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RIFU: Dead End Street: CD
Political hardcore from Norway. This almost has a Rise Against feel to it, only with a more compelling and less melodic tone. Very raw and very angry! That’s always a good combo!
–Mr. Z (Go Kart)
RIGHT IDEA: Self-titled: 7"
Aw, man. It’s really hard to review “youth crew”-styled hardcore at this point in my life. Look, I got syringe and ink Youth Of Today fist tattoo when I was fourteen years old. I sang for a band called New Direction before I had armpit hair. I still listen to Bold. A lot. But I dunno… it’s just so hard to review new bands like this without accusing them of being complete clones. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t been part of that world in so long, or perhaps, as was certainly the case “back in the day,” imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery in the “old school” hardcore genre. And it’s not that I don’t love any new hardcore. I’m still a total fiend for killer new hardcore bands (see the Rot In Hell review), but I just cannot begin to enjoy this Right Idea record. It just… it offers nothing unique or interesting at all. Okay, so if you were just getting into this stuff today then maybe you’d love this, and you could go and see the band play, which is always a plus (although with the amount of reunions in the past few years, you can go and pick-up-change to most of the classic NYHC bands…), and you could have a really great adolescence, as I did, as a clean cut hardcore kid, root beer in hand. But for those of you who’ve been down this road before, I’d say it’s pretty safe to just cruise on by.
–Dave Williams (Refuse)
RIGHT IDEA: Our Way: CD
This discography CD brings the youth crew straightedge and brings it hard(core). The demo tracks which start off the disc could easily be mistaken for some lost Youth Of Today practice tapes if one didn’t know better. Once the recording quality picks up on the other sessions contained herein, Right Idea does distinguish itself a bit, though never straying far from the hardcore path their forefathers laid before them (the straight and narrow street). While taking in the whole twenty-something tracks at once can be a bit much, a nice bit of well-executed growly hardcore is always welcome. Favorite lyric: “Everyone’s turned their back on the edge! Everyone’s turned their back on the edge!” Only thing missing is subsequent stabbing of those backs (preferably in the streets) to make it the perfect HC lyric.
–Adrian Salas (Refuse)
RIGHT IDEA: Right Way: 7” EP
This little platter offers up eight tracks of straight-up hardcore from Cleveland, Ohio’s Right Idea. Whether or not straight edge is a “right idea” or not may be open for debate, but whether these guys blaze or not isn’t. I’m usually a little wary of bands that wear their personal politics on their sleeves in such a manner but was pleasantly surprised when the needle hit the vinyl. Don’t get me wrong, they do their fair share of youth crew style sing-alongs with pit-friendly thrash tempos, but they manage to do so in a manner that isn’t too preachy or dogmatic. –
–Garrett Barnwell (Refuse)
RIGHTEOUS FOOL: Self-titled: 7" EP
There’s little to say about this Corrosion of Conformity side project. It’s radio metal with a Southern rock flavor. So many better records have been released by Southern Lord this year. Go check out those instead. –Paul J. Comeau
–Guest Contributor (Southern Lord)
RIGHTEOUS JAMS: Rage of Discipline: CD
When I saw the little Kung Fu logo on the back, I figured listening to this was going to be one painfully bad experience. Surprise, surprise, my assumption was right on the money.
–Jimmy Alvarado (Kung Fu)
RIISTETYT: Kahleet: 7”
The latest from these guys, who appear to have reshifted their focus back to playing the straight ahead hardcore that made ’em all those millions back in the ‘80s. There’s a bit more Discharge in the mix than I remember them having, but damn if it ain’t sweet as hell when you hear someone put that influence to good use. This is destined to be a classic, as well it should be.
–Jimmy Alvarado (Havoc)
RIISTETYT: Tuomiopäivä: 7”
A reissue of an EP by this highly respected Finnish band, first recorded back in 1984 and released in 1991. Not as metallic as some of their later stuff, this is just pure, undiluted hardcore, pissed off and taking no prisoners. The pressing is limited to 2550 copies, so start scrambling for it before it slips back into obscurity again.
