Reviews Various Artists United States of Hardcore

Various Artists

United States of Hardcore

The title of this compilation speaks volumes about our nation. While there is an ongoing argument about who invented punk music - not that it really matters - the origins of hardcore are no secret. The U.S. birthed it and we still do it best (though there are some bands from other nations that do it well too). So what we have here is a thirty-five-track compilation of hardcore music mostly rooted in the NYHC sound from across the U.S. There’s no easy way to tackle this, so I’ll break it down track by track.

North Side Kings “Thugcore” - These guys were on Thorp when the label was around. Their singer also knocked out Danzig with one punch. This song is equally as tough - think Sworn Enemy before they became a metal band.

Off Balance “Emotional Wreck” - I reviewed this bands demo; it showed promise. The lyrics are still the best part of this band. If you were into NYHC back in the late 80’s you’ll eat these guys up.

Pound for Pound “Common Crooks” - I reviewed their last full-length. They still serve up beatdown heavy hardcore. If you like Bulldoze, you’ll like these guys. I can only take small doses of this stuff, personally.

Insult to Injury “No Other Way” - First I’ve heard of these guys. The recording quality of the music is bad - it’s all mashed together. The vocals sound okay. They seem to a have a thrash influence going on, and then throw a breakdown in for no reason.

Mushmouth “Sailin’ On” - This band was freaking awesome. They’re covering Bad Brains, which is sweet. This cover is awesome, even if it is nine years old. The new Bad Brains album, on the other hand, sucks.

Everyday Dollars “Nothing is Missed” - First time listening to these guys. They play fast hardcore that seems to be rooted in the early 80’s musically with a slight punk twist. Definitely worth looking into.

Homicidal “Unbreakable 2006” - Moshy metal-driven hardcore - not really into it.

Alcatraz “Fuck ‘Em All” - Metallic hardcore from the Bay Area. This song is good, but their others songs are better.

H8 Inc. “Misery” - People from Detroit are pissed off, and so are these guys. Frantic hardcore that leans towards the 90’s New York sound.

No Redeeming Social Value “Britney Spears” - This is a cover of Madball, but with different words. Kind of funny, but pretty much worthless.

VPR “Good Riddance” - Never heard of these guys before. They play fast hardcore punk without any real variation. Just fast riffs. Needs more structure changes.

Countime “Black Candles” - Beatdown NYHC - been done before.

Tension “The Dawn is Your Enemy” - Musically, I always thought of these guys as a less famous version of Sick of it All.

Essence of Pain “For Mason” - Kind of reminds me of early Hoods stuff.

Murderer’s Row “Skins for Skins” - A cover of a song I’ve never heard. Not into it.

The Injured “Axe” - I swear they turned a Nirvana song into a beatdown song. In fact, I’m convinced.

Death in Custody “Locked Down” - Gritty hardcore punk. I know this band from someplace, but don’t recall where.

Ironbound NYC “Crisis” - Another former Thorp band - this is NYHC to the fullest, though I’m sure would have guessed that by their name.

Pitboss 2000 “The Road to Hell” - Hardcore from Columbus. I thought these guys were broke up, but maybe I was wrong. Musically, these guys rule. Lyrics are pretty abysmal on this song.

Cheech “Suck at Life” - Boston hardcore that kind of reminds me of a mix of Blood for Blood and Madball. This is solid stuff.

Dogz of War “Judgment” - This band annoys me with their name. They look like wigger hardcore. Song is beatdown hardcore like Shattered Realm - boring.

Hard Response “Belligerent Bastard” - Pretty solid NY influenced hardcore. I believe I saw these guys play a show once. One of the better bands on this comp.

Time Heals Nothing “Past Mistakes” - Not into this at all

Blood In Blood Out “Cheap Thrills” - This Killing Time cover is cool. I don’t like their original material at all though. That about sums it up.

Crowd Deterrent “Local Bastards” - One of the most underrated bands of hardcore. Good tune. Actually knowing what these lyrics are about is funny.

A Death and A Promise “Casino Queen” - Meaty metallic hardcore with breakdowns - sounds like A Death for Every Sin.

PC Deathsquad “IGNO” - Thrashy hardcore from San Diego. These dudes shred like no other. Bang you fucking head!

The Uprise “Friends, Fights And Fun” - Retro hardcore sound with a rock n roll feel to it. It’s okay, but doesn’t do much for me.

Cold as Life “Pete’s Sake” - Detroit’s hardcore covering Sick of it All. I would have feared for my life if I ever saw these guys.

Clenched Fist “Selfmade” - I was under the impression that these guys broke up as well, but I guess not. Solid hardcore of the beatdown variety - one of the few that I can enjoy.

Get the Ammo “Straight to My Grave” - Ehhhh these dudes suck based on the first words out of their mouth. I turned if off.

Slumlords “Take a Stand” - A live song from a solid band. This song isn’t exactly a good one though. Oh well, I have their records and they make me laugh.

Bullyrag “As Rome Burns” - Nothing special

Neglect “It Only Gets Worse” - These guys apparently founded the genre of “hatecore.” I reviewed their CD a while back. I still don’t see what the fuss is all about. Plus, the quality of this track is horrendous.

Wisdom in Chains “Coming Back” - Hardcore bands sure love to cover Cock Sparrer. This is a solid cover; I’m not really into CS though, so I’m just taking the cover at face value.

So there you have it; thirty-five songs from thirty-five different bands clocking in at well over an hour of music. That’s a lot to absorb. There are a couple of really good songs here, a few that are alright, and then a lot that are totally passable. I think if there had been more variation in the music I would have enjoyed this more. If you got cash to spare, pick up a copy - you might find something you like.

4.5 / 10Michael
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