over, Mutton Chops like Noddy Holder’. So it was just kind of a homage them sick, you poison their food so they have to rely on pharmaceutical companies to make to the man, and I love Slade, so they’re not far them feel better. They come up with new cures from what we do.” So why now? Why is this every fucking day and it’s a fucking pill. They particular brand of punk making its way out can’t find a cure for cancer but they can find a of the shadows? “It’s even more underground cure for fucking restless leg syndrome. What than the Oi! I guess,” says Frederiksen with the fuck? I mean come on, give me a break.” a laugh. “There’s so many of those types of bands from the 70s and one-hit wonders like William Shakespeare, he was a guy who was from Australia. You had that whole Sharpie movement that had a lot of Bovver style, bands like Hush and Bonnie St Claire did that whole ‘clap your hands stomp your feet’ thing. All that shit is rock and roll. It’s part of the culture. “I mean, Slade was a fuckin’ skinhead band at first. If you look at some of the early 7-inches they’re all skinheads. They are in the culture as well, I don’t think it’s that far-fetched to bring those two points together; Slade and punk rock Oi! music.”

“They have fooled people into thinking ‘that muslim is gonna blow you up’, or ‘that black man is gonna steal your job’, or if you’re on the West coast then’ that Mexican is gonna steal your job so we’re gonna build a big wall to keep them out.’ And people go; ‘YEAH!’ But here’s the fucked-up thing - a lot of these jobs that hispanic people fucking do in America, not one fucking white person I know would wanna do that fucking job. And that’s the plain truth, because I’m sorry, and I’m an American and I’m a patriot but Americans are fucking lazy. They want their convenience, they want to be taken care of and nurtured hence the ‘Entitled Generation’ song on our EP. I’m not saying we’re all like that. On the other hand we can hard workers, we can be people who lead the world into new exploration, we went to the moon. We’re forward thinking people and the whole reason the forefathers started this country was out of fear of religious persecution and now we’re being run by Christianity, How ironic is that?” It’s been an inspiring chat, one full of passion and sincerity. As we get ready to say our goodbyes, Frederiksen re-affirms his mission statement: “For me it’s about making music, you know what I mean? I don’t really know how to do anything else. I don’t have a college education, I’m a 10th grade drop out. Contrary to popular belief I’m not a fuckin’ millionaire. I’m gonna make music. I never did it for money. I got a little success in my life but that all got taken away by an ex-wife so all I’m doing is putting one foot in front of the other and making the best music that I can for me. I’m always going to express myself through music. This is the music that I love and I’ve been listening to it since I was fuckin’ 11 years old.” ‘A Butcher’s Banquet’ is out now on Oi! The Boat Records / Randale Records

A

s our conversation winds down, Frederiksen reflects on what’s important to him: “As I’ve matured - I’m 45 years old now - you realise what’s important and what’s unimportant. For me, I’m a family man. I’m a father and that’s what’s truly important to me. At the same time, I want

DOWN FOR LIFE

35


There are few bands so influential with so little. Having formed in 1981 in Weymouth, Massachusetts, SIEGE were mainly active from 1984 to 1985, never played outside of New England and recorded a mere twenty-minutes of music in that time. No more, no less. Yet the music that Siege recorded at Radiobeat Records in Kenmore Square on February 6th 1984 was a lightning bolt of deranged power and speed that was a crucial spark in the development of extreme music and the grindcore and power-violence scenes. James Sherry finds out more...

T

ITLED ‘Drop Dead’, the six-song demo was produced by Lou Giordano (also responsible for recordings by Husker Du, Negative FX, SS Decontrol) and was only ever self-released by the band. However, it quickly spanned its way across the globe through the then flourishing tape-trading network, it’s blistering six-songs finding their way into the hands of the original members of Napalm Death and the then extremely fertile UK hardcore scene (Heresy, Intense Degree and Ripcord all covered Siege songs) resulting in an acceleration and shift in speed and intensity. In October of 1984, Siege recorded three further songs for Pushead’s (Septic Death vocalist, Metallica artist, Pusmort label owner)

36

DOWN FOR LIFE

legendary worldwide hardcore compilation ‘Cleanse The Bacteria’ (this was Siege’s only official release in their original guise) but split up in 1985 when vocalist Kevin Mahoney failed to show up to the band’s first scheduled show at CBGBs in New York. Despite a brief attempt at a reunion with Anal Cunt vocalist Seth Putnam on vocals in the early 90s (a handful of local gigs and one recording, eventually released in 2014), the band’s cult status continued to grow as Siege’s music spread virally, blistering each new generation that clicked upon it. Drummer Robert Williams would occasionally perform Siege material with Providence band Dropdead but in 2016, Siege fans finally got the news they had been waiting for and Williams and guitarist

Kurt Habelt reformed the group with vocalist Mark Fields (original frontman Kevin Mahoney tragically passed away in 2011 after a long battle with diabetes), second guitarist Chris Leamy and bassist Paulie Kraynak and they debuted the new line-up supporting Infest in Providence. By the time you read this, Siege would have finally pulverised Europe. We spoke to Williams on the eve of their first European gigs… “I am pretty fucking excited to meet and rock with the punk family there,” exclaims Williams. “The fans’ response has been building unbelievably through the decades, and it has erupted in this. I’m especially humbled to see all the younger fans, but psyched to finally meet my curmudgeonly ‘old school’ pen pals who have survived the punk rock life.”


SIEGE when we were teenagers, too. And there was this moment when he first played Motorhead ‘Sex and Outrage’ from Iron Fist for me, and I was like ‘we have to fucking do this’. But, basically – hardcore wasn’t extreme enough for us. Its local practitioners at the time were rather rigid and onedimensional, both musically and in their world view.”

Coast bands), or those who smoked weed - and the guys in Siege and myself were all 3 of those things.”

When the band originally disbanded, did you feel like you were cruelly cut short and didn’t get to live out your full potential? “I’ve always felt my best shit was still coming up, as every artist should. My potential hasn’t been fully lived out as an artist and activist until I’m fucking dead, really, and even then a message of compassion can outlive all of us, as well, so…but, no; I was fortunate enough to be able to study and travel after Siege ‘jumped the rails’ with clichéd ‘creative differences’. And I’ve been in several other bands since – nothing like this, of course. But Screaming Kev (Mahoney) went way too soon – I was fortunate enough able to do a second album with him (To The Victor…the Spoils released on Deep 6 records in 2007) before he passed, which we’re very proud of. But what we’re doing now, with Mark (Fields new Siege vocalist), and Siege with two guitars feels like a whole new degree of power and propaganda.”

How does it feel to be so revered now after all of these years? It felt like Siege was a band out of their time and place in the mid-80s. “Everyone fucking hated us. The only local bands in our hometown of Weymouth, Massachusetts USA were these dreadful poodle-haired 80’s metal pub ‘cover bands’. And you were taking your life in your hands walking down the street dressed openly punk rock in those days; rocker bullies often dished out the ‘Hey Devo!’ treatment. Hearing our music consistently dismissed as ‘noise’ seems to have served to make us angrier and stronger.”

What are your memories of the scene in Boston at the time? Obviously you played with bands such as Deep Wound, Freeze, DYS etc. Did you feel like you fitted in or were you never really accepted by the hardcore scene? “The Boston radio, pop-punk and new wave scenes were fucking exploding; it was such a magical time to be discovering record collecting and live music. But the ‘original Boston Crew’ were notorious straightedge bullies, unwelcoming to younger punks, bands perceived as ‘preachy’ (like a lot of the West

How do you feel about the short reunion you had in the early ‘90s with notorious Anal Cunt frontman Seth Putnam? Did that feel like a false start reunion? “Some of those rehearsals with Seth in the church in Weymouth where Siege jammed were the harshest, most savage shit imaginable. But he went his own way into infamy and being the provocateur, which had nothing whatsoever to do with Siege. My observation is frustration over that failed era of Siege is part of what fuelled him further with AxCx.”

Are you proud when you listen back to the original Radiobeat recordings and the power that you were able to capture and unleash in your youth? “I’m still strengthened when I reflect on the lessons I learned about audio having recorded at that classic studio; do as much as you can ‘live’ - that was a big lesson I learned. But I’m glad drumming and writing political poetry have been ‘constants’ in my life; it’s all prepared me for the important opportunities to reach listeners with a positive that are coming at us now!”

What’s in store for Siege in the future? Do you intend to stay together, record new music and continue playing?

“We are playing these explosive ‘special How you ended up sounding the way you did – there’s events’ for the next entire year – and I hope very little that pre-dates your style, what were the influences, both music and life, that resulted in your to see all of the punks reading this ‘up front’ at one of these shows! And, yes – we have several highly original style at the time. “Well, I’d call it more of a shared feeling than just a sound ; all 4 of us hated parental and school authority, and the square pig world in general, and their religions and wars, instinctually early and with this shared bitterness. We hung out with the outcasts in High School, the bullied, the unrepentant nonconformists. So it was art as an outlet for outrage, really. And what can one say about the first moment in young adulthood when one first hears and sees the cover of Discharge ‘Why?’. It’s just jaw-droopingly dissonant and powerful, still is. Me and Kurt (Habelt, Siege guitarist and co-songwriter) were at the 1st Boston performance of Minor Threat at this art gallery near South Station in Boston

unrecorded songs from the ‘Cleanse The Bacteria’ era – some of which we are playing live right now. But when shit gets ugly politically in America, it becomes time for the propaganda machine to rage anew!”

DOWN FOR LIFE

37


LIFE OF AGONY has a history, all the way back to their explosive debut album ‘River Runs Red’ back in ’93, life hasn’t always been a bed of roses for the quartet. There’s been good times, and bad, but anyone who witnessed their last bout of dates can strongly confirm the band is sounding a stronger force to be reckoned with than ever before. Life Of Agony are untouchable at the moment, and this could be why a buzz is surrounding the arrival of the Napalm Records release ‘A Place Where There’s No More Pain’. Mark Freebase caught up with frontwoman Mina Caputo while they were in studio. Times do change, and trends move on, music cycles evolve and develop, so what was it that has re-ignited this band? “You know things do change so much… with us… individually, musically, and collectively. We broke up after ‘Soul Searching Sun’, we re-grouped for ‘Broken Valley’, things fell apart again [laughs]. We look at life, and where we are now, and we just think fuck off. We are not trying to be the ‘River Runs Red’ band or the ‘Ugly’ band. That was never Life Of Agony’s formula; we are here again now because we

38

DOWN FOR LIFE

care about what is right now. The things that made us bump heads twenty years ago can still make us bump heads today; except we laugh about it now. After my father’s death the inspiration was there to do another record, that was a big motivation for me personally. We are focused more on health, the families, the dogs, the animals, the music, the fans, the listeners, the record, the lyrics, we are focused on what is more important this time… and not the twenty five year old-age bullshit. We have grown up.”

Having been through what most would call living hell, Mina’s excitement towards the bands new offering is an infectious interest. “I feel like this new album is going to be a smash globally. This is a great, great record, and Life Of Agony has written some heavy songs indeed. This time it’s not a case of who could out-write who… but more of like if I’m writing the choruses and you’re writing the verses, and you’re doing the bridge lets get it smashed! In the summer, when I was recording demos for the songs some parts weren’t working


LI FE O F AG O NY

“I don’t regret anything that I have been through, I don’t regret anything that I have put myself through and I embrace everything that I’m going through.” for some of the guys, then some were, and Al would re-write a chorus or a verse and it would become the perfect musical match. I just think we have become really more aware, completely, more so than ever before as far as what we want our listeners to experience”. And you know what, we don’t give a fuck! The chemistry is there more than ever I think, and the chemistry is more potent for sure.”

The enthusiasms continue to flow and the consciousness of team effort is more present this time as opposed to individual offerings. So how was Mina to explain the impact that was created, and what did it directly fashion in line with the band and the new recordings? “The process of this record is more harmonious than every other one, for sure. Time moves on, and I was only recently saying to the boys that I personally feel so good, so whole, laying down vocal tracks for the band. This is already moving in such a great sounding way. I mean I have three songs in the bucket, only seven to go [laughs] we can’t believe it; I am hitting notes that I never thought I really

could. If you look at ‘River Runs Red’ and A-B my vocal to a piano I’m usually in the A, B flat, B register. But I’m hitting C’s and almost C sharp! But having said that I don’t sound complete fucking bollocks! I will never be one of those singers, but it is so intense, the emotional and psychological mind behind the record is just fucking unbelievable and that is sincerely driving me. The band is simply bone crushing and I believe it to be a culmination of everything we have done so far, and in a sense a new birth has happened for us. The dynamics in the band are completely different now, I am ‘out’ almost ten years… we are now ready, we have reacquainted our lives with one another out on the road, rehearsals, dinners and its just all in place.”

Has the gender transition caused any difficulties with the ‘boys’ (as Mina likes to refer to the other band mates) and as all being fathers to little girls, does or did that impact on the way things change out on the road? “No, they get it. They are so sweet, and charming, and there is a special dynamic going on in the band and I really, really feel like we are

plugged into something personally and musically. We are all very brutally and obnoxiously honest to a fault. I’m treated so well, my bags get carried for me; they hold doors open for me. I feel they have transitioned with me, and I am really proud of them. They have known me as a guy all my life, and I have lied to them… my whole life. They all knew that I might have been bi-sexual, they knew I cross dressed, they knew I was a transvestite but they didn’t really know I was a transgender woman slash transsexual, whatever you wanna fuckin’ title it as. The guys did not know how deep I was psychologically imbalanced and what I needed to do in order to evolve my consciousness to experience my happiness of the human experience. The honesty is sincerely cleansing. But, I guess that really is a question for the other guys to answer, and speak about their real deep personal experiences.”

How was the audience going to define the latest offering, or was there any fear they could have boxed themselves into a sort of time lapse over the years? “If you are going to stick Life Of Agony in a genre, ‘cause everybody tries to stick Life Of

DOWN FOR LIFE

39


PICS BY TIM TRONCKOE

40

suicidal back then. I was nearly at my wits end of living. I almost OD’d from my drug habits. I was basically busy dying. I was very young and success came to us very fast, and really big. We are not chasing this fame game like the world on social media, we really couldn’t give a fuck. Look, I’m on hormone therapy which makes me even more fuckin’ crazy than when I was living my fucked up life as a guy – but I am in a truly great place at this moment in time. I am blessed by the loved one’s around me transitioning, so to speak, alongside me; but half the world is bought and sold already… people don’t live their own life, they don’t breathe their own air, they don’t live their own personal freedom. You have to create Agony in a genre, and it’s usually a genre the for yourself as a human being. The world is band doesn’t really belong… the band belongs suffering today, will there ever be no more pain? nowhere and everywhere. We are not exactly The fuckin’ deadbeats will continue to go about metal… we are not exactly hardcore… what we hating on people, the has-beens will keep on have morphed into is really this adult alternative judging people, and spreading negativity. People hard rock band, that we have been trying to are in too much of other people’s business and be since day one. We have always wanted to not focusing enough on their own lives.” surprise ourselves, and I think that’s why we’ve gained a lot of fans, and we’ve also lost a lot As Life Of Agony has always drawn on an emotional of fans. We are not that band who are gonna element for the lyrical content, and judging on the continuously make the same sounds or chase record’s tile, were the contents of ‘A Place Where the singular formula. Let the band grow, let the There’s No More Pain’ going to be leaning towards the fuckin’ music grow. Also in the process look in dark side? the mirror, and you should be growing as well. [laughs] “There is without a doubt a dark People try to box what they don’t understand.” element to the band, yes. Definitely to the lyrics… but I am not being so literal with the So was expansion and growth a contributing fact language. When the boys bring me some fuckin’ to the turmoil, as it was shortly after 1997’s ‘Soul bone crushing rock song that’s gonna make me Searching Sun’ that the band split with the singer, angry, how can I not tap into my own anger then known as Keith. Does the new album title draw and follow suit? I am not going to sing about from personal experiences? meditating on Neptune when Sal, Al, and Joey “Life is magical and it’s beautiful, but it can send me something like that. Take the song be confusing, scary, it can be challenging as we ‘Meet My Maker’ for example, its contents all know, and yes we are still trying to find a regards being fearless about the act / mystery / place where there is no more pain. I’m not sure phenomenon of death. It’s about not really being if that is ever going to happen, I’m not sure if ready to embark on the experience of dying it’s supposed to happen on this earthly plain. any time soon. I feel like I have a lot of work Personally I’m in a very, very, very good spot. to cover and finish, but having said that if the Of course I have my days, just like everybody experience was to come, I would not negate it, else, and sometimes I wanna put a bullet in my I wouldn’t be afraid, I would try to make it as… fuckin’ head [laughs], but I am not gonna act on soft as I could.” it the way I would have twenty years ago. “We were never into the fame game. In fact With the album being scheduled for a sooner release one of the main reasons I quit the band back date, and to be told now it should be a 2017 offering, after ‘Soul Searching Sun’ was because we were what could Mina enlighten the fans with? about to explode. I wasn’t chasing fame, I wasn’t “We… really… are just taking our time. For really having it. I was very, very fucked up, and a whole year Napalm didn’t trouble us really.

DOWN FOR LIFE

Yes we tried to shoot for a full release a little earlier [laughs] but you have to be realistic here. You have to leave room for error. Everyone has got their lives; they have got their kids. The writing process you can’t rush, and I think we had fifteen or sixteen numbers, and we have narrowed it down to ten. Plus we were gearing up for a tour. Along with all that, Sal broke his collarbone. The scheduling of it all didn’t allow us to rush the process. I mean big fuckin’ deal we won’t make a fall release, we’ll have to shoot for spring. But think about this… what would you really want… if you were the label? Would you want the band to rush to finish the thing, or do you want us to take the time and deliver a fuckin’ ruby? Life happens, and we are just thankful and grateful that we are working with a bunch of people on a label that has a ton of respect for the band and trusts the band. We will deliver a bone crushing and fragrant fuckin’ record!”

Past shows focus heavily on the band’s debut album, but is that all to change with the next cycle of touring? “We might. I can’t guarantee anything. The new album is going to top things off for us, but we know why the fans are there also. We cannot ignore that fact. We are not trying to re-create as I said before, but we can’t ignore either. We are not gonna pull the Radiohead card and not play the songs the kids love. It’s important that everyone has fun. We are plugged in now, and there is a certain momentum with the band.”

Life Of Agony has a love of coffee. So much so they have embarked on their own branding. What was the idea behind that and how did it come about? “Coffee is still a drug to me. I’m still a big coffee junkie. The whole band is. Well Alan bought in East Coast Roast and we ended up doing a really cool deal with the coffee company. Basically the East Coast Roast beans make it a really good flavour, and it’s really, really fuckin’ delicious! People have been tweeting the hell out of it, and sending us loads of pictures. It’s kind of perfect as the first thing we do when we land in Europe is go “Yo, we need weed, and we need Cappuccinos”. The tour manager’s first job is to take us to a café, and we get our smoke on, we get the Cappuccino on. We are all Italian too, so we love the coffee, what more can I say? I have always wanted to do an Absinthe, that would be kinda cool.”

As we sum up Mina offers insight into where she’s at emotionally right now. “I ain’t complaining, I love my life, I don’t regret anything that I have been through, I don’t regret anything that I have put myself through, I embrace everything that I’m going through – even if it makes me cry for a week straight. In the end its there to make me a stronger, courageous, more creative, and more compassionate human being.” ‘a place where there’s no more pain’ is out in 2017 on napalm


LI FE O F AG O NY

“People try to box what they don’t understand.” DOWN FOR LIFE

41


SECT were formed when Chris Colohan (Cursed, Burning Love) got together with fellow straight edge vegans Scott Crouse (guitar, Earth Crisis), Ian Edwards (bass, Earth Crisis), Andy Hurley (drums, Fall Out Boy), and James Chang (guitar, Catharsis) in order to make some particularly vicious hardcore that rallied against the ills of society. Down For Life caught up with Chris to find out more information on their 16-minute nail bomb of an album. How long had you known James, Andy, Scott and Ian, and at what point did you decide to form Sect? “Andy’s and my bands had played together in the ‘90s, but we’ve been just a degree of separation apart in friend and band life for a few years now and we finally got to really hang out on a tour that Andy was on with

42

DOWN FOR LIFE

Enabler and I was on with Burning Love a few summers ago. I’d seen EC and played with Catharsis over the years but not really met Scott or Jimmy until this. They’re the best people to be around and navigate making purposeful music with. All those guys know each other since Jimmy/Andy have toured with EC, and they had wanted to do a project for a while. Andy and I had cooked up plans for a project on that summer tour, and the two ideas came together mostly last year. And blammo - Sect.” Before you made music together, what were your aims in terms of how you wanted the band to sound? Were you looking to use elements of powerviolence and grindcore in your music? “I never like thinking about that too much. Every band you ever do is a result of four or

five peoples’ collective input and sound no matter what you plan for, but yeah, we knew we wanted to make something tight, dirty and fucking fast. The basics of the songs themselves are all Scott and Jimmy, and I love the way their two styles come together.” Given how spread out Sect band members live across North America, how easy was it to get together to record the self-titled album? “Hah, that depends on how much you like driving from Ontario to North Carolina. Which luckily I do really enjoy. Andy is in Portland, I’m in Toronto and Scott, Jimmy and Steve live in NC. Scott and Jimmy write together, demo songs at home, and we had to bounce demos and ideas off each other as we went and then block out a week, get together in one place (Raleigh), and do everything.”


SECT

Do you feel the scarcity of time you had together contributed to the urgency and fury of the record? “For sure. We did it all from a Wednesday to a Sunday, in three evening jams and one weekend recording. Largely because Hurley is a fucking beast and blew the drum tracks out of the water in the first ninety minutes, so then we fucking had to step up and bring it all on the spot. Scott tracked some more guitar and bass at home and produced it. But yeah, I think the time constraints we were under have a lot to do with the urgency of the LP’s sound.” There are a few occasions when there’s some fairly violent feedback. Why did you decide to keep that in the songs? Were you attempting to make the music as violent and brutal as you could? “We meant to do that. But it’s violent and brutal because these times are violent and brutal.” The songs deal with issues such as police brutality, the arms trade, nuclear weapons, capitalism, and schooling. Would you say you’ve

become angrier as you’ve gotten older and that the world has become a scarier place in terms of politics and government policies? “I wouldn’t say angrier, I’d say that I’m realising more and more at 41 that my cynical 16-year-old anarchist punk’s paranoid, Orwellian impression of the way the world worked was pretty fucking spot on, and that’s teaching me that instincts are way more worth trusting than intellectual ego, political discourse or anything I’ve ever learned in a classroom. The collateral chaos created by such a crooked socio-military-economic system used to simmer beneath the surface, but is now obviously past the point of even needing alibis or caring to make it look good. It’s spilling out into broad daylight now, especially seen in the events of the last few years, the escalation in outright suppression and authoritarian violence that we’d recognise as Totalitarian if it were any place but the West. Government has only ever been about force, PR tricks, and Stockholm Syndrome. The worst part of the equation isn’t the escalation in violence, it’s the even creepier reality that even that is part of an organised master plan where fewer and fewer people have more power and resources, and more and more people have less, and can be easily made to waste their energies on fake enemies, digital hallucinations, manufactured race wars and scapegoats while the real architects of the situation remain untouched by the crises they make business models out of, never for a moment in danger of the kinds that the rest of us have hanging over our heads at all moments.” ‘Sinking’ is quite a departure from the other songs on the album. Was there a particular incident that inspired you to write that song? “An old friend’s hard drug addiction bringing a story going back half our lives to a very abrupt end. Lamenting the loss of a very gifted person you knew when you have to admit they’re not that person anymore and put your idealised memory of them to rest. That’s about all I want to say on that if it’s cool but ‘Sinking’ is meant as more of a eulogy than a condemnation.”

