I got to thinking about a Redline post whenever I posted about Black My Heart. I only found out about Black My Heart by seeing them open up for Redline in eastern PA at their final show. Before I even start writing, however, I just want to make it official that Redline was and is the most underrated hardcore band of all time. Mostly unheard of and mostly disrespected ... this is one of the best hardcore bands of the 2000s in my mind.
Redline is one of those band's who deserved/received the notorious every-song-mosh in Pittsburgh. I initially saw them when No Retreat brought them out for a show at The Millvale Industrial Theater in 2000. They were playing out on the weekends to support their self-titled debut full length. This album is actually better now when I listen back to it in comparison to all of the "beatdown hardcore" going down these days.
They played Pittsburgh multiple times (probably 6 or 7) over the years and I was either booking the show or at the very least moshing at it. While the album featured guest vocals by Sal Lococo from Sworn Enemy ... the live show in Pittsburgh usually consisted of the infamous Zane taking the mic for a good minute or two to perform the vocal spot. Redline always considered Pittsburgh be their second home and never played a bad show out here ... even when they played to 23 people on the 4th of July, 2002. Still to this day, the only show I've attended with 100% mosh participation.
Not long after this full length, the band did a split with Born From Pain out of Holland. Gangstyle Records would release this (as well as re-releasing their self-titled offering) in Europe without any sort of domestic release. It was on this release that Redline would both define and perfect their own sound within the "tough guy hardcore" realm. The band somehow managed to create an immense amount of energy despite never moving their songs out of the mid-paced realm of riffing and drumming. If you don't believe me, check out this video that was put together for the infamous Guerilla Warfare video of them...
It would be a short while before the band would return to the studio to record the Portrait Of A Mirror Image full length. Recorded in 2004, the album featured a style popularized by bands of today. While some songs would be re-recorded from the split with Born From Pain, a much more metallic feel was founded for this album.
Once again, the label duties would be handled by Gangstyle Records out of Holland. I pretty much accredit their label choice as being the main factor as to why Redline never got the recognition deserved in the US. In the early 2000s, Mp3s weren't available at the click of a finger (more like three clicks), so if there weren't copies of a disc floating around in distros to get kids talking ... you went relatively unheard of outside of the area in which your band played. I'm fairly certain Redline never toured either, so the extent of their legacy was pretty much confined to the tri-state area of PA, NY and their home state of NJ.
The band broke up only a month or two after the release of this album. Most copies would remain out of circulation and the band once again never received the credit deserved for the masterpiece album that they released. The band has yet to play a reunion show ... but if they do, I'm hoping it will be in one of the cities they always considered a second home: Pittsburgh.