(The Black N Blue Label)
Have you ever been to New York City? It’s big. It has subways that go from one place to another. The traffic is busy and there is a lot of it! It is dirty in places (I mean it is hard to clean up with that many people). For as big as the city is there are still places where you can feel like part of a small group. The hardcore scene there is strong, personal, and powerful. These same adjectives can also describe Madball’s album Hardcore Lives.
Hardcore Lives is straightforward New York Hardcore. If one is into this then you should already know what to expect from Madball. This album does not disappoint. It is brutal from start to finish. If you have not heard of Madball. think of anything you “consider” to be hardcore and multiply that by 100 and punch yourself for not listening to real hardcore.
Most of Hardcore Lives is straight down to business brutal New York Hardcore. There are plenty of sing-a-longs, breakdowns, talk of honor and integrity. Madball sticks to their roots and continues to mentor newcomers (on how it’s really done) into the scene while maintaining their position amongst their peers. Some highlights of the album come in the form of its vocals.
“Doc Marten Stomp” shows a different side of singer Freddy Cricien’s vocal range. Throughout most of Madball’s songs one can count on being picked up by the aggression of Cricien’s voice. That is the case here and in fact it also has a great shout-a-long. The intriguing part of the song is when he carries the nooooooote. He lets his voice carry the tune as almost a semi-yell. It works well and enhances the song and the album, showing Freddy’s willingness to grow musically.
Speaking of vocals, there are a few guest vocalists that show and support the theme of this album. Toby Morse from H2O and Scott Vogel lend their vocal expertise to keep this album flowing.
Another bonus to the album is the all-Spanish “Mi Palabra.” This may be one of my favorite songs musically on the album. Very nice bass driving the song where it wants to take it. Brings to mind Sick Of It All.
The one guest vocalist that stands out above the rest is that of Walls Of Jericho’s Candace Puopolo. Her vocals meshed with Freddy’s create a chilling sound. Makes you want to lace up your shoes and head into the pit. Makes you proud to be listening to hardcore in such a day. Makes me want to hug my family.
Madball delivers an album that is as big as their city. It is just as it should be, big and hard on the outside, with pockets of intimate groups surviving the day to day. This album is worth the money. (Adam Vedomske)
Purchase Hardcore Lives here: iTunes