Considering you run a vegan food business and other band members are in Earth Crisis and Fall Out Boy, how much time and focus do you think Sect can give to supporting the record? “Oh, we’ll support that shit as much as our schedules allow.” Do you find that it’s easier to be a touring straight edge vegan band nowadays than it was when everyone started out in bands in the ‘90s? “Oh my dear fucking god, dude. Yeah, just a little bit. You can get Clif Bars and Kombucha in gas stations if all else fails, and there’s great vegan food in every city in the West at this point. It’s quite a different story from ten or twenty years ago when they’d look at you like they should call the SWAT team out for asking them what aisle the hummus was in. I still end up with a jar of tahini and carrots in the van, but by choice. I’ve been the lone vegan in my bands for years so playing with the guys in Sect is like a belated present from life. All everyone wants to do is hit the raddest vegan spot all the time, and we do.” What are you touring plans for the album? Are you planning on doing weekend tours in North America or do you have more widespread aims for touring? Are you planning on doing any European shows? “Because of our geographical hurdles, two members being parents, and various demanding jobs, we mostly have to work around fests and add three or four shows to them. But it’s working that way. We have three such weekends like that between now and January. With respect to everyone’s existing schedules, we’re all open to anything anywhere that comes up, Europe included. Just not twenty fucking German cities in a row. Give me the Top 5, and then get my ass to 007 in Prague, you know? Seriously though - hardcore, this life, our opinions and ideas and the conversations that come from them all mean a lot to us, and we’re all really stoked to take this wherever it leads.” ‘Sect’ is out now on Reflections Records

DOWN FOR LIFE

43


WITH A BRAND NEW ALBUM, A REFRESHED LINE-UP INCLUDING FORMER SLAYER DRUMMER DAVE LOMBARDO AND SOME MAJOR TOURS INCLUDING A HEADLINE SLOT ON JANUARY’S EUROPEAN PERSISTENCE TOUR, SKATE HARDCORE LEGENDS SUICIDAL TENDENCIES ARE RIDING ON A HIGH. DAVE WROE CAUGHT UP WITH MIKE MUIR TO FIND OUT WHAT KEEPS THE BAND GOING IN A WORLD GONE MAD.

T

HE last Suicidal Tendencies album, ‘13’, came after a thirteen year gap and was recorded over a ten year period. Three years later at the end of February 2016, former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo joined the group and suddenly there was news of a new album, ‘World Gone Mad’, which was in the racks just seven months later. Mike explains the swift turnaround: “Well we actually started before Dave got in the band. I got in touch with Dean (Pleasants, lead guitar) and said ‘Hey you know what if we’re going to do another record we need to work on it now. It can be a Cyco Miko record, but I’d really like to do one more Suicidal’. The last record, when it takes so long to do something, there was a lot involved. Besides my back surgeries, we got to the point that you had so many different people involved, that you keep putting people on it to make them happy rather than to make it better. Then you have so many songs it gets so confusing. “There’s a different focus on this one and I said if it is the last Suicidal record then I want to be very proud of it. So I was picking up my guitar and starting to write. That’s the first time we started playing with Ra (Díaz, bass), we got a friend to sit in on drums and just did some writing sessions and demoed it. Then we were working around our schedule of touring. Obviously having Dave on board was a huge addition and breathed life into it. It became something that was a real joy to do.” In a time when music is widely downloaded for free, Mike’s motivations to get back in the studio were far from financial. “One of the things is it’s not going to sell. You look at a lot of people in the record industry and they come across as pretty desperate. I’m told we could have done

44

DOWN FOR LIFE

three records, a punk rock record, a thrash record and a metal record and it would sell way better because people want you to be one thing, but that’s not life, that’s not who we are. I think a lot of times when people do a record there’s a long thought process starting with what do people want, what are they going to like, what are they going to buy. Fortunately in a day and age when music doesn’t sell, you have an opportunity to go for a bigger cause, to make a statement even though you know a lot of people won’t get.I think you have to challenge people. I realize I’m not smarter than everyone but I realize a lot of people won’t understand what I’m trying to say and what I’m trying to get across but that’s just part of the challenge.” Pandering to what people want was certainly not on the agenda when the band first formed either. “When we did our first record, people now say it’s a punk rock classic but all the punk magazines said it sucked. They talked shit about it. It was not liked, it was not appreciated, it broke the rules. People like to be revisionists but in my house I have all these reviews framed. People look at them and would say ‘Mike, everyone’s talking shit about you, why do you have this up there?’ Does it matter? I don’t care what they say. There was an article one time that said, ‘Mike Muir is the reason why Suicidal should be a huge band, Mike Muir is the reason why Suicidal will never ever be a huge band.’ The management said ‘What does that make you think?’ and I said ‘I think I’m doing something right!’ [laughs] and it kind of frustrated them. This is twenty years ago but I think it’s where you are going, where you want to go and what is the point you want to get across.”


SUICIDAL TEND ENCIES

“Make your own path. That’s how the world becomes a better place.” DOWN FOR LIFE

45


46

DOWN FOR LIFE


or I would never have gone to one again. It really moved you when you got out there and you’re slamming. The next day your elbows would be all bloody and bruised but you felt great, you’re ready to take on the world. If you could take the physical you could take the mental. Over the years the whole Ozzy thing got intertwined. He was able to sing on a song with Infectious Grooves, we did the ‘No More Tours’ tour when he was supposed to be done. Respectfully, I thought he was an old guy then and he was a lot young then than I am now[laughs]! Now we’re doing Ozzfest, which is the final Black Sabbath thing. It’s kind of symbolism.”

O

pening with a quote often attributed to Socrates proving conflict between generations isn’t a new thing, the track ‘The New Degeneration’ conversely questions where that youthful spirit of rebellion has gone. “The irony is that every generation has thought the youth has been terrible and now they actually aren’t; there’s nothing there! I think when the world has unlimited possibilities it surprises me that there is this contradiction with the lack of belief. I don’t know if it’s because they spend too much time on the internet without actually doing things but I look and I take on a bigger picture. Music is something that should only be a small part of your life but if you use it right it can be a major motivator. That’s what we did with skateboarding. Skateboarding music was the soundtrack. You blasted it and then you tried to do your tricks. The hippies did there thing and failed for obvious reasons, then there’s been all these generations with punk rock, metal, thrash, emo, alternative, all kinds of things but there’s nothing there now. Sometimes you need something to kick people in the head to get them to pay attention to what’s happening in the world and get them to want to change it. That’s the one thing I think with punk rock that I got. “With the song ‘One Finger Salute’, there’s a time to say ‘Hey, fuck you’ when you make your stand, but that also means you have a responsibility when you say something’s fucked up to do something about it. A lot of the people that I knew in punk rock that are still living in the past are just happy saying ‘Fuck you’ and they don’t want to

live life. We need to go forward and have something to believe in. So many people say ‘Oh I would die for this’ but I say ‘What are you living for?’ So many people have reasons to die for and it’s ‘Oh how commendable’ and a lot of it I think is stupid. When people have a reason to live it’s going to be a whole better place. That’s why we ended off with ‘This World’. We’ve got to build a new one. Don’t give up on things and go through the motions. We’ve got to build a new world. It’s totally possible.”

I

n the current world, social media has become such an engrained part of life and Mike isn’t necessarily its biggest fan which he touches on in the album’s title track. “Unfortunately now too much of society’s importance is based on a ‘like’ button on Facebook. Too many people are not living their lives. They’re presenting a life to people in a way to make people think that they are happy, so they compete. Like the expression ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’, where everybody was going in debt to get bigger houses just for that perception. Now it’s gone from houses and clothes to Facebook. When I talk about the whole Dogtown skateboarding thing nobody had cameras, you couldn’t afford them. When they tried to do something it wasn’t like, ‘Hey give us the camera, oh wait I have to change the film hang on a second.’ They weren’t worried about it being captured for somebody else. It was that you were doing it for yourself. I still love skating and I’m totally impressed what people can do now

PIC BY LIGHTBOX REVELATION

W

hilst Suicidal Tendencies continue to straddle musical sub-genres, ‘World Gone Mad’ was not intended as a summary of the band’s history. “It’s not so much where you have a buffet that has Chinese, Indian and all the different foods. I think it’s what Suicidal is. We seamlessly went through different styles that people were very close minded to. Metal was very close minded, punk was very close minded. So a lot of metal people didn’t like us and a lot of punk people didn’t like us. We didn’t have a scene so to speak. I never really understood that ‘support your scene’. I either like the band or I don’t. If you don’t like Suicidal you shouldn’t go to see us to support a scene. Just because it’s punk or thrash or metal I’m supposed to like you? I’m supposed to like you because when I hear your music it does something for me; it moves me or makes me think. We never really wanted to repeat what we did. There are certain bands if you go through their collection of records you really couldn’t tell which was the first album and which was the last. They did the same formula and in the days when music sold they’d do the same formula with maybe an extra ballad or two” [laughs]. “I appreciate the hardest thing to do is to do a great slow song but when you listen to the lyrics and know they’re not saying anything they’re trying for the radio. The easiest thing to do is to get up there and say [shouts] ‘Yeah, I want to party, yeah! Let’s get fucked up.’ But when someone says, ‘Hey life’s fucked up, take responsibility’, people don’t want to hear that. I didn’t want to hear that from my Dad but I’m glad that someone was there to tell me that. People say kill the messenger, but the message always needs to be there. People need to do their own journey. That’s the thing with Suicidal we’re not trying to get you to follow, we’re just trying to make sure you’re not following anybody for the wrong reason. Make your own path. That’s how the world becomes a better place.” At first glance the albums opening song ‘Clap Like Ozzy’ might not seem to offer much depth but Mike goes on to explain its intent. “My brother is five years older than me and he used to buy records for me. He’d buy me UFO and things and I’m 8 years old and I’m like ‘What is this?’ He bought me Black Sabbath for one Christmas or birthday, just so he could have them to listen to!” he laughs. “I saw a video of Black Sabbath and you see music all over and everybody’s got their make up on and they’ve got their little outfits and it’s all choreographed, even back then and it all just seemed so fake and contrived. But Ozzy, the dudes just feeling the music, he was doing his thing and it seemed really real to me. It was like this is not to get people to like me; I’m doing it because I like it. It made an impression on me at a young age. Then I got into punk rock. The first punk rock show was amazing, the second was terrible. I was fortunate that I went to the good one first

SUICIDAL TEND ENCIES

DOWN FOR LIFE

47


but sometimes people do something and it’s like ‘Did you get that on film?’ Then they look at it and go, ‘OK, well let’s do it from this angle.’ Everything’s a little Hollywood. I just think it’s really more important if you have five thousand likes and you feel like shit, something’s wrong. Ten thousand likes aren’t going to make you feel any better.”

B

PIC BY LIGHTBOX REVELATION

y the time this issue of Down For Life hits the shelves there’ll be a new US President in the White House. Whilst Suicidal Tendencies have tended to stick to personal politics, there may be a more political release early next year and Mike happily shares some of his thoughts on the current situation. “We recorded a bunch of stuff before Dave joined and we were like ‘You know what this doesn’t really fit’ and some of it was a little more directly political. We’re talking about putting out an EP out on Inauguration Day (20 January 2017). One of the new songs ‘Get Your Fight On’, we’re going to put that out with other songs that fit, I hate to use the world ‘conceptually’, but they go in well. “The Democrats or Republicans want you to think that they’re the ‘be all and end all’ and the only power that there is and I don’t believe that really works. You have someone like Hilary saying, ‘When I get in power I’m going to start fighting for you.’ Well you guys have been in power for eight years, so now you’re going to start fighting? [laughs] What are you saying; you don’t realize the craziness in that comment! “The only way that Trump could ever have been elected is if the Democrats forced Hilary in there. They didn’t want anyone else to run. Bernie Saunders who wasn’t even a Democrat had a chance to win. The guy that had absolutely no concept or any ideas just an old guy that’s never done anything but he just said, ‘Hey, I’ll give you this for free, this will be free, but I’m going to have to tax people because there may not be enough money. ’Who do people think is not taxed enough? People that

48

DOWN FOR LIFE

make more than them. That’s where the line always is. People were asked, ‘OK with your million dollars lottery win what are you going to do?’ They start breaking it down and say, ‘Well hold on a second it’s only half a million as half of it immediately goes to taxes.’ People were in uproar, ‘That’s not right; they’re taking half my money!’ So they’re upset about half of their money going from the lottery, but if someone made a million dollars they’re not taxed enough. People don’t see the hypocrisy in themselves. I believe people have a lot of opportunities if they pursue them but I think if we stay in the same situation things will never change. Basically like what I say in ‘Get Your Fight On’. Every day it doesn’t matter who’s in power, you’re going to sit there and go whoever’s in power is going to affect how your life is? True to a certain degree but if they have more control over your life than you do then something is wrong and really need to get your fight on because I’d be really scared if my life depended on either of those two, absolutely horrified.” Despite that, if he gets in, don’t expect ‘I Shot Trump’ to feature on a future release. “No that’s too cliché, ‘I Shot Reagan’ there’s a lot more deep meaning. It’s about a bullet solving a problem and it doesn’t really work that way. It caused a lot of problems and it’s a statement of the time. You know I had the Secret Service come to my house, it was a whole different world from where we are now. I don’t want to go back.” That Reagan era during which the band emerged was riddled with paranoia but with the help of the media the fear levels appear even more amplified today. “It does make sense for people to be in fear sitting in front of the computer or the TV because that’s the only thing that they can control financially, whether it’s Google or whoever. If you’re in fear you’re much easier to control. We’re living in a day and age where there’s not a lot of solutions, we’re everybody is saying someone else will come up with it or it’s killing somebody. I just don’t understand

that mentality. It happened to me once when someone said, ‘I’ll kill you for my God’ and I said, ‘Well my God doesn’t really want people to be killed’ [laughs]. If that was supposed to impress me I guess you failed. There’s something wrong with the world if people can accept that form of thinking.”

I

n September Suicidal Tendencies appeared at Riot Fest in Denver which was closed by the reformed Misfits featuring none other than Dave Lombardo on the drums. With Jerry Only stating the Misfits are hoping to do more things, Mike considers whether this could conflict with Suicidal’s plans. “I’m sure it will but you know when people say it’s only two shows you know it’s going to do more if it goes well. It’s a situation where you’ve got to look at those guys and I don’t think they even ever had a gold record and psychology is such that it’s like ‘Oh they’re my favourite band’ and that’s a great thing and you should take advantage of that. Now it’s created a tremendous demand and punk rock never was big. It’s like the Sex Pistols when they came back someone said ‘Would you really call this punk rock?’ and I love the Sex Pistols and I went to the second show they played in L.A. because everyone said the first was amazing. It was full of a bunch of people there to be seen. I don’t think that was so much the way it was with the Misfits but I’m very happy for them. It’s a great situation, especially with all the fighting, to move on go forward and be positive.” In January Suicidal Tendencies head out on the Persistence Tour through Europe and with a London show sponsored by Down For Life there is an exciting opportunity to see them headline an event in the UK as oppose to fleeting glances at the Download festival or playing second fiddle to Slipknot. “Well, I wish there was a time machine for the Slipknot thing because I’d love to go back and do it with the band as we have it now.” he considers. “We always joke about it but, England is the only place when every record came out we got a worse and worse response. I’ve always said one day I’d like to go back and do a tour of England and we’ve never really had the opportunity to do that. We’ve gone to France and several times done twenty shows and there just isn’t the, I don’t want to say the same demand as that’s a crazy word, but it’s just something that hasn’t been able to happen. You know my relatives are from Scotland and Wales so I enjoy the fact that we were able to go on tour with Slipknot and play Wales again and some other shows in England. I’ve got a lot of Scottish people that are very upset with me that we haven’t been back in twenty something years. I would love to be able to go back and do that on this record. I think that headlining shows would eliminate a lot of misconceptions and we could make the presentation the way that we want. “We just did our biggest shows we ever


SUICIDAL TEND ENCIES had in South America and there are a lot of places where we’re doing way better than I ever thought would be possible. There’s a lot of excitement with the new record that I’m very happy and appreciative about. People always say ‘When are you going to tour England?’ and ‘I say I don’t know - it’s going to take more than Brexit.’ [laughs] more confusion than that. If we play a handful of clubs that’s what we’ll do. It’s important to me, with my musical background. From the first time I went there, I was in the Virgin offices and there are a lot of bands that I really enjoyed. More so a long time ago, the English were really influential. If it isn’t this record it will never happen so I’m hoping it will happen.

Even festivals, we get offers all over the world but we don’t get any for England. We do Download but we’re on the smallest stage there is. I’d love to be on a festival where people could actually see us.”

T

he Persistence tour sees the band playing with bands from a more hardcore background than many of their recent tours and it’s obviously a comfortable environment. “We come back from Megadeth and we’re headlining shows with Madball opening up for us. We did Persistence with them and before it was called Persistence but that’s a great tour, I love that tour and I think that will be

great. We’re doing that show in London and hopefully after that we can do a whole England tour later on before the year is out. The Persistence tour is a great opportunity to be able to have that many strong bands on one bill at the same time. I think people are so excited about it and with the time of the year they’re crossing it out on their calendar. It’s kind of like a kid at Christmas, they’re so excited about it and they’re saving all their energy up. It’s just an amazing tour, a lot of fun and done really well. You know I always say to do something like that in the States but sometimes the States they don’t know how to do things or

“I had the Secret Service come to my house, it was a whole different world from where we are now. I don’t want to go back.”

DOWN FOR LIFE

49


I did music. It’s because I like it and I don’t care if other people like it. People come to our studio from around the world and I start playing them stuff and they’re like ‘What the hell is this?’ [laughs] and I’m like ‘Ah, just some stuff we did’ and they’re like ‘Wow, this is crazy and this is cool are you putting it out?’ and I’m like ‘No, it’s not’ and they’re like ‘Well why did you do it?’ and I just say ‘Because we can’ and I think there’s something to be said for that. You know when I was younger I used to have a little thing I’d record on cassettes with my guitar and I’d do a song and I would send it to people. It’s just what you do, no reason. It’s just like ‘Hey, here’s something, I hope it means something to you’ and you can’t do that on a large scale I think.”

The ST album discography in full. Suicidal Tendencies (1983) A true hardcore-punk classic that broke the mould. All he wanted was a Pepsi!

Join The Army (1987) Guitarist Rocky George’s arrival brought a metallic crossover soundtrack for skateboarding.

How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can’t Even Smile Today (1988) Thrash was at its peak and Suicidal fully and very successfully embraced it.

Controlled By Hatred / Feel Like Shit …Deju Vu (1989) Covers of four No Mercy songs and one Los Cycos nestle with a couple of originals.

Lights… Camera… Revolution (1990) At their most refined metallic peak, bassist Robert Trujillo introduced elements of funk.

The Art Of Rebellion (1992) Eclectic and mature, the irony of the title is that it was their most melodic release.

Still Cyco After All These Years (1993) Due to a label dispute, the debut was controversially re-recorded with a few extras.

Suicidal For Life (1994) Reacting against their success with their least accessible album that saw Suicidal bow out.

Freedumb (1999) Back with a refreshed line-up and a stripped down sound that revisited their punk roots.

Free Your Soul… and Save My Mind (2000) Blurred the line between Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves with a heavy onslaught of funk.

13 (2013) A ten year gestation period spawned a solid album of Cyco Style metallic punk.

World Gone Mad (2016) With Lombardo on board Suicidal sound rejuvenated with their best in over 25 years.

50

DOWN FOR LIFE

they can’t take a step down, but yes that’s a great tour.” Since the band returned from a hiatus with the ‘Six The Hard Way’ EP in 1998 they have been making use of their own Suicidal Records to release their own material and from related bands. That label’s first release back in 1985 was the legendary ‘Welcome To Venice’ compilation which focused on the local scene and alongside Suicidal featured Beowülf, Los Cycos, No Mercy and Excel. However, talk ten years ago of a follow up ‘Return To Venice’ would appear to have evaporated. “No, it will never happen. Basically some other people were talking to me and I said ‘OK, it you want to make it happen’ but basically you would have a lot of different people that have a lot of views and issues and don’t like a lot of people, so it’s not going to happen. I think so many people say ‘What’s the new generation of Venice bands like?’ and there really isn’t any. So it would be putting out old things rather than something that was actually a little bit of a scene. It would be tapping in on something misleadingly.” Those hoping for some Suicidal Tendencies rarities shouldn’t hold their breath either. “I think that a lot of times we’ll play people stuff and they’ll go ‘Oh wow that’s cool, that’s interesting’ and they ask ‘Are you going to put it out?’ and I go ‘Why?’ If people were just going to listen to the music then that’s fine and you could give it away. But, everyone’s got their opinion on things and there’s so many people that are not going to like things before you even put it out that it goes back to why

S

uicidal Tendencies have had a long association with skateboarding, most blatantly with the song ‘Possessed To Skate’ and its iconic video. Mike’s older brother Jim (aka Red Dog) was a founding member of the Z-Boys and Mike himself was the first none skater to appear on the cover of Thrasher magazine. Earlier this year the band was inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame where they join Mike’s brother. “Well I’m very honoured. I always try to follow my brother whether he likes it or not. [laughs] I was five years younger and tried to tag along. I learned so many lessons from them and watching the original Z-Boys. Nobody knew what was going to happen, they were making up the rules as they went and breaking ones that didn’t apply. There’s a certain amazing honesty and I feel very fortunate that I was able to be exposed to that. You would see people skating in a pool and everybody just kept falling on their knees and nobody had knee pads, they didn’t exist. They’d be all bloodied and they’d just wipe themselves off and have a big smile on their face and get in the line again. I’d sit there and go ‘God, that’s got to hurt’ [laughs] but the hurt wasn’t as important as being able to try something and they wanted to accomplish something that was important. I’d ask my brother what the secret was and he’d say ‘The secret is get your ass back up!’ Everybody wants the secret to life, everybody wants to buy a book, or a button they can push, or a pill they can take and it doesn’t work that way. If you get knocked down you’ve just got to get back up. Learn from your


SUICIDAL TEND ENCIES ‘World Gone Mad’ was started as perhaps a final album, there may still be more to come. “Well when we did ‘Suicidal For Life’ (1994) I told Paul (Northfield, Producer), who also worked on this record, ‘This is the last record I’m doing.’ He said ‘That’s what people say’ and he didn’t realise the sincerity I had behind it. The band was going to stop but it was more than just the band. Now, personally I don’t think I’ve ever been happier in the band. On one side it kind of scares me [laughs] in case something bad happens. I think the most important thing is to be able to appreciate what you have. I saw a band a long time ago. I was thinking there’s nothing worse than seeing a sad old punk band going through the motions. It’s stuck in my head and for us we don’t want to be a nostalgic band. I thought I

wouldn’t make it to be thirty and I’ve been doing the band for almost thirty-five years! There’ll be a time when we can’t do it the way that I think it needs to be done and that’s when it’s time to stop and that time should have already passed. We’re very fortunate. You do it in the sense that you want to be proud and that if I was sixteen or eighteen I’d say ‘Damn, for some old fuckers they sure are kicking it.’” ‘World Gone Mad’ is out now on Suicidal Records Suicidal Tendencies headline the Persistence Tour across Europe in January

“We never really wanted to repeat what we did. There are certain bands if you go through their collection of records you really couldn’t tell which was the first album and which was the last.”

PIC BY LIGHTBOX REVELATION

mistakes, don’t repeat the bad ones and try to get a little further each time. “To be in the Skateboarding Hall of Fame is something that I never would have thought was possible, especially when skating didn’t come easy for me. Skating was difficult because you have a brother that everyone’s ‘Oh Red Dog he rips’ and your five years younger and they expect you to be even better. Some people are naturally good at things but a lot of people that are great they weren’t naturally good but they worked really hard and they’d figure out a way to get better. It’s something I totally respect and the amount of dedication that people have and how far skating has come is amazing. I love to be a part of it and obviously with Suicidal Skates we’ve been able to do collaborations with Mike V and Lance Mountain and now we’re doing one with Jason Jesse, people that I think are absolutely legendary. Not just at skateboarding but as people which is more important. They’re people that are hard to define and I love that. So skateboarding has created a lot of opportunities for me and opened a lot of doors.” You’d think Mike would have quite a story to tell but clearly he does not want to dwell on the past and penning an autobiography is not on his agenda. “It’s funny, I was talking to one of my friends who ended up being a big movie producer and he said ‘Dude I’d love to do a Suicidal movie but nobody would believe it.’ [laughs] I think that kind of sums it up. Everybody has their alcohol, drugs and time to change things. Everybody remembers the ‘good old days’ and you know they were miserable the whole time but they remember things differently. Even my brother when they were doing the Z-Boys movie, he’s sitting there going ‘Wow, that’s not what I remember happened.’ Ultimately is it going to be something that makes the world a better place? No. For me to say maybe this will help you, I think it would come off wrong. I spend a lot of time talking to people face to face at shows and I think that’s more of a reflection of where my heart is. On the same side, I’ve always said I wanted to write a book about my Dad because I’ve met so many people that always said ‘You know if I had a Dad like yours I wouldn’t have had all the problems, ended up in jail or this and that’ and I don’t know if that’s true but they have an excuse and I don’t have that excuse and I’m glad I don’t. That’s why sometimes I say things because I want to eliminate people having an excuse and it might come off wrong but I say ‘If you need a father you could borrow mine.’” The band and Mike are obviously in a very positive place right now and whilst

DOWN FOR LIFE

51


FROM THE BIG CHEESE VAULTS...