–Jimmy Alvarado (Havoc)
RIISTETYT: Valtion Vankina/Skitsofrenia: LP/12” EP
In a generous move akin to getting five hundred free boxes of peanut butter Girl Scout cookies, Havoc offers up reissues of this venerable band’s first album and 12” EP, both from 1983 and, frankly, the world is suddenly a better place. From its opening cover of the Varukers’ “Protest and Survive” to the closing “Kukaan El Välitä,” Valtion Vankina is Finnish thrash of the highest order, the aural equivalent of being slapped around for a few days by a four-thousand-pound gorilla with a toothache. Its unrelenting ferocity has withstood the test of time and could easily hold its own against damn near any hardcore band currently walking the planet. While it isn’t wound up quite as tight, Skitsofrenia is no less crucial a listen, with more than its share of wild, energetic thrashing, supplemented by the occasional slower-burning tune to stave off any potential eruptions of spontaneous combustion. I gotta remember to give Felix Havoc a hug and thank him profusely if ever I meet him for bringing these, and so many other fjordcore classics from the likes of Kaaos, back from obscurity, even if it is in this case for only five-hundred copies of each. Maybe I’ll send a couple of boxes of Girl Scout cookies instead. So mandatory for the collection that to even say so is a wasted effort.
–Jimmy Alvarado (Havoc)
RIISTETYT: Skitsofrenia: CD
If I remember correctly, this is a re-release of this legendary Finnish band's first LP. I could be wrong and if I am, it's not the first time. This was initially released in 1983, so the timeline to be their first LP might be right. The songs are primitive, but raw and energetic. Before it was called crust or discore, it was just straight ahead metallic punk that let the energy do the talking. It takes me back twenty years when I first started hearing international punk. It still stands the test of time – abrasive songs sung in languages I had no idea of understanding. But the language of aggression crosses all language barriers. More people need to discover and research bands from other continents, past and present, and see what is outside of their backyards. This is a time capsule that has been opened and needs to be shared with others.
–Donofthedead (Usinade Sangue)
RIMLORD: Lord of the Rim: CD
The fact that I found myself completely engrossed in reading the news that Lisa Marie Presley and Nicholas Cage are divorcing and totally ignoring the music coming outta my speakers while this was on does not say much about this release that can be construed as positive.
–Jimmy Alvarado (No address)
RINGERS: Curses: CD
I think others at the mag would have appreciated this band more than I. My moods change as much as I change underwear. I do like what I hear, though: straight-ahead punk that is melodic but raw. With a raw production, this comes off sounding live. What I hear are some parts Dillinger 4, One Man Army, and the Beltones; not exactly like those bands but taking small elements from them. The melody is the key here. While they do blaze through with fury, their art is the poppiness of the songs.
–Donofthedead (1-2-3-4 Go!)
RINGERS: Curses: CD
I’m glad I came to hear this the way that I did. The CD was in my box, but I hadn’t gotten a chance to listen to it when they came through town with Bent Outta Shape, playing something like four or five shows in one city in about a week. I’m not sure how much of a chance I would have given this if I popped it in with no outside impression. I think I may have written it off as decent, but nothing special, pop punk. Luckily, that wasn’t the case. Live, they really impressed me. Catchy and driven. In person, they were super-nice, and their bass player has a tattoo of Slimer eating pizza, which earns points with me for some reason. So, after they’d been out of town for a few days, I put this on and gave it several listens. And then several more. It gets stuck in my head all the time. There are some real subtleties in there that grab me, but I think it’s those subtleties that may have been what I would have overlooked. There’s nothing that immediately jumps out as remarkable, but, with time and letting it get absorbed, there really is something there worth taking the time to find.
–Megan Pants (1-2-3-4 Go)
RINGERS: Curses: CD
This sounds so much like a late-’80s Gilman Street band—specifically Crimpshrine—it ain’t funny. A look at their contact info reveals they’re from Massachusetts. Go figure.
