Staring Back

There’s an awful lot of quality hardcore to be had on this 2 disc retrospective from one of metallic hardcore’s recently reformed underappreciated pioneers. Before the current popular metal meets hardcore trend spearheaded by bands like Hatebreed et al there was Strife, Earth Crisis, Merauder and Turmoil, who toiled without the benefit of MTV or Ozzfest within the realms of the true hardcore undergroundWell to celebrate their reformation, Abacus gives us this fine 2 disc set cataloging their entire discography and 3 new tracks. The discography includes the entire 1999 swansong album, The Process of…, The Anchor and The Path That We Paved releases, and the debut From Bleeding Hands. The three new tracks, “Pinstripes & Neckties,” “The Great American Crime,” and “Commander and Thief,” continue the ballistic and bruising convoluted assault of The Process of …. with “Commander and Thief” bleeding seamlessly into that album’s punishing opening track “Playing Dead” with no noticeable shift in style of delivery. Tracks like the punishing lurch of “The Locust” (one of my favorite hardcore songs ever), “Killing Today For A Better Tomorrow,” “Impending Doom Theory” and the urgent “Dear Jon” still rumble with a tangible chest tightening sense of urgency and stagger with menace with no need for false machismo, scene prose or chest pounding.

The 22 tracks on disc 2 is less satisfying and more of a collectors item with a few early versions of tracks that appeared on The Process of…. John Gula seems a little less seething, but then again lacking the Steve Evetts production (Buried Alive, All Out War, Hatebreed), may have something to do with it. Though the Anchor tracks point to the effort that would eventually surface on The Process of… . Still, 22 essentially bonus tracks of burly, angry, rumbling metallic hardcore from a moderately legendary if short-lived and now returned band, along with a classic album is nothing to turn your nose up at.

I can’t wait for the new full length sometime in 2006. Nice work Abacus.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 29th, 2005


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