52 52

DOWN FOR LIFE


SUICIDAL TENDENCIES

DOWN FOR LIFE

53


Punk rock institution NOFX are back with their fInest album in years. James Gates has an epic chat with legendary frontman Fat Mike to get his opinions on the band being around for over three decades, his new musical, crossdressing and much, much more. THIRTY YEARS IN THE BUSINESS “It doesn’t feel like we’ve been doing this for thirty years. Maybe it does. I guess I’m still doing it because it’s really fun. You get to travel, you get to do silly shit. I have the best job in the world, hands down. I get to see the world with my best friends, three hundred and sixty five days a year and perform five nights a week for an hour and a half. Actors seem like they have good jobs but it’s not nearly as good. They have to get up early, work ten or twelve hour days. Being in a punk band is the best job in the world because we don’t even practice that much. We practice one night before tour, that’s it. And we know something like a hundred and fifty songs, we can mix it up every night. I think my favourite song to

54

DOWN FOR LIFE

play live is ‘Herojuana’, I just really like the ending. “There’s no way I’d believe that I was playing punk rock for a living, let alone be successful and have a label for twenty five years, that’s really what I think is crazy. I never really thought of Fat Wreck Chords as a legacy or an institution until some kid made a movie about it last year. I thought it would be the worst movie ever but I watched it and I was like ‘Fuck, this is pretty good!’ We’re not like any other label. Even surviving is an anomaly.”

HOW I BECAME A PUNK “I went to a punk show before I even knew what punk rock was. I was supposed to go see a movie with my friend but he said ‘Hey, you

wanna go see this punk band instead?’ and we saw Killing Joke at The Whiskey and I thought ‘Oh my god this is fucking awesome’ and I got into punk rock after that. Then I went out searching for punk records at used record stores. I saw a girl at my school wearing a Misfits shirt so I went out and found The Misfits. The Ramones first record was the first album I bought. I got it on cassette. I think The Sex Pistols’ ‘Nevermind The Bollocks’, that was the first album I fell in love with. There’s nothing like it, really, and it sounds so fucking good, still. I’d just blast it daily. It was the second piece of vinyl I bought.”

HOW THE PUNK SCENE HAS CHANGED “It’s kind of a nice scene now, nice people.


N O FX

When I grew up in LA it was fucking barbarians. It was violent gang members and surfers and people who only came to shows to fight. But that was LA, that wasn’t the world. It was not an open-minded, loving scene. It was music based on violence. If you listen to a Suicidal record or Circle Jerks or Wasted Youth, it was all about violence. I went to those shows constantly and it was a bloodbath. You never didn’t see a fight. It made me move to San Francisco. San Francisco was still violent, because there are a lot of skinheads here. You might get beat up, but in LA everyone was getting stabbed or shot and it was a lot shittier. The opening band for us once got stabbed on stage. He said something about skinheads and a skinhead just went onstage and stabbed him. People have a hard time imagining what it was like. It was fucked. It’s nice now.”

THE NEW RECORD “I’ve always done records sober. I’ve been always been like ‘Okay, I’m gonna concentrate and work twelve hours a day and pay attention’. This time I was kind of hooked on drugs so I was drinking and doing blow every day

and I think that’s one of the reasons it has a different sound. I was very emotional and I’m singing emotional lyrics and I was having a good time so I experimented and it’s a low rawer. We weren’t trying to do a different-sounding record, but out of nineteen songs we picked the thirteen most devastating and we didn’t play the ‘fun’ songs. After the book came out, it’s not the book people expect, it’s really freaking people out. After we put all this really personal stuff out there, it was like ‘Oh, I can sing about this shit now’, and they kinda go hand in hand, the record and the book. “It took like two months but we didn’t work every day. Our producer wanted to take weekends off and sometimes after about eight hours I would say ‘I’ve had enough’. He had the time, he wanted to make a great record, we wanted to make a great record, we didn’t want to really rush so there was a lot more time to play around with stuff. It didn’t feel like work, it felt like it was a really fun record to make. Our drummer and El Hefe, they just come in and do their job, you never see them again. They’re done after like three days, they’re gone. Eric (Melvin, guitarist) wrote a bunch of

shit and his songwriting ratio is pretty bad, he’ll write ten riffs and there’ll be one good one but he did write three really good ones so I used ‘em. He sings on this album and he’s got a great fuckin’ hardcore voice. The opening track ‘Six Years On Dope’ is like a punch in the face. We have a song that doesn’t sound like any other NOFX song.”

THE BAND’S NEW BOOK “The only thing I was worried about was the first line: ‘The first time I drank piss was on a fire escape in LA’. Call me Pishmael! I just don’t want my daughters to get the repercussions of that or be made fun of by their friends because I don’t think they’re gonna read the book but their friends might. But the other stuff, I mean I talk about hella shit. The one thing I left out was that I got tits once. I got saline injections, like bags of saline put into my boobs in Jamaica once so I had tits for, like 12 hours. It was so fun. It really hurt going in, though. It was like an hour and a half of shit going into your chest but then I’m like ‘I’m dressed up in latex and drag and we’re walking down the beach together’ and I could not stop touching my tits.”

DOWN FOR LIFE

55


CROSS-DRESSING “After the book came out people are coming up to us after shows and saying ‘I never did this and I always wanted to and you’ve made me feel okay about it now’, or boys dressing like girls coming to our show. That’s incredible. I’ve had a transgender person in my BDSM family for seven years, I live around transgender people and I’m a very open, sexual person. But growing up in the punk scene, there was no crossdressing, you’d get your ass kicked. Even though I’ve done it forever and all my friends know about it, it just wasn’t something I was public about. And there’s such a big difference between transgender and transvestite. I mean they don’t

56

DOWN FOR LIFE

even like each other. People say you can’t use that word ‘transvestite’, I’m like, ‘I will call myself whatever I fuckin’ want to’, I’m fucking Rocky Horror, I’m old skool. But Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!), good for her. She was the biggest person to come out as transgender at that time, and I don’t know anyone who’s openly transvestite. “In private I’ll dress full, but if I’m playing shows I like wearing a dress. It’s very freeing, you know? It was in Luxembourg, I was wearing a pink nightie and I just told my wife ‘Let’s go out to eat, I’m just gonna wear this’ and I felt like a punk rocker again, everyone was staring at me on the street and we went to a nice restaurant,

it was fucking awesome. Wearing a dress and going around town or riding my bike, it’s fuckin’ super fun.”

THE FIRST THING I EVER JERKED OFF TO “My mom had Hustler magazine and shit like that but it didn’t really do anything for me, and then I read a Penthouse magazine of hers and it was about a wife who forcibly cross-dressed her husband and tied him up and did all kinds of fucked-up shit. And that was the first thing that really turned me on. I was like twelve and that’s when I started experimenting with it. That when I was eighteen, me and my girlfriend used to play around like that, too. She’d dress me up. So it’s


N O FX drinking a little bit at shows but I’m off the fucking hard drugs I tried to get off of, so that’s been going for about four or five months, and my wife’s been totally sober for five months so we’re in a happy place. “It wasn’t as hard getting to that place as it could have been, and I’ve always been kind of a responsible drug user, so even though I was hooked on painkillers I was only doing like 60 milligrams a day, which isn’t gonna kill anybody but it was annoying because I couldn’t quit. And I had all this shit to do, I was on tour, I had to record an album, then I had a book tour and I couldn’t quit and then I planned a detox and I went to detox and I got off the drugs in, you know, a week. I didn’t vomit at all, I had stomach cramps and day six sucked but I never hit a bottom, that’s the thing. I was just sick of doing drugs. I was like ‘This is not fun, this is a habit’ so I’ve quit now. I’m drinking still, you need a little vacation. Being at home, it’s not a problem, we don’t have alcohol in the house and after tours I would quit anyway because we have kids and stuff. But being on tour and everyone around you partying, that’s hard.”

MY NEW MUSICAL

always been a thing for me but not a big thing. BDSM was way hotter. “It was all I fucking looked at. It was hard to find back then, there was no internet. I would find an ad in a magazine, it was an inch tall and that would have to be enough so I would try and jerk off over it. When I went to college my girlfriend and I used to tie each other up and then I’d always have like a dungeon at my house so I’ve been doing BDSM since I was eighteen. Now I’m married to a dominatrix.”

WHERE MY LIFE IS NOW “My life is in a much, much better place. I mean, I did eighty five days totally sober and I started

“My musical, Home Street Home, is supposed to be opening in New York next year so that’s what I’m doing next. I started writing it just as a little thing about twenty years ago. I wrote six songs, then didn’t do any more songs and then I just decided to take it really seriously about seven years ago. “I like musicals, I saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show onstage when I was like sixteen but Hedwig And The Angry Inch is also pretty fantastic and I saw Avenue Q three times. The guy who worked on that, Jeff Marks, is our co-writer. I think we’re gonna do much better than the musical version of American Idiot, that wasn’t a musical that was just Green Day songs with people dancing and some kind of a story. This is something that we’ve been working on for seven years, and Mike Dirnt from Green Day saw it and he was absolutely blown away because it’s not like American Idiot, this is a classic musical. It’s heartbreaking, the crowd laughs, they cry and we played it in front of a crowd of senior citizens in Connecticut to see how it would work and no-one left, they all loved it. “We’re not doing this to have a little musical for our local theatre, we’re going for all the marbles. The story is about homeless teenage kids or squatters and how they got there, and the story of one in particular, and you don’t find out why she’s on the street for a while and it’s about chosen family and how that’s much more important than your real family, in many cases. I mean for punk rockers it almost seems universal that you find yourself in a family of friends that you’re closer to than your blood family. It made me want to tell that story because I know it, I stayed in squats. I didn’t live in one but I lived in my van for four and a half months and you know, through the all ‘80s, we were squatters. You’d stay in people’s houses, you’d stay in the van, and

my wife is the same way. She stayed in another house with thirteen people with low rent and lived on the street so it’s what we know.”

MY FUTURE AMBITIONS “I want to get one of my songs into a Tarantino movie. I’ve met him, we’ve hung out a couple of times. He’s cool, my friend invited me along. She said: ‘I think you’re the only one of my friends who can keep up with him. He’s a talker, you’re a talker, but you’re also a listener’. It’s a tough hang because I didn’t want to be a fan, I didn’t just want to talk about his movies. It turned out we had a lot of commonalities. But I didn’t float the idea of getting one of our songs in his movies. The Gimme Gimmes actually had a song in the last Scorcese movie, ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’, so that’s kind of a milestone. But I actually want to write a song for Tarantino.”

WHAT I’M PROUDEST OF “I’m gonna say Home Street Home, I’ve never put so much work into anything in my life and it sucks. I mean, can you imagine recording a record and people say ‘No it’s not quite there yet, you have to work on this’ and every time you change one song you just change every song. It’s like it’s incredibly complicated but we’re ready to open next year. It will make it to the UK. Our producer did Rent and Avenue Q and Hamilton, he’s good.”

THE BAND’S LOWEST POINT “I think the low point was 1988 on our first European tour. When we were playing hardcore. I mean we were a hardcore band for our first seven years or whatever. Nobody liked us, we had a show shut down once, we had the opening band Drowning Roses headline over us, it was like ‘Shit, we thought we might have a chance in Europe but no-one likes us in Europe either’ and I was about to give up but then I heard Bad Religion’s ‘Suffer’ on the last day of the tour and I was like ‘Oh yeah, duh! Punk rock! LA punk rock, it’s great!’ Why were we trying to sound like a New York hardcore band? We’re a melodic hardcore band, we always have been. When people say we’re pop-punk I’m like, ‘What the fuck are you talking about?’. All our songs are hardcore songs, they’re original hardcore but I just started to realise you could sing a melody over these chord progressions and that’s really the only difference. I learned how to write a melody.”

MY THREE FAVOURITE ALBUMS OF ALL TIME “I’d take ‘Abbey Road’ by The Beatles, ‘How Can Hell Be Any Worse?’ by Bad Religion and ‘The Wall’ by Pink Floyd. Oh wait, I take Pink Floyd back. ‘Ziggy Stardust’ by David Bowie. That’s one of my top five most-listened-to records, it’s a perfect album.” ‘First Ditch Effort’ is out now on Fat Wreck Chords

DOWN FOR LIFE

57


58

DOWN FOR LIFE


BU RN It’s hard to believe that over a quarter of a century has passed since BURN released their debut EP. Since then the band’s story has been more stop than start, with only a handful of recordings to show. But it seems things are about to change: new shows, tours, an EP and, soon, a new album. So what has reignited Burn’s flame? Calum Harvie finds out from guitarist Gavin Van Vlack. T’S barely beyond breakfast time on a Friday morning in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Another working week is reaching its natural conclusion; fatigued commuters battle through their respective rat runs, salivating at the delicious prospect of a couple of days off from the grind ‘n’ hustle of the 9 to 5. It’s a death march for the weary, but one New York resident is refusing to walk in line. In fact, ‘weary’ is the last word one would associate with Gavin Van Vlack. Despite the early hour of our conversation, the Burn guitarist hits the ground running, talking animatedly about anything and everything with a palpable feeling of intense enthusiasm and appreciation. Gavin, it’s fair to conclude, is happy in life. And no wonder – these are halcyon days for Burn, and specifically for mainstays Gavin and vocalist Chaka Malik. Although they first congregated in 1989, Burn have struggled, historically, to gain sufficient momentum to maintain cohesion for more than a few years at a time. An initial hiatus began in 1992, ending nearly a decade later with the release of the ‘Cleanse’ EP. Thereafter followed another lengthy period of silence, re-emerging in early 2015 to play a show. And this time something clicked, things began to happen: more shows at home and abroad, a new EP, ‘From The Ashes’, released on Bridge 9, and the foundations of a new full-length album laid. If it’s hyperbole to describe Burn 2016 as ‘reborn’, then we can at least consider them revitalised. Gavin chuckles at the idea, cautioning, “Lost time is lost time; it’s the one thing you can never get back. We’re trying to make the best of the time we have right now. This is the path that Burn is going to take, and everything has been for a reason, in that sense. To be able to do this right now is amazing. If life was fair, I’d be dead or in jail! There are some amazing people who aren’t with us anymore who would have loved to have the opportunities which have been put in front of any of us right now.” That may sound a little fatalistic, especially coming from a man whose approach to life is characterised by purposeful and focused action. But as Gavin talks in greater detail about the circumstances which lead to

I

“To be able to do this right now is amazing. If life was fair, I’d be dead or in jail!”

the current revival of Burn, it becomes apparent that he places great importance on being adaptable, on having the capacity to take advantage of whatever opportunities serendipity may throw your way. “It was interesting,” he laughs. “The way it came about was through a mutual friend of ours, Sacha Jenkins of Mass Appeal Magazine. He’s kind of a renaissance man, he plays with Danny Diablo, he’s produced a large amount of documentaries, is working on a couple of books about graffiti culture, hip-hop culture, but beyond anything he’s a fan [of Burn] and he said, ‘As a fan, I’d love to see you guys get up on stage again.’ And Chaka and I hadn’t talked in a lot of time. We’d had some disagreements; we just weren’t seeing eye-to-eye on a lot of stuff. But we realised at a certain point that it was a lot of childish ego shit and when you’re a full-grown adult, you need to let that shit go. You realise how fleeting time is, and how non-refundable it is. In the grand scheme of things, we don’t get this time back, and I thought, yeah, I love those songs. The energy Chaka and I had on stage together was really cool, and it just seemed to make sense. Before, whenever it came up, it just didn’t seem to make sense. There were things going on in both of our lives - we had other priorities. So, we decided we were going to do it, but we didn’t have an idea about where we were going to play or what shows we were going to do. But Sacha has good contacts with a lot of promoters and of course knows Cousin Joe [of Black N’ Blue Productions], so he hit us up - I’ve known him for a while - and he said, ‘Dude, you’ve gotta let me do this Burn show.’ And the whole experience was great. We did a show with Sick Of It All and I couldn’t have asked for a better evening.” or many bands, that could have been the end of the journey: reunite, do some shows, wallow in nostalgia, make a few bucks, job done. Not the case with Burn, though. Keeping things different, bucking a trend, is in Gavin and Chaka’s DNA. It’s shaped not only the way they do business, but also the way they create music. Ever since Burn kicked off their selftitled debut recording in 1990 with ‘Shall

F

DOWN FOR LIFE

59


PICS BY LIGHTBOX REVELATION

“There’s a respect we deserve, and there’s a respect we need to earn. That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

60

DOWN FOR LIFE


BU RN Be Judged’, the pair have made no secret of their willingness – arguably a compulsion – to incorporate influences originate from beyond the conventional cannon of hardcore. That much, at least, has not changed in the intervening 25 years. “In a way yes,” Gavin nods, “but at the same time a lot of our musical influences had broadened. So there were things we had started doing which had become habits for us, but totally new to each other. It was kinda neat. Quite honestly, those songs are great songs, but I could probably, in a week’s time, put together a handful of young twenty-year-old musicians that could go out and do those songs, if not as well, then better than we did. But there was a certain energy about, and we started playing with the songs a little bit - we don’t play the songs exactly how they are on the record. Things change, and they grow, and we realised that, so we started tinkering with ideas. And it was interesting, because at that juncture we were playing with Durijah Lang and Manny Carrero. Combined, they are a beast. They’re no longer playing with us right now, we have a new rhythm section - Durijah had got offered something else that we knew he wanted to do, and which made for sense for him, and Manny had some stuff with his family. But, working with those two guys was just a blast. I didn’t feel it the same because I wanted to do different stuff, and they totally played into it. They were like, ‘Yeah, let’s fuck with that!’ It came across really well.” “Also, Chaka didn’t want to do it if we were just going to go out and do the same old set. And I didn’t either. I’m very much a believer in fair trade, and I believe that if you play then you owe to your audience to come up with some new material every couple of years. So, we’ve a new rhythm section - Abbas Muhammad is our new drummer and Tyler Krupsky is on bass. We’re working on the new album, doing some shows, and then we’re going in to record with Kurt Ballou and release the album on Jacob Bannon’s Deathwish label. Feed the flame, so to speak. The idea of being a ‘legacy act’ doesn’t appeal to me. I mean, the term ‘legend’ means that you’ve already done your best stuff - this is straight from Toby Morse of H20. And there’s a lot of us that agree with that.” He adds, “There were some articles which were written during the whole recent Civ controversy where people were like, ‘Oh, well New York hardcore has aged like baloney in the sun.’ We didn’t get mentioned in that, but there were some bands that did...I dunno...it falls into the societal norms of ‘Let’s dispose of experience and let’s fetishise youth.’ Now, I’m not say that the kids are stupid - the kids are not stupid - but this scene needs to have both potential and experience. I’ve started to hate the word scene, and I’m trying to use the word ‘community’ more. Communities don’t exist for a long time without the people who have experience, as well as people who will take that experience and build something new.” But Gavin notes that New York hardcore, just like any other enduring community, has undergone important changes. “I think that with the internet making the world smaller, it

has changed a lot. There’s not as much of actual physical interaction, although I believe that somewhere out there is a group of street kids that absolutely have each other’s backs. I was raised in New Hampshire until I was 13 years old, and then we moved down to the New York area. And it was interesting to see, because I’d always been an outsider, and you realised that the hardcore scene was a group of outsiders. The internet also makes people very brave. The bullying takes on a different sense - it’s less physical but more, let’s say, ‘pseudo-intellectual’. It is very different, but I’m not going to be one who says, ‘Oh, you kids don’t know what it’s like.’ A lot of them weren’t even alive when hardcore first started, and it’s not their job to know what it was like. It’s our job to teach them how to deal with a situation before it happens. For guys from my generation, if we’re not teaching what we’ve learned from our mistakes, we’re doing the community any fucking service.” ricks ‘n’ mortar are important in this context too, though – it’s not just about people. The neighbourhoods in which the hardcore bands of the ‘80s grew up have changed, industrial decay giving way to post-industrial gentrification. Burn’s home was in South Williamsburg, an area once referred to only half-jokingly as The Killing Fields, but that area in 2016 bears little resemblance to its 1980’s progenitor. “We all have our different opinions about what’s awesome, but I fucking loved it,” Gavin says. “I thrive on kinda urban blight - I see beauty in it. At the point at which we were in Williamsburg, and it was experiencing a blow back from Baker Beach, where the original Burning Man gathering took place, it was filled with these abandoned warehouses and an artistic community that took advantage of that. There were great artist’s bars, cool performance spaces. As a graffiti writer there was an opportunity to go out and spend the whole day doing a mural with your friends, without having the cops roll up. And if the cops did turn up, they’d usually just hang out and shoot the shit with you. People will be think that those days are gone. But, no, there are situations like that in Detroit and New Orleans, Camden New Jersey. These environments are out there. You just have to find them. But at that point, it was a huge influence on us. I’m not saying it was some kind of candyland - if you wanted to walk across the Williamsburg Bridge, you had to go in a pack of four or five people, because you’d get jumped, beaten and mugged! I had friends out there who were bicycle messengers, who had to

B

basically ‘wolf pack’ across. Because, if you went yourself, then guys would run out, pull you off your bike and steal it.” hile he talks fondly about his band’s former home, there’s no hint of regret or sadness in Gavin’s voice as he considers its transformation. Just as he accepts the way in which Burn’s career has played out, so does he embrace the natural evolution of their spiritual home. “There’s an Apple Store and an Equinox Fitness there now! But it’s followed a logical path, that’s the thing. People want to live where the arts and culture are. That’s very much where Bushwick is right now - a lot of art, culture, music. It probably has another five to eight years to go. We opened up here about a year and a half ago, a Muay Thai gym. And even within that year and a half, it’s very different. And again, what drew me to this neighbourhood was that there was this community of art and music going on. I love that kind of stuff. And before Williamsburg, it was the East Village. If you look back at the East Village of Roger Miret, John Joseph, guys like that - that was a very, very different [place]. It was a very dangerous area - New York in general was dangerous back then. But that neighbourhood now - a neighbourhood where I opened a squat - it’s changed massively. You can’t fight against that kind of change, it’s a waste of time. It’s going to happen.” Gavin’s attention, then, is very much on the here-and-now. “I’ve never been one to really dwell on the past, and always been iconoclastic about it. I think that if you spend time sitting down lamenting that you didn’t see the original line-up of the Cro-Mags, there’s a band out there right now who are just as vital, amazing and inspiring. Get out there and look! Don’t close your ears to anything. There’s so much great and cool stuff going on musically right now. It’s an awesome time to be doing music. So we did a Bane tour, an American Nightmare tour and we’re going out with Incendiary - we’re opening for these guys and people will say to me, ‘Oh, but you guys were around way back...shouldn’t you be headlining?’ But that’s not what matters. These bands have been around and put in the fucking work. Just because we were around ‘first’ doesn’t matter. There’s a respect we deserve, and there’s a respect we need to earn. That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

W

‘From The Ashes’ is out now on Bridge 9 Records

DOWN FOR LIFE

61


Cro-Mags vocalist John Joseph has never been a man to rest on his laurels. After a turbulent upbringing he turned his life around and aside from fronting the seminal hardcore band he is an accomplished author, charity fundraiser and tri-athlete. Miles Hackett caught up with the man himself to get the lowdown on his tireless work and of course his new band BLOODCLOT. What we find is a man turning adversity into positivity to combat the naysayers and using it as fuel for inspiration.

