Strife and World Be Free guitarist and WAR Records boss Andrew Kline grabs the mic to vent some straight edge angst in his new Los Angeles hardcore project, Berthold City—and listening to their EP, it’s about time.
Three tracks on the Moment of Truth demo from 2017 quickly created a heated buzz. The first three pressings weren’t on a label, and each run of 100 sold out; the fourth dropped via WAR Records.
Kline had the vision and started Berthold City by utilizing songs he had written that weren’t Strife material. “[The songs] were more youth crew-inspired and a bit of a different style than either of my other bands,” he states. “I got together with Adam Galindo, our drummer, and we spent a day in the studio working on the songs and tracking the drums for the demo. I played bass and all the guitars on the recording, then went back a few months later and started tracking the vocals.” The duo quickly engaged guitarists Dennis McDonald and Devin Vale and bassist John Eightclip.
On March 30, WAR will give fans the Moment of Truth EP, which includes the songs from the demo and three new tracks. This EP delivers a crushing sound and an energetic spirit. Loud riffs and tight playing push a live melee feel akin to Judge, Chain Of Strength, and Bold.
For recording and mixing, Kline went to his friend Aaron Jamili—of fellow L.A. hardcore band Alpha & Omega—at Wormhole Studios in Santa Clarita, California. But for this New York hardcore homage, there was only one true mecca. “We had the record mastered by the legendary Don Fury at his studio in upstate New York,” Kline says. “I always wanted to record with Don Fury, as he is responsible for recording some of the most classic hardcore records of all time. I knew that he was doing a lot of mastering, so I reached out to him. He did a great job and added that extra little bit of energy into the tracks. We could have mastered the record elsewhere, but I really wanted to work with Don Fury as a little nod to some of the classic bands that inspired us.”
In the live arena, Berthold City were anxious to get kids moving and did so in stellar fashion. “Our first show was at Programme [Skate & Sound] in Fullerton, [California], with The Decline, Drug Control, and Dare,” Kline says. “Programme has done so much for the Southern California hardcore scene in the last few years, so I feel like it was a perfect place to play our first show.”
Garnering respect from his 30 years of duty in L.A. hardcore, Kline’s new band gets some sick tours to share Berthold City’s killer tunes. “We are playing United Blood Fest in Richmond, [Virginia], and we are doing a short East Coast run with Kill Your Idols and Fireburn to support the release,” he says.
Striking while the iron is hot, Kline is charging forward. “We have already started recording some new material,” he reveals, “so, hopefully, we will have another release out by the end of the year. Aside from that, we just want to play as much as we can.”
Photo by Tyler Ross