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madball hardcorelives
Artist: Madball
Album: Hardcore Lives
Genre: Hardcore
Release Date: 27th June 2014
Label: Nuclear Blast Records

Album Review

The phrase 'Hardcore Lives' can be taken two ways: one is the statement that the genre is undying (and probably true considering it is such an underground phenomena) and also that is a way of life. On MADBALL'S eighth full length album, both ideals apply. The New York hardcore element is still present in the band's music with hard chugging riffs that will appeal to listeners of HATEBREED and biting vocals and lyrics that refrain as far back as classic 80s EYEHATEGOD. The tracks are numerous but short- there is only so much moshing that can be done in a span of time before someone drops. While the songs don't quite vary in pace and rhythm which unfortunately leaves many unforgettable and a bit lost in the shuffle of the tracks, a few stand out such as ‘The Here and Now’ which has excellent riffs during the chorus and a strong message about not letting the past drag anyone down. If there is one thing that hardcore listeners can appreciate, it is despite a rather dull technical appearance from the instrumentation, the lyrics are always engaging and mostly uplifting. Hardcore music has always had a strong community that is more about bringing people together than shoving them apart.

Other tracks like ‘Nothing To Me’ do try to break the monotony of some of the repetitive chug tracks such as the PRONG-esque rhythm that accompanies the shouted lyrics where it feels like everything is at a perfect pace and isn't trying to overdo the music on the speed or rhythm. True, lots of fans will find the rhythms of the album a bit repetitive after a while but MADBALL try to incorporate a few surprises. Living up to the spirit of 'Hardcore Lives' there is a slew of guests on the album. Some include Scott Vogel of TERROR, Toby Morse of H20, and Candace Kucsulain of WALLS OF JERICHO. Each a bit younger than MADBALL, one could say their participation on the album is a bit of an honorable mention to the effects that bands like MADBALL and others have presented to the younger generation of metal fans. Sadly, due to similar vocal styles, it can be hard to distinguish who is singing from who. Scott on ‘True School’ gets very lost in the mix and Candace on ‘Born Strong’ only really shines when she's screaming solo and isn't overlapping with Freddy Cricen. Only Toby Morse really shows a contrast in vocal delivery with his more spoken word, almost rap oriented tones on ‘My Armor’. Still, the whole idea of bringing in guest vocalists to show how far hardcore roots stretch is an excellent addition to MADBALL'S tenacity.

Fans of MADBALL in general will love this. Flat out love it. It is solid in sound, doesn't seem drawn out, and involves all the things that hardcore music is meant to show. For those who are more used to the mainstream hardcore like HATEBREED, THROWDOWN, and TERROR, they may find less groove oriented and raw churning a bit overwhelming, but they'll be able to see how the more original hardcore of the early 80s/ late 90s really started. MADBALL haven't done much to try and re-invent themselves, but stayed on the right track with their honest energy. 'Hardcore Lives' is a pounding effort that overcomes repetition with aggressive tones and lyrics that demand attention, so no one is going to sleep through this anytime soon.


01. Intro - 1:13
02. Hardcore Lives - 2:06
03. The Balance - 2:49
04. Doc Marten Stomp - 3:23
05. DNA - 2:29
06. True School (feat. Scott of Terror) - 2:13
07. The Here and Now - 2:20
08. Nothing To Me - 2:51
09. My Armor (feat. Toby of H20 Hazen St) - 1:37
10. Beacon Of Light - 1:59
11. Born Strong (feat. Candace of Walls Of Jericho) - 2:13
12. Spirit - 1:52
13. Mi Palabra - 2:08
14. NBNC - 0:27
15. For The Judged - 2:15


Freddy Cricien – vocals
Mitts – guitars
Hoya Roc – bass
Mike Justian – drums 


Cover Picture

madball hardcorelives


Music: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8 / 10


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