–Jimmy Alvarado (www.1234gorecords.com)
RINGERS: Detention Halls: CD
Although I liked their first release enough, Detention Halls blows it out of the water. With a sound that’s both more indescribably Boston and more than a little Bent Outta Shape (who the Ringers played with a whole bunch before BOS called it quits), they’re sounding like a more confident version of what they were (and still very much are). With lyrics about looking for your own name in the obituaries and watching all the buses driving in the opposite direction you’re headed (a feeling I’m all too familiar with), it’s surprising how upbeat it leaves me feeling. Great album.
–Megan Pants (1-2-3-4 Go!)
RINGERS: Detention Halls: CD
I swear, this may sound like it has a back hand to the compliment, but there isn’t one. Okay, Bent Outta Shape, I’ll say it. They broke up to soon. I have no why idea—nor do I care about—how the band imploded, but I thought they were on the verge of flat-out greatness. So, like with when the space shuttle exploded, right, there were these huge chunks falling back to earth? Ringers caught, refurbished, and re-launched one of Bent Outta Shape’s fallen chunks of musical missile. Tell me “Nothing to Show” doesn’t owe more than a passing blush to “Solitary Now.” Now, here’s the weird part. Fuckin’ go for it, Ringers. Take that baton (with that Rancid O ring). Run with it. Bent Outta Shape stumbled, broke up, kaput. It’s your turn in the relay to run that year 2000+ torch of the Replacements/Hüsker Dü/good music/Leatherface up the stairs, and, I, for one, am cheering you on because it sounds like you’ve found your legs. What an infectious album.
–Todd Taylor (1-2-3-4 Go!)
RINGERS: Detention Halls: CD
These dudes from Boston have no problem stepping directly into the vacant shoes left by Bent Outta Shape, and then boldly moving forward in them. They seem a pretty good fit, too. Just imagine if B.O.S. had evolved a couple more albums, essentially it’s what this new Ringers album sounds like. Wicked hooks that stay with you for days, the guts you hear in songs by Drunken Boat or One Reason, all glued together with these jangly, Springsteeny guitars that just make your ears throb, but you still want more. This is one of those records that you should listen to real loud on the way to the beach.
–ben (1234 Go!)
RINGERS: Hurry Up and Wait: 12” EP
Let me preface this shit by saying that I’m not a completist. I liked some of their previous bands’ work more than I liked Ringers’ material, though I thought there was a vast improvement from these dudes’ first full-length to their second. Thing is—and I don’t know if it’s time, a serious stepping up of craft, or the format itself (seven songs on a 12”), but Hurry Up And Wait easily blows both LPs out of the water. All the songs have room to breathe here, and what came across as static or a little run-of-the-mill in the past has been sharpened and transformed into some really rugged, bad-ass, anthemic songwriting. I get Todd’s comparison of Bent Outta Shape and The Clash now—there’s that same snarl coupled with a confident, easy strut and exuberant catchiness. These tunes come across more like rough-hewn folk songs (and I mean that in the sense of a very misleading simplicity, how goddamn joyful this noise is) juiced up to ten than anything else. They just nailed it here. Totally awesome record.
–Keith Rosson (1-2-3-4 Go!)
RINGERS: Hurry up and Wait: 12” EP
Well-made, earnest, and entirely listenable melodic street punk from Boston. Like watered down whiskey, the record is rough around the edges and smooth going down. But here’s the deal: if you’re like me you don’t want water in your whiskey and you don’t want your punk to go down smooth. You want it to knock you on your ass. There is no ass knocking here. I kept waiting for it, like the album title told me, but the ass-knocking never came. It just made me sad. Now melodic doesn’t always mean mellow, but here it does. Big time. It might even mean soft. Maybe I’d like it more if it didn’t keep reminding me of One Man Army, only their vocals were way better and they actually rocked.
–Jim Ruland (1-2-3-4 Go!)
