Sunday, November 16, 2014


It's been a long time since my last post. The weather is getting cold, my bike is getting put away for the winter, work is slowing down and I'm slowly entering my annual hibernation.

To celebrate and to get things kicked off, here is a post I have been working on for the past year or so.

Not only have I re-uploaded the entire "Vegan Metalcore Bible" that I had before Mediafire deleted my original account ... but I am releasing a cover of Abnegation's "Behind White Walls" that I collaborated on with friends Dan Briggs and Cassie Staub. For those of you who may not already grasp how undeniably sick Abnegation was (and still is) ... hopefully this modernized perspective on the track can shed some light.

HERE is a link to the Path To Misery BandCamp where you can listen to/download the track. You can Name Your Own Price ... but here's the kicker. ALL proceeds from the track will be donated to Animal Friends Of Western Pennsylvania's Humane Investigations Department ... which you can read more about HERE. If you like the concept of an organization being on the frontlines to fight against the animal cruelty cases that police typically don't care to investigate into ... throw a few bucks.

While you are donating, I want you to also take this post into consideration. As it currently stands there are 10 god damn gigs of extremely rare Vegan Metalcore demos, 7"s, EPs and full lengths pieced together for absolutely no reward coming back to me. Donate not only for the Abnegation cover ... but for all of the efforts put into this post.

Despite the fact that a lot of the bands featuring in this post have moved on from the animal rights and/or vegan lifestyles ... we can continue to be inspired by the music/lyrics put to tape through donating to the cause of those ACTIVELY defending animals and their inherent right to, at the very least, be treated with dignity.

Here is a list of the bands featured in this post. If you have any additions, please e-mail and I will include for everyone else to enjoy.

Blood Of Judas
Burst Of Silence
Children Of Gaia
Cries Of The Tormented
Dawn Of Orion
Day Of Atonement
Declaracion De Guerra
Dim Mak
Eighteen Visions
Eleventh Hour
Extinguish The Fire
Eye Of Judgement
Flame Of God
From The Dying Sky
Green Rage
Horns Of Resistance
Ignorance Never Settles
In The Clear
Justice Department
Morning Again
New Blood
No Joke
Nouvelle Gaia
Nueva Etica
On Fall
Path To Misery
Prayer For Cleansing
Pure Blood
Purified In Blood
Sacred Pledge
The Setup
Seven Generations
Seventh Judgment
Shaping The End
Sown The Seed
Tears Of Gaia
Vegan Reich
Wheel Of Progress
Wings Of Scarlet
Wrath Of Nature


Justice For The Enslaved
Ceremony Of Fire
Stones To Make A Fire
Animal Truth

There are a few bands who have been left out either because their albums are still in press or are on labels who feel as though there is still some type of money to be made off of the releases.

You can check the Vegan Metalcore Bible HERE ... and don't forget to show your appreciation via a donation at the BandCamp page with the Abnegation cover.


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.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014


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 ... 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, May 22, 2014


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


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!


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

EL NINO: Discography

This is a re-post with updated info/files thanks to contributions from John Cannon.

Before Ill Niño was Ill Niño, they were El Niño. Originally fronted by Jorge Rosado of Merauder fame, the band initially featured a much more stream-lined NYHC style in comparison to the Latin-infused brand of nu-metal they made a both a career and a Gold record out of.

Thanks to the efforts of one of the blog readers, John Cannon, I have updated this post to include the EXTREMELY rare debut 10 song demo featuring Jorge from Merauder on vocals. Shit like that makes me feel like all the time I spend writing these posts is worthwhile. Recorded in 1998, I initially thought this to be non-existent but can now include this as part of the discography thanks to his contribution.

Speaking of 1998, I managed to track down a rare live video from Albany, NY from this year which features essentially the demo in its entirety. I ripped Mp3s of this video and included them in this download.

