Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Realization...

Never realized that people from all over the world read this blog semi-regularly. Makes you remember that problems with local yokels or personal frustrations aren't worth posting. Makes you remember that the band needs to focus on genuine world problems. We're planning on doing just that. Once again have essentially an entirely new line-up. Full time percussionist this time around. More details and show info coming soon.

Since I'm here, I'm going to share one of my favorite demos of 2010. I was impressed firstly by the fact that a new, young band in the year 2010 made physical copies of their demo that has an actual layout to hand out for free. Secondly I was impressed by the fact that I listened to a demo the whole way through ... twice. It's been a while since I've done that.

I went out to one of their shows at some sort of grocery store turned youth center in the backwoods of PA. I had seen their old band a few times and always thought it was cool for their age/experience but this time I thought it was just plain cool. These guys are proclaiming the word of their god and not ashamed to admit it. Obviously not my cup of tea but I respect anyone who stands as firmly in their conviction as these guys do. If someone is down to drive two hours to a Path To Misery show in a blizzard to hear me proclaim the lyrics "Fuck your cult and fuck your faith ... when it imposes upon the fate of those undeserving of the grace to be shown through a god left unknown" and then still continue to wear a Path To Misery shirt in their promo pictures ... I'm down to throw up a hand to exalt the pre-set prayer circle that includes the entire show.

Most modern hardcore fans would say it sounds like For The Fallen Dreams (which it does at times) ... but I hear more 7 Angels 7 Plagues influences in the melodic parts of the songs. They might not even know who that is, but that's what I hear despite the obvious modern influences. Good, genuine people who will be making an appearance on Sincerity Fest next year.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hardcore Distros...

One of my favorite parts of going to shows "back in the day" was the potential of some random distro showing up and allowing me the opportunity to buy all of the CDs I had been reading reviews about in zines or hearing about through the grapevine. I would specifically drive to shows in NJ or eastern PA solely because I would catch wind that Joe from Nine Iron Distro would be in the house. It also wasn't uncommon for bands themselves to be carrying their own small distros along with their merch in order to help spread the word of other bands from their area. Additionally, the stories of Rick Ta Life's distro are infamous to this day ... and I'm going to venture to say that if you've never heard one that you may or may not be living under a hardcore rock. Those days are obviously long gone, but as with everything else I do involving hardcore ... I'm trying to keep some of the old traditions alive.

I started my own "distro" in 2002 at the first show at the venue I ran back then called The Planet Of The Apes. I wanted there to be a distro present at all of the shows ... so I just pulled a bunch of CDs from my collection to sell so that I would have money to pick up copies of CDs from all of the bands who would play at my spot. I sold enough of my used CDs at the first show to pick up three discs from all of the bands who played the grand opening show ... Shattered Realm, Strength For A Reason, Final Stand and By Any Means Necessary. The distro grew as more and more shows would come through the venue and somewhat regretfully, I've since built my distro up from a shoebox to the point where I could literally open up a store of my own.

As with most of my endeavors, the timing couldn't be worse. My backstock has been growing as interest in CDs have been declining. Mp3s and vinyl are obviously all of the rage these days and while I DO carry some vinyl, 90% of my distro is compacted onto a disc. Most of my favorite releases from the mid-90s through the mid-2000s were ONLY released on CD so I will probably always have a leaning tendencies towards the format. I pride myself on the fact that you can buy a physical CD from my distro for HALF the price of what you would pay for Mp3s of the same album on iTunes or Amazon or whatever ... not to mention the fact that most of what I carry isn't even available for purchase anywhere else.

Either way, my distro primarily serves as a hobby for me these days as it is most definitely not paying any sort of bills. The concept of a distro is completely foreign to most people under the age of 21 it seems. In fact, it's to the point where most younger kids will come up to me whenever I am set up at a show to ask me why I brought my CD collection to the show! I don't even bother bringing the distro with me in the rare instance that I attend a tour-package show due to the fact that "tour managers" say that the distro is cutting into their merch sales. The concept of a "scene" is so far gone in 2010 and I think acts of greed such as this are a prime example of it. I digress.

