There are a lot of hardcore bands out there who claim to be old-school, but the truth of the matter is that an insane amount of metal has infiltrated the scene. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it sure does make it harder to find a speedy, non-metallic, non-chugga-chugga hardcore band when you're in the mood for it. You know what I mean: good, no-bullshit, straight-to-the-point stuff that doesn't feel the need to breakdown every ten seconds. So if that's what you're looking for, then Quebec's Radical Attack is a good band for you.
Priority is Radical Attack's first full-length, following a handful of splits and demos. The album is a highly satisfying blast of traditional, straight-edge hardcore that would definitely feel right at home with bands on Bridge Nine's roster. And this isn't one of those hardcore albums that's over before you even know it started. Radical Attack makes sure you are a satisfied customer by packing 23 songs onto the approximately 20-minute album. Sure, that's pretty short in the big picture, but in hardcore, that is definitely enough to sink your teeth into. And you will like what you taste if you enjoy first-wave hardcore icons like Minor Threat or if you are into any of the Bridge Nine bands like Champion and Betrayed.
One thing that I really like about Priority is that it falls right into what I call the production "sweet spot." By that, I mean that it was produced just enough to keep it clear and un-muddy, but at the same time, whoever was behind the mixing board stayed hands-off enough to keep it raw and real. In simpler terms, Priority sounds damn good.
Blasting through one minute-long assault after another, Radical Attack delivers plenty of quick, energetic hardcore bits, an abundance of gang vocals, and even a couple short solos. And when they do break things down, it never veers into the snail-paced, overly-repetitive territory that so many other bands do. Their breakdowns are the kind hardcore is supposed to have: short, sweet, and most of all, perfectly timed.
Another plus is lyrics that are actually interesting and poignant. There is some of the usual "fuck you, we're edge" stuff, but there are a few songs about actual, down-to-earth issues. In particular, I am talking about this part from "Seed of Doom:"
Why would you make this newborn child / The receiving end of a life so vile / Out of which nothing good will arise / Another waste of space for me to despise. Wasted! Drank and smoked / While you were pregnant/ Jerk! Beat your wife / When she wouldn't listen / Do I need to spell it out for you? / This kid of yours is fucking doomed.
As you can tell, Radical Attack is a band filled with passion and plenty of anger too.
Priority is a delicious slab of hardcore the way it was meant to be. And what makes it even better is that Radical Attack has the sound and the energy to back that up. You won't find anything experimental here, but that is what this genre is all about. If you're like me, and like your hardcore without all the bullshit, Radical Attack would be right up your alley.
7.8 / 10
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