The follow-up EP was recorded in late 2000, after Cristian Machado switched from bass to replace Jorge Rosado on vocals. With original members Marc Rizzo and founding father Dave Chavarri, and the addition of Jardel Paisante on rhythm guitar, Laz Pina on bass and Roger Vasquez on percussion the band was complete. According to an interview with Chavarri at the time, "the vocals are much stronger now with Cristian Machado as a singer; Ill Niño is now making much better use of melody, Spanish guitars and Latin rhythms."

The EP was recorded and mixed at the Hi-Fi Studios in Hoboken, NJ, which is the recording studio of bassist Laz Pina, and the same studio that was later used for the pre-production of Revolution Revolucion. After a recent conversation with him I also found out that the pre-production for Madball's seminal album "Set It Off" was laid down here as well. The album was engineered and mixed by drummer Dave Chavarri, with help from Pina. The album was released by C.I.A. Recordings.

This EP was actually released as Ill Nino. The first five songs, "Nothing's Clear", "Disposed", "Rumba", "Fallen", and "Part of the Signs", were all written by Cristian Machado. The last two songs, "El Niño" and "God Is I" were written by  ex-vocalist Jorge Rosado, who re-joined Merauder after he left the band. These two songs are included as bonus tracks and are simply taken from their original 10 song demo.

I'm personally a fan of everything this band has done, but unfortunately for all of you ... their entire catalog is still in print through either Roadrunner and Victory Records (who are quite adamant about keeping their albums off of Mediafire). I suggest tracking down regardless. This EP and demo, however, is quite rare and live footage with Jorge is even moreso rare. Enjoy.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

THROWDOWN: Intolerance

The following post is sure to be an unbearable combination of ranting and writing stream of consciousness. If you want to hear the new album ... scroll to the bottom. No, I'm not posting this for download ... the whole thing is available to stream! If that's not a kind enough gesture for a band on a major label ... I don't know what is.

So we're all getting old (why else would you be reading this blog?) and, personally, it's becoming more and more rare for me to get excited for New Releases. In the rare event that I DO make a trip to the record store to browse a section other than the $1 used bin ... it's probably to pick up a new release from an old favorite. In 2014, that first trip was in order to obtain the new Throwdown release, "Intolerance".

While most people were STOKED on getting their hands on the leaked Mp3s for free, I greased some palms at an un-named record store to get my hands on this a few days early. Varying levels of dedication to bands one likes, I suppose. I digress. After listening through the album a few times, however, I'm glad I put in the effort that I did.

You may or may not be aware that I am a huge mark for the preceding Throwdown album, Deathless (you know ... that album that was too ungodly perfect for Joe Beatdown to comprehend).  While I understand why that album didn't exactly strike a chord with the "hardcore scene", I also find it hard to grasp why kids are so quick to turn a blind eye to a band on the whole simply because they aren't fans of the most recent release. I could assuredly continue on with this rant but I'm trying to put this new album over as opposed to going off about fairweather music fans.

Roughly two years ago when I had the pleasure of being on the road with a tour package that Throwdown was headlining, I willingly punished Dave with questions as to when the new album would be out, what to expect from it and whether or not there were even plans for it. I remember him telling me it would be reminiscent of some earlier material as opposed to the direction they started heading in on the Deathless album. Despite the fact that I've listened to "old" Throwdown to the point where I have the entire discography memorized, I was kinda bummed in the sense that I really liked where Throwdown was heading.

You see, one of my pet peeves is when a very small percentage of very vocal kids manage to skew public opinion by utilizing tactics out of their Joseph Goebbels handbooks.  An even bigger pet peeve of mine is when a band actually beckons to the demands of said social networking warriors. Needless to say, I found myself worrying that I would be presented with merely a watered-down version of something that I'm not sure could or should be re-created outside of 2003.

So, as previously mentioned, I've been a fan of everything Throwdown has done. I'm actually even fine with the Face The Mirror EP at times (especially when I compare it to modern mosh bands). What I'm trying to say is that while I love Haymaker ... I was really hoping that the new album wouldn't sound like Haymaker.