One of the most notorious distros of the 90s (and even 2000s) was Very Distro ... if you will. Based out of Philadelphia, PA, Very was by far the largest distro going at the time. It was the go-to place for anything you wanted that wasn't on Victory or Roadrunner. I specifically remember dropping about $300 on their table at Hell Fest 2001. Over time, however, the distro naturally focused moreso on their online store as opposed to setting up at shows. Roughly a year or so ago the website disappeared. No one really knew what was going on with the notorious store until Stuck In The Past posted a blog about the owner becoming ill. Apparently he decided to give up the distro game and I was fortunate enough to get an offer to go through the remnants.

I purchased about 1000 CDs to add to my own distro of already roughly 2000 discs and records. I think it's safe to say that I am overflowing a bit. I'm trying to make back a bit of the money I dropped into this endeavor so I'm going to post a link at the bottom of this blog to my store. The next step after allowing me to go through the distro was to allow some sort of wholesaler to buy the remaining stock as a lot to piece out on various online places such as Amazon or eBay or whatever. I would have hated to see some of these gems become lost in what I'm sure would be some stock room never to be seen again so I buckled down and went through about 20,000 CDs and picked out pretty much anything and everything that I felt embodied what I feel to be special about hardcore.

I had more fun going through these CDs than I've had doing anything in a while (how crazy does that make me sound?). I was finding albums I had been looking for since 1999, I was finding albums I never knew existed and I was buying random CDs from random bands I had never heard of before. Essentially I was having a fucking field day ... the same kind of field day I would have going to shows in the early 2000s.

I'd like to think that I bring some sort of enjoyment to some of the older attendees at shows whenever I bring my distro ... and maybe some of the brighter younger ones too. While most kids younger than me pass right by without a second glance and tour managers treat it as a burden, the lost art of distro'ing will always be appreciated by those who remember the relevance it played in the hardcore scene of the past.

Hopefully you can gain some sort of enjoyment from browsing through the online version of my distro. I do my best to take it with me to any and all shows I attend in the PA region ... but there are plenty of you in other parts of the world who would never get to check it out otherwise. So, here it is ... the Preserving Silence Distro in all of it's glory. The store is obviously more stacked now than it ever has been in the past 8 years I've been running it. I'm fairly certain that it's pretty easy to browse. By default it allows you to go through the entire inventory, but you can also search specifically through each of the sections on the left side of the screen ... and that includes the infamous RARE CDs section where you will find some things you probably never thought you would. Combined shipping is cheap as dirt and I always make a point to include some sort of bonus item with any purchase.


The store is hosted on an amazing site called Limited Pressing. They were more than gracious in giving me an entire year of free hosting due to them trying to get their name out amongst the community at large. Limited Pressing is a totally independent and legitimate record trading/auction site/webstore hosting/community based venture ran "by the kids, for the kids". Their support team is amazing and have helped me build an entirely legitimate webstore from scratch. If your band needs a webstore, you want to get in with the most happening record trading site going right now or just want to avoid eBay's ridiculous auction fees (aka post auctions on Limited Pressing FOR FREE) ... then stop by and make an account. You have to make one either way to make a purchase from my store ... but the extent of making an account is picking a user name and a password. It's obviously all completely free and you never have to go back again if you don't want to ... but I definitely think it's a worthwhile website that is there to serve YOU ... the community. Who would have guessed?

As I mentioned earlier ... while going through the remnants of Very Distro, I got to relive one of my favorite hobbies of weeding through crate-upon-crate of independently-released hardcore and metal CDs in hopes of finding some new band that I never heard of before. Well, I did just that whenever I blindly purchased Bible Of The Self 's full length, self-titled and self-released album. This is honestly one of my favorite metalcore bands I've ever listened to. The sound is indescribable to me right now (maybe I'll come up with something after a few more listens). They were from Florida and the album was recorded in the year 2000. That is all I know about this band as of right now. Feel free to leave a comment with any and all info you may have. Other recordings from this band would be great.

