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Monday, August 11, 2014

BORN FROM PAIN: The New Future




Over two years ago now, I was out on the road with First Blood and was lucky enough to have Born From Pain joining us for, I believe, their third or fourth US tour. Riding in a van for three weeks with people you've never met in your life always has a potential of being anywhere from awkward to unbearable. Alas, this was far from the case as Rob, Dom, Peter and Lukas were great tourmates in one of the more packed vans I've ever been in. They had come to the US to tour in support of a new LP entitled The New Future ... but here's the catch: they were releasing Mp3s online for free.

Now, let's keep in mind here ... Born From Pain is not some fly-by-night rookie band here. They have been releasing some of the heaviest hardcore over the past 15 years on a reputable European hardcore label known as Gangstyle alongside Metal Blade Records for their later albums giving them worldwide distribution. The decision to embark on an international tour to support the release of a free album is not something that I had ever heard of before ... especially from a band in their position.

Alongside a quick. decimating musical onslaught is a layout which paints a very bleak picture of the potential future of the planet. While nearly being a concept album, the continual lyrical theme throughout the album is the pending New World Order, growing government corruption, reasoning for civil unrest and the continual global governmental battle against liberty.

Now, anyone that knows me knows that one of my biggest pet peeves is when international bands write lyrics concerning American issues that they typically know nothing about. While I understand that US policy has a tendency have global implications which, in turn, effects people on the other end of the Earth, the last thing I need to hear is an Australian opinion on the Second Amendment or a Canadian's input on racism if that makes sense. Regardless, this album is one of the few cases where I truly value the lyrical insight into the state of my country. The comparisons between the current state of those united and Germany in 1933 is both invaluable and an example of the lyrical content on this release.

Musically the album provides 9 tracks in about 25 minutes. With 5 or 6 tracks being quite reminiscent of the Born From Pain we've surely all grown to know over the past decade and a half, there are also several tracks that explore into a very dark, industrial-tinged realm of the band. I remember being given my first taste of the album during one of our overnight drives on said tour after a listening session and subsequent discovery of mutual appreciation of Alphaville. Rob plugged in his Mp3 player without letting me see who the artist was and asked me what I thought. While I enjoyed it regardless, I knew it was some kind of trick question because of how both unique and obviously German it was. I assumed it was some type of side project that I somehow never caught wind of but it was, surprisingly, the new Born From Pain album that has not really left my rotation since then (in 2012).

I'm not too sure where the band's download link for this album is any more so it inspired me to make my own post for the album. I'm VERY curious to hear the follow-up release for this album to see if the band ventures further into the industrial/new wave realm that they were.

Don't be scared by my emphasis on this angle of the album ... there are still AT LEAST three songs on this disc which hold their own in the live set list right alongside Final Nail, Reclaiming The Crown, Death In The City and all the other classic Born From Pain tracks.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

HELL FEST 2000

In case some of you don't know ... I've been digitizing all of my show footage from the past two decades and uploading them to YouTube (now in HD). This is a gem I've been working on for quite some time. There are two bands towards the end of the upload I'd like some help figuring out who they are, however.

Speaking of help ... if anyone has any footage from this era (or any, really) and would like to see them put online for the world to see ... feel free to get in touch. It's very time consuming but it's also a labor of love. Donations of the show tapes are appreciated but I am also content with borrowing the tapes and returning either the masters or DVD copies for you. I return all material in better condition than it arrives and have extremely quick turn-around time. I can provide references as well.

Anyhow, here's the footage ... enjoy!

PS - If you click on the LINK to the actual YouTube page, there are time stamps in the description that will take you to each band directly!


Saturday, June 14, 2014

AGE OF RUIN: Discography




I initially found out about this band in 2001 when I received their demo for review for both my own zine and also for HardcoreWebsite.net ... which I somehow ended up doing reviews for as a 15 year old kid. There were always a lot of bands who promised to send demos to both ... and I would be lucky to receive one. Having a band follow through on sending to both was a rarity that potentially never happened at any other point.

The cliche is that you've listened to an album so much that it wore out ... well, in this case, it was genuinely true. CD-R technology wasn't up to the standards that it is today but luckily I had two copies. This demo stood out amongst the hundreds that I received as one of my favorites. It was the dawn of melodic metalcore and something about this demo struck me as sounding like a "hardcore version" of In Flames' Clayman album which I had been jamming steadily since I had seen them open for Earth Crisis the year prior.