While I CAN draw certain comparisons to the Venom & Tears album, Intolerance stands on its own feet. Whereas Venom & Tears was typically described as "a hardcore Pantera" ... Intolerance will surely grab similar comparisons due to Dave Peters being one of the only frontmen in hardcore with an actual vocal range (hence a comparison to Phil Anselmo/Pantera). Intolerance takes on a more methodical, riff-driven approach a-la Crowbar while simultaneously reverting to a more obvious lyrical approach to Straight Edge. In fact, I think the actual term "Straight Edge" is used 5-10 times on the album. If that doesn't get a pop from the fanbase of old, I'm not sure what will.

Overall, the album is a solid return to the "roots" of Dave Peters-era Throwdown ... and that's not a Sepultura pun (that aspect of influence is mostly gone from this release). Intolerance finds itself in familiar area for the band while adding a touch of modernity via one of the thicker sounding recordings I've heard in a while. Lyrically, Peters re-focuses on the Straight Edge message that they were once synonymous with.

Personal favorite tracks include the leading "single" Avow, Defend With Violence, Cut Away, Suffer Conquer and Intolerance. OK ... that's about half of the album.

The point is ... you should pick this album up. I mean legitimately buy it. I know you're used to hearing bands give you the green light from stage to download their music because they're not going to see any royalties from it ... and that may be true ... but showing your support by giving them a strong opening week sales is the hardcore equivalent of the "You Still Got It" chant.

It comes out on Tuesday, January 21st, 2014.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

BURN IT DOWN: Discography

How have I yet to post a Burn It Down discography? Ever since my first time seeing them when they replaced Walls Of Jericho for the opening slot on the Earth Crisis/In Flames tour they have served as one of the most influential bands on my writing style. Their influence can be heard loud and clear on the Path To Misery self-titled full length.

The band got their start in 1997 with the release of a 4 song 7" on Uprising Records. While not having the typical sound of the label at the time, one can assume the connection could be linked to certain members' former "hardline" association; Uprising Records, of course, being operated by former Vegan Reich frontman and "father of hardline" Sean Muttaqui. This early material was quite raw in its nature and while the intensity was present, the progressiveness they would later become known for had yet to take precedent. I mean ... compared to Blood For Blood this 7" is paradise, I'm simply saying that the band had yet to come into form.

Here is some footage of this early material

While the debut 7" served mostly as a demo which would have 3 of its 4 tracks reworked for their follow-up EP, the intensity laid on tape would set the pace for what the band had in store for the year 1998. Taking notice of the happening in Indianapolis, IN, Escape Artist Records had the foresight to release the monumental Eat. Sleep. Mate. Defend. EP. The band would tour in support of this EP with another band who was both experimenting in their own spirituality while simultaneously being at the pinnacle of their career, Zao.

Speaking of spirituality, I'll always remember the lyrics to the aforementioned EP as being some of the few that spoke to me at the time (on the subject). My big falling out with religion was coincidentally coinciding with my deep-end dive into hardcore. While I would still throw a few pit moves for No Innocent Victim or Born Blind or whoever ... I took them all with a grain of salt. The lyrics to Burn It Down's opening track on Eat. Sleep. Mate. Defend. (Kill Their Idols), however, specifically sticks out in my mind as a song dealing with a spiritual view of the world without coming off as preachy or overbearing. While I can't speak for any of the intended meanings of the lyrics, they seemed to be representative of many of those who were transitioning at the time from a "hardline" past to a seemingly "Christian" future. Strange in a way/making sense in another. I digress.

Clocking in at under 15 minutes, the sophomore EP let "the scene" know both that they meant business and what they had in store for the near-future. As with most bands that were garnering attention at the time, Trustkill Records would step in for the release of their next offering in the form of a split with another quintessential Path To Misery influence, Racetraitor. It would be in the year of 1999 that Burn It Down would rightfully take their place amongst the top of the metalcore scene of the time. Playing every fest from Krazy Fest to Hell Fest along with their summer tourmates, Cave In, the stage was now set for Burn It Down to release a debut full length.

