Friday, August 30, 2013


Just wanted to let you know that the Path To Misery full length has been moved over to the BandCamp page that we made in preparation for the release of our upcoming EP.

The EP was recorded two months ago with Dave Piatek in Cleveland, OH. The final touches are being put on as we speak in regards to mixing and mastering. For once in our career we took our time on the recording process and the results have proven to be well worth it.

Get pumped for the guest vocal spots on the new EP.

Check it out at our BandCamp page ...

DESTINY: Diving Into Eternity

Every now and again I start to feel like I've heard EVERY metalcore band that's ever existed. I love being proven wrong when I find an obscure gem like this. This album serves as a great reminder of how much enjoyment I can sometimes get from browsing the dollar bin at the local record store.

I'm honestly totally unfamiliar with this band ... but I'm not really too sure how I am considering they seemingly came up in the same area and era as Heaven Shall Burn, Maroon and the likes of the German metalcore scene from 2000-2005. A bit of online researching unearthed this information on this act with an annoyingly generic name (hard to search!)

"Formerly known as just DESTINY, THE DESTINY PROGRAM released two records under their former name, The Tracy Chapter (2004) and Diving Into Eternity (2001). The band embarked on some pretty extensive touring for those releases which included Europe, Brazil, Hong Kong, Japan, the With Full Force Festival in Germany, and the Spirit X-Mass Tour together with Caliban, Fear My Thoughts, Neaera and others. It was more than the band ever expected but 2006 proved to be a difficult year for the band. Lineup troubles were followed by problems with copyrights and ultimately the band had to change its name to THE DESTINY PROGRAM."

Apparently the band would later morph into a more typical "metal" band along with the name change and signing to Nuclear Blast Records ... but this album serves as a pinnacle example of metalcore from the era. Chaotic riffing, instrumental tracks, emotional lyrics and an obvious desire to tread new water in the then-burgeoning metalcore scene. The few tracks I am hearing from their follow-up album The Tracy Chapter are sounding very quintessential themselves.

Anyone with any extra info ... feel free to post in the comments section.


Blog Consolidation

I used to run two other blogs in addition to the Path To Misery blog: Pittsburgh Mosh & MoshSpot. These blogs were obviously a bit more centered on ... well ... mosh & Pittsburgh ... but that's OK because those subjects are fun to talk about.

I will be re-uploading both blogs' worth of material onto the Path To Misery blog. Sorry if you already have these uploads or aren't interested in them ... but I've been getting a lot of requests for them and now have a MediaFire Pro account with more storage space (thanks, Brent). The download links have all be inactive for a while so hopefully this is new to some of you, at least.

NO RETREAT: Discography

Running neck and neck with Hatebreed, No Retreat was the band most responsible for both my introduction to hardcore and mosh addiction. It was seeing this band every other weekend (primarily at the Millvale Industrial Theater) that really got me connected with the DIY, local hardcore scene back in 2000. They were the first band to show respect to my friends and I who were all of 14 and 15 at the time. They even went so far as to put my first band, Down To None, on a handful of their shows and gave us chances where very few others would. They embodied everything that I loved about hardcore at that time in my life and will forever remain one of my favorite hardcore bands because of it.

The earliest material from the band was their 1995 demo entitled "Familiarity Breeds Contempt" which was self-released on cassette. I've managed to track down several copies over the years but it is still quite rare from what I can tell. The band was centered in the Slippery Rock, PA area at the time due to several of the members attending college there. I've heard many tall tales of their shows from this era from everyone ranging from scene vets to substitute teachers at my high school. There was a much different line-up on this early material than what most of you have come to know from their final few offerings. While Shaun Below was always the drummer for No Retreat, this demo features "Mike" on guitar, "Steve" on bass and Cliff Dean on vocals (who also appeared on their infamous split with Passover). Being the original drummer for PAHC legends Krutch, Shaun Below brought an obvious influence over from the other side of the state for the early years of No Retreat. While No Retreat has always retained a somewhat similar style over the years, this earliest material has a sound moreso focused on the signature break-beat drumming made famous by the one and only PAHC. While the band was done playing these songs by the time I was starting to see them, I have visualized quite a bit of mental mosh to these tracks if I were to ever see them played live. The true beauty of the demo is that on the insert, it gives an e-mail address for contact purposes, but notes that it will only be checked between the months of September and May due to it being a school e-mail address. E-mail was quite luxurious back in 1995 apparently.

