Some honesty is required with regards to Bold because while I think some of their music is completely ripping, I have always kind of considered the band a bit of a farce or unintentional parody of the “Youth Crew” era of punk and hardcore in the way that in a live setting a bunch of kids (and I do not mean kids like teenagers and young adults who go to shows with friends but rather honest to god kids whose parents have to drive them and their equipment to play the show because they are barely in middle school kids) going off playing music is a pretty awesome sight to see but while on record that curiosity does not translate to the studio; this has always been Bold to me in that they were a cool thing to see live (I mean how can you not be wowed by the unceasing energy of youthful exuberance… you cannot otherwise you would be dead or have no soul and be dead inside anyway) but just never really were that amazing on record, and reading the liner notes to The Search that impression kind of sticks out that the group tried to shake that stigma during their latter part of their four year existence.
The Search is a complete discography (as complete as I know of anyway) for Bold comprising all their recorded works from their first EP (usually known as the Crippled Youth 7” as that was the band’s name at the time), their contributions to the Hardcore: The Way It Is and Together compilations, their album (the wildly popular in some circles Speak Out), their last sessions as a band (originally the self titled 7” EP and later the Looking Back record), and a couple of unreleased tracks; Revelation seemingly exhausted the Bold vaults in producing this monstrous retrospective record, and the effort and design makes for a rather impressive package for neophytes and aficionados alike.
The songs on The Search are presented in mostly reverse chronological order with the later era coming first up until and finishing off with the earliest material, and honestly I am not sure that I like this sequencing at all in the case of Bold because the early stuff is so hard for me to listen to and normally just ignore it whenever I listen to this CD (not that the later era material is real high up there for me either); at least if the sequencing was chronological, I and others might be more apt to listen to the earliest stuff more.
The Looking Back) era material is a bit hit or miss for me, but songs like the re-recorded “Always Try” (just a decent straightforward hardcore punk song that rips and the guitar leads work well), “Looking Back” (the heavy riffing is some of the band’s best and the leads again work on the song while the bridge is pretty hard and actually kind of awesome) and “Speak Out” (again, another beefy hardcore song with nice melodic leads and some powerful sounding drums) stand out and contain some of the oomph that I look for from Bold while some of the other songs from the sessions sound sterile and just mixed weird or like poor experiments (I really have a hard time with the vocals in “Today We Live”); the Crippled Youth era songs are pretty terrible, and while it may seem mean to beat on a group of kids for having real juvenile lyrics and having some barely rudimentary musical skills (I have heard other bands with kids this young before and not been this bad), but I have to be honest and say that these songs would be for completists only or as a historic document.
The Speak Out era material may not be as musically sophisticated as what the band was able to write later after recruiting Tom Capone on guitar (previously from Beyond and later of Quicksand and Handsome), but when you hear “Having My Say” (and its speedy fury and thick sound (so weird that this one is only an outtake and was not included on the Speak Out album itself although it was recorded at the same time as their contribution to the Hardcore: The Way It Is compilation)), the classic “Nailed To The X” (classic for its being an obvious straight edge anthem) , the original “Always Try” (which sounds so much more passionate than the Looking Back version but minus the melodicism of the re-recorded version); had the mix been better on Speak Out, those songs may have been even more powerful as the bass is kind of thin sounding and the guitars have too much treble and maybe solidified the band’s place in hardcore punk history as being more important than they have ended up being.
This is collection is right up your alley if you like Bold and do not have all of their material already or are just interested in the band in any way, but The Search is really a mess in a couple of ways that extremely bothers me to no end; first off is the sequencing but more importantly is the mix of this whole collection because the sound is so terribly inconsistent, and the fact that the Crippled Youth era songs got at least some remixing but the Speak Out era was left to its same mixing issues just boggles my mind and leaves a terrible taste in my mouth.
6.0 / 10
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This is the kind of hardcore that makes my throat hurt just listening. It’s also the kind of hardcore where I can’t sit still while listening, even when tethered to ...
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