Up until this point in time, Burn It Down had yet to have a release clock in at over 15 minutes. While each release contained a presence yet to be matched to this day, there seemed to be somewhat of a limit placed on the full musical range of the band. With the songs typically lasting an average of a minute and a half, there was an apparent realm that had yet to be fully explored by the band. Let The Dead Bury The Dead would change all of that.

Still, to this day, I have yet to find the words to describe the band's one and (unfortunately) only full length offering. In the rare event that I am unable to draw a comparison to anything else happening in aggressive music at the time (and even over a decade later) ... well, that probably means it's one of my favorite albums. While not missing a step in the realm of aggression, the full length manages to also branch out into the what the band had so obviously been grasping at for three years prior. Clean vocals are far from absent and the presence of verse-chorus-verse-chorus song structures are quite apparent, yet, like I said, the aggression of their earlier material was still front and center on this release. I actually specifically remember the band starting off their set with the opening track, Ten Percent Of The Law, and being amazed when the break hit at about a minute and a half into the song/set.

Rare video evidence of their superiority can be witnessed here...

With the album only being released earlier that year, Burn It Down would officially call it quits on November 30th, 2000. Fortunately they were coaxed into performing a final set at Hell Fest 2001 alongside Earth Crisis at what would turn out to be the absolute best concert I ever attended.

I can't remember the specifics but the members were also involved in other Indianapolis projects such as Harakiri, The Gates Of Slumber and some others that aren't coming to mind at the time. For a band to be around for such a short time with such a minimal amount of music to be written, it is unheard of to have the impact that Burn It Down did.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

KRUTCH: Discography

I was recently requested to post a Krutch discography. I could have sworn I already had done so but apparently I was mistaken. So here it is ... the long-overdue Krutch post.

There's a lot I could say about this band but in summary, they have essentially built the eastern PA hardcore scene from the ground up, Krutch will always be synonymous with the term PAHC.

Here is a bio that I found on some random Geocities or Tripod site that is somehow still up. I'll throw in some notes at the end.

"KRUTCH, the undisputed kings of Pennsylvania hardcore, got started in late ´89 the original members being Karl, Sal, Richie, Cheez, & Below. Sal would eventually join the U.S. Navy, leaving the remaining four to maintain Krutch. This original line-up never seriously recorded (other than a demo in 1989 which is unfortunately not included in this upload) and it wasn’t until late ´93 that their first demo Stand Strong, Stand Alone was complete.

In 1995 Krutch´s second demo "Wheeruat" would be released, although it had only three songs it was received very well in the hardcore scene, this release showcased the true-to-life lyrics over Krutch´s trademark sound of low tuning and intense drum work. With this line-up around ´96 they released their split 7” with Surrounded on Back Ta Basics Rec. This was B.T.B.’ 2nd release and made both, the band and label, household names. Krutch’s next release Brotherhood - Sisterhood mcd would be on the European label R.P.P. It included their second demo and their two songs off their split 7”. Soon after Krutch released another split 7” on the french label Inner Rage Records and with the French band Stormcore. By this time, Krutch collaborated with Rick Healey of 25 Ta Life and Pepi Rodreguiz of Livin Proof to start the side project Comin Correct, with whom they have toured in Europe, Japan and of course the U.S.

Krutch continued and stayed busy with playing where ever they could in the U.S. but mainly East Coast and Midwest. They played tons of shows with Madball, Biohazard, Life of Agony, Kreator, Downset, Dog Eat Dog etc. in the legendary clubs like ´The Rat` in Boston, ´CBGB’s` in NYC, and ´The Pipeline` in wonderful Newark N.J. But on a regular basis the line-up would be with the likes of 25 Ta Life, Fury Of V, V.O.D. or Bulldoze.