Next up for the band was the legendary split with Passover. I have actually already written up an article on this release earlier in the blog's history. While the blog primarily focuses on the Passover section of the split, you can view it HERE. As for No Retreat's contribution, it is essentially in the same vein of the 95 demo, but with a slightly heavier sound due to the addition of a second guitarist and a new bass player who would be responsible for writing most of the Rise Of The Underdog full length. Possibly one of the rarest CDs I've tried to come across, I have also managed to track down several copies of this release. Don't ask for one, though ... they're in the archives for all eternity.

Somewhere after this split release, several of the members exited the band, leaving Shaun Below and JC Moran to continue on with the project. JC's brother, Tommy, was brought into the mix as the guitarist while Frank Piontek was found as the new vocalist for the band. These new members brought an entirely different dynamic to the band and it was shown on their never-released-until-now demo they put together in 1998. I don't think this was ever officially released in the same manner of the 1995 demo. If my informants have given me correct information, this essentially served as a sort of pre-production for the Rise Of The Underdog full length. 4 out of 6 tracks on this demo re-appear a year later on the debut full length. The main difference in the demo and the full length however was the addition of a second guitarist. Codename: Diggums.

While No Retreat was preparing for the release of their Da Core Records debut, the other hardcore staple from the area, in the form of Built Upon Frustration, was in the process of breaking up. Guitarist Derek Kovacs joined up with No Retreat just in time to finish out the writing and recording of the Rise Of The Underdog full length. Recorded by Eric Klinger of Pro-Pain fame in his living room, this album proved to be the breaking point for No Retreat; finally reaching the crown of Kings of Pittsburgh Hardcore.

There isn't a person today (who still pits) in Pittsburgh that wouldn't speak highly of Rise Of The Underdog. One of the few albums (along with Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire) that could be moshed to in its entirety, No Retreat essentially wrote the book on beatdown hardcore as it stands today. With drumming that rarely reaches above mid-pace speed accented by death metal influenced guitar chugging that rarely reaches above the middle of the fret board, the album is destined for pit brutality from the first note of Facewreck. Featuring guest vocal spots by Chris Henzel of Mushmouth and Karl Krutch, the album is a mosh pinnacle in the PAHC history books.

The split release with Krutch was released not long after Rise Of The Underdog yet showed significant improvement in the song-writing and precision aspect of the band. Presumably credit for this can be given to now lead song writer Diggums. Vocalist Frank Piontek started to experiment slightly with more interesting vocal patterns that would eventually become essentially the trademark sound of the band. It would be on their next full length album that he would fully recognize and utilize his seemingly hip hop influened vocal patterns. 5 tracks were offered from both bands and saw its release on Thornz Records. Krutch served up possibly their finest material on this split as well.

As previously stated, the band would play out literally every other weekend and I was literally at every single performance. This trend continued for a few years until several of the members moved, got married and/or had kids and the band stopped playing out. The band had been placing new songs into the set gradually over time for the few years after Rise Of The Underdog had been released. Almost simultaneous with Hatebreed continually delaying the release of Proven, No Retreat had been promising a new album for several years before it actually came out.

Regretfully the Pray For Peace album was not released until nearly a year after No Retreat had unofficially disbanded. Most of the songs had never been played out live and still remain in this same state years later. The second full length shows much more musical diversity than on Rise Of The Underdog. I really feel that if the band had played out live on this album as much as they did in support of their first full length, these tracks would be every bit as legendary, if not moreso, than their predecessors.

Regretfully the world will never get to see a No Retreat reunion according to some sources. Claims that the time simply isn't there is the common reasoning amongst the ex-members who still mostly preside in the general Pittsburgh area. The one question that remains ... which of the four intros found on this discography would you mosh hardest for?

DOWNLOAD - Part 1 (1995 demo, Passover split, 1998 demo, Rise Of The Underdog)
DOWNLOAD - Part 2 (Krutch split & Pray For Peace)


I have been promising someone on a message board recently that I would post up the Through The Shadows demo that I own. He was under the impression that members of this band went on to form Kamikabe, which is definitely not the case. Through The Shadows was from Greensburg, PA and played out live from roughly 1999 until 2002 probably. They released a 4 song demo in 2000 and did not record again until the band was nearly broken up in 2002. There have been multiple different reports as to how many songs were recorded during this final session. Varying people in varying degrees of sobriety have sworn to anywhere from one to five songs being recorded in this final session. I've been constantly pestering for the past few years in hopes of acquiring more than one of these final recording session tracks if they actually existed.

I've come to the conclusion that they really only recorded one track, I Once Possessed, which IS included in this download. If the band truly only ever recorded one more track after their initial demo, it would be a true shame as the band genuinely started coming into their own towards the end of their existence. Reaching the point of having three guitarists and two vocalists, the live set from Through The Shadows in 2001 and 2002 was top notch. Essentially playing nothing from their initial 2000 Demo, the band has created an entire new set of songs which I have on multiple live show videos. I am going to work on uploading these within the next week or two.