I was even more surprised to find out that the band was from Fairfax, VA; both a suburb of Washington DC and also a city not exactly known for its metalcore scene. Potentially more intriguing was the recording which I would later found out was done by Ken Olden of Damnation AD fame. While this wasn't the typical style of aggressive music he was known for, it worked well for the raw sound that the band initially pioneered amidst the other bands of the genre who were going the route of triggered drums, sound replaced guitars and pitch-corrected vocals.

I suppose I should back up slightly as the band released a demo in 1998 entitled The Opium Dead when they initially started which I only recently received a copy of thanks to a contribution which I'll go into later. While two songs would be re-recorded (something the band seemed to love doing), two tracks are only available on this cassette. In the year 2000 the band released the full length entitled Black Sands Of The Hourglass on a label I've never seen another release from called Dark Moon Empire. This would later be re-mastered and re-released in 2003 with both a new, exclusive track and a really horrible Bon Jovi cover. While this album still destroys most of the other metalcore coming from both the era and area, there was not much progression from their debut demo recorded two years prior. The maturity found between said debut full length and the following recording session in 2001, however, is quite noticeable.

Actually, what I'm continually referring to as the "demo" I received in 2001 is technically the Autumn Lanterns EP. The only difference between the CD-R that I received for review and the officially released EP is the addition of a fifth track entitled No Kiss Cuts As Deep. Released by the then-infamous label Tribunal Records, this EP served as the band's introduction to the larger audience that the label held at the time. It wasn't long after that the band started gaining recognition regionally. It around this time that I finally got to see the band live at The Bunion Bowl in Baltimore, MD. Equally as memorable as the set was the vocalist smashing beer bottles over his own head. I believe there was actually footage in the trailer for the Bunion Bowl DVD which never saw the light of day.


It was probably around this time that the band was firing on all four cylinders and started working on their sophomore EP, The Longest Winter's Woes. In a turn of events the band chose to release this session on a relatively marginal local label which was churning out most of the Baltimore Hardcore acts of the time called DFF Records. Once again produced by Ken Olden the album was every bit as vital as the preceding EP yet failed to make a comparable impact; probably due in part to the lack of distribution or promotion from the upstart label.

It's somewhere around this time period (2004/2004) that the story gets interesting. At some point after the release of The Longest Winter Woes EP the band's original vocalist went separate ways with the rest of the band and a replacement was found in former Samadhi vocalist Ben Swan. Readers of the blog may remember a post I had made on Samadhi nearly two years ago which can be found HERE. It was also at this time that the band signed a deal with yet another then-prestigious label by the name of Eulogy Records. The stage had been set for the band to finally break out of their seemingly-regional confines of the time. Despite the departure of the last-remaining original member and nearly sole song writer (guitarist Daniel Flemming) immediately following the recording of the full length, the band decided to carry on with their plans for several national tours (including Warped Tour) and eventually a European jaunt.

It was the beginning of 2006 whenever the original members (none of which were involved with the current line-up) decided to re-form to not only reclaim their material ... but also their name! For several years there were two incarnations of the band simultaneously playing shows ... and some of the same tracks! With the recently reformed group touting to be the "original" and Eulogy Records claiming to be in possession of the "real", I feel like I remember one of them eventually breaking down and performing simply as "The Ruin" ... but I can't remember which one.

The quarrel would be a relatively short-lived one, however, as the Eulogy Records version would go on to play their final show in 2007. They would not go quietly into the night as the band actually recorded both an unreleased three song demo in 2006 an entire full length before disbanding in 2007. Unfortunately for us, however, vocals were only laid down for one and a half songs (out of the nine tracked) on the full length. The only song that DID get finished was recorded a few hours before their final show. The session has been sitting dormant ever since.

This is not the finality of the story for Age Of Ruin as a whole. The original incarnation who came back into form in 2006 would go on to record a full length in 2009 entitled One Thousand Needles. While this was only released digitally through iTunes, it was technically considered to be a Hand Of Hope Records release. The album is a solid offering. The irony of the entire story is that the song-writing is nearly seemless between the two groups. To the untrained ear even the interchangeable vocalists are quite similar. With alternating releases coming out concurrently the story almost needn't be told.

Thankfully for my always-curious mind, however, I recently received not only a reply to a message I sent to a nearly-dormant YouTube account entitled "AgeOfRuin" but also a care package containing the original 1998 demo, some shirts and a whole slew of rare Mp3s courtesy of Joe, the bassist from 2004 on. While I am NOT including the unreleased full length, I AM including some rarities that will be found throughout the download links.