Around ´97 Krutch released their debut full-length album Now the Tables Turn on the underground B.T.B. label. The band was not fully satisfied with the recording, but nevertheless the CD was highly acclaimed worldwide. Then one of the founding members Cheez would call the quits. Krutch being no stranger to line-up changes quickly recruited Simon from a local punk-hardcore band called Feeble. With this line-up they toured Europe playing in major clubs as well as squats. They played Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Belgium, and France.

After the European tour Krutch released another split 7” The Few The Deep with Simon´s defunct band Feeble. Soon Simon had a kid, then the singer Karl had a kid, so Krutch took long time-off to record a full-length entitled I'll See You In Hell. Richie joined Mushmouth just to keep playing during the break.

Now, on the brink of the new millenium, Krutch is ready for the crushin comeback and claim their place on the top of the whole hardcore game. They just released the 2nd album Our Thing - the Mafia Years 89-99 (on Cartel Records). This 12-song cd contains brand-new material and all their hard-to-find tracks re-mastered. Produced by HoyaRoc of Madball. Krutch European tour in Spring 2000."

The previously mentioned album is actually mostly a collection of the material spoken of in this bio. Our Thing: The Mafia Years contains one song from the 89 demo, none of the 93 demo, the entire 95 demo, their contributions to the splits with Surrounded, Feeble and Stormcore (thanks to me adding on the one track from the Stormcore split which was not included on the actual disc), their cover of As One from the Raybeez Tribute, one track from the Now The Tables Turn album and two new songs which would also be re-recorded for the follow-up full length, I'll See You In Hell (BFL & W.O.T.).

I'll See You In Hell was a full length album released in 2000 on Back Ta Basics which would feature the band starting to progress into the realm of acoustic numbers at almost every other track. While a solid offering in it's own right, I was always moreso impressed with their 5 tracks from the No Retreat split CD that was released almost simultaneously. This could potentially just be nostalgia considering No Retreat was by far my favorite band at the time, but these five Krutch tracks hit hard, fast and simple as opposed to the full length that takes place over the course of 18 tracks!

Noteworthy mention: I actually was listening to this No Retreat/Krutch split so often that one of the Krutch riffs accidentally ended up in one of the songs I had written for my band at the time, Down To None. I knew the riff was too good/wigger-ish for anything I had written on my own and was, in turn, super self-conscious about the track. Well, the day before we played it out for the first time in front of all the BFL guys it hit me where the riff came from. I thought for sure we would be fed to the pigs after the show and begged my band to re-learn the song but they weren't having it. Luckily my 15 year old perception of hardcore reality was a bit skewed and no one seemed to notice/care. If memory serves me correctly it may have been the riff that set the pit off for the night. Go figure.

Another possibility as to why the split with No Retreat stuck out to me as being more vital than the I'll See You In Hell full length was the gradual addition of Mad Joe Black into the vocal position. While I had been quite a fan of the original vocalist Karl, there's just something that sticks about Jothum's vocals which is hard to explain yet can be largely attributed to the current success of Wisdom In Chains; the band that essentially rose from the ashes of Krutch after their dissolution in 2002/2003.

By the time their next full length was ready for release, Mad Joe had unofficially (or maybe officially) seemed to become a second vocalist for the band. Whatever It Takes would be released on I Scream Records out of Belgium and quickly became my new favorite album from the band. It would be not long after the release of this album that the band would go on what would end up being a last hurrah of shows in America which were mostly shows with the then-newly reformed Integrity & One Life Crew ... which also featured a stop at the three-car-garage venue I was running at the time called The Planet Of The Apes. Having the PAHC Legends in my hometown of Natrona Heights, PA was quite the validation in my 16 year old eyes.