Working in reverse, I'll now mention the band's style and debut release. Taking notes from local hometown heroes in Zao, the band crafted their own style through adding more standard hardcore influences than their Westmoreland County peers. A very dark sound was captured on this initial recording that is not often imitated in recent memory with most demos being recorded through computer programs and electronic drum sets. Also captured on this recording is a pretty accurate glimpse at what the band's live show was like. Rarely caught on tape in the world of hardcore, the intensity heard on the demo is respectably close what was experienced in a live setting.

I can't exactly put the words into place to properly describe this band, which is always a good thing and, in fact, will probably be quite common amongst my posts featuring bands from this area. I will do my best to post up accompanying video for as many posts as I can so that people outside of the area can maybe form some sort of understanding as to what bands from this area were going for.



The Zimmermann Note started off in 2005 as a project between ex-members of Broken Free, Better Off Dead and Commit Suicide. Their take on the Swedish-inspired metalcore was lightyears beyond most of what was going on at the time. Despite being signed to Inner Strength Records (a Century Media subsidiary) for their debut EP, the band was highly underrated and probably were never too well known outside of Pittsburgh.

A 3 song demo was cut in 2005 and was quickly followed up by the 5 track EP offering, The New Deception, which was released on the Century Media subsidiary label. Two of the three initial tracks were re-recorded for the EP which was tracked by Eric Klinger of The Spudmonsters, Pro-Pain, and Built Upon Frustration who was recording most of the decent sounding metal albums coming out of Pittsburgh at the time. Facilitating not only perfectly structured melodic metalcore songs, the album also features great production and possibly an even-better bass tone. The technicality showcased on this EP was unparalleled by most of their contemporaries as members were coming from a tech-grind band amongst other projects.

Not long after the release of EP, the band saw the departure of both bassist Carey Davenport and vocalist Travis French ... both from the Broken Free aspect of the band. They were replaced in time for the band to record another three-song demo which was once again recorded by Eric Klinger in 2006. Despite similar bass playing, vocal stylings and recording environment, the effort was not as note worthy as the preceding EP. Don't get me wrong ... it still ran circles around most other metalcore floating around at the time, it was just not as appealing to me as whatever magic was contained on the New Deception EP.

The project disbanded not long after the recording of the 2006 demo. The dissolution of the band saw guitarist Damian returning to Gutrench, his long-standing hardcore project from the late-90s (which preceded Commit Suicide). Drummer Jordan Vilella would go on to join various other metal bands from around the city including Wrathcobra, Mammoth Bath, and most recently, Peregrine.


KAMIKABE: The Early Years

The band started off in 2003 with their first show in my basement. Regretfully I have everyone's set from this night on video except for theirs. The earlier songs had a bit more of a screamo influence than probably anyone remembers. The debut 5 song demo featured two vocalists, one of which being the infamous "Dad" of the band. The band's core influence can still easily be recognized as the melodic metalcore that was happening at the moment on Lifeforce Records. Endthisday, The Year Of Our Lord and Beyond The Sixth Seal can be attributed to many of the riffs on this debut demo as well as their sophomore effort, The Eternal Fire EP.

Released just in time on the infamous Preserving Silence Records for their big gig opening up for Zao in 2005 at St Vincent's College, this new EP saw the band move moreso in the direction of moshy metalcore. While still maintaining the Swedish melodies and death metal inspired vocals, this recording saw the band head into a bit less serious direction than where their demo was leading them. Home Alone and Jurassic Park sound clips round out this offering to set off most of the relevant mosh parts on this album. As previously stated, Dad did not partake in this recording as vocal duties were left solely to Mikey Foster. The songs on this album were graced with song titles (as opposed to the demo in which the songs were numbered 1-5) and some clean vocal parts remained present.

The band would later re-record this EP with a new vocalist alongside a more death metal vibe. Each version has their likable qualities. The re-recording serving as a precursor for what was to come in the form of a stronger death metal influence with the original being the final testament to the band's early screamo influences.

Before the recording of their next demo EP, the vocalist who had re-recorded The Eternal Fire EP for the band (later re-released as The Anguish And Onward) had already quit to go full time with his other band, Sabreteeth. This new recording for 2006 would feature the vocal duties of Steve Jarret (previously of Black Hills) and would take the band one step further into their death metal journey. Featuring more gutteral vocals and blast beats than ever before, the band was essentially re-invented with this new effort. This line-up (as with most Kamikabe) would not last for long though as the vocalist would once again leave the band. Several years later, the band would once again re-record the vocals as a re-released offering with Geoff Ficco from Sabreteeth on vocals. This time around, what was previously known as Demo 2006 would be re-released as the Strength To Carrion EP.