Once again, thanks to the kindness of Joseph taking the time to write me several lengthy e-mails to help put the pieces of the puzzle together along with the demo cassette I've been searching out for over a decade ... it inspires me to continue making posts here for everyone to enjoy. It's nice to get something in return every once in a while for the time I spend babbling here.



DOWNLOAD - Opium Of The Dead (1998 Demo + Skeletal Marionettes, unreleased compilation track)
DOWNLOAD - Black Sands Of The Hourglass (2004 remastered re-release)
DOWNLOAD - Autumn Lanterns EP (2001)
DOWNLOAD - The Longest Winter's Woes (2003)
DOWNLOAD - The Tides Of Tragedy (2004)
DOWNLOAD - Unreleased Demo (2006)
DOWNLOAD - One Thousand Needles (2009)
DOWNLOAD - Burn This City & Cancerous (from the unreleased full length ... which rules, by the way)



Thursday, June 5, 2014

INSTAGRAM

There is now a Path To Misery Instagram. It gets updated a lot more frequently because I can do so while at work. It leans a bit more towards the "political" aspect of the band ... but don't worry ... it's usually summed up in nice little pictures. That's the beauty of Instagram ... minimal ranting!

We still talk about sick music!

@pathtomisery

Thursday, May 22, 2014

UNREAL CITY: Masks



While I was a fan of the "demo" versions of this EP that was recorded before the band's multi-year hiatus ... the addition of a genuine re-recording ices the cake on this release. Unlike most hardcore releases coming out these days ... there are RIFFS on this 7". While obvious comparisons can be made to Integrity, there are influences ranging from Entombed to Bolt Thrower to Cro Mags found throughout this offering.

Done in a legitimate DIY manner from the creation to the completion, this band takes their course in the typical Pittsburgh fashion: inventive, uncompromising and at its own pace

Two of the four songs can be heard HERE (where it can also be purchased)






Thursday, May 15, 2014

TOP TEN HARDCORE FULL LENGTHS FROM WHEN I FIRST STARTED GOING TO SHOWS

Updating the blog is hard these days. Mostly because my posts tend to be long-winded. I'm going to do my best to make shorter, yet more frequent posts, in an attempt to keep this as fresh as possible.

It's hard for me though because I get excited about a band halfway through the post and end up ranting for a lot longer than I'd like. I surprisingly do get a lot of e-mails from people thanking me for the time I put into this blog, however, and it's encouraging to keep it going. Atonement Records out of the UK recently sent their appreciation so I checked out their blog in return and read through some posts of theirs.

I noticed while browsing that I typically get mentioned alongside several other blogs/bloggers that are "90s-oriented". I just wanted to take a second to note the distinction between myself and "them". I'm not "stuck in the past" (that's not a personal jab, I simply can't think of any other wording) and I also don't take pride in being "jaded".

I'm sure that sounds hard to believe considering my musical preferences but, in reality, I'm always wishing and waiting for someone to show me new, inspiring bands. Unfortunately I am also a realist and refuse to buy into things for nostalgia and/or revival purposes ... which totally leaves me in this strange purgatory between hardcore kid and useless old fuck.

While my profession has mostly ruined live concerts for me; it has also made me appreciate recorded music more than I probably ever have. At the end of the day I'm still down to pit and have been traveling further and more frequently for shows while I've been enjoying digging through my record crates/CD library/Mp3 folder more now than ever.

Now, onto my Top 10 Hardcore Full Lengths From When I First Started Going To Shows List.

While the order changes almost daily for me, these albums have been rocked consistently by me since I first got into hardcore a little over 15 years ago now. Obviously there are albums I like better than these now, but if we are talking consistency and availability when I was entering the realm of hardcore ... this is the list for me. While Breed The Killers isn't my favorite Earth Crisis album, it was the one they were touring in support of when I first saw them ... and while Seasons In The Size Of Days isn't the pinnacle Integrity release, it was the only one I could find for a year or two, ya dig?

I'd post download links but you probably already own these and most of them were released on Victory Records (who still think their Mp3s are sacred).



1 - HATEBREED - Satisfaction Is The Death Is Desire (November 11th, 1997)

I think this HAS to be Number 1, right?


2 - ALL OUT WAR - For Those Who Were Crucified (October 18th, 1998)

How insane is it that these guys are gigging out and playing this in it's entirety!?!


3 - BURIED ALIVE - The Death Of Your Perfect World (May 4th, 1999)

Terror is sick, but this full length is perfection.


4 - 100 DEMONS - In The Eyes Of The Lord (October 17th, 2000)

Still, to this day, the angriest and most violent lyrics and vocals ever put to tape.