Not long after, the band seemed to fade out of the public eye and seemingly made way for their two fast-rising side projects by the names of Boxcutter and Wisdom In Chains. While the first Boxcutter EP was initially intended to be released AS Krutch, the creation of the new super-group came out of necessity in order to avoid label contractual issues. This band would later go on to take more of a rap element and would become a project of wig-bop dreams.  Wisdom In Chains was almost simultaneously being put together by a backing band from Belgium who recruited Mad Joe for his already-legendary vocal talents. With their debut almost actually being an international endeavor, this project would soon find itself becoming a seemingly continuation of the eastern PA legends of Krutch.

All-in-all Krutch stands as the pioneers of the PAHC scene whos members still, to this day, continue to keep the ball rolling in their part of the state. Whether it be through labels, venues, bands or simply supporting the scene in general ... Krutch's main legacy will serve as being the backbone of PAHC. And somehow ... despite having some of the absolute worst album layouts and recording qualities known to man ... I always find myself reaching for some Krutch discs when I feel like reliving the glory days of PAHC.

PS - If anyone has the full 1989 Demo to share ... that would be awesome.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

EMBODYMENT: Discography

You may or may not be aware that Embodyment is sick. With a catalog ranging from death metal to alternative rock ... these guys cover most of the bases that I'm into.

Starting in 1993 the band would release three different demos over the course of three years; all with a Living Sacrifice-influenced death metal sound. Solid State Records would later re-release these in CD format along with two previously-unreleased pre-production tracks for songs off of their monumental debut full length, Embrace The Eternal.

Well, when I say "monumental" I mean in terms of how good it was ... most certainly not in terms of how many people got into it. Despite the album blowing away mostly everything else coming out at the time (1998) I'm fairly certain it made little to no waves outside of the Christian scene. Despite the crossover success of Where Blood And Fire Bring Rest by Zao (most certainly an influence on this Embodyment album as well), Christian bands were still mostly secluded to their own scene at the time. I'll put it to you this way, I had to buy this album at Family Christian Bookstores as opposed to Jamey Jasta's distro.

As previously mentioned, this album was a turning point for the band as the songs took a definite influence from Zao's most recent endeavor (which changed heavy music as a whole, by the way). While the band was progressing more towards a "metalcore" sound as evidenced on their demo collection, the difference heard between the pre-production versions recorded BEFORE the release of Zao's pinnacle album and the album versions recorded AFTER the release of said album is quite obvious.

This is not to discredit Embodyment as much as it is to illustrate the impact that Where Blood And Fire Bring Rest had on (especially) the Christian hardcore scene. I would've stepped my game up after the release of that album as well.

So anyhow, after they perfected the art of death metalcore, Embodyment went through a pretty significant line-up change and followed it up with The Narrow Scope Of Things. Never before had I heard such progression from one album to the other. We're talking brutal metalcore to alternative rock in one album flat. At the time I was pretty bummed, but looking back now I can appreciate the Lostprophets/Hoobastank transition.

Transition is the key word I'll use to describe The Narrow Scope Of Things album as that is mostly what it served in my mind. While the album has it's moments of brilliance it still shows signs of a band searching out a new sound. On their third and final full length for Solid State Records (entitled Hold Your Breath) the band reached what I consider to be their pinnacle. Any signs of aggressiveness were written out in favor of radio-worthy hooks and melodies. Well, I take that back. The album actually is quite intense and aggressive, but not in any sort of way one would expect. For whatever reason the words to describe the album aren't coming to me ... which is why you should just download and listen for yourself if you're interested in hearing a unique album.

After the release of this album (and their subsequent release from their label contract), the band would put together a promotional album in hopes of being signed to a major label. Unfortunately this never panned out for the band but fortunately for us, the tracks would later be released as the Songs For The Living album towards the end of their career. This fourth and final full length from Embodyment would serve as the completion of their journey into finding their own sound. While being somewhat comparable to the more "mature" rock bands like Jimmy Eat World, the album once again has its own sound that can't be put into words ... at least by me.