DOWNLOAD - Bible Of The Self - st


Finally, on a side note, I want to post links to some other respectable online distros that I tend to frequent.

Surprise Attack Records - Scene veteran EMS' long-standing label/distro that used to have a store of its own in Erie, PA. Good memories of shopping there.
xStuck In The Pastx - The infamous blog's infamous webstore known for carrying mostly international bands. Has some rare gems from the 90s up as well. Also hosted on Limited Pressing.
Retribution Network - THE place to go if you're from Japan ... Hiro who runs the store is constantly on the prowl for young, sincere bands to carry albums from. The Japanese Rick Ta Life if you will. The link to the website is through Google's translator service. If it doesn't work for you ... just go to and figure it out on your own.
xCatalyst Recordsx - The place to go for Vegan Straight Edge titles from all over the world ... not to mention the label's impressive back catalog ... most of which are usually on sale for a very modest price.

If you have any other links to other webstores ... PLEASE post them in the comments section. I would love to check them out myself. We all know about Deathwish and Revelation and whatever, so we're obviously leaning towards more obscure or independent release-oriented sites.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Posting the Nights Like These album brought about some memories from past tours I've done. I spent a lot of time in the midwest on these tours. I got to watch a lot of mosh metalcore on these tours. The pinnacle of the combination of these factors is With Dead Hands Rising. I think they called Minneapolis their hometown but as with most midwestern bands, the members were usually all at least 2 hours apart from each other.

My first interaction with the band was in 2001 when I received two CDs from the band for the zine I was doing at the time, Preserving Silence. The first disc was their debut 2001 Demo and the second disc was their portion of the upcoming Words As Weapons (Volume One) three-way split CD on Life Sentence Records. I chose to include the entire split in the upload due to Wings Of Scarlet and Tears Will Drown also kicking ass. Either way, both of these recordings were mind-blowing to me at the time, but obviously pale in comparison to the later material of the band (as all older material should in comparison to later works of a band).

I don't want to say With Dead Hands Rising were doing anything groundbreaking at the time (this was the era of ripping off At The Gates and In Flames), but they did so quite convincingly and with a bit of insight as to where the band was about to head towards. As stated earlier, I'm quite the fan of the other two bands from the three-way split, but you could use them both as representatives of what was typically going on with metalcore at the time. The difference becomes quite obvious whenever the With Dead Hands Rising tracks hit.

Not ones to waste any time, the band quickly followed up these debut efforts in July of 2002 with the release of their first full length, Behind Inquisition. This is where the tides first turned for the band. The progression made within the course of a year is quite astonishing upon looking back. Most bands are still playing out songs for a year or two before they even think about writing new material, let alone improving ten times over while producing ten new tracks for a full length. There are songs on this full length that the band included in their set list up until their dissolution in 2009. The technical proficiency apparent on this full length was becoming a stronghold for the band, an insight as to what would come in the future.

It wouldn't be until 2004 that the band would release new material in form of the Horror Grows Near EP. This six song offering would be the last to feature the original vocalist but the first to garner any mentionable acclaim from metal publications. I specifically remember being on tour with these guys at the time where they all went into Hot Topic and read through all of the metal magazines looking for reviews of the new album. They found them the reviews and they were all good ... and the band was stoked.

As stated previously the original vocalist of the band left not long after the release of this EP, but was quickly replaced by one Burke Van Raalte ... a living legend for many reasons. For the purpose of this write-up, however, we will focus primarily on his vocal skills. To no discredit of the original vocalist, hearing what a vocalist with a bit more range could do to some of the older tracks was quite mind-blowing. I have a lot of really good live videos from this era of these guys that I should really, really upload. If one were to see these videos, it can be assumed that great impressions would be taken not only of Burke on vocals, but of Kevin on drums as well.

