When the Smoke Clears

This is going to take some beating.

Few albums this year in any genre have enraptured me as much as Foundation’s first proper full-length, When the Smoke Clears. I don’t know what’s in the water at Bridge 9 (because they certainly aint smoking anything), but since they started investing in the heavier side of hardcore, there has been an upward surge in the calibre of their releases, and this album is, to date, the absolute apex in my eyes.

It could be due to my unbreakable bond with ’90s hardcore. It could be that there are very few new artists that capture the spirit, sound and intensity of that era and bring it bang up to date whilst not sounding like a feeble impression of what once was, thus making Foundation all the more precious. Whatever it is, (any maybe I’m just biased and blind to the bigger picture) it’s got me hook, line and sinker, by the balls, in short, I cannot leave this album alone, and it gets better with each spin, unveiling new depths and nuances previously missed.

It’s crafted with sheer mastery and shows a profound understanding of not only what they want to do, but how to do it. There’s the chug of prime Earth Crisis, the urgency of Trial, and the sinister dissonance of latter day Turmoil, but there’s more here than those three points of reference. Most importantly though, Foundation aren’t just the sum of their parts, they haven’t just cherry picked the best moments of Destroy the Machines, Are These Our Lives, and The Process of.... Rather, they have understood what made those albums (as well as others) what they were, what made them work and what made them great. Therefore, with this knowledge but above all passion, they have made their own first (and hopefully not last) masterpiece.

Opener ‘Purple Heart,’ is huge, bold and absolutely ideal to initiate the half hour of chaos that follows. It’s anthemic, soulful but empowering as massive riffs move with menace and purpose. It culminates with the climax of front man Tomas Pearson bellowing ‘WHO WILL MARCH FORWARD, WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS?’ This immediately invokes the image of a room in the middle of nowhere, beyond the capacity of full, with everyone screaming their lungs out.

Dark caustic dissonance runs through the glorious ‘Devotion II,’ which merges this darker tone of riffing that accents the bulk of the passages with a huge call to arms breakdown at its end that strikes hard. ‘Calloused,’ slams potently with ferocity akin to Buried Alive (Scott Vogel’s pre-Terror outfit), welding more fast paced but chunky, seismic riffs with Pearson’s relentless earthy bellows. ‘No one writes protest songs anymore,’ storms with purpose, picking up the pace and injecting even more urgency.

The fact that there are those out there, still willing to pursue this style of hardcore is endearing as well as it is encouraging. Those heady days of the ’90s may never be revived but in all honesty, that shouldn’t be the aim, they should serve as an inspiration and a springboard for today’s bands’ ideas and drive, not to pilfer the legacy of what has passed.

The spirit of hardcore, still lives through Foundation. That’s how it should be.


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Benjamin DeBlasi
July 4th, 2011


  1. Commented by: Dan

    I was hoping this would be some wacky epic metal based on Isaac Asimov’s ‘Foundation’ trilogy, cuz that would be rad. But alas…….

  2. Commented by: elguerosinfe

    I think you describe the band perfectly. Great release. I was hanging out this weekend with one of the original members of Social Unrest so I’m in a punk rock mood.

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