The majority of the original members of this band rejoined forces several years ago to form The Famine (which would also be released by Solid State Records). While the new project is reminiscent of the early Embodyment material ... and is quite solid for a band that formed past the year 2007 ... it doesn't quite capture the feel of the Embrace The Eternal full length. As always here at the Path To Misery blog, however, "it's still better than mostly everything else coming out these days".

Also included in this download is the bonus song from Embrace The Eternal entitled "Halo Of Winter" which was featured on the first Solid State Records compilation. Quite a rager.

Another bonus is the "Forgotten" EP which is a collection of 5 songs recorded immediately before the band separated. It had made it's way around Napster and the likes back in the day but was officially released as an iTunes EP in 2011. As with everything else the band has ever done ... it is both a solid and unique album.

DOWNLOAD - Part 1 (Demos 1993-1996 & Embrace The Eternal)
DOWNLOAD - Part 2 (The Narrow Scope Of Things & Hold Your Breath)
DOWNLOAD - Part 3 (Songs For The Living & Forgotten)

STIGMATA: Home Video

In the summer of 2003 when my band at the time (Drain This Blood) was touring ... Scotty J from Tripface, Lariat, Burning Bridges and being awesome in general put us up with not only a show but a place to stay. We stayed up most of the night torturing our bassist but when it finally time to go to sleep, we put on the Stigmata Home Video VHS. I was so delusional and tired by this point that I only really remember an opening montage with a lot of tits that looked good at the time and the video for Burning Human which featured both Harley Flannagan and a lot of insane police brutality and people dying footage.

Ten years later and I've yet to find a copy for myself. You know what that means? It's fucking rare. I only recently stumbled upon a YouTube upload of it while searching for footage of Embodyment playing their death metal material. Funny how the world works sometimes. Anyhow, I strongly suggest watching this if you're looking for the hardcore version of the Pantera Home Video.

Unfortunately it starts skipping around a bit during Part 2 (the good part!!!) but this is far from a complaint as I empathize with any and all YouTube uploaders as I'm currently putting my entire collection up for viewing as well. Shout out to user Chuck AD ... I suggest checking out his other videos if you're interested in seeing some wild Zao, Santa Sangre, Godbelow, A Death For Every Sin or A Perfect Murder footage.

Thanks for giving me access to viewing something I've been searching out for over 10 years!

PS - I'm still looking for a hard copy of this ... hit me up if you're looking to sell!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

CRAIG: Discography

I believe it was Thrash Bash 2000 in Erie, PA when I first saw/heard of these guys. If I am somehow mistaken, then it was Hell Fest 2001 but I'm doubting that. I honestly don't have much info on this band. They were from Long Island, NY with a sound somewhere between From Autumn To Ashes and Poison The Well's at the time. At times there are even nods to a simplified Candiria sound. To be blunt, however, there's nothing extremely original happening here and the recording is considerably mediocre even for its time.

The moral of the story: it's still better than most "metalcore" coming out today. If nothing else, the songs have the slightest hint of emotion and creativity in them. More than I can say for anything in this realm that's come out in the past 5-8 years. All it would take is for someone to grab these songs, clean them up, produce them a little and sell them to some boys with cute hair and kids would think it was somehow revolutionizing music. 

The only releases from this band I am aware of is a 5 song demo which I picked up when I first saw them in 2000/2001 and a following split with the band In Pieces which featured 4 new songs along with 1 re-recorded (and improved) track from the demo. While I am personally partial to the debut demo, the split is decent in its own right. It was released on Purity Records which mostly released melodic/experimental metalcore from the northeast area. Nothing much came of the releases and I believe the "biggest" thing the band may be known for was taking Between The Buried And Me on their first tour. In fact, they tried to smuggle BTBAM onto Hell Fest 2001 via a split set (there's something you just don't see any longer). They got into some serious heat with KEITH IN HELL over that power move. A true sign of metalcore brotherhood ha!

I'd be curious to hear what preceded this band or what the members went onto after.