5 - EARTH CRISIS - Breed The Killers (September 8th, 1998)

Ultramilitance and guest vocals from Rob Flynn; a criminally underrated album.


6 - GODBELOW - Painted Images With The Blood Of (July 10th, 2000)

People don't typically like giving credit where due, but this album is the definition of heavy.


7 - RINGWORM - Birth Is Pain (October 23rd, 2001)

A comparatively "new" album but these songs were mostly demo'd and being played live for years.


8 - INTEGRITY - Seasons In The Size Of Days (June 3rd, 1997)

Yet another criminally underrated album due to the band's extensive catalog of perfection.


9 - TURMOIL - The Process Of (March 29th, 1999)

How could I have The Death Of Your Perfect World on the list without its predecessor?


10 - IN COLD BLOOD - Hell On Earth (March 3rd, 1998)

A typically overlooked one-off classic from the Melnicks released not long after their final Integrity release.


Honorable Mentions:

Death Threat - Peace & Security
Mushmouth - Out To Win
E-Town Concrete - The Second Coming
Fury Of Five - At War With The World
25 Ta Life - Friendship, Loyalty, Commitment


Like I said, this is moreso just a very personal list reflecting back on what records I STILL jam from when I was first getting into THE SCENE. As mentioned, the Integrity record I listed was the only one I could even find for a year or two so I have more of a connection with it than an album that was released in 1993 even if it is technically "better". 



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

CROSSBREED: The Stamp Of Hate


I remember always hearing this band name due to it's obvious similarity to another band we all know. It wasn't until somewhat recently that I managed to come across a download of their EP, The Stamp Of Hate. I also found out at this time that it featured "members of Kickback" (who I would later find out was just their drummer).

After listening to the EP several times, it easily made it's way onto my list of "actually good European hardcore" bands. It wasn't until after I did some further research on the band and found the following interview that I deemed them to be blog-worthy. While the music itself is quite impressive for it's time frame and location (1999 in France) ... it was the absolutely insane interview that truly made me a fan of the band.

Initially I thought the peculiarity of the interview could be accredited to the broken English inherent in the pre-Google Translate era it was created during. As I kept reading, however, I soon found its insanity to be solely tied to the mind of the insane frontman, Patrice Mariani. Despite not being able to understand half of what he is talking about ... I find myself disturbingly relating very much to what he is saying in the other half. Not to mention, the music is quite relate-able ... which is the true beauty of music, right?

(Editor's Note: Potentially the first and only time Luddite Clone has ever been mentioned as an influence.)

---------

An Interview with Patrice Mariani of Crossbreed

1. How did the band get started? How did you meet and how long have you been together?

Patrice Mariani: CROSSBREED was born at the end of 1999. I met Raffi (guitarist) at school when I was 16 years old. We had a mutual concept: creating a brutal homogeneous and coherent entity. We've played together in a band named Disaster Drop during 5 or 6 years. After a while some members chose to go away. They didn't believe in what we tried to do, then we got in touch with Yohann (Bassist). He played in an extreme punk rock Band. We knew he listened to bands like Converge, Neurosis, Vader, Nasum. So, we proposed him to do something more violent than he was playing. Simon (drums) is from Kickback. We needed someone getting another vision of hard music. Here was the line up. I think CROSSBREED is literally a "product of blend."

2. How would you describe your music? 

Patrice Mariani: I haven't a real understanding of our brand music. With this stuff we just would play with nerves and mental strains. We would like to get them, rot them, spit them, vomit over, and serve account in a spittoon that was already useful aiming to infect you with brutal songs without likely give and take. I think it's a bad delusion, a nightmare we preferred forgetting. You should keep your eyes closed, if we accomplished this we will be proud.

3. What are your biggest influences? 

Patrice Mariani: We like bands as Converge, Torn Apart, Luddite Clone, Will Haven, Neurosis, Nostromo from Swiss or Ananda from France we're working on a new project and I can tell you today that it should be more extreme than "The Stamp of Hate."

4. What influence do you think your bands has in music and metal today?

Patrice Mariani: We would be proud to say that we influence some Bands but I think we only influence milk-cows of middle west today. Maybe United states will open us its door??.. of cheese production?..

5. Are any band members in side projects? If so what are they, and explain a little about them.

Patrice Mariani: Simon plays with Kickback. They record their last 6 tracks CD with Ed Rose (Coalesce). In Europe, some people look for a certain likeness with this band. Bullshit.We're trying to develop in each one of our songs a coherent and entire concept. Chaos's concept. We're glad to be compared with kickback, but I personally think we don't get the same project. We're playing another kind of sound. Maybe hatred and fury join our two different line up. I don't know.
If some people think it is justified. I let them with their beliefs.