Presumably the band did not offer a new release until 2008 due to all of the member changes that the band went through from the period of 2004 until essentially the end of the band. Trying to find musicians within 10 hours in the midwest who were capable of playing this material was no easy task I am sure. While I personally felt as though Kevin was a perfect fit on drums for the material the band was playing at the time (the EP plus two songs from Behind Inquisition) the apparently wanted to go in a faster, more technical route and sought out their final drummer, Dan. I'm not sure they would have ever been able to replace that guy if they needed to. I honestly can't even keep track of how many guitarists the band had throughout the past few years of the band. I know at one point they had four in their rotating cast, sometimes playing with three at a time live.

Regardless of member problems, the band produced their final offering in the form of Expect Hell. Remember all of the progression the band made in one year? And then in two years? Yeah, well imagine what they came up with in four years. This is a legit heavy metal album ... rarely any mosh parts, non-stop double bass, a legitimately talented vocalist with serious range and musical interludes to top it all off. The band definitely threw off some of their former mosh fan base (for better or for worse) with this one. Regretfully, however, the album didn't seem to make as big of a wave as it probably should have despite the band touring non-stop on the album for almost a year.

Unfortunately the mosh kids were left in the cold with the final release and the metalheads never really cared to take note of the masterpiece which was lingering right in front of their eyes. For whatever reason, the band broke up not too long after the release of this full length. It's quite a shame too considering that bands like After The Burial straight up steal riffs from this album (and previous WDHR CDs too) and make a living/reputation off of them. That's how life goes I suppose ... the true artists never receive the respect due. That is what this blog is here for though.

DOWNLOAD - Demo 2001 
DOWNLOAD - Words As Weapons (2002)
DOWNLOAD - Behind Inquisition (2003)
DOWNLOAD - Horror Grows Near EP (2006)
DOWNLOAD - Expect Hell (2008)

NIGHTS LIKE THESE: The Faithless (God City version)

Nights Like These, in case you aren't familiar, was a band from Memphis, Tennessee from roughly 2003 until 2008 or so. I had the pleasure of doing a tour with them in the summer of 2006, right when this album was being released on Victory Records. Well, not this exact album, but these songs. I'll explain later.

Anyhow, they started the band when they were 14/15 and had been playing and continually refining the same set of songs since the inception of the band. When you listen to the tracks you can tell where they could have been written by younger kids due to their overall simplicity yet played with perfection due to constant fine-tuning and re-working. This album is a culmination of a few years of presumably hard work.

As for why I referenced earlier about this not being the EXACT release on Victory Records ... that is because this is an alternate version of the album that was actually released to the public. The band had self-funded this full length offering and had the intentions of self-releasing it until Victory got their hands on it. Victory told them they wanted to release the album but that this recording was too "raw". Keep in mind this was 2006 and being gritty and raw or whatever wasn't quite accepted in "mainstream" hardcore. Converge worship wasn't quite in full effect yet. Oh, the glory days. I digress.

The story goes that Victory sent the band back into the studio to "fix" the old recording by making them completely re-record it. It features the entire album plus two new tracks: "Ghost Town Ritual" and "Eternal Tempest". Oh yeah, and Victory presumably made them change one song name from Eggbeater Abortion to Memento Mori. This album was laid to the wayside never to be officially released. I promised the guys I wouldn't leak it at the time, but I'm thinking 4 years down the road and now that they are essentially disbanded that it would be OK. Either way, this album rules. Not that there is anything wrong with the version that Victory released, but whenever you play the two side by side there is an obvious champion.

To no discredit to the guys in Nights Like These, the first thing I told them after seeing them on the tour we were on together was that they sounded EXACTLY like Premonitions Of War (a huge compliment in my mind). Not a single person in the band had ever heard of them (SAME LABEL!). While I was mildly blown away at their metalcore ignorance it made me like the band even more due to the fact that they weren't blatantly knocking anyone's style off.