At this point in time I think it would be safe to consider the band to be of the technical death metal persuasion. With a new full length offering that has been released on Unique Leader Records, the band continues in its progression towards whatever it is they are progressing towards.

With top notch musicianship always being the driving force of the band, one would wonder why this band has never really left southwestern PA during its earlier incarnation. It amazes me that Lifeforce Records didn't released The Eternal Fire alongside the aforementioned acts ...or that Relapse Records did not wise up enough to release  the Demo 2006 at the same time bands like Brain Drill were blowing up. The band is finally getting the recognition they deserve, however, alongside the release of their debut full length on Unique Leader Records and nationwide tours.


REDLINE: Discography

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.

DOWNLOAD ... and if you want a glimpse of what most hardcore band websites looked like in 2000... check out Redline's Angelfire page lol

BLACK MY HEART: The Fuck Hearts EP

I never really fully understood the timeline of this band. I know that I saw them for the first time on the Eulogy Mosh tour in 2004 along with Bury Your Dead, On Broken Wings and The Judas Cradle if memory serves me correctly. They played this EP in full and fucking brought it. They stayed at my house that night and had a line-up comprised of some pretty cool guys. We watched Boston Beatdown II because it had just came out. They gave me the low down on what all the footage was because they were from Boston. Funny.

They also stole one of my senior pictures and put it on a donation jug at their show the next night saying I had leukemia and needed donations. The show was in Erie and everyone knew me and genuinely thought I had came down with the disease. Kinda funny.

Not long after this show, the entire line-up quit except for one of the guys (can't remember who). They came back through and just didn't bring it like the old line-up did. My main piece of supporting evidence is the re-recorded version of Thick As Blood. It can not compare. The follow-up full length on Eulogy had its moments overall but didn't have any parts worth knocking off like this EP did.



Not much to say about this band as I am considerably unfamiliar with their history other than this EP. They were from New Jersey and brought shit harder than most at their time. New Jersey always had a way of slamming harder than others during the era. Definitely got way more into their live shows than others of the time. They came to Pittsburgh once in 2005 after this EP was released and I walked in late but started to mosh immediately. That's always cool.

They supposedly recorded another EP in 2007 but I've yet to find anything other than promo material online for it. Would LOVE to hear what they managed to follow this up with.

DOWNLOAD - Visions Of Clarity EP


Considerably underrated mosh album. Ripped off Throwdown rather thoroughly. Definitely rocked camo guitar cabs. Their set at Hell Fest 2001 (with original vocalist Chris Alsip who later went on to join Suffocate Faster) was perhaps my first experience with the extreme mosh that is now commonplace at mosh gigs. Courage Crew was ahead of the curve on the mosh spectrum, that's for sure.

I also included their 3 song demo from 2001 which featured Alsip on vocals. Probably their best songs. They all got re-recorded for the full length ... one of the songs is a hidden track, however. There were also two songs that the band recorded previous to breaking up. One of them showed up online for a bit. I remember it being both awkward and awesome. They were recorded for a split that never happened with Suffocate Faster. Someone should send those to me.

I ran into their drummer at one of his new punk band's shows and brought up how hard One Nation Under brought the mosh back in the day. He was both down AND informed me that not only were there TWO unreleased tracks ... but there were THREE! He also said he doesn't even have copies, but would love to hear them. Rich Thurston, I'm calling you out ... send me these songs.


TOO PURE TO DIE: We Are A Weapon

So here's the debut post from the MoshSpot blog on a pinnacle MOSH album I was fortunate enough to tour in support of for a few years.

In my eyes, a true mosh cornerstone. Touring around the country while out-moshing every city we played in ... shitting on bums ... beating psychotic girls with pillows ... using Jesus tattoos to allow us to perform at bogus christian venues ... throwing up & shitting out of moving van windows ... this is what mosh legends are made of.

Mosh call outs recorded on the original demo ... mosh call outs used as metronomes for live shows ... mosh call outs used as lyrics ... you name it. Our Struggle covers the entire mosh spectrum throughout its song structure. When learning the song, I remember writing down the structure as ... "get low/hyper active spinkick/breakdown/circle pit/jog-in-place/two-step/bounce mosh/two-step/circle pit/jog-in-place/breakdown/ultimate breakdown".

Speaking of jogging in place ... Too Pure To Die created it. I dare anyone to say otherwise.

I now present you with the best mosh album of all time ...