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Askew Review 15

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- Ruin a Good Time (Thorp Records) This is in the long tradition of very heavy East-coast hardcore bands like Negative Approach or SSD. Very raw, very angry with no pretense about melody or “art”. A band that summons up an images of a sea of sweaty young men with buzz cuts and white T-shirts moshing in a circle of Dante’s  Pergatory for all time. The old abrupt fast/slow time changes are there just like they were in ’84, and the singer has mastered the gargling-with-glass-and-gravel affect of that time as well. Awkward Thought makes neo-hardcore bands like H2O and Sick of It All sound like a pop-punk by comparison. This record is about as subtle as a pornographic graffiti drawing in a public toilet. Not the sort of music that makes bands critical darlings, but there it is, still (and probably always) attracting  a fiercely loyal following. I spent an inordinate amount of time listening to hardcore bands throughout the 80’s, and kept track of the different regional scenes. Boston, DC, New York, even Rhode Island had great ones. There is a great legacy of hardcore bands from this part of America by which AT are clearly influenced but they employ a fatter dose of  sheer negativity than most and lack any sugar coating whatsoever on “Ruin a Good Time”. If that is your brand of poison they will supply it in buckets  The type of anger being marketed here is better articulated and more narrowly directed  than say, the generic rage of the “nu-metal” top-sellers who simply throw tantrums for attention and seem to not understand why they cannot do whatever they want, whenever they want. AT’s special hate comes with a stronger sense of tradition and community, which, when you come right down to it, is a large part of  what the kids are looking  for in the various sub-genres of punk…It’s often music for people born with all the odds against them. Guys who will always have to work twice as hard to have half as much.    With a man in the Oval Office who makes Reagan look like a peace activist and the economy wrecked deeper than the Lucitania, who knows, maybe we’ll see an angry hardcore revival…Just don’t ‘go metal’ this time, guys. - J.Trent



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