6. How would you feel if a band took their sound from yours and became very well known?

Patrice Mariani: I will be bound to strangulate their leader with a guitar string. Personally I would be very pleased (To asphyxiate him!). No. sincerely. I think it will mean our music will have been gratified. We wouldn't be converted into prosperous Big Mac men with a lot of dollars in our sockets. We're trying to do what we enjoy doing. I hope we'll may influence others bands. Anyway our stuff is protected by applicable laws!

7. What current bands do you like or respect? 

Patrice Mariani: I think we respect bands believing in what they do. Personally I respect bands like Ananda, Converge or Coalesce, Eighteen Visions (a fuckin band!)

8. How many demos/albums do you have? Tell me about them!! 

Patrice Mariani: TWO: the first release was a 6 tracks demo named "Time to Ascend". I can tell you today that it was a really big piece of shit!!!! It was rather "Time to Fall!!!!!" And the second, a 6 tracks CD "The Stamp of Hate" with a different line up, another concept.

9. What demo/album do you like the best?

Patrice Mariani: I Like the last split Converge/Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Slayer "Divine Intervention" and the two latest Neurosis.. a revelation!

10. What is the meaning behind the songs?

Patrice Mariani: I think we don't really get intentions. Just put on a good snap in your head. Our own music is like a game in which there are no rules and referees. It's not made to set you in a good mood. It is made to point you out, all the shit taking place in our poor life. It's made to remember you that you are the only author of it. It's made to help each one of us to remember that we are an impending big shit full of greed. 

11. What are the bands favorite songs?

Patrice Mariani: I think we take pleasure to play "The Stamp of Hate" even if the text is not really what it should be. I think it is a deep song, cynical, just enough to remember what kind of shits we are.

12. What does the future hold for the band? 

Patrice Mariani: NONE. It's not an impression! Paris is full of pseudo-hardcore gang banger watching Us bullshits series. That's why Crossbreed gets a lot of support nowhere! Sometimes we do good shows, its infrequent! Having spent the majority of our time doing fucking jobs, we felt the strong desire to step up to the mic with brutal vocals and mobilize an outfit that would truly represent our own ideas. But we witnessed that Paris underground scene is a fucking horse's shit. We have to play out to feel good vibes. We truly fuck pseudo-unity hardcore scene. Just an huge band of hypocrites in baggies jeans.

13. If you could play with any band who would it be and why?

Patrice Mariani: Metallicaaaaaa..Slaaaaayeeeer..Suicidal tendencies, money,money, seriously I don't know. I'm sorry.

14. Who writes the majority of the music? 

Patrice Mariani: Raffi (guitarist) and me (Patrice vocals) some next songs will be in French, I think?..arrgggghhh!!!..Maybe you know we produced our stuff?.No!!!? so, now you know Jeffrey. We hadn't enough money to pay a good engineer and recording in a big studio. Moreover we wanted our stuff sounds not like the others. We sought something different and we think we'll find it in our own home studio. In city we live up till now. So we also wrote the majority of our songs at Drop Prod studio and I have the honor of engineering this record.

15. Who has been the favorite band you've played with and why?

Patrice Mariani: I think it was with a unknown Belgium hardcore band named Sad Origin (really sad). We've done a really violent show, but we were literally full of beer!!! After the show I remember I had strangulated a poor victim of my collapse with a microphone cable, a very sad gig.

16. Where did you get the band name from?

Patrice Mariani: I think it was in the decomposition of a big horse's shit. I was looking at this beauty and I got a divine vision, falling from the sky, Crossbreed! Seriously I've seen Crossbreed in defecation! Sincerely I think it was in my preferred dictionary.

17. If you are gonna do any kind of video what would be in it?

Patrice Mariani: My dog, My red fish.
We just would like a lot of naked girls with big ass and pretty faces. We're not tough guys. Take my hand and I'll give them the worst willingly. We divide evenly at all.

18. Are there any touring plans made; if so tell me about them? 

Patrice Mariani: Just some dates in Europe ( France, Belgium and Germany). We're working more on our album. More chaotic than ever!!! It should be published by a French Underground Label named Mafia Underground. We get the same concept about production. We should work with these people. They are true with themselves and definitely with others.

19. Where do you think the band will be 20 years from now? 

Patrice Mariani: I think we'll feed worms; Maybe our names will be carved on our tomb!




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