F

IRSTLY I congratulate John as a recent competitor in the World Iron Man triathlon in Hawaii, he gave the back story as to his motivation to do it. “It was amazing thanks. For about 9 months before the race I did a bunch of benefit concerts, just all kinds of fundraising. Bands helped out, people helped out, it was an amazing effort and we raised a good amount of money. We raised $50,000 dollars for this boy Andrew Owens who suffers from NF, he has tumours all around his body and one on his brain and the money went directly to help the family. Being around this kid was very inspiring because the tumours are on his nerve endings, so the pain that he has to deal with every single day really inspired me not only in my training but in the race. I put in as many hours as I could for the training but I’ve got so much other stuff going on at the moment, unfortunately I’m not a professional tri-athlete that has the luxury of full on training, I have to work too. I did my best out there, I got it done, it’s my 8th iron man. It’s something I like doing y’know.” This year is the 30th anniversary of the seminal Cro-Mags album ‘The Age Of Quarrel’, did John ever anticipate the legacy that record would leave all those years ago and that he would still be playing it live? His voice raises. “Nah, maybe if you sit there like a narcissist, cos believe me some of the former members of this band do think that this shit’s gonna make everyone re-think why they picked up an instrument. I mean when you’re really going through it, unless you’re a narcissist thinking shit’s gonna change

62

DOWN FOR LIFE

the world, you’re just there doing it, being humble. You know, the thing about us still playing is, Mackie’s the original drummer and I’m the original singer, we both wrote the music and all this stuff about Mackie and I didn’t write it, well if it wasn’t for the four of us – me, Mackie, Parris and Harley the record never would’ve happened, I’d never take that away from one of those guys. Parris wrote most of the music and Mackie too. If you remove any of the twenty five percent’s from ‘The Age Of Quarrel’, it wouldn’t come out the way it did. We don’t even play that much, we play the odd festival here and there, most of them benefits. I don’t go touring as the Cro-Mags all over the country, running it into the ground. We do a few shows a year. People wanna hear the songs, me and Mackie wrote it, so why the fuck not? It’s a timeless record

cos it’s still relevant, there’s still struggle on the streets, there’s always gonna be shit going down. There was a time where we all got along before the back stabbing started and that was the period that album was written in, that’s why it was special.” A couple of months ago John posted a hardcore family tree from an old 1981 fanzine called The Big Takeover online. On it, it names him in the line-up of the Cro-Mags. Many


Pic: Aga Hairesis

JOHN JOSEPH

DOWN FOR LIFE

63


“YOU KNOW PEOPLE WILL BE GOING WILD ON THE DANCE FLOOR BUT IT’S REALLY MOTHERFUCKERS WORKING OUT THEIR SHIT.” factions over the years have disputed he was the original singer, in his eyes this puts the record straight. “I pasted that up cos there’s been all this bullshit talk that I’m not the original singer and that proves fucking hands down that I was and why everybody quit! It was because of fuckin’ Harley’s attitude man, go and ask anybody who’s been in the band. The only person who says it wasn’t his fault is him! Look at the ‘Near Death Experience’ album, I only wrote the lyrics and he wrote the music but the thing was he stole all the advance money from the label and got us in a contract with Century Media who’ll back up the whole shit. All the money got taken and I was under contractual obligation to go and do Both Worlds but they wouldn’t release me until ‘Near Death Experience’ was finished and we went out and toured it which lead to me being snitched on by that dude to the cops! There’s a lot of lies being talked about in books and all kinds of shit, the real deal is the real deal, down to the reason I left before ‘Best Wishes’, because he robbed the tour money. All this aside for a period of time that record was magical and we go out, play it and have a good time. We’re not trying to release any record or do all this ‘I own the name and I’m taking what’s mine’, we just go out and have fun, it ain’t about ego most of it in fact is for charity. I think that’s why a certain person got sore cos the shows fuckin’ sell out and people come for the music and not the beef, I never talk shit on

stage and just play the music, that’s what the fans wanna hear.”

J

ohn is often involved in charity work whether it be through his Iron Man challenges or helping at a soup kitchen in NYC. Back in June he and some others set up a benefit show for Bad Brains guitarist Gary ‘Dr Know’ Miller to help pay his medical bills after he survived pneumonia. John gets on the defence as he begins to tell the story. “I set that up and Harley goes online saying Doc didn’t know about it, and that it was ego and a scam to make money. This is how this shit went down, that dude didn’t even go see Doc in the hospital! I did, I went to intensive care praying next to Doc, that guy’s a friend. The thing is that Doc has been a big brother to me since I met him in March of 1980. When that happened to Doc I went right up there and Joe from Black N’Blue called me and said they’d got a permit from the dudes that do the crusty punk shit in the park. At this point

CRO-MAGS Pic by Stephen J Messina

PIC BY KIM GRAF

64

DOWN FOR LIFE

Doc’s hospital bills were over six figures, so we had an idea of doing a benefit for Doc. So I called him up and he broke down at the idea, he was so stoked that someone would do that for him. This was day one, not for ego, just to support a friend – the godfather of hardcore punk, help to PERFORMING WITH THE REGULATORS pay his bills. So Joe and the crew, including Drew Stone (from Antidote NYC) set up the logistics, got the bands and the stage, they carried the torch man. We raised $25,000 in cash in Dr Know’s hand at the end of the day. It was a beautiful day and a great thing. It was done out of compassion and homeboy tried to shit on the show, the dude started spreading shit that Bad Brains knew nothing about it. I called up Doc and he said ‘why’s Harley doing this man?’ and I said ‘it’s cos he can’t come up on stage and play with us, that’s why’. The Bad Brains put it up on their page and that shut that whole shit down anyway. Every time you do a beautiful thing there’s always gotta be someone who’s gotta throw some negative shit up. They’re fault finders, they’re like the flies landing in shit. Instead of being the honey bee and wanting the sweet goodness out of life.”

C

onversation turns to his new band, Bloodclot. You can tell by his excited tone, that he’s stoked on this as he gives a potted history of how the band got together. “Well AJ (Leeway) couldn’t do a Cro-Mags show a few years ago down in North Carolina and I called up Todd Youth, ‘Yo, do you think you can pull this off?’ and he turned up without a rehearsal or anything, he just came out and nailed it. We’d been working on some stuff in the past and it rekindled our interest in music and he’d been working on these songs but I didn’t have the time to get out to LA to record with him. So we had a bunch of songs ready to go, then it was about the stars aligning to make it happen. I went out to LA to compete in an Iron Man challenge and I tore my calf muscle a month before, I just couldn’t do it. So I tried to turn a negative situation into a positive


JOHN JOSEPH one, so I called up Todd and he booked studio so went in and tracked a demo. We did four songs and it came out like ‘holy shit’ so a friend of mine who heard it and was blown away by it, gave it to Brian at Metal Blade, he heard it and was like ‘Yo, I wanna put this out’. Then we had Joey Castillo from QOTSA join and Phil (Caivano – Monster Magnet), but this is not a side project, this is our main band now and Phil decided he was going to go and do another record with Monster Magnet, it was his priority which is cool but we needed to get the record done so we parted ways amicably. Joey asked Nick Oliveri if he wanted to do it, he was like ‘fucking I’m in’ and then played bass on all the tracks. The funny thing is, if you see that Cro-Mags ‘We Gotta Know’ video, when all those dudes run into the arena, that’s Nick that throws his hands up with the long blonde hair wearing a Cro-Mags shirt [laughs] The whole thing has just come together amazingly, it’s just positive vibes. These are all veterans, who’ve been doing this shit for a long time and it’s a real pleasure and honour to be playing with people this talented. “ Having had a sneak preview of the Bloodclot record we can safely say it rips, old school style. It’s raw and punky but don’t expect a Cro-Mags part II. What was it that influenced the sound that came out of them? “We went in and just played what we wanted to play. It’s not like we wanted it to sound like somebody else. To me, I’m into hardcore punk, not hardcore metal y’know. Whoever else does - that’s cool, I even like some of that shit myself but what moves me is the shit that I grew up on, the punk and hardcore shit. Lyrically I write about everything, I don’t preach it’s not my game, it’s just my observations and where I see things in the world and I think a lot of people are going to identify lyrically with what’s being said. That’s what I did on ‘The Age Of Quarrel’, I took songs like ‘Hard Times’ and put my little touch on things. This band is 100% team effort, nobody can say here ‘I did everything, I wrote everything, I wish I didn’t have these guys in the band!’ everybody here is putting in a 25% each toward the band, it’s a group effort. We’ve worked hard on this record, it wasn’t some hack job. We took a year writing it and getting it together. I was meant to get that injury as so much good has come out of it. My life has been about taking negative situations and turning them into positive ones. “

people and all this negative vibes bullshit. Music is supposed a positive thing that heals people. You know people will be going wild on the dance floor but it’s really motherfuckers working out their shit y’know [laughs]. I’ve had some straight laced Iron Man dudes come to our show and they’ve been like ‘get the fuck outta here!’ and not even comprehend what’s even going on, I’ll be like ‘those people actually like each other’ [laughs].” As we finish up John asks if he can give his next charity venture a shout, it sounds like another cause worthy of your donations. “On June 11th next year, the Iron Man I’m doing in Cairns in Australia is for the Rodney Speed Foundation, now Rodney worked as a janitor at BB King’s and passed away unexpectedly last year and my buddy Jake Szufnarowski has run three miles every day in honour of Rodney and set up a foundation in his memory. Rodney suffered from mental illness but always found strength through music so what this foundation does is

raise money to buy musical equipment for vulnerable kids. Music heals people and this is what this charity is helping to do. Jake’s done a lot of running but he’s never done an iron man so I’m gonna be by his side all the way, I don’t care about my times and shit, I just wanna get him to the finish line. Head over to my website Purepma.com or my Instagram - @johnjosephcromag, pledge some money and follow our progress. It’s all for a good cause man.” Bloodclot’s debut album is out in March 2017 on Metal Blade

Pic: Aga Hairesis

S

o what are Bloodclot’s plans after the record drops? “We’re gonna tour everywhere with this record. We’re honoured to be on Metal Blade records, they’ve treated us so well. We have Michael Alago who signed Metallica managing us. We’re gonna play with some metal bands, some punk bands, we just wanna have fun. It’s not about writing hate speech on other

DOWN FOR LIFE

65


It’s only 20 minutes long but ANGEL DU$T released one of 2016’s finest hardcore albums in ‘Rock The Fuck On Forever’ earlier this year. A fervent fusion of feel-good melodic hardcore punk and indie overtones, the follow-up to 2014’s infectious ‘A.D.’ release underlines the quintet’s peerless ability to pen and carry a tune or two. Is it emo? Is it hardcore? Is it punk? Is it surf rock? “The youth may never know,” AD frontman Justice Tripp tells Tim EdwardS... How did Angel Du$t form? Was it always a longstanding idea that took time to get around to? “There was no big idea. It was very organic. Just friends writing songs together. We just wanted to fuck shit up and not suck ass.”

Did the name come from the slang term for the drug? Or do you love the Faith No More album of the same name? Also, why the dollar sign? “All the coolest bands in the ‘80s smoked PCP and we thought that was cool. I don’t think any of us knew that there was Faith No More album called ‘Angel Dust’ prior to people asking us if we named our band after that album. Faith No More is cool though for sure. Technically our band’s name is ‘Angel Dust Money’. ‘Angel Dust’ is a German metal band. The dollar sign cuts down on the time it takes to write our name.”

Did you have any pre-conceived idea of what you wanted AD to sound like? Where do the musical influences come from? Pic: Aga Hairesis

“We knew we wanted it to sound like other bands didn’t at the time. We all like a lot of the same shit. I think the biggest thing is we never made an effort to fit into any category. Some people like that and some people don’t. A lot of young people today NEED you to pick a team. Is it hardcore? Is it rock? The youth may never know.”

When CIV released their seminal ‘Set Your Goals’ album the promo tagline was ‘too pop to be punk, too punk to be pop’. Would you agree the same could be said for AD? “Definitely not ‘too pop’ or ‘too punk’. Just enough of both.”

Who are the chief music writers in AD and is there a specific process you go through from the infancy of a song to it being committed to record? “I write the major part of the skeleton. Then I would say Dan (Fang, drums) has the next biggest amount of influence. Then Pat (McCrory, guitar) and Nick (Heitman, bass) both fill it in with cool melodies and fun extra ideas. Also they are good at telling me when something sucks butt.”

Affairs of the heart seem to be a big theme in the lyrics. You are a big softie really aren’t you? Despite the tough guy image I sense you have had your fair share of heartache in your life and this 66

DOWN FOR LIFE

reflects in the lyrics? “Probably not more than the average person. Maybe I’m just a little more of a baby about it. More times than not, a lot of the ‘heartache’ songs are actually about something a little different if you really dive in to the song meaning. A lot of times those songs are more about social issues and acceptance. It’s fun to disguise songs a little bit and let people dig.”

What was the idea behind the ‘Headstone’ video? “To let our man Ian Shelton spread his wings and shine. He basically said ‘I’m going to film y’all in front of a bunch of colours and fuck that shit up’ then our friend brought his dogs over just because we like them and they kept running up in the shots and trying to hook up with us. Then Matt and Jeff just started kissing because they were horny. There was no game plan; just completely untamed lustful chaos and lots of colours.”

‘Rock The Fuck On Forever’ is superb. Were you confident the quality of the songs would win over new fans as well as keeping your existing fanbase? The reaction to it has been nothing but positive. “We never wrote anything with the thought of winning fans over. In fact, I really miss when we were a newer band and people would say ‘I don’t know how to feel about this’. I love the record but in perspective maybe it was a little too digestible and I want to avoid that in the future. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate everyone who checks it out and fucks with it. That’s fucking chill.”


ANGEL DU$T What is the artwork for the album all about? The Red Room in ‘Twin Peaks’ springs to mind... “I have never seen ‘Twin Peaks’. The artwork is a visual representation of continuously rocking the fuck on for eternity.”

The album was released on your own Pop Wig label. How was the label established and what does the name mean? Other than you guys and Turnstile who are we likely to see on the label in 2016? “The label was established by Brendan, Dan, and myself because we wanted more of a hand in doing our own shit and our friends shit the way we feel like makes most sense for a punk band in 2016. The name is just two cool words that don’t mean anything. Currently we have releases from Odd Man Out and Primal Rite. You’re likely to see Big Bite and lots of other hard ass rock shit in the future.”

Has the success of AD exceeded your expectations? “Going into it with absolutely no expectations, yeah.”

Is AD a kind of therapy for you? A breath of fresh air from Trapped Under Ice? The crowd interaction seems to be a lot cooler and typically less violent than a TUI gig. “Yeah for sure. AD exists in a way where people don’t have any expectations or easy comparisons so there is no standard for us. We can be whatever we want. With Trapped Under Ice people think that we care what they think because it’s easier to categorize and compare to.”

I read somewhere that you have written country music... Is that likely to ever see the light of day? Will it manifest itself on the next AD record?! “That would never see the light of day. I can promise you it sucks. Pat would be way more suitable for that than me. Floating around somewhere is a Brendan Yates (TUI drummer and Turnstile vocalist) country cover of Hatebreed’s ‘Perseverance’. That is real and it rips.”

Trapped Under Ice and Angel Du$t are established acts in their own right. But what is happening with

Sai Nam? ‘Crush’ was a fantastic album. Would you like to work with Mike Dijan and Lou Medina again? “Those are two of the coolest and most talented people I’ve ever met. I learned so much and had such a cool experience with them. Ultimately it was intended to be more of a recording project, then we did some shows and it was fun.”

If AD could release an EP of five covers of pop songs what would be on it? The bonus track can be a cover of any hardcore song... “I’ve never loved a covers record. Live covers are cool for sure. We’ve discussed covering (Liverpool synth-pop kings) A Flock of Seagulls. That could be cool I guess.”

And finally, what’s it gonna say on your headstone? “‘Wu Tang Forever’.” ‘rock the fuck on forever’ is out now on pop wig angel du$t tour europe in january

“THERE IS NO STANDARD FOR US”

DOWN FOR LIFE

67


Pic: Aga Hairesis

COLD HARD TRUTH

C

urrently murder capital of the UK, Boston is a tough town and has, unsurprisingly, produced one of Europe’s hardest bands, Cold Hard Truth. Fans of the group have waited 8 years for latest album, ‘TruthGetta’, with vocalist Tim completing a lengthy prison sentence, and, just as he was out, bassist Joe being put in a coma as the result of a horrendous car crash that saw his life hanging in the balance. Cold Hard Truth walk it like they talk it though - the band’s comeback shows saw Joe hit the stage in a wheelchair whilst the new tracks Tim had put together in jail, set light to the UK’s dancefloors, quickly re-stablishing their position at the top of the pile marked HARDcore. DFL caught up with Joe, (thankfully now walking again), to hear more about the band’s current status, and more specifically, how he got himself match fit in time for the album’s release , “Well, I just needed some of that Boston air - it perks you right up!”, putting the jokes to one side, Joe points to the support of his girlfriend, friends, family, and band, as well as a classic UKHC track, “I had no idea what had happened until I awoke from the coma, looked around, and

68

DOWN FOR LIFE

saw my parents who explained everything . Aside from the massive confusion and fear, I quickly realised the situation I was in. Although I could barely move anything, in my mind I was determined to be better as quick as I could possibly be. I listened to a lot of Knuckledust whilst I was in the worst of my conditions - their lyrics were a great encouragement, as well as the beats which are good to move to. I used to lay in my bed and move my legs as much as I could to Ray’s drums to bring movement back into me. If you take the chorus from ‘Burning Fight’, that’s exactly how I was thinking, ‘It straight feels easier to bow, to give up and just allow. Than to hold tight, put up a burning fight ‘till the dimming of my life.’ So that’s what I did, put up a burning fight. Towards the end of my time in hospital, I had one of my basses in there, simply for me to look at and use as a tool of encouragement to getting back on stage again.” Whilst Joe was recovering in hospital, Tim had the task of replacing original guitarists, Skel and Damo with new players, and teaching them the new tracks he’d written. Six Foot Ditch’s, James ‘Craw’, and Bun Demo Out’s, Mauro were selected for the job, “I

was in hospital whilst Craw was joining, so everything was a bit chaotic around then too. I remember the first show with both of them - Concrete Fest in Birmingham. Naturally with two new axe men on the frontline, I was a little nervous as to how the show would go, but they nailed it. At times, both myself and Tim said we didn’t even notice we had new guitarists, it felt as if Skel and Damo were stood either side of us, which is credit to them.” As expected, the pits, starved of the band for too long, have exploded on their return. I have a scar on my arm from a window literally exploding on me during one of the bands early sets; the shards of glass raining down on the spin-kicking audience during the track, ‘Punisher’ was the antithesis of the all-too-frequent, safe, Instagram-able shows, which seem to be a world away from the rough and ready beginnings of the UK scene. We can be thankful then, that the Truth is back, and, if the comeback shows are anything to go by, playtime is most definitely over. cold hard truth’s new album ‘truth getta’ is out now on filled with hate tom barry


UKHC

DEAD MAN’S CHEST

“W

e just keep it real, we don’t follow, we do what we want to do. We don’t want to be the ‘cool’ band, it’s just us.” Andy X Edge, drummer in Dead Man’s Chest, states about how the band continue to be relevant 10 years after its birth. To mark

this anniversary the four-piece will unleash their second album, ‘Violent Days,’ on to the hardcore world on October 7 through BDHW Records. Since their formation back in 2006 there has been a number of personnel changes in the band to get to this point and really discover the DMC sound. ‘Violent Days’ tells a story about our struggle

NINEBAR

U

KHC’s original beatdown band, Ninebar have spent the last few months of their 20th year together doing what they do best, “We’ve just recorded 7 brand new songs, and you can expect the same as on previous releases, in that we don’t really have a formula that we work to”, explains frontman Tom. They might not have a conscious formula to their writing, but their output has always been consistently tough as nails. Formed around the same time as UKHC

stalwarts, Knuckledust (with KD’s Nicky Baxter playing bass for both), they were the slower, meaner ‘Yin’ to Knuckledust’s more rabid ‘Yang’, and the friendship and mutual support between both bands laid the foundation for the close-nit London scene of today. The band were part of the birth of what we would now consider the modern UKHC scene, stepping onto the country’s stages in a cloud of weed smoke and gold chains, and representing their Stockwell streets in stark

with the issues of previous members. Positively? “ I can’t say,” adds guitarist Kay X Matt. “You’ll have to put our album on your stereo, listen to the music and check the lyrics in the booklet and draw your own conclusions. Maybe we are still in conflict with an outside world, maybe we have solved all the issues inside and outside the band. Make your own choice.” The London quartet claims ‘Violent Days’ will be their heaviest, darkest and most complex material to date. And to make sure it is exactly that, they have enlisted the help of a who’s who of the hardcore world. “Since ‘Hateline’ we are trying to keep the ‘tradition’ of having vocal diversity on the album,” muses Kay. “Once again, we were very lucky and managed to get Heath Crosby from Stampin’ Ground, Jorge Rosado from Almighty Marauder and Scott Vogel from Terror. In my opinion, if we didn’t stand out from the crowd, we would never have had these amazing guests on our album, seriously.”It is keeping inherently to their roots which has seen DMC produce an album -made up of 10 years of brewing anger- which will kick you in the teeth. dead man’s chest’s new album ‘violent days’ is out now on bdhw records tim birkbeck

contrast to some of the more posi bands they would regularly share bills with - vocalist Tom recounts, “Shows were far more likely to have a really varied lineup as things hadn’t quite evolved into the amount of subgenres you see these days. It would be harder back then to put on a show with say 10 beatdown bands - there just weren’t that many people copying one particular genre quite as much, and it was all hardcore to us, no matter what its influences.” The band have continued to represent, “our corner of the 90’s hardcore scene”, playing shows from Baltimore to Moscow, but always representing hard for the UK, and especially their home town, “We are fortunate enough to have always had a local scene to be part of and proud of, something that has kept us going for sure. Hardcore never died out in London since the mid-90s, and watching Knuckledust go from strength to strength, along with seeing bands like Proven, Life Betrays Us, Dropset, Ironed Out and more evolve, as well as seeing older bands like Kartel, Diction Injury Time, 50 Caliber, Bun Dem Out and others stick with it, is a definite inspiration in keeping Nine Bar going.” tom barry

DOWN FOR LIFE

69


Pic: Aga Hairesis

IRON ED OUT

W

hilst the mid-90’s and early 2000’s saw a number of rap/hardcore crossover bands such as New Jersey’s, E.Town Concrete, making waves in the scene, it would be a stretch to describe

the sound as a significant sub-genre in the world of 2016 hardcore. As such, Ironed Out’s performance at this year’s Ieper Fest, was a welcome addition to the musical mix, “We was blessed to be able to play and especially to be on the main stage as a

new band”, explains vocalist Makboo, one half of a vocal duo completed by Crippler/Proven vocalist, Louis Gino. The group, formed in 2015 and made up of various London hardcore luminaries, was a conscious move by Makboo to, “make music that was just a pure London sound”, and its cold city streets can certainly be felt on their debut E.P., Us and Them. So how does a band made up solely of members from the nastier sounding end of UKHC - groups like 50 Caliber, Bun Dem Out and Beat Down Fury - sound so tuneful? The decision by Knuckledust guitarist, Wema to try a different instrument to his usual six string seems to have helped nudge open the door to a little bit of experimentation, “Wema was more interested in playing bass, which everyone was thankful for when we saw him play for the first time!”, poppin’ and slappin’ his way around the fretboard, his grooves laid the foundation for the group to grow into a different beast to their members’ usual output, sounding all the richer for it. The scene seems to agree and the group look set to build on the positive reception they’ve received with a new EP early in 2017 followed by their first full length as the end of next year. Tom Barry