RINGERS / AMPERE: Split: 6"
As a format, the 6” is better than the 5”. It’s easier to load onto record players with automatic arm returns. It’s also a format that it’s just better not to sit down after putting a side on, especially if… Ampere: it’s screamo hardcore that lasts what seems like little more than thirty seconds, has five different parts going at once, sounds a little like the first Death By Stereo record mixed into double-speed Born Against; kinda like a metal approach without the metal wanktankery inside. Ringers: do yourself a favor. Get their latest, Detention Halls and do what voodoo you do to put this song at the end of that. Simultaneously Bent Outta Shape and Swingin’ Utters, in a way that denatures both to mere reference points and not transparent bags that suffocate either The Ringers or the listener.
–Todd Taylor (No Idea)
RINGERS, THE: Hurry Up and Wait: 12” EP
At 6:03 PM, averaging sixty miles per hour, the Bent Outta Shape train leaves Brooklyn, heading west. At 9:18 AM, averaging seventy-seven miles per hour, the Swingin’ Utters missed their train going East. Been drinking. Paul Weller is the engineer somewhere in the Midwest. The math’s deceptive, though. When the trains collide somewhere in South Dakota, it’s no accident. Instead of being a mangle of two not-recognized-as-compatible approaches to music, there’s a beautiful and twisted fusion that help make The Ringers unique. Listened to with half an ear, they could be construed as street punk, but that’s a disservice. The songs are more about troubled hearts and misinterpreted good intentions instead of dress codes and skewed views of patriotism that end in someone getting physically hurt. The Bent Outta Shape-isms, in turn, are roughed up, lovingly bruised, and broken-glassed. The Ringers continue getting better with each release, I believe, because they’re sounding more and more like themselves and not a calculated collision in a barren land.
–Todd Taylor (1234 Go!)
RINGWORM: Birth Is Pain: CD
I thought I heard of these guys before and I found them on the comp You Deserve Even Worse from that horrible label Lost & Found from Germany that I bought in the early ‘90s. To give you an idea of what they sound like, they were on the comp with 108, Ryker’s, Judge, Battery, Sick Of It All and others. This is their first record in eight years. More of an early Metallica sound going on since the metal is very prevalent. Hardcore meets metal.
RINGWORM: Scars: LP
O. M. G. Easily one of my all-time favorite bands has just unleashed one fucking vicious bastard of a record upon mankind. For those not in the know, with each long-awaited release, Ringworm continues to set the bar for seething, pummeling, evil hardcore, often mentioned alongside fellow Cleveland legends Integrity and tied forever to the Holy Terror sound which has seen a massive resurgence in the past few years. With Scars, Ringworm’s fifth LP in their twenty-year existence, the band leans further into the metal realm, as they have with each successive release, showcasing longer songs and more Bay-Area-heyday and early-Euro thrash influenced riffing, yet opting for a more vicious-sounding production (think Justice rather than Venomous). Predictably, HF’s palpable rage hasn’t quelled even one iota, and all in all, Ringworm sounds more like a solid unit than ever, incredibly invigorated, and I can only assume that’s a sign of more amazing records to come. All hail.
–Dave Williams (Victory)
RINGWORM: Stigmatas in the Flesh: LP
An impeccably recorded (and played) live set from one of my all-time favorite bands. Caught a few years back at A389 Records’ sixth birthday bash (AKA The Show That Ends The World), this is Ringworm in perfect form. Vicious, tight as hell, and killing a setlist that runs the gamut from The Promise up to (and including) The Venomous Grand Design. One of hardcore’s greats at the top of their game.
–Dave Williams (A389)
RINGWORM / MINDSNARE: Split: 7”
I feel vastly unqualified to review this. I know nothing about this stuff. Is this death metal? Both bands have a similar template: heavy, intricate riffs peppered with little, flittering high-pitched solos, lots of palm mutes and yowled, testicle-dropping vocals. Mindsnare definitely comes out on top, with a more punishing, intricate pairing of tracks. Still, the closest thing I can think of to compare these bands to, and I know it’s terrible, is Slayer. I’m sure within their respective genre that’s a shitty comparison, like saying Dillinger