Saturday, January 18, 2014
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.