RENOUNCED

H

ailing from Reading and London, 5 piece metalcore act, Renounced have been keeping themselves busy. Taking influences from, as guitarist Dan Rayner states “late 90s/early 2000s metalcore such as 7 Angel 7 Plagues, Martyr AD, Misery Signals, Poison The Well”, the band have been channelling their energies into recording their 2nd album, Theories Of Despair, out on Carry The Weight Records. The band have also been destroying stages over the past year or so, not only in the UK, but also the US and Europe. Recently, they finished up a UK tour with Expire as well

70

DOWN FOR LIFE

as Brakfest and Fluff Fest in Europe, playing alongside Culture, Unearth and Arkangel amongst others. No rest however as they will head out on a UK tour with Florida’s Drawing Last Breath, which culminates at CTW Fest in Tunbridge Wells on September 24th. Renounced, alongside other UKHC bands such as Broken Teeth, Higher Power and The Flex, have seen them afforded the opportunity to tour frequently, even making headway to the States, something that would have been unthinkable 10 years ago for any UK hardcore band. Dan feels that the UK scene is stronger than it’s ever been:

“UKHC has definitely got a lot stronger and diverse! There are a crazy amount of good bands coming out from all different genres and areas. It’s great to be able to play mixed bills because you really do get to see how diverse it is. We have so many sick bands over here, and a lot more shows popping up and people need to start supporting that.” Renounced’s new album ‘Theories Of Despair’ is out now on Carry The Weight Pat Liu


UKHC

REV ULSION

“T

he Scottish scene is by far the best in the UK!” proclaims Revulsion vocalist Andrew Wilson. “Local gigs pulling 100-150+ folk, all there to watch bands, mosh, and see their friends; not many places can say that.” The quintet have been leading the charge

North of the border with their strain of metallic hardcore for the last couple of years. Their latest effort, a two track 7” on Soaked In Torment Records, sees Revulsion incorporating a honed death metal aesthetic. “As much as I still like our previous releases, I feel the latest 7” is a big step up for us.” Andy explains, “Those

FRAME OF MIND

T

he UKHC scene is rife with up and coming bands and Frame of Mind stand out as one of the best and most unique. Straying away from the more conventional UK sound found, their influences stem from old NYHC bands such as Burn and Fahrenheit 451. Featuring members of Breaking Point, Arms Race, Mankind and Guidance the band were brought together when singer Oli got together with guitarist Ben to start something

new, unique and theirs. With Burn being one of Oli and Ben’s favourite band, the pair joked about starting a band that sounded like them “their sound was a starting point and I think we’ve carved our own style from that original reference”. They enlisted friend Scott on drums and recorded a demo. “The whole thing was done so quickly, we had no time to really think about how anything sounded. It was just in and out”, Ben recalls. A few weeks later, a chance conversation with

two songs are by far our heaviest to date, we spent a fair bit of time writing and recording them, a lot more than usual.” Despite their in your face and uncompromising sound, lyrically Revulsion hit closer to home, “I try and get a lot of hatred out about a lot of issues I have. I concentrated on religion when we started, but I’ve slowly moved away from that on the latest release.” Andy says, “The lyrics for me were written in a time when I was feeling really low and was struggling with life due to physical and mental health.” Despite a recent change of line-up, Revulsion are keen to press on and not let that hold them back, their plan for 2017 is simple. “Get ourselves back on our feet, come back prepared and ready to play shows and tours again.” John Consterdine

Pedro resulted in him joining on bass. Their unique sound and incredible live performance has got them supports with the likes of Blacklisted, Burn and a European tour with Blind Authority. What has been their favourite show to play so far? “Hands down Gorilla Biscuits at The Dome. It was only our second show and my first time playing such a huge venue so I was pranging out over every little detail in practices and for the set up. It was sick! People didn’t know us too well but they definitely got what we were about after that show. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t played small shows that are equally as amazing, we played a gig in Slovakia on tour and it was legit one of the craziest shows I’ve been at, let alone played; fireworks going off and wall to wall moshing for the entire set, if there was ever a set anything close to Burn at CBGBs for us that would be it.” Ben exclaims passionately “Most of the best feedback we’ve got is from our live performance, I can’t really put my finger on what it is we’ve got but I’d like to think the way people describe it is just “something you have to see.” Frame Of Mind’s debut EP is out now on the The Essence Records May H

DOWN FOR LIFE

71


I

TAKING THEIR NAME FROM AN OBSCURE ‘70S CANNIBAL EXPLOITATION MOVIE AND TREADING A MONSTROUS LINE BETWEEN HARDCORE PUNK, GRINDCORE, DEATH AND EXPERIMENTATION - BOSTON/ SEATTLE QUARTET TRAP THEM HAVE BEEN TERRORIZING AUDIENCES FOR OVER A DECADE. WITH A NEW ALBUM ‘CROWN FERAL’ UNDER THEIR WING, TIM BIRKBECK CAUGHT UP WITH GUITARIST BRIAN IZZI TO GET THE LOWDOWN ON THEIR BLISTERING ASSAULT.

N the 14 years that heavy hitters Trap Them has been a band, they have made a habit of kicking fans square in the nuts with the sheer brutality of their music. Trap Them live by the code of ‘You make it ugly and bitter, or you won’t make it at all’, and the latest offering from the Boston via Seattle four-piece is no different. “Overall this record is tapping into what we thought was some of the best stuff we have written from the other records and using that as the groundwork,” said guitarist Brain Izzi. New record Crown Feral is the bands fifth full-length release since their formation

72

DOWN FOR LIFE

in 2002, and Trap Them appears to have embodied the bands which they list among their influences on this new records with recognisable references Black Flag, Tragedy and Entombed. But it hasn’t been the easiest of journeys for the band to get to where they are today, with several line-up changes - in particular behind the drums - the new record which is out now via Prosthetic Records and is the first where they have had the same drummer record back-to-back. “Brad Fickeisen (drums) and Galen Baudhuin (bass) have been in the band for three years now, so just that alone added a big element

and created a more comfortable sound for them and it just made it easier to write as a collective. The songs just make for a better record because of that,” Izzi said, adding: “Playing with Brad for two albums and playing the older songs live with him really helped to push this new record forward and make it that little bit better.” It is this continuity which Izzi puts down to being the formula to creating potentially Trap Them’s best work to date, but despite this the unapologetic four-piece remains humble in the praise the material they have created gets, which has lead them to play


TRAP THEM

“We wanted to make sure every riff fit.”

their brand of venomous darkened hardcore for the best part of 14 years. Having shared the stage with the likes of Rotten Sound, Converge and Nalpalm Death to name a few. Trap Them have almost become an institution themselves. Infamous for their signature hybrid of metal, d-beat punk, and hardcore cloaked in the coveted HM-2 guitar sound, Trap Them has become somewhat of an unstoppable force. And lyrically vocalist Ryan McKenney takes listeners on a bleak, angry, desperate path which reveals a darker side of humanity. For Izzi it has never been about the reputation the band has built, but just the pure love of playing music. “Ultimately playing this music we didn’t set out to be this popular band we just want to have fun. To be able to have people appreciate the band all over the world and it is something we don’t take for granted. And at the end of the day it is just fun for us to do.” Izzi and McKenney have seen the band grow from the moment they got together as

a side project for the front man’s old band Backstabbers Incorporated. The pair wanted to make Trap Them with no pre-conceived delusions, no aspirations of success, they just wanted to create music they loved and wanted it to be damaging. After a string of EP’s and splits, Trap Them really caught the attention of many people after the release of 2008’s Seizures in Barren Praise, with the opening track ‘Fucking Viva’ starting the record with what has now become Izzi’s trademark guitar tone. It is the impression which records like Seizures in Barren Praise and Darker Handcraft left on the hardcore community which shaped how Crown Feral came about, with the album clocking in just over 30 minutes of pure balls to the wall trashy hardcore. “We wanted this record to be around the half-an-hour mark and hit all the moments which make Trap Them, Trap Them,” Izzi mused: “Obviously there are a lot of new touches in there as well but we were going for a record that would play out well

live from beginning to end. The pace of the record and the song styles and where they land is meant to be like a live set. We wanted to make sure every riff fit. I know it sounds a bit weird but I made sure everything I wrote I did standing up because you have to feel it. We made specific efforts that the songs on the new record had a bit more immediacy to them so it would come across better live. From what I’ve noticed people seem to like it a lot more than the last record already. Most people seem to be psyched on it and I like to think it is a record for Trap Them fans.” By the time you read this Trap Them will have laid waste to European audiences with their own unique spin on blackened hardcore, with promises of a re-visit for the festival circuit in the new year it certainly is the time to catch the band at their untamed finest. ‘crown feral’ is out now on prosthetic records

DOWN FOR LIFE

73


Nobody expected JUDGE to be back on the scene. Despite burning intensely during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the band were entirely out of the picture for 20 years, thanks in no small part to the mysterious disappearance of singer Mike Ferraro. Yet, today they are gracing stages once again with their ground-breaking, uncompromising take on straightedge. So what happened? Calum Harvie finds out from founding guitarist John ‘Porcell’ Porcelly.

Pics: Aga Hairesis

P

74

ORCELL is a man in a hurry. As soon as we have finished talking, the veteran guitarist has to make final preparations in advance of hitting the road for a handful of dates with Judge. This is on top of ‘real life’ stuff too, not least of which is his hectic schedule as a fulltime yoga teacher. But despite the competing demands on his time and attention, Porcell comes across as easy going and relaxed as ever, telling stories about Judge’s past, present and future with the same enthusiasm as when they were told for the first time. Rewind the clock a handful of years, however, and the very idea of Judge taking the stage anywhere would have been nothing less than preposterous. After the band broke up in the early ‘90s, frontman Mike ‘Judge’ Ferraro vanished. Like, completely, and for the best part of 20 years. “Nobody knew where he was! He was like a ghost,” Porcell chuckles. “Every year or two you’d hear stories about someone seeing him on his

DOWN FOR LIFE

motorcycle somewhere and they’d gone up to him to ask, ‘Hey, are you Mike Judge’ and he’d replied ‘Who the fuck wants to know?’ There were these Mike Judge sightings. So I thought [a reunion] wasn’t ever going to happen. But the person who really made it happen, I must say, was Civ [Gorilla Biscuits]. Somehow he had contact with Mike and the guys from Black ‘N Blue Productions – who put on the Black ‘N Blue Bowl festival begged him to ask Mike to do a reunion. They literally worked on him for a year - Mike said no for a whole year. Finally, he said yes. Mike says Civ invited him to a Rancid show at the Black ‘N Blue Bowl and he went along, and felt good being there, among people at a hardcore show. I guess he didn’t expect that and thought he’d feel alienated. But people were just friendly and happy to see him, and then Rancid asked if he’d come out and sing ‘New York Crew’ with them. He said no, and his thinking was that if he was going to do ‘New York Crew’, then it’d be with Judge. So I think that show was a turning point for him, and a year later we played.” During those 20 years of absence, stories about Mike Judge’s whereabouts took on mythic qualities. Rumours were rife, but facts were thin on the ground. And, says Porcell, the mystery even continued for a while after the band reunited. “When we first did the reunions, Mike didn’t really talk about that time much. Then, one time in Spain, we had a day

off in a beautiful town right by the water. We all got together for breakfast and went to this coffee house and while we were all sitting there, drinking our coffee, Charlie [Garriga – Judge’s other guitar player] just said, ‘Mike, what the freakin’ hell happened to you all those years when you were gone?’ And let me tell you, if you wanted to make the best movie in the world, ‘Mike Judge: The Lost Years’ would be it! He did such crazy stuff in those years, and not necessarily stuff that we was proud of. He was always straightedge, but he basically extricated himself from the world and entered this [other] world, and that shit’s pretty dark.”

O

f course, Judge was always ‘pretty dark’ as a band, its straightedge principles expressed from the start with neither ambiguity nor compromise. Contrasting with other straightedge bands for whom a brighter, positive outlook was a core aesthetic, Judge were resolutely ‘in your face’ with their message. “When the idea of Judge came about, Youth of Today was broken up. It was right before we got back together to do ‘We’re Not In This Alone’. This was 1988, and believe it or not but it was kinda the first rumblings of the straightedge scene going downwards. Now, the straightedge scene was still pretty strong in 1988, but there was a lot of kids getting out of straightedge who were super into the scene, and I think they were very reactive against [it] at the time. So at the time that Judge started, there was a backlash against straightedge, that it was


JUDGE

DOWN FOR LIFE

75


Pics: Aga Hairesis

76

something that was childish, something that you did when you were a teenager but, as you grew up, you made more adult choices. For me and Mike, we didn’t see it that way. We saw it as a lifestyle, as something healthy, and we couldn’t understand why people were so vehemently against a person making healthy choices in their lives! And not only were they doing it, but they were doing it with venom. It was like they were against straightedge. When I was in New York around that same time, I got jumped by, like, ten skinheads outside of a Bad Brains show, just because I was straightedge and represented that to them. The whole time they were beating me up they were going, ‘You fucking straightedge asshole’. So, even though around the country the straightedge scene was super strong, in New York there was that kind of feeling that it wasn’t cool anymore.” “Mike being the reactionary guy that he is said, ‘Let’s do a band and make it so straightedge that if they’re going to hate something, they’re going to hate this band!’ So we started Judge just a project - it was just me and him. He had all these lyrics he was writing. But, quite honestly, I wasn’t too serious about it in the beginning. Like, Mike said he wanted to sing. And if you knew Mike...he’s just a very to-himself, almost shy, guy. I could never picture him singing - I had never heard him sing. But we did it, and it came together very quick. We

DOWN FOR LIFE

wrote those songs in about a month. Mike was serious about it, which made me more serious about it. We’d practice three or four times a week and I was thinking that these songs were super cool because they were a little bit more heavy than the typical thrash thing at the time. I was really convinced when we went into the studio and Mike started to sing. I mean, the guy has the best voice ever. And when [‘New York Crew’ EP] finally came out, that’s when we were [started] thinking that this has the potential to be a really good band.”

D

espite there being a backlash against straightedge in New York at the time, Judge nevertheless found an eager audience. “The first show we played was at the Anthrax and was with Drew from Bold playing drums,” Porcell recalls. “It was great, ‘New York Crew’ had come out and we couldn’t press them fast enough. We’d bring like 800 records and there’d be 800 kids at the show and every single kid would buy a record - that’s almost what it was like then. And for the most part the shows were well received. It wasn’t like when Youth Of Today first went to Europe in 1989 - I’d never got so many bottles thrown at me in my life! We were like pioneers in the wild west, blazing a trail of straightedge, haha! But Judge was always well received. The problem was, it wasn’t just straightedge kids that liked us. There was also bikers, skinheads, metalheads...so many different types of people. And we had this kind of badass reputation, so people who were ‘badasses’ were attracted. So there were always tonnes of fights at the shows, very violent. Like, Youth Of Today would play and it’d be a really positive vibe, everybody would leave feeling the PMA, ready to change the world. But Judge shows were not like that. We’d play, there’d be a million fights, some skinheads would be beating up on a straightedge kid. Not always,

but there was that element of there being a very heavy, violent cloud over the whole thing.” “I didn’t like it at all,” he sighs. “I’m not into fighting and violence. And Mike didn’t like it either. It was a bummer! It’s a bummer to play a show and have a bunch of Nazi skinheads show up and they like you! That’s why the band broke up. Mike felt responsible. When you’re in a band and when you sing, especially in hardcore, people take it to heart. Music changes people for the better or for the worse. And I can’t say that Judge always changed people for the better. It was like the beginning of the whole hardline thing, where things became very judgemental and violent exclusive rather than inclusive. And that wasn’t the place where I came from.” And it was that violence and negativity which Judge somehow managed to attract which ultimately led to Mike and Porcell deciding to disband. Before that happened, however, came the saga of the recording of what evolved to become the band’s only full-length offering, ‘Bringin’ It Down’. The original plan was to record at the Chung King studio, which they did, only for the experience to unfold into an unmitigated disaster. “Chung King is a famous studio, especially back then,” Porcell explains. “I think while we were recording, LL Cool J was recording, and maybe even the Beastie Boys, and then there was Judge. So they would book us to start our session at one o’clock in the morning and they gave us the worst engineer who was a total coke head. Mike hated the engineer. We worked on the music a little bit before Mike came in. And when he did, within the first five minutes the engineer pretended to drop something off the console and he snorted a line off the floor! Mike saw him, so from those first five minutes on, he hated the guy. Nothing went right. I didn’t like the sound of it, it was terrible. And Mike was just like ‘fuck this place, fuck this guy’ and he didn’t really give a good performance, I didn’t think. We were all sad,


JUDGE because live we sounded like this wall. But the record just sounded crap. Luckily Revelation let us record it over.” But the continuing violence at Judge gigs ultimately took its toll on the band, and in 1991 they called it a day. “It was Mike’s [decision], but I had to agree with the guy. That last tour that we did was so crazy and violent, and Mike was unhappy the whole tour. He barely spoke to anybody and you could tell that he was unhappy. On the ride back after the last show, I was driving and he was in the passenger seat and he said, ‘Man, I just can’t do this anymore.’ And I could appreciate that. But it wasn’t because of the band - we were more popular than ever. I feel bad about it too, because it was right at that point where times were changing. I think that if we’d done another record, not only would it have been a great

record but...like, it was the ‘90s and things were much more accepting. I think if we’d stuck it out, well, you know. But then if we’d stuck it out, I probably wouldn’t have been in Shelter, and that was a whole other era of my life. So things kinda worked out I guess!”

T

hings have worked out for Judge, too. Since their reunion show at the Black ‘N Blue Bowl, the band have gigged extensively, finding new audiences and re-engaging with their first wave of fans. “It’s great!” Porcell exclaims. “It’s great to reconnect with those guys, I’m dear friends with all of them. To get together every few months and play all these old songs that meant so much to us when we were kids is great. Mike really wants to do some new stuff, I guess he’s got a whole notebook full of lyrics

that he’s been writing for years. They’re kinda looking to me to write the songs, and I literally have been so busy. I moved to California last year, and I just moved back to New York. I’m a full-time yoga teacher, so my job is very physical and I just haven’t had the time to sit down and get into that headspace of writing some songs which would do Judge justice. Although, I wouldn’t count it out! The winter’s coming up, so maybe I could hole up for a month or so and try to bust out some songs.” “It’s funny,” he concludes, “Mike sounds better than ever. You know how sometimes you’ll get people who get older and can’t quite sing like they did when they were kids? Well, Mike sounds even better. More ferocious than he did back then. So if we did a Judge record I think it’d be good!”

“MIKE SOUNDS EVEN BETTER MORE FEROCIOUS THAN HE DID BACK THEN!”

DOWN FOR LIFE

77


SICK OF IT ALL

WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS (Century Media)

30th anniversary EP from the NYHC masters is a beautiful thing

9/10

U

nless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll have no doubt heard that 2016 is the year that New York hardcore institution Sick Of It All have been celebrating their 30th anniversary as a band. This well-oiled quartet made up of Lou Holler (vocals), Pete Holler (Guitar), Craig Setari (bass) and Armand Majidi (drums) have been ripping it up all year on the live circuit with their nothing less than breath taking shows all across the globe, whilst proving beyond a shadow of a doubt why they are still as powerful and relevant today than they have ever been. So to ring in this milestone birthday, which you have to admit is an achievement very few bands of their ilk have ever made – they have recoded this special, new EP. However this is no ordinary EP. Musically, this is Sick Of It All doing what they do best, five rip roaring hardcore punk anthems – title track ‘When The Smoke Clears’ is a classic rebel rouser, ‘Black Venom’ is a slap in the face to the naysayers,

78 DOWN FOR LIFE

‘Doomed Campaign’ is a chugging call to arms, ‘Blood And Steel’ a fist pumping anthem and ‘Fortress’ a mosh pit classic but what really sets this EP apart from any other is its presentation. This EP is a 10” coffee table book, beautifully bound in hard backed, embossed, faux leather and is more than just a record, it’s a pictorial document of the most popular hardcore band ever. Packed full of amazing photos of the band on and off the road from the past three decades along with written contributions from their peers like Dennis Lyxzen from Refused and Chuck Ragan from Hot Water Music, this book is highly collectable. Sick Of It All are a band that broke all the rules, took no prisoners and have done things their own way and because of that have rightly been elevated to the status of hardcore royalty and for that we salute them. This is a band that has given 110% throughout their career, who command themselves with dignity and have earnt the respect of many thousands during their illustrious time as a band. Happy birthday Sick Of It All and here’s to many more years of incendiary live shows and anthemic hardcore tunes. Now go buy this, you need it in your life. Miles Hackett

“they are still as powerful and as relevant today than they have ever been”


AKANI

THROUGH MY DARKEST INFERNAL

BENT LIFE

NEVER ASKED FOR HEAVEN

(Demons Run Amok)

(Bridge 9)

BLOOD FOR BLOOD REVENGE ON SOCIETY (Victory)

BLOODSHED REMAINS PEACE

(Demons Run Amok)

Merauder man returns with heavily metallic connotation.

Debut full length from these Nebraskan ragers

Re-issue of this heavyweight debut album

Switch up in sound for the Austrian sluggers.

T

H

O

N

BOUNCING SOULS

BRUJERIA

COLD HARD TRUTH

7/10

oo many people may ponder too long over questioning if Akani lay in metal or hardcore pastures. Does it really matter? The fact is they are damn heavy, and they fuckin’ slay! Mixing elements of Swedish death metal (featuring members of At The Gates, Entombed and Soilwork) along with New York hardcore (it is Merauder’s Jorge Rosado’s new band after all) proves to be a superbly brutal mix. The touches of melodic moments spread throughout the album in no way overshadow any of the punch Akani throw from the speakers; the primeval frontman makes sure of that, and the solid musicianship ties the forceful riffs and beats in an uncompromising way. ‘Through My Darkest Infernal’ will provide solace for those who have missed a follow on from the mighty ‘Master Killer’ album, that is fact. Mark Freebase

SIMPLICITY (Rise)

It’s in the title, what more do you want?

8/10

O

ne thought occurred to me as soon as I heard the opening track from the new record from the New Jersey punks; wouldn’t it be great if Green Day still sounded like this in 2016? I know there is a gap to bridge there but you can’t help but feel that, over here in Europe, The Bouncing Souls should be a bigger presence, and this album feels no different. Light hearted, fast paced melodic punk rock songs that literally do what it says on the cover. Simplicity. There’s nothing complicated, nothing complex, just awesome punk rock songs that would be a dream soundtrack to a summer’s dusk drive. At times it can come off a little stale from its repetitiveness, but overall it’s got great hooks, great sing-alongs and it’s a great record. William Scott

8/10

aving served up a string of acclaimed EPs and 7”s (notably Full Skull in particular) since their inception in 2010 it’s now time for Bent Life to unleash their debut album ‘Never Asked For Heaven’ and it’s been wholly worth the wait. This is ten tracks of in your face heaviness in a Terror vibe but done on their own terms. Prominent tracks like ‘Cheat Death’ and ‘Thanks For Nothing’ dip in and out of shifting rhythms whilst being flanked with gang vocals and thrashy chugs. The production cranks up the rumbling bass but doesn’t detract from the rawness of this record which culminates in the explosive breakdown of ‘Permanence’. Bent Life have produced an LP they can be proud of which is worthy of your attention. Miles Hackett

POCHO AZTLAN (Nuclear Blast)

Mexican deathgrinders reflect on a wasted promised land.

7/10

I

t takes just one minute ten seconds of indigenous music until the U.S. Immigration authorities send in their chopper. The sixteen years since Brujeria’s last full-length have not blunted the Mexican druglords’ machetes and they blast back with pummelling riffs and Juan Brujo’s barked Spanish vocals. Whilst the band’s line-up was initially mysterious and then evolving, there’s now no secret that two of the key protagonists Hongo and El Cynico are Shane Embury of Napalm Death and Jeff Walker of Carcass. Embury has the bulk of song credits and there’s a musical familiarity to the more metal side of recent Napalm Death. Non-Spanish speakers will miss out on Brujo’s tales of the drug war, racial divide and the battle for the border, but only Donald Trump could mark them down for that. Dave Wroe

7/10

riginally released back in ’98 ‘Revenge On Society’ was Boston bruisers, Blood For Blood’s first long playing record. This is 12 tracks of relentless, Boston beatdown hardcore taking influences from the likes of Sheer Terror and Breakdown. Whilst this record didn’t particularly break new ground its portrait of urban decay, unbridled rage and an all-encompassing of hatred of social constructs bludgeon the listener. Across its 12 tracks the band shift seamlessly between Oi!, old school – mosh it up rhythms and blitkrieg hardcore to make this is timeless classic. Unfortunately the band have been dogged by allegations about their former vocalist in recent years and have laid dormant, perhaps this timely re-issue can restore faith and see the band swing back into action once again. Good to see it back in our lives. John Damon

TRUTHGETTA (Filled With Hate)

A cold, hard masterclass in heavy.

9/10

W

ith the kind of musical drops designed to tear holes through the ‘safe’ world and let in every crowd killing demon hell-bent on da mosh, ‘TruthGetta’ is one fearsome beast. Kicking off with a sample from infamous hitman Richard ‘Iceman’ Kuklinski, the album’s title track comes crashing in, all jagged breaks and seething with lyrical vengeance. ‘Violence is the Answer’ steams in next and is unrelenting in its locomotive double-bass drums and locked-in guitars and new drummer Ian King really shines on this release with some ridiculous output. A genuine anger borne out of a lengthy incarceration for vocalist Tim lends ‘TruthGetta’ a passion and power absent from some of the group’s more generic peers. Coupled with some superior musical muscle, ‘TruthGetta is anything but ‘just another beatdown record’. Get involved. Tom Barry

6/10

o doubt a solid release, this new four tracker marks a departure from Bloodshed Remains’ metallic-tinged sound in favour of a modern Terror-like take on the old school sound. With only brief flashes of double kick on tracks like ‘Bright Lights’, Bloodshed Remains throw their weight behind a stomping, heavy hardcore sound rather than the china crashes and clipped metal riffs of previous albums ‘My Own Way’ and ‘Countdown’. That’s not to say this record isn’t heavy – the title track and ‘Burnt Out’ are bruisers and can hold their own in the tough stakes, but the darker energy of their previous sound is reigned in to fit a far less explosive format. Ultimately, Bloodshed Remains know their way around a hardcore tune, whether it’s new school or old school, making this well worth a spin. Tom Barry

CRUEL HAND

YOUR WOLRD WON’T LISTEN (Hopeless)

Portland, Maine hardcore-punk drawing strength from the negatives.

9/10

W

ith their last album ‘The Negatives’, Cruel Hand polarized opinion by evolving from a pure hardcore sound to one infused with punk and rock influences. Returning with ‘Your World Won’t Listen’, their stated aim was to marry the two and the result is a varied and rewarding listen. Opener ‘Nowhere, Nothing, Never’ takes us back to hardcore before blending seamlessly into the boisterous but incredible catchy punk of ‘Decompose’. Elsewhere ‘Dead Eyes Watching’ wears a Metallica influence, whilst vocalist and chief songwriter Chris Linkovich’s love of Nirvana is impossible to ignore during ‘Liquid Paper’. Each song feels finely crafted and never outstays its welcome. The crisp production of Dean Baltulonis (Madball, No Warning) pulls it all together for a rewarding listen. Dave Wroe

DOWN FOR LIFE 79


DANGERS

THE BEND IN THE BREAK (Topshelf)

Third album and they still haven’t cheered up... thankfully for us.

8/10

T

hese guys have been flying under the radar for many for over a decade. It’s difficult to understand why, maybe they haven’t ventured over the pond from their native California? It’s a shame because they play some of the most exciting and acerbic heavy music out there, pouring scorn on the world as they see it. Tracks are called things like ‘Those Sad Plebs Down Below’, but are a lot more poetic than that might lead you to believe, and they possess a sense of pathos which is a rare thing in hardcore these days. These caustic lyrics are matched by a mordant sense of anger as they taunt us with taut, crisp riffs and pummelling dynamics. This is a thrilling and thought provoking listen and one that deserves a wider audience. James Batty

DANNY DIABLO

DOLLERZ MAKE SENSE (Knives Out)

VIOLENT DAYS (BDHW)

DMS in da house!

Second album from this UKHC crew

T

I

7/10

7/10

hose in the know will not be surprised at the content and direction this album leans towards. As soon as the gnarly gangster intro spews from the speakers, the tone is instantaneously set for the rest of the record. Guitars and dirty hip hop, a stupendously hard edge, suburban nastiness and visceral rapping… ‘Dollerz Makes Sense’ has it all. Dragging the entirety of its contents through old school resonance and subjects, this is something that has been lacking in the new wave of rap. Oozing with attitude and full of NY and HC affiliations, the ten tunes epitomise the atmosphere of city shenanigans even through the closing ‘80s era Kiss sounding ‘In the City’. There is sure to be some hidden underlying messages in here, and it’s certainly worth the time to decipher. Mark Freebase

t’s taken 5 years for Dead Man’s Chest to follow up their debut album ‘Hateline’ and the band haven’t softened one ounce over this period, in fact ‘Violent Days’ is heavier and more bone breaking than its predecessor. Treading a line of raging hardcore and heavy, metallic riffs DMC wear their Hatebreed influences on the sleeves for sure but put their own, unique twist on the sonic battery they create. From the skull crushing ‘Red Hills’ to the heavyweight slab of ‘Dark Sky Elysium’, Violent Days does what it says on the tin. A crisp production adds to the already bruising onslaught to make this one of the heaviest albums out of the UK this year. If you like your hardcore served up with lacerating metal then this record is for you. John Damon

DESCENDENTS

BAD BRAINS

HYPERCAFFIUM SPAZZINATE

THE OMEGA SESSIONS

(Epitaph)

(Victory)

12 years since their last album and still hyper!

A Bad Brains 1980 recording session gets a timely

8/10

reissue.

9/10

R

ecorded and mixed at the original Omega Recording Studios in Rockville, Maryland ‘The Omega Sessions’ was recorded in 1980 and features five early versions of classic Bad Brains songs that would eventually appear on later releases. It’s fair to say that this is pretty damn essential listening. Anything this genre-defying and defining band recorded during their peak years, of which these recordings are right at the start of, is like a lightning bolt of pure energy direct to the forehead that pretty much kick started so much of what we know as hardcore. Recorded a year after their first recordings in DC at Inner Ear Studios with Don Zientara (later released as the ‘Black Dots’ album) and a full three years before the release of their incendiary debut album ‘Rock For Light’, it’s fascinating to hear how these songs and the band’s playing developed. There’s a version of ‘I Against I’ here, for example, that wasn’t released and finished for another six years. Here it’s looser and even wilder, as are ‘At the Movies’ and ‘Attitude’. Two more songs complete the set; a sublime version on the ‘Pay to Cum’ B-side ‘Stay Close to Me’ and a run-through of their reggae anthem ‘I Luv I Jah’. A very worthy reissue. If you don’t already have this from its original 1997 release, you need it now. James Sherry

80 DOWN FOR LIFE

DEAD MAN’S CHEST

I

t’s hard to believe that ‘Cool To Be You’, the last album from the seminal punks the Descendents, came out back in 2004. The good news is that this record shows the band recapturing some of the edge and aggression that was lacking on that release. Caffeinated up (although the dodgy album title is a misstep - why wasn’t it just called ‘Hypercaffium’?), the four-piece tears through 16 songs in 31 minutes. The likes of ‘Victim Of Me’ and ‘Limiter’ show that pissed off energy that made their early material so essential, while sub-one minute blasts such as ‘No Fat Burger’ and ‘Human Being’ are ripping fun. There’s incredible bass runs, chopping guitars, pounding drums and Milo’s distinctive vocals throughout, and driving melodic punk tunes ‘Smile’ and ‘Shameless Halo’ are anthemic. Chug your bonus cup and sing along! Ian Chaddock

DENY THE CROSS ALPHA GHOUL (Tank Crimes)

Power violence ‘supergroup’ with huge expectations to live up to.

8/10

F

eaturing members of bands such as Spazz, Municipal Waste, Discordance Axis and Agents Of Satan, you can probably hazard a guess as to how Deny The Cross are going to sound, but you’ll still be pleasantly surprised at how damn good they are. Yes, it’s fucking fast and gnarly, and none of the songs clock in at more than 90 seconds, but credit to the band for keeping the material so fresh and compelling. Much of this is due to the amazing playing of bassist Ramon Silcado, whose dripping hot tone cuts through the manic blasting grindcore like a knife, and adds a deliciously deviant edge to the songs throughout ‘Alpha Ghoul’, reminiscent of Napalm Death’s ‘Scum’ crossed with COC’s ‘Animosity’. Who’s going to argue with that? Ian Glasper

DIE MY DEMON

SAME WORLD – DIFFERENT EYES (Demons Run Amok)

The Demon returns from the shadows.

8/10

A

fter nearly ten years out of the game, it’s great to see these guys back reppin’ that ‘90s Merauder crossover sound, which reigned before the suburban kids with strange fringes turned up and started messing with stuff. These tunes have the ‘vibe’. Opener ‘My Escape’ feels so NYHC, with the tasteful bass and drum grooves showing a real knowledge of what makes this style so damn good. Whilst Belgian bossmen such as Surge Of Fury ensure that the country is still firmly on the HC map, it’s great to see late ‘90s groups such as Die My Demon come back from the dead and remind us of their scene’s legacy. At just four tracks it’s a pretty brief comeback, but there’s no fat on the bones and their NY/Belgian fayre is as welcome as ever. Tom Barry


ETERNAL SLEEP THE EMPTINESS OF… (Closed Casket Activities)

EXCEL

HELMET

THE JOKES ON YOU (Southern Lord)

DEAD TO THE WORLD

Debut album from Pittsburgh breakdown lovers.

Second helpings from the Venice, California crossover skaters.

E

W

F

EXPIRE

FURY

HALSHUG

(Bridge Nine)

(Triple B)

(Southern Lord)

7/10

ternal Sleep seem slightly retro in displaying their love of metallic hardcore that contains a fair amount of breakdowns but there’s no doubting that when this type of music is done right, it can be incredibly effective. For instance, the breakdown towards the end of ‘Red Herring’ is an incitement to violence if ever I heard one. There’s also some surprisingly melodic elements and flashes of grunginess stitched into the heaviness, which does mark Eternal Sleep out as a distinctive act. Perhaps as a result, the album has a type of early to mid ‘90s griminess and heft to it that makes ‘The Emptiness of…’ an enjoyably sonically oppressive listen. In the main, it’s a bulldozer of a record but there is enough variety contained within it to prevent things getting too monotonous. Paul Hagen

WITH REGRET

(earMUSIC)

Alt-rock tour de force pulled out of the hat.

9/10

8/10

ere the West Side Los Angeles punks ever going to release anything as good as their 1987 debut ‘Split Image’? That’s another discussion but ‘The Jokes On You’, originally released in 1989, is still an album that reeks of quality punk-metal-crossover fusion. With something for everyone, through the speed, melody and aggression of tracks like ‘Drive’, ‘Shadow Winds’ and ‘You’re Fired’ it’s a real vortex of atmosphere that summons an old school circle pit. Thankfully, within the remaster none of the original magic has been replaced, instead sharpening up the tones along with clearing up the sound slightly, and obviously giving those the opportunity to purchase that missed out first time around. Love or hate the Police cover (‘Message in a Bottle’), this is a classic record. Mark Freebase

PARAMOUNT

ans hoping that the Meantime anniversary tour, which occurred within the six years since Helmet’s last full length, would influence a return to their harsher roots are in for disappointment. Opening duo ‘Life Or Death’ and ‘I ♥ My Guru’ reside in the alternative rock vein of Stone Temple Pilots, and with one referring to “baby” and the other with a “Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh” refrain you might expect a bitter aftertaste. However, Helmet have been embracing their melodious side for many a year, admittedly often with mixed results, but on ‘Dead to the World’ it comes together in harmonious fashion. Page Hamilton’s love of The Beatles seeps through ‘Bad News’, whereas ‘Red Scare’ builds on a Helmet trademark jackhammer riff before bursting into an expansive chorus. ‘Expect the World’ provides a highlight, with a brooding introduction building into a more caustic vocal and wall of guitars. Hamilton provides possibly his strongest melodic vocal to date on ‘Look Alive’, which gradually creates layers of harmony with a woozy My Bloody Valentine effect. The songwriting remains consistent throughout with concise arrangements that give ‘Dead to the World’ the feel of a concept album. The one exception is a cover of Elvis Costello & The Attractions’ quirky ‘Green Shirt’, which sits right in the middle of the album like an intermission in proceedings. Helmet have side stepped expectation with their strongest release in over 20 years. Dave Wroe

SORT SIND

HEAVEN SHALL BURN WANDERER

(Century Media)

Simplistic yet savage final offering from this Midwest hardcore troupe.

Storming debut album from this Californian hardcore mob

Desperately gritty punk metal from Denmark.

German metal stalwarts return with album number eight.

T

C

T

T

7/10

he beauty of this is its bluntness, and the unfussy nature with which Milwaukee’s Expire set about the task in hand, i.e. rhythmic, slamming metallic hardcore a la Hatebreed and Death Sentence, which has admittedly been done to death in recent years. But Expire are as good at it as anyone, although there’s little other than gloriously hard-assed muscular riffing from start to finish, so don’t go expecting any clever atmospheric shades to ease the tension. This is a no-nonsense musical punch to the jaw, that benefits immensely from the super-defined crisp production that allows every guitar chug of every breakdown to connect as cleanly and viciously as possible. Apparently the band are calling it a day, it’s a fine way to bow out, seemingly at the peak of their game. Ian Glasper

9/10

oming off the back of their Kingdom Come 7”, Orange County hardcore crew Fury unleash their stunning debut ‘Paramount’. Taking note of their 80’s west coast, youth crew forefathers like Uniform Choice and Insted ‘Paramount’ also nods to east coast legends like Youth Of Today and Bold across this ten tracka. Its course vocals, chunky riffs and breakneck beatdowns are a refreshing return to old school tradition. Tracks like the the intricate ‘Duality Of Man’ are pissed off and cathartic whilst managing to be introspective. Sonically there’s a lot of similarities with Youth Of Today’s ‘Break Down The Walls’, gritty and visceral but it’s more complex tracks like the progressive closer ‘The Feeling’ that sets them apart from the norm.. One of the most exciting releases of the year. Miles Hackett

7/10

he title track explodes out of a distressing sample and is immediately reminiscent of Entombed as they started to rock out with ‘Wolverine Blues’, an immense driving power. And from there things just get faster, nastier and dirtier. With a band name that translates as ‘Decapitate’ and an album title that means ‘Black Mind’, don’t be surprised that Halshug are bleak, with no chinks in their thick wall of noise to allow any light through. This is as uncompromising as hardcore punk gets, yet they still manage to cram some innovation, based around discordant guitar melodies, into the dense sonic assault, elevating this above the generic D-beat album that you might expect. If you prefer something occasionally uplifting it might be too dark but it’s a brutal primal scream. Ian Glasper

7/10

wenty years into their career and there’s little sign of Heaven Shall Burn slowing down. ‘Wanderer’ is the German metalcore group’s eighth studio album, yet it possesses the same intensity of bands just starting out. Indeed, cuts like ‘They Shall Not Pass’ and ‘Prey to God’ are so ferocious they’re like getting attacked by rabid dogs. Yet there’s no denying the quality of the musicianship, as Heaven Shall Burn display some serious musical chops throughout. Riffs stab with forensic precision, drums hit like blunt force trauma and Marcus Bischoff’s vocals are so gruff he could stir graves. At 12 songs – and near 60 minutes long – it’s a little on the testing side, yet ‘Wanderer’ is ultimately a powerful return from one of metal’s more interesting and challenging acts. Rob Mair

DOWN FOR LIFE 81


INTEGRITY

THOSE WHO FEAR TOMORROW (Magic Bullet)

Twenty five years have done nothing to diminish the power of this reissued hardcore masterpiece.

9/10

T

his writer still has the 15th anniversary version of this, but if you dig the shit out of violent metallic hardcore you can never have too much Integrity, right? Because songs like ‘Judgment Day’ and ‘March of the Damned’ are powered by insistent jagged riffs that were absolutely written to send pits into a frenzy with their furiously intense delivery. And opener ‘Micha’ still has the power to raise hairs on the back of your neck with its brooding, head-bobbing bass and drums intro, Dwid’s vocals so raw and desperate when they kick in, it verges on the terrifying. And although there are also moments of atmospheric darkness to be savoured. It’s that uncompromising, tendon-popping brutality that puts this album right up there with the best. Ian Glasper

LIFE BETRAYS US

SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN (Ruktion)

New EP from this all-star LBU crew

7/10

F

ollowing in the London tradition, Life Betrays Us features members of LBU compadres Tirade, Bun Dem Out, Reality Slap and Ironed Out. With this EP following on from their 2015 demo, making it essentially their debut official release. The six new tracks on offer here are served up with that classic London hardcore rage, heavier than a tank and as vicious as a pitbull. Opener ‘Unjust’ goes for the throat with anger and bashes you about the skull with its chugging heaviness and as the EP progresses tracks like ‘Bad Decisions’ and ‘The Numbers Games’ weigh in as worthy adversaries. Life Betrays Us aren’t re-inventing the wheel but the sheer rage and heavy grooves they purvey will keep listeners alert and dancefloors bloody across the country. John Damon

PETROL GIRLS TALK OF VIOLENCE (Bomber)

London feminist hardcore punks’ raging first album.

8/10

“I

’m feeling disobedient!” shouts vocalist Ren Aldridge on the band’s angular, crunching opener ‘False Peace’, and that sets the tone nicely for this raucous, fist-in-the-air and middle-fingers-raised attack on all that’s fucked up about society. Taking their name from Parisian women who rejected traditional gender roles called Les Pétroleuses (who threw molotov cocktails into buildings to resist the French government in the dying days of the Paris Commune in 1871), they’re as radical and passionate lyrically as this suggests. This feminist post-hardcore four-piece (who have recently played with the likes of H2O and Capdown) mix jagged rhythms and screams with powerful melodies and harmonies on the likes of the driving ‘Touch Me Again’ (“touch me again and I will fucking kill you!”), ‘Treading Water’ and the highlight ‘Phallocentric’ – an exploration of how society is geared toward’s male pleasure. With influences from the likes of Propagandhi, War On Women and Fugazi (amongst others), and addressing issues such as alienation, mental health and the anti-austerity movement as well as feminism, this is a fired up LP which doesn’t flinch from throwing their voices behind important struggles. ‘Talk of Violence’ is explosive and empowering – the perfect listening for such uncertain and pretty terrifying times worldwide. Blast this one loud – we need protest music more than ever and Petrol Girls are truly music with an inspiring message. Fight the power. Ian Chaddock

82 DOWN FOR LIFE

LIFESICK 601

(Southern Lord)

Danish hardcore metal with a deathlike leaning

7/10

F

rom the monstrous chugging, facemelt of opening track ‘Lifesick’ you can feel the brooding hatred festering in the grooves of this record, a theme that runs concurrently through further songs like ‘Open Casket’ and ‘Real Friends Come From Grief’. It’s sludgly, metallic hardcore in a Merauder / Xibalba vein. Filthy, heavy and unrelenting riffs rain down like shrapnel against its grinding rhythm section and guttural vocals. Not for the feint hearted, 601’s 8 tracks are blood soaked, dark and verge on death metal at times and are always stark and reek of desperation. Lifesick have produced a nasty, foreboding record that is the stuff nightmares are made of, a listener advisory warning is recommended for this beast of a record. Who knew the Danes could be so blackened by life? John Damon

MASTIFF

STRENGTH IN DESPAIR (Knives Out)

East Bay Californian hip hop inspired rantings.

6/10

S

ounding like a long lost Downset album (only not quite as potent), the San Leandro quintet serve up eleven tracks of heavy beatdown breaks, blended with plenty of urban style hip hop antagonisms and true ghetto apprehension. There doesn’t seem to be an awful lot of positivity spewing from these guys judging by the song titles, but a smile is bought about when the band pound out the Godsmack cover ‘Master’ – clever or controversial you may ask? ‘Strength in Despair’ is good, assertive, and aggressive, but the songs just don’t get going enough. Mastiff have some impressive sounds all right, and the band seem to know their shit, although we just need to hear some impressive and memorable tracks. However, this is certainly one band to keep an eye on. Mark Freebase

MARTYRDOD LIST

(Southern Lord)

Para boots for Christmas this year.

10/10

O

ther contributors to this magazine will confirm that I have recently outed myself as a crustie. That said, I am unlikely to be succumbing to any of the tired clichés; being someone who likes to wash my hair and clothes occasionally. The same can be said musically for Martydöd. Yes, there is the pounding rhythm section, but they take their crustpunk to a whole new level, with the addition of a frankly terrifying blackened vocal style and NWOBHM guitar licks. Their previous efforts have been awe-inspiring but this one is pretty much perfect. It is brutal and unforgiving, but the production is so dynamic it becomes a work that stands up to repeated listens, which is a good job because I for one can’t stop playing it. A benchmark record against which all future extreme music of this same ilk should be judged. James Batty

MIZERY

ABSOLUTE LIGHT (Flatspot)

Illuminating crossover causing no distress.

7/10

T

hey may well be from San Diego but it’s the NYHC sounds of Leeway and Crown Of Thornz that permeate the impressive debut release from Mizery. Featuring current and former members of God’s Hate, Twitching Tongues and Xibalba, the SoCal band have followed up their ‘Survive the Vibe’ EP in style. ‘One Kiss’ and ‘Injustice 4 All’ switch between bouncing, crunchy riffs and flanged, trippy guitar sweeps. ‘Absolute Light’ and ‘Execution Style’ steam along at a metallic thrash pace. Meanwhile, ‘Discrimination of Eye’ and ‘Mizery’ throw some rapping from frontman Jose Gonzales into the melting pot. There’s something satisfyingly familiar about Mizery, but without being overtly derivative. With the opening slot secured on the Persistence Tour, ‘Absolute Light’ affirms you should definitely arrive early. Dave Wroe


NOFX

FIRST DITCH EFFORT (Fat Wreck)

A refreshing return to form.

7/10

H

aving approached this album with hesitation, worrying that what I might encounter is a legendary punk rock band past its best, I’m glad to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Fat Mike and Co. have given us a record that doesn’t feel like it’s there for the sake of being there. There’s passion in the writing and the execution. Tracks like ‘Six Years on Dope’ and ‘Bye Bye, Biopsy Girl’ roar out of the speakers in the same way they would have done if this album had been written twenty years ago. It also houses an incredibly touching tribute to Tony Sly (‘I’m so Sorry Tony’). NOFX have stuck to what they are and while they haven’t shaken up the formula too much, the angst, the fury and their comedic values are still there. Simply a collection of good punk rock songs. William Scott

PIZZATRAMP

BLOWING CHUNKS (TNS)

OATHBREAKER (Deathwish)

(Roadrunner)

9/10

Uncompromising metal/hardcore from Pennsylvanian

M

uch is being made of the new Oathbreaker record. They have steadily risen to prominence over the past few years and, rightly or wrongly, will find themselves lumped in with many of the ‘post-Deafheaven’ new wave of blackened metal. These bands featured heavily on European festival bills over the summer, reflecting a healthy scene and one that draws its audience from a broad range of people. On the new record Belgians Oathbreaker kind of do a Bjork meets Mayhem; which I agree on paper could go either way, but it sets them apart from their contemporaries. Weirdness gives way to blasting and then onto expansive interludes (which are probably the weakest points on the record, it’s been done before and been done better) but overall this is an astonishing body of work. James Batty

POISON IDEA

CALLING ALL GHOSTS (American Leather)

The kings of punk ride again.

I

T

f we take the comedic stylings of ‘Petrol Chicken’ out of the equation, the longest track on this record is just shy of two minutes long, meaning that Pizzatramp have little time to pack a punch in these 14 songs. However, it is evidential from the full frontal assault of opening track ‘CCTV’ that they will not go quietly. They’re obnoxious, heavy and spit-in-your-face brutal, like a cross between early Gallows and Terror. They might have a silly name and ridiculous album artwork, but the tracks don’t mess around. The rest of the album follows in similar fashion and it’s difficult to find a moment to catch your breath. On ‘Scumbag Boogie’, ‘Queen of Ringland’ and the title track, Blowing Chunks blast out big gang vocal-filled punk rock tunes. Watch this space, they could be playing bigger venues quicker than you think. William Scott

FOREVER

Not too old but very cold.

A bit stupid, a bit brilliant too.

7/10

CODE ORANGE

RHEIA

9/10

he rebirth of Poison Idea and most importantly resilient frontman Jerry A is a happy ending to a career and story that looked the least likely to get one in the annals of punk rock. Portland’s self-proclaimed kings of punk were a seething nihilistic beast, riddled with chaos and every addiction known to man and beast, and while their legacy was always destined to survive, such is the strength of their music, the band were highly unlikely to. Yet, here we are in 2016 with another new record from Jerry’s latest incarnation of the band. Following 2015’s brilliant comeback album ‘Confuse & Conquer’, ‘Calling All Ghosts’ features five new seething Poison Idea tracks that are as potent, pissed off and essential as anything they’ve recorded in their long and chaotic life. Long may it continue. James Sherry

underground heroes.

9/10

J

ust three years ago, the then-named Code Orange Kids were putting out a split single with indie-punks Tigers Jaw and emo juggernauts The World Is A Beautiful Place. But, with the side-project Adventures allowing for a melodic release, Code Orange can push the boundaries of their abrasive sound, and having reset the clocks with 2014’s astonishing ‘I Am King’, they’re primed to do the same again with their Roadrunner debut, ‘Forever’. The opening triptych sets the scene; ‘Forever’, ‘Kill the Creator’ and ‘Real’ are as visceral as heavy music gets. They’re the sound of dirt and broken bones and sodden filth and anguish. There’s little light to be found in Code Orange’s tales of dissatisfaction and disaffection as they rip into with ‘Forever’ like starving wolves feasting on a newly-acquired kill. Yet Code Orange refuse to stick to this readily-established blueprint. ‘The Mud’ is a dirge-filled dive punctuated by moments of unsettling quiet and a stop-start riff that makes your blood run cold, while ‘Hurt Goes On’ feels like the descent into a pit of despair. But there’s more to ‘Forever’ than just bristling rage and cutting-edge hardcore. ‘Bleeding in the Blur’ brings in melody and hooks, while ‘Ugly’ owes more to industrial noiseniks like Tool or Nine Inch Nails than Code Orange’s own hardcore heritage. Code Orange continue to confound trends or expectations and ‘Forever’ is a further step down a path that is as exciting as it is unsettling. Rob Mair

REVENGE OF THE PSYCHOTRONIC MAN COLOSSAL VELOCITY (TNS)

Revenge of the blown speakers.

6/10

U

pon listening to this record for the first time it is fair to say that this album can be quite unpalatable; it’s abrasive and extremely unforgiving. But as I listened to it more and more I found myself finding it more bearable. In all honestly I can’t tell if I was genuinely enjoying it or the blistering Manchester punks had melted my mind into some kind of grey putty. Either way, there is a undeniable charm surrounding the album. It’s lightning quick pace (see the title) and simplistic riffing makes it, in it’s own way, a relaxing listen (unless you’re a sane person I guess). At times it can be a little jarring and it’s definitely one to let grow on you but tracks like the infectious ‘I Am Absolutely Fuming’ give it a good-time appeal. William Scott

SECT S/T

(Reflections)

Crushing debut from this vegan straight edge super-group

10/10

M

ade up of members of Cursed, Earth Crisis, Catharsis and Fall Out Boy, SECT come with quite a pedigree to live up to and their debut album is utterly compelling. Throwing back to the heyday of the 90’s this is a no holds barred, vegan straight edge militia of anger and bitter contempt for the establishment and moral decline. Sonically its part blast beat, part 90’s beatdown and part metallic hardcore but is executed with a passion and power second to none. From the relentless opening act of defiance of ‘Curfew’ (yes, that is Andrew Hurley playing drums!) to the melancholy of closer ‘Sinking’ this album is pure excellence for start to finish. Contender for album of the year, SECT have reworked a classic genre and made it vital. You need this record in your life. Miles Hackett

DOWN FOR LIFE 83


SEEKER

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES

LOSS

WORLD GONE MAD

(Victory)

(Suicidal)

Death metal/hardcore with a dash of experimentalism.

8/10

‘L

oss’ is Dallas band Seeker’s second album and, while they do combine hardcore and death metal, it’s not really a traditional Victory deathcore record. It has a dirty, angry style to it that the band wed to the style of death metal from the ‘90s, with Bryce Lucien’s tortured vocals adding personality to what are in the main incredibly brisk and to the point tracks. It’s not all about speed though, with the title track and ‘Swallowed’ going past the three-minute mark and veering slightly away from the dominant death/hardcore sound, reducing the tempo but not the heaviness in order to create something more atmospheric and unsettling. ‘Loss’ only hangs around for about 25 minutes, meaning that it doesn’t outstay its welcome, and does its job with finesse and power. Paul Hagen

Crossover titans drop the funk.

8/10

T

he arrival of a new Suicidal album is always met with anticipation and the addition of Dave Lombardo on drums engages optimism. Repeated plays confirm it’s a grower, no two ways about that. Gone are the layers of funk-infested groove and there’s again a weighty metal punk crossover. The trademark sounds of crazy guitar licks, banging sing-along choruses and the infectious wail of Mike Muir piece together a record that returns Suicidal to the ‘must purchase’ category. The ferocity of ‘Living Your Life’ and the (possibly) tongue in cheek ‘Clap Like Ozzy’ are noticeable high points, closely followed by the insanity of ‘World Gone Mad’ and mellow starting ‘Get Your Fight On!’ One can honestly have no hesitation in stating ‘World Gone Mad’ is the best thing ST have released since ‘Lights… Camera… Revolution’. Mark Freebase

VANISHING LIFE

SURVEILLANCE (Dine Alone)

Punchy rock’n’roll from alt-rock supergroup

W

8/10

alter Schreifels has probably been involved with more acts than I’ve spent years on this earth, and here the New York hardcore legend is back fronting a new band featuring members of And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead and Rise Against. The follow-up to 2014’s ‘People Running’ single (which is included here), ‘Surveillance’ is a straight-up rock’n’roll killing machine, relentless and electricallycharged, but with just enough light and shade to hook you in and avoid any possibility of monotony. “It’s all just image,” Schreifels yelps on the outstanding ‘Image’, yet while ‘Surveillance’ contains plenty of rock posturing, there’s substance to back up the style. Like Queens of the Stone Age or Eagles of Death Metal at their driving best, there’s a bludgeoning pace about ‘Surveillance’, with cuts like ‘Painter’, ‘Exile’ and ‘Vanishing Life’ rattling along like a suicide mission down Russia’s Road of Bones. Elsewhere, ‘Thinking Weightless’ is a percussive-heavy head-bobber with a slinky and insidious guitar line, while ‘Pretty Ruined’ is more of a rumbling slow-burner with Schreifels vocals taking centre stage. What makes ‘Surveillance’ so remarkable though is its cohesiveness; with members coming from punk, hardcore and alt-rock, it finds the common ground between all three, allowing the individual members to push their limits yet remain anchored to this commonality. Played at a frenetic and frenzied pace throughout, ‘Surveillance’ is a raging torrent that doesn’t fade with repeated listens. Rob Mair

84 DOWN FOR LIFE

SUPER UNISON AUTO

(Deathwish)

THE AFTERNOON GENTLEMAN

STILL PISSED (Dead Horses)

So that’s where Meghan from Punch ended up.

UK grindviolence stalwarts return.

I

I

TOUCHE AMORE

TRAP THEM

8/10

f you have even a passing interest in fastcore and you don’t listen to Punch then you should. Punch printed “play fast or don’t play” on a centre sticker of one of their albums, so at first this seems an odd direction for an ex-member to go in. It’s still pretty pacey but feels more muscular in a mid to late ‘90s underground alt-rock way. It’s a lot of noise for three people and retains the unbridled vocal style, but on tracks such as ‘Keeper’, a breathy slower delivery proves just as effective and balances the whole thing out nicely. There’s not much of a departure lyrically from Meghan’s previous efforts; ‘You Don’t Tell Me’ ostensibly revisits the feminist stance of yore. Overall, this is a more mature sounding record but no less powerful than Punch. James Batty

STAGE FOUR (Epitaph)

One of 2016’s finest albums.

9/10

L

A post-hardcore band Touche Amore have been making great records and performing immense live shows for years, but it’s their fourth album ‘Stage Four’ that is a career-defining moment. The title refers to late-stage cancer and each song deals with the death of vocalist Jeremy Bolm’s mother. As is perhaps to be expected, it’s a devastatingly emotional journey, but one that sees some of the band’s harder edges softened. Elements of shoegaze have slid into their music, making the high-impact moments sound even more powerful in comparison. There’s even an instance of Jeremy using clean singing on one track, ‘Benediction’, but this just highlights the intensity of his lyrics. Few albums have dealt with loss with such eloquence while also keeping their musical standards so high but this is the case with Touche Amore and ‘Stage Four’. Paul Hagen

8/10

n case you haven’t noticed, The Afternoon Gentleman like a drink and they like to grind, holler and squeak all about it. This is more than just a compilation of forty one hails to the ale culled from past releases, however. While song titles are tongue in cheek, their musical ability and creativity cannot be called into question. There might even be a bit of social commentary on tracks such as ‘War on the Poor’… maybe. Live they are always bang on the money but it seems the more powerviolence side of their work has perhaps been lost in the fugue of basement sound systems. There is plenty of that on this record though, throw in a bunch of inspired samples and you have a fine introduction to a great UK band who are rightly touring and making friends all over the world. James Batty

CROWN FERAL (Prosthetic)

Nihilistic blackened hardcore hits all the right spots.

7/10

A

s recent events have shown, America’s not exactly having the best year at the moment. Were the country in need of a cathartic soundtrack for its apocalyptic malaise, it would do very well to reach for the latest release from Trap Them, a Massachusetts-based quartet who have steadily been making a name for themselves since the mid 2000s. The term “Entombedcore” has been thrown at these guys in the past but now feels kind of redundant, as ‘Crown Feral’ is very much its own beast. The vibe may be bleak but the album chugs ahead with a polished ferocity that shows a band at the height of its powers, with a complete mastery of their sound. This sits very nicely next to the likes of Black Breath and Converge. It grabs you by the hair, pulls very hard and refuses to let go. James Gates


WARZONE

DON’T FORGET THE STRUGGLE, DON’T FORGET THE STREETS (Revelation)

Another classic hardcore reissue from Revelation Records.

8/10

O

ut of print for over 25 years, a reissue of the debut 1987 album from legendary New York hardcore band Warzone has been a long time coming. Birthed from the same scene that spawned the likes of Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags and Youth Of Today (to name just a few) and led by charismatic frontman Ray ‘Raybeez’ Barbieri (RIP), Warzone were hugely influential across the worldwide hardcore community and listening to this album all of these years later, it’s not hard to hear why. There’s an energy and spirit here that is totally life-affirming and infectious. Remastered and repackaged with never-before-seen photos and liner notes, this is well worth getting back into the pit for and immersing yourself in the spirit and the sweat of the time. James Sherry

WHITE COLLAR CRIME LLC S/T

(WCC LLC)

Socially aware crossover from NYC.

7/10

“D

o you like angry music made by people who are fed up with the system? Do you miss politics mixed in with your rock n roll? Have you ever wanted to punch a banker in the face?” New York’s White Collar Crime LLC are clearly angry and not prepared to take any shit! So reads the band’s intro to its new EP. Having played on some legendary NYC hardcore bills lay into everyone from big business to the Christian Right and with Donald Trumps recent election these sentiements are more relevent than ever. There’s some super tight muscianship on display and they blitz a mix of hardcore, punk n’ roll and thrash.Coming across like D.R.I getting trashed with Jimmy Gestapo and Murphys Law, WCC LLC wear their hearts on their sleeves and take no prisoners. Wall Street Blitz! John Damon

Down for life spins the latest singles and EP’s for your aural delectation. Angel Du$t Stay

(Photobooth Records)

8/10

S

econd single culled from the highly infectious ‘Rock The Fuck On Forever’ album sees Angel Du$t ramp up the melody on this album track and back it up with the flipside feelgood exclusive of ‘Keep My Cool’. Both absolute bangers! MH

BURN

From The Ashes (Bridge 9)

7/10

N

YHC legends Burn return with their first new recordings in 15 years with this fine 3 tracker of intricate and though provoking progressive hardcore. Still thinking outside the box this EP bodes well for the new album PD

Cerebral Scar Ride The Quarrel (Mosh Tuneage)

7/10

N

orthampton crossover thrash mob’s second EP is a slickly produced bruiser of a three tracker. Old school thrash sensibilities mixed with modern style Lamb Of God inspired riffs will take your ears apart. PD

DRI

But Wait? There’s More! (Beer City)

7/10

C

rossover legends first new recordings in two decades see the Texan quartet back on razor sharp form. Three new tracks which are classic DRI and totally rule mixed with two old faves given a makeover. MH

Frame Of Mind Weight Of Two

WORMROT VOICES (Earache)

Brilliant, face-melting brutality all the way from Singapore.

9/10

I

went to Singapore once. The food was great but it was too hot and a bit boring. I certainly wouldn’t have associated it with this astounding record from the city state’s very own grindcore heroes Wormrot. This album is an absolute blinder, pummelling the listener into bloodied, weeping submission over the course of 20 tracks. Boasting frankly insane levels of fury, ‘Voices’ pulls no punches and sounds like a band making an album in the knowledge that the world will end very soon so they don’t don’t have time to fuck about. There is enough variety, precision and fucking-hell-those-guys-sound-pissed rage here to satiate even the hardest of ears. Fans of Antichrist Demoncore and Nails will devour this like lions gorging on a wildebeest carcass. An essential dose of aggression. James Gates

XILE

THE GRAFTON EP (BDHW)

Debut release from New Zealand crew.

6/10

X

ile play a form of ultra-heavy hardcore/ beatdown/metal on their debut EP. The Auckland band have been around since 2011 but have just gotten around to releasing some music, no doubt due to the band members also being in other hardcore bands such as Too Late, Superior Vision and Antagonist A.D. The five-track EP speeds by in less than nine minutes, with Xile trying to cram as much brutality into the short running time as they can. Given the pedigree of the band, it’s no surprise that the competency shown on this release is of a high standard. ‘Warzone’ is a particular highlight, with some vicious lyrics to go alongside the metal-fuelled anger. It will be interesting to see where Xile go with their first album but their EP provides them with a solid footing. Paul Hagen

(The Essence)

7/10

N

ew UKHC mob on the block Frame Of Mind mix Bad Brains and Burn with very exciting results. This four tracker is refreshing, infectious and breaks the mould for the UKHC scene. This band are definitely ones to watch. TS

Legubrious Children S/T

(Dead Heroes)

9/10

R

aging blast beat grind from Leeds that is as refreshing as it is crushing. This is eight wonderful tracks of blistering speed and lacerating rage that needs to be heard to be believed. Absolute rager and a must hear. TS

Turnstile Move Thru Me (Pop Wig)

8/10

B

altimore’s finest kick out these four jams as they bridge the gap until their next albu. All killer and no filler here as always from the quintet. It’s incendiary, exciting and as on point as their previous work. MH

DOWN FOR LIFE 85


FILM FINDING JOSEPH I (Small Axe)

I

f you caught the Bad Brains documentary, ‘A Band In DC’ a few years ago you might have left with the feeling there was a lot of unanswered questions. The enigma that is HR (Paul Hudson) behaved quite erratically during the opening sequence of the movie but it really never scratched the surface of his uniquely odd persona. Apart from all the incredible archive footage of his incendiary live performances little has been really uncovered about the man and the myth until now. With many stories abound this no holds barred documentary digs deep into the life, times and mind of this tortured genius with intriguing interviews both new and old with him, his fellow band mates and his peers. Some of this documentary is unsettling as we see and hear of his unpredictable behaviour stripped bare but all this helps unravel the mystery behind the legendary frontman.

ITALIAN PUNK AND HARDCORE 1980-1989 THE MOVIE (FOAD)

T

he definitive and most exhaustive documentary about the roots of punk and hardcore in Italy, focusing on the legendary “furious years” 19801989!! Almost 2 hours tracing the history of how it all came together, the early bands, labels and zines, the shows, the first squatted houses like “Virus” in Milano and “Victor Charlie” in Pisa, and a lot more. All this told in first person by those who lived it through detailed interviews and a lot of rare videos showing the bands in action. Photos, flyers, original 80’s TV features and rare live footage from more than 50 bands and 62 characters (labels, zine editors, etc.) A monster work put together over the years about the heyday of Italian hardcore/punk featuring such bands as Raw Power, Indegesti and Negazione this is the definitive guide to Italian punk rock.

86

DOWN FOR LIFE

FANZINES BETWEEN THE LINES #5

B

etween The Lines is certainly one of the most comprehensive and professional fanzines we’ve seen in a long time. Hailing from Germany with features both in English and German this A4, spine bound fanzine is full of slick, stylised design and large, insightful interviews from their home grown German scene and of course the international hardcore scene, with the likes of Terror, Walls Of Jericho, Knuckledust, World Eater and a whole lot more. At a whopping 100 pages it’s bursting at the seams with content and aside from the band and label interviews there’s sections on ‘how to be DIY’, art, literature and the obligatory reviews section. Obviously an understanding of the German language is a must to get full enjoyment from this zine but it’s also a great window into how productive and large their home grown scene is in 2017.

BOOKS HARD-CORE (LIFE OF MY OWN) Harley Flanagan (Feral House)

A

fter John Joseph’s biography it was fairly inevitable that Harley Flanagan was going to put pen to paper and tell his side of the story. Although both books do have sections focusing on the CroMags and of course, the highs and lows of the band (and the beef between them) there’s a lot more to these guys and Harley has had a fascinating life too. From teen punk rocker rubbing shoulders with the illuminati of The Clash and Debbie Harry to his street fighting adolescence, he too has been through a turbulent life, a lot of it flanked by extreme violence. It’s violent, very violent and although Harley reflects upon it with repentance it’s still shocking none the less. This is a gritty portrayal of growing up in New York during its depressed years, the hand to mouth lifestyle and the hard times on the mean streets – essential reading.

MY DAMAGE

FAST #9

Keith Morris/Jim Ruland

O

ne thing that Asia has always loved is the extreme, whether it be their TV, cinema or in this case music. Countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan adore their extreme music and are furtive grounds for hardcore, grind and power-violence, basically anything loud, filthy, heavy and fast. So, the aptly titled Fast fanzine from Japan is one of their documents of this love of the extreme. This A5, spine bound zine is brimming with coverage of ear wrecking bands like Nausea, Die You Bastard and the legendary but infamous Infest. There’s a celebration of Relapse records and some briefer stories on hardcore heavyweights like Merauder, All Out War and Powertrip too. You might be forgiven in thinking Japan is too comic book and polite to have an underground hardcore scene, you’d be wrong. It’s all here in black and white and of course, in Japanese.

(Da Capo Press)

K

eith Morris. You know the guy. Short in height, large in attitude. Waist-length dreadlocks, intense, serious, pissed off. We all think we have a pretty clear picture of how the legendary Black Flag/Circle Jerks/OFF! frontman is. What we do learn, however, from reading this excellent book about the highs and lows of this punk rock legend is just how much Keith Morris liked to PARTY. The picture you get of Morris from reading about his early years is that he was a tightly-wound up coil of FUN; a cocaine snorting, beer drinking, chaos seeking master of disaster. Of course, inevitably the good times ran out as the addictions kicked in and the lows were as extreme as the highs but Keith’s story is a gripping roller-coaster of a life that has very few regrets and has been the voice for some of the greatest punk rock music ever created. A must read.


IEPERFEST BELGIUM

Words/Photos: Paul Hagen/Aga Hairesis

DAY ONE

I

EPERFEST has a lot a going for it. The longrunning hardcore festival greatly benefits from an absence of barriers and stage security, indeed there’s a ledge jutting out of the Main Stage to help assist stage divers. Plus, it’s in Belgium so the beer is decent and the festival site was baked in sunshine this year. While Ieperfest is primarily a festival of hardcore, the range of music in 2016 extended to death metal, black metal, and even industrial. US black metal band GHOST BATH put in one of the performances of the weekend, with tracks from their most recent album ‘Moonlover’ demonstrating why they’re one of the most exciting names in black metal at the moment. Oddly enough, German metalcore band BURNING DOWN ALASKA seem more out of place, their glossy, shiny music at odds with most of the other bands. Manchester hardcore band BROKEN TEETH put on an entertaining show on the Main Stage, with a display that suggests that they’ll be playing a lot more main stages in the future. THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER’s ferocious melodic death metal sounded particularly vicious and they bludgeon away to good effect. Really though, the Main Stage is all about SICK OF IT ALL, with the NYHC giants celebrating their 30 years in the business with all the classics during a set that reminds you of how communal hardcore can be. BROKEN TEETH

H2O

DAY TWO

H

20 are up early due to other gig commitments and their melodic hardcore goes down a treat in the sunshine, sparking a mass stage invasion with the joyous ‘What Happened?’ COLD HARD TRUTH put in an intense performance, the UKHC band undoubtedly have aggression to spare. GRUESOME are essentially a tribute act to death metal legends Death but that takes nothing away from what is a blisteringly tight death metal set. xBISHOPx bring the straight edge hardcore and their set has little frills, just full-on hardcore. CRO-MAGS have such an immense back catalogue that there was no doubt that it was going to go off in Ypres and the band’s unrelenting energy was matched by that of the crowd. ATARI TEENAGE RIOT are at first glance an odd chance for Ieperfest but the cold, confrontational nature of their electronic hardcore music means they have more in common with the bands at this festival than at most dance festivals.

DAY THREE

L

BU collective IRONED OUT put in an enjoyably varied set of hardcore tracks while German band RISK IT produce an astonishing amount of energy with their brand

IRON REAGAN

of high-tempo hardcore. Crossover specialists IRON REAGAN are another band that don’t skimp on energy and they perform music that is just made for the pit. KNUCKLEDUST have been going for 20 years and demonstrate why they’re such an integral part of the UKHC scene, looking completely at ease on the Main Stage. The festival concludes with AGNOSTIC FRONT, with the NYHC institution playing songs from throughout their lengthy career in a set that doesn’t disappoint.

SICK OF IT ALL

88

DOWN FOR LIFE


AGNOSTIC FRONT

DOWN FOR LIFE

89


REBELLION FESTIVAL WINTER GARDENS, BLACKPOOL Words/Photos: Miles Hackett/Dod Morrison JFA

T

HE annual punk gathering of Rebellion fittingly turns 20 this year, the same year that punk is celebrating its 40th anniversary. This year the festival also boasts one of the strongest line-ups in its history with their biggest and most eclectic array of bands to date. For the Thursday early birds it’s PEARS who rip up the Ballroom closely THE DWARVES

90

DOWN FOR LIFE

DESCENDENTS

followed by the ever entertaining and near to the bone smut of THE DWARVES, complete with naked bassist. Both FLAG and TSOL tore through sets of classics on the outdoor stage, drawing big crowds. No wonder as they are the antithesis of early Californian hardcore. Tonight though was all about DESCENDENTS, Milo and company blasting through an incendiary set of melodic punk classics and giving first airing to some of their new album tunes too. Always fun, they didn’t disappoint. Old school US anarcho mob REAGAN YOUTH kicked off the Friday’s proceedings on a rather sloppy and incoherent note but Aussie punk-core crew CLOWNS restored the faith with a dynamic

presence. Outdoors at the Tower Arena stage Watford’s ARGY BARGY brought the stomp and the rejuvenated DISCHARGE reclaimed their D-Beat crown with a raging set of old and new, frontman JJ bounding like a man possessed. It was left to THE EXPLOITED to close Friday’s event with their metallic UK82 stomp, taking the roof off in style. On Saturday it was BISHOPS GREEN who were the hangover lifters, closely followed by cult Californians CHANNEL 3 whose sound hasn’t aged well if we’re honest.

J

FA’s first trip to the UK was worth the wait, these OG US skate punks ripped through a scorching set on the outdoor stage that begged the question – why has it taken so long for them to play here? Awesome stuff. Lars Frederkson’s OLD FIRM CASUALS cranked out their infectious boot boy anthems on the Empress stage, always great fun live and GBH are nothing short of breath taking afterwards on the Arena stage. Texan legends MDC closed up Saturday with a furious set, frontman Dave Dictor sticking it to Trump at every corner. The weariness of Sunday could be overlooked by some of the heavy hitters on today’s bill – COCK SPARRER’s hangover set got spirits up before DC legends DAG NASTY played a blinder on the outdoor stage, another first for Rebellion. Back inside the Empress Ballroom it was the double A’s who were cooking up a storm, both the ADOLESCENTS and the mighty AGNOSTIC FRONT delivering faultless sets of pure energy. All this culminated in JELLO BIAFRA’s storming set of his own material and a smattering of Dead Kennedy’s songs just for good measure. Rebellion has become something of a punk rock mecca and in 2016 the team really upped the ante to create a truly eclectic line-up with something for every fan of the genre. Blackpool didn’t know what hit it !


TSOL

DOWN FOR LIFE

91


DR KNOW BENEFIT GIG TOMKINS SQUARE PARK, NEW YORK CITY Words/Photos: Chris Wynne/Stephen J Messina ANTIDOTE NYC

JOHN JOSEPH & DR KNOW

First up were MAXIMUM PENALTY. There aren’t too many hardcore bands out there that can mix in elements of straight up hardcore with traces of hip-hop and rock like these guys can. Highlights of their set also included a super tight version of the Bad Brains’ ‘House Of Suffering’. NTIDOTE frontman Drew Stone was another one of the faces responsible for this afternoon’s gig and he and his OG NYHC unit were up next. Starting into ‘Foreign Job Lot’ they really ratcheted things up when they went into a cover of ‘I’ by the Bad Brains turning the crowd into melted mush. The CRO-MAGS got the biggest reaction of the day with bodies flying everywhere for the majority of the time they were performing. Stage diver after stage diver went airborne in what looked at times like a line. With a set list made up of the bulk of ‘The Age Of Quarrel’ album. TOKEN ENTRY, for a band that hasn’t been together in ages and probably only had a handful of practices leading up to this show sounded on point. ‘Doing It Again’ was dedicated to Dr.

TOKEN ENTRY

A

L

ATE in 2015 word started to circulate that Gary ‘Dr. Know’ Miller of the Bad Brains was going through some extremely difficult health issues that threatened his life. After spending 3 months in a hospital and given just a 5% chance of survival he somehow beat the odds but had a long road ahead of him to get his life back in order. A free show in Tompkins Square Park on NYC was set up to help raise awareness and funds for Doc and his medical bills featuring an absolute blockbuster of a line-up.

CRO-MAGS

Know while ‘The Edge’ wound down their set. TE played as a tight unit and showed very little (if any) rust as everything just seemed to just click. With BREAKDOWN all set up and ready to start Dr Know took the mic, kept it short and thanked everyone for the love. The mic was then passed off to frontman Jeff Perlin as they busted into ‘Safe In A Crowd’ off of their 1987 demo and was performed by that same exact line-up. Later on it was announced that 2000 people attended with over $25,000 dollars raised to help Dr. Know. There were no fights, no obvious police presence, and the hope of more shows like this one in the future as the organizers got on the stage and asked everyone to clean up. It would have been cool to just walk out of the park on this day knowing you witnessed an amazing show for the ages. The fact that the NYHC community came together to put on a show for the ages and helped one of the scene’s forefathers get back on his feet made it all the more satisfying.

MAXIMUM PENALTY

92

DOWN FOR LIFE


Brotherhood and Cleveland’s Confront as well as exhibiting a love for early 80’s west coast Peace Punks like Crucifix and Against. NYHC mainstays MAXIMUM PENALTY most definitely brought it with their vocalist Jimmy WIlliams delivering with the same street tough confidence he used to dole out at packed CBGB’s matinees in the late 80’s. The recently resurrected BURN got up on stage soon after and simply exploded with a unstoppable fervour as if they hadn’t skipped a beat since the last time they stopped in the early 2000’s. When it was announced that the 1988 lineup of Youth of Today would be appearing at the festival, both those old enough to have witness the raw charisma of that unit in a live setting as well as those not even born yet in that point in time to see it were ecstatic. And rightfully so. Their set on Thursday night of the festival was a perfectly encapsulated blur of energy with fans from as far away as Chile and Norway moshing and singing along to their hearts’ content. Throughout the four days of the festival, there was a palpable energy gliding both inside and outside the confines of the venue. Between the never ending flow of great bands on the stage and the constant exchange of ideas between those in the crowd or the gigantic merch area, This is Hardcore proved that this is a music form far from dead. If anything, this years’ festival proved that hardcore is still an unrelenting force within the underground. Let the nay sayers be damned.

PROTESTOR

THIS IS HARDCORE ELECTRIC FACTORY PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA Words/Photos: Tony Rettman/Anna Spina

YOUTH OF TODAY

N

OW in its tenth year, the This is Hardcore fest held in Philadelphia has become an established entity in the scene in the same way as the Black ‘N’ Blue Festival in New York and the Ieperfest in Belgium and this year was no exception to that fact. With a great cross section of both reunited and long running units such as YOUTH OF TODAY, KILLING TIME and GORILLA BISCUITS along with plenty of new blood, the fest proved why it’s a yearly pilgrimage for hardcore fans young and old worldwide. The first night saw such Washington D.C bands as STAND OFF, LINE OF SIGHT and PROTESTER kicking things off confirming that one of the initial birthplaces of hardcore is still fertile with a matchless anger. Protester especially brought the rage with a beefy sound that pays homage to unheralded late 80’s straight edge bands as Seattle’s

SIEGE

BLOODSHED FEST DYNAMO, EINDHOVEN Words/Photos : Miles Hackett

T

HE Netherlands’ premier grind and power-violence calendar date boasted its strongest line-up to date this year, with one band on everybody’s lips – the first ever European appearance for the legendary SIEGE. Both BACKSLIDER and TRIAC laid waste to both the basement and main stages early on with their crushing riffs and breakneck speed. Leeds mob, THE AFTERNOON GENTLEMEN have risen meteorically and the warm reception to their screeching fury was testament to that. HOMEWRECKER have undergone a metal makeover since their last visit, which is reflected in their new material. WEEKEND NACHOS’ final Euro show is utter mayhem. It’s a shame to see a band like this at the top of their game bow out, they’ll be sorely missed. Then came SIEGE. Only two original members remain but that didn’t matter as ‘Drop Dead’ seared through the PA in crushing style. Playing every last song of their repertoire and a new one thrown in the originators of this genre were spell bounding. Tight yet furious, with an overwhelming power. Incredible to finally see these masters at work. See you next year Grindhoven!.

DOWN FOR LIFE

93


7 SECONDS January: 5TH Bristol The Fleece, 6TH Derby Hairy Dog 7TH Leeds Temple of Boom, 8TH Glasgow Audio, 9TH Newcastle Trillions, 10TH London Underworld. AGAINST ME December 2016: 6TH Birmingham O2 Academy 2, 7TH Manchester Academy 2, 8TH London Electric Ballroom, 9TH Glasgow Garage, 10TH Bristol SWX, 11TH Nottingham Rescue Rooms, 13TH Amsterdam Melkweg (Netherlands), 14TH Brussels Magasin 4 (Belgium), 15TH Zurich, Dynamo (Switzerland), 16TH Munchen Backstage Halle (Germany), 17TH Leipzig Conne Island (Germany), 18TH Vienna WUK (Austria), 19TH Linz Posthof (Austria), 20TH Cologne Live Music Hall (Germany), 21ST Hamburg Fabrik (Germany), 22ND Berlin SO 36 (Germany). COCAINE PISS December 2016 : 5TH Hull Gorilla Studios, 6TH Dark Horse Birmingham, 7TH The Cluny Newcastle, 8TH Old Pint Pot Manchester, 9TH Shacklewell Arms London. EXPIRE November : 29TH Southampton Talking Heads, 30TH Plymouth Underground, December : 1ST Cardiff CLWB Ifor Bach, 2ND Glasgow Cathouse, 4TH Huddersfield Parrish, 3RD Manchester Sound Control, 5TH Norwich The Owl Sanctuary, 6TH The Underworld Camden. FYI FESTIVAL III W/ TURNSTILE, ALL OUT WAR, THE RIVAL MOB, BLISTERED, CRIMINAL INSTINCT and more. January: 2ND & 3RD Exposition Park, Los Angeles, California.

GROEZROCK FESTIVAL W/ DEFTONES, PARKWAY DRIVE, and more. 29th & 30th April 2017. HATEBREED August 2017: 10-13TH Bloodstock Open Air HELMET January: 21ST Lucerna Music Bar Prague (Czech Republic), 23RD Berlin SO36 (Germany), 24TH Scheune Kulturzentrum Dresden, (Germany), 25TH Hannover Musikzentrum (Germany), 26TH Hamburg Knust (Germany), 28TH Aarhus VoxHall (Denmark), 29TH Sandnes Tribute (Norway), 30TH Oslo Vulkan Arena (Norway). February: 1ST Malmö Babel (Sweden), 2nd Stockholm Debaser Strand (Sweden), 4TH Tampere Klubi, (Finland), 6TH Copenhagen Vega Jr (Denmark), 7TH Cologne Gebäude 9 (Germany), 8TH Nijmegen Doornroosje (Netherlands), 9TH Sint-Niklaas De Casino (Belgium), 11TH Paris La Maroquinerie (France), 12TH La Rochelle La Sirene (France), 13TH Bordeaux Théâtre Barbey (France), 14TH Toulouse Le Metronum (France), 16TH Barcelona Razzmatazz 2 (Spain), 17TH Madrid Sala Caracol (Spain), 18TH Vitoria-Gasteiz Jimmy Jazz Gasteiz (Spain), 20TH Marseille Le Moulin (France), 21ST Biel Bienne (Switzerland), 22ND Milan Legend Club (Italy), 23RD Rome Traffic Club (Italy), 24TH Cagliari Fabrik (Italy), 25TH Ravenna Bronson (Italy), 27TH Vienna Szene Wien (Austria), 28TH Dornbirn Conrad Sohm (Austria). March: 1ST Ljubljana Kino Šiška (Centre for Urban Culture) (Slovenia), 2ND Budapest Dürer Kert (Hungary), 3RD Munich

PICS: LIGHTBOX REVELATION

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES

30 94

DOWN FOR LIFE SPONSOR EMP PERSISTENCE TOUR 2017 W/ SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, AGNOSTIC FRONT, MUNICIPAL WASTE, WALLS OF JERICHO, DOWN TO NOTHING, BURN, MIZERY January 18TH Berlin Astra Kulturhaus (Germany), 19TH Warsaw Progresja (Poland), 20TH Brno Sono (Czech Republic), 21ST Dresden Eventwerk (Germany), 22ND Torhout De Mast (Belgium), 23TH Hamburg Grosse Freiheit (Germany), 24TH Wiesbaden Schlachth of (Germany), 25TH Munich - Backstage Werk (Germany), 26TH Milano - Live Club (Italy), 27TH Lausanne - Les Docks (Switzerland), 28TH Oberhausen - Turbinenhalle (Germany) 29TH London O2 Forum Kentish Town.

LOUDER THAN DOWN FOR WAR LIFE

Technikum (Germany), 4TH Stuttgart Universum (Germany), 6TH Haarlem Patronaat (Netherlands), 7TH Leuven Het Depot (Belgium), 8TH Kortrijk De Kreun (Belgium), 10TH London O2 Academy Islington, 11TH Manchester Academy 3, 12TH Glasgow Cathouse. MADBALL (SUPPORTING KORN AND LIMP BIZKIT) December: 12TH Manchester Arena, 14TH Glasgow Hydro Arena, 15TH Birmingham Barclaycard Arena, 16TH London Wembley Arena, 18TH Cardiff Motorpoint Arena, 19TH Nottingham Motorpoint Arena. NETHERLANDS DEATHFEST W/ DISCHARGE, WORMROT, TERRORIZER, REPULSION, IRON LUNG, WOJCZECH and more. March: 3RD – 5TH 013 Poppodium Tilburg (Netherlands). PRAISE/ FURY/ INSIST TOUR December: 27TH Manchester Gullivers, 28TH London New River Studios, 29TH Antwerp Mol JH Tydeeh (Belgium), 30TH Wunstorf Wohnwelt (Germany) 31ST Berlin Cassiopeia (Germany), 1ST Częstochowa Sala Sportowa (Poland). January 2ND Budapest Dürer Kert (Hungary), 3RD Bologna Freakout (Italy), 4TH Zurich Werk 21 (Switzerland), 5TH Mannheim JUZ Mannheim (Germany), 6TH Amsterdam Vrankrijk (Netherlands), 7TH Paris l’Olympic (France). REBELLION FESTIVAL W/ MDC, ARGY BARGY, SUBHUMANS, PEARS, DOA, POISON IDEA, ZERO BOYS, HELLBASTARD, SHEER TERROR & more. 3rd – 6th August 2017. SHEER TERROR December: 15th Camden Underworld, 16th Leeds Temple of Boom, 18th Berlin Lido (Germany). SLAPSHOT (SUPPORTING DROPKICK MURPHYS) January: 20TH, Vienna Gasometer (Austria), 21ST Munich Zenith (Germany), 23RD Berlin Max Schmeling Halle (Germany), 24TH Leipzig Auensee (Germany), 25TH Amsterdam Heineken Music Hall (Netherlands), 27TH London Brixton Academy, 28TH Paris Zenith (France), 29TH Lille Aeronef France, 30TH Hamburg Sporthalle (Germany). February 1ST Hannover Swiss Life Hall (Germany), 4TH Strasbourg Zenith (France) 5TH Offenbach Stadthalle (Germany), 7TH Zagreb Tvornica (Croatia), 8TH Belgrade Dom Omladine (Serbia), 10TH Thessaloniki Principal Club Theatre (Greece), 11TH Athens Piraeus Academy 117 (Greece). TOUCHE AMORE / ANGEL DUST January: 19TH Eindhoven Dynamo Basement (Netherlands), 20TH Antwerp Trix Club (Belgium), 21ST Munster Skater’s Palace (Germany), 22ND Cologne Gebaude 9 (Germany), 24TH Stockholm Klubben (Sweden), 25TH Oslo John Dee (Norway), 26TH Copenhagen Pumpehuset (Denmark), 27TH Hamburg Hafenklang (Germany), 28TH Berlin Musik

SNFU

DOWN FOR LIFE SPONSORED SNFU EURO FROSTBITE TOUR 2017

January : 13TH Frankfurt AU (Germany), 14TH Essen Don’t Panic (Germany), 16TH 02 Academy London, 17TH Bristol Exchange, 18TH Birmingham O2 Academy 3, 19TH Manchester Gullivers, 20TH Glasgow Nice And Sleazy, 21ST Newcastle Think Tank, 22ND Derby Hairy Dog, 24TH Paris Gibus (France), 25TH Hasselt Muziekodroom (Belgium), 26TH Harlaam Patronaat (Holland), 27TH Arnheim Willemeen (Holland), 28TH Breda Mezz (Holland), 29TH Bremen Tower (Germany), 31ST Copenhagen Loppen (Denmark) February : 1ST Hamburg Hafenklang (Germany), 2ND Baunschweig B58 (Germany), 3RD Nuremburg Z-Bau (Germany), 4TH Karlshure Alte Hackerei (Germany), 5TH Munich Sunny Red (Germany), 6TH Aulendorf Irreal (Germany), 7TH Luzern Sedel (Switzerland), 8TH Crema Circolo Il Paniere (Italy), 9TH Revereto Lago Gottila (Italy), 10TH Trbovlje MCT (Slovenia), 11TH Linz Gasthaus Auerhahn (Austria), 12TH Bratislava Randal Club (Slovakia), 14TH Krakow Warstazt (Poland), 15TH Zdunka Wola Ratusz (Poland), 16TH Torun Pub Pamela (Poland), 17TH Dresden Konk Club (Germany) 18TH Berlin Wild At Heart (Germany). & Frieden (Germany), 30TH Poznan Pod Minogę (Poland), 31ST Warsaw Hydrozagadka (Poland). February: 2ND Leipzig Conne Island (Germany), 3RD Prague Futurum (Czech Republic), 4TH Vienna Flex (Athens), 5TH Budapest A38 (Hungary), 6TH Munich Hansa 39 (Germany), 7TH Ljubljana Gala Hala (Slovenia), 9TH Milan Legend (Italy), 10TH Bologna Covo (Italy), 11TH Zurich Dynamo Werk (Switzerland), 12TH Geneva Usine (Switzerland), 13TH Paris La Maroquinerie (France), 14TH Amsterdam Melkweg Theater (Netherlands),15TH Brighton The Haunt,17THBristol Fleece,18TH Manchester Sound Control, 19THNewcastle Academy, 20TH Glasgow Stereo, 21ST Leeds Brudenell Social Club, 22ND Birmingham Academy 3, 23RD London Islington Academy. TOGETHER FEST 2017 – YOUTH OF TODAY, AMERICAN NIGHTMARE, TRASH TALK, VANISHING LIFE & WOLFDOWN February : 17TH Essen Weststadthalle (Germany), 18TH Berlin Astra (Germany), 19TH Hamburg Markthalle (Germany), 20TH Liepzig Conne Island (Germany), 21ST Wiesbaden, Schlachthof (Germany), 22ND Munich Backstage Werk (Germany), 23RD Munster Sputnikhalle, 24TH Hasselt MusikO-Drom (Belgium), 25TH London Electric Ballroom.


Academy Events present

Academy Events by arrangement with Destiny Bookings presents

PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS

FEBRUARY 2017 22 ND MANCHESTER O 2 RITZ 23 RD BRISTOL O 2 ACADEMY 24 TH BIRMINGHAM O 2 INSTITUTE TH 25 LONDON O 2 SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE presents

P L U S

S P E C I A L

( L O N D O N

&

presents

G U E S T S

B I R M I N G H A M

O N L Y )

FRIDAY 20 JANUARY 2017

FRIDAY 27 JANUARY 2017

NEWCASTLE O2 ACADEMY2

BIRMINGHAM O2 ACADEMY3

SATURDAY 21 JANUARY 2017

LONDON O2 ACADEMY ISLINGTON

GLASGOW O2 ABC2

THE ULTIMATE GREEN DAY EXPERIENCE

SATURDAY 28 JANUARY 2017

MON 16 JAN // LONDON O2 ACADEMY ISLINGTON TUE 17 JAN // BRISTOL EXCHANGE WED 18 JAN // BIRMINGHAM O2 ACADEMY3 THU 19 JAN // MANCHESTER GULLIVERS FRI 20 JAN // GLASGOW NICE ‘N’ SLEAZY SAT 21 JAN // NEWCASTLE THINK TANK SUN 22 JAN // DERBY HAIRY DOG CLUB

THE UK's ONLY PARAMORE TRIBUTE

NATIONAL TOUR 2017 FRI SAT FRI SAT FRI SAT

MAY MAY MAY MAY JUNE JUNE

05 06 19 20 02 03

LONDON O2 ACADEMY2 ISLINGTON LIVERPOOL O2 ACADEMY2 BIRMINGHAM O2 ACADEMY3 GLASGOW O2 ABC2 SHEFFIELD O2 ACADEMY2 NEWCASTLE O2 ACADEMY2

TICKETWEB.CO.UK · 0844 477 2000 & ALL USUAL AGENTS


URBAN DOGS TRICK OR TREAT The classic line-up return with a blood curdling scream Thrilling new 7" single slice of fright-night Rock ‘n’ Roll Limited edition: 350 hand numbered copies with printed insert B-Side: Two previously unreleased long lost demos from 1982 (New Barbarians / Utopia)

Coloured vinyl: Emerald green blood! Available to order: 31 October 2016 www.timematterrecordings.bigcartel.com T&M 025 Time & Matter Records


COLLABORATION “I’m not fucking easy to work with. I have a little social anxiety, if someone says something I fucking lose it. One of the guys who plays in TSOL right now, Mike Roche, they were looking for quotes for something and he said ‘doing business with Jack is like going to the zoo’.”

PUNK FILM ‘SUBURBIA’ “It’s fucking embarrassing. I don’t know if you remember the scenes in Suburbia, we played in a club but I was so fucking ego-ed out that I had no idea they were really making a movie. There was a scene when I was gesturing the director to cut when I’m meant to be performing. I mean how much ego does it take to do that? I forgot the words so I’m like ‘cut this’ and they kept on filming, I looked stupid.”

UNDER YOUR INFLUENCE “I’m an old pop and soul fan and I listen to stuff like the Stylistics. When I was a teen punk we’d be out doing robberies and I would be playing Barry White in the fuckin’ car. I didn’t wanna be a punk. I’ve tried to hold down a job, I’ve tried to go to school. I’ve tried all that shit, I’ve really tried and I just keep fucking up. Punk chose me.”

PARENTING

JACK GRISHAM The enigmatic and entrepreneurial Jack Grisham grew to infamy as the vocalist of Southern Californian punk group TSOL or True Sounds Of Liberty as they are fully known, back in 1978. His imposing stature and unique perspective earned them a dedicated following with their riotous live shows. Emerging as part of the then West Coast hardcore scene their sound drifted through anarcho, horror and art house punk throughout their career. Aside from his vocal duties he is an accomplished author with a taste for the insane and also a hypnotherapist. The band graced our shores this summer and we caught up with Jack and found him in an outspoken mood on a variety of subjects close to his heart. He also announced that TSOL has signed to Rise Records and plan to release a new studio album very soon. Now the man himself will do the talking. 98

DOWN FOR LIFE

“Well I’m not like a dad, I love my kids but I’m not like a dad, dad – whatever that means. So my wife comes in one night and says ‘something’s going on, your daughter is shaving her legs, it means she’s going to have company’. So I get up at 5 o’clock in the morning and walk into my kid’s bedroom and hear two heads in there. They’re in the bed together. So I caught ‘em and they leave so I start going through the room looking for shit and I found a note that says ‘my dad’s asleep come on in’ and a used condom and then I find some weed. So I took the condom and weed and stuck it to the note and hung it from a coat hanger so the minute she opened her bedroom door it’s hanging there. Then I went after him!”

PARANOIA “One time in this restaurant with my family there’s these two guys looking at me and I’m like ‘fuckin A man, what are you fuckers looking at?’ to which they replied, ‘oh sorry, we were just stoked Jack Grisham was here!’ I was like ‘Oh OK, let me get you dinner.’ In a way it’s kind of a nice thing ‘cos they probably went home and told people, ‘Hey, we saw Jack. He really is fucked up!”

TSOL’s new album ‘The Trigger Complex’ will be out on Rise Records in the new year


When The Smoke Clears

(30 years Sick Of It All) Out now! ltd. deluxe 10 inch + cd artbook: 5 brand new exclusive songs! · Incl. 10" Vinyl + all on CD 60 page photo booklet · Embossed faux leather sleeve

Limited clear vinyl version available at: cmdistro.com

photo by BJ Papas

w w w .C E N T U R Y M E D I A . c o m

Produced by Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys, The Kills, Drenge)‚ Delicious Rock Noise‘ is the re-release of the band’s remarkable debut album “Dark Black Makeup” now featuring two exclusive bonus tracks.

LOW PRICED CD & LTD EDT. LILAC LP (+CD) YOURS TO OWN NOW.


Profile for Big Cheese Publishing

DOWN FOR LIFE 2 SUICIDAL TENDENCIES  

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES STILL CYCO AFTER ALL THESE YEARS Plus... TSOL WISDOM IN CHAINS SIEGE TRAP THEM UKHC SPECIAL SECT JUDGE OLD FIRM CASUALS...

DOWN FOR LIFE 2 SUICIDAL TENDENCIES  

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES STILL CYCO AFTER ALL THESE YEARS Plus... TSOL WISDOM IN CHAINS SIEGE TRAP THEM UKHC SPECIAL SECT JUDGE OLD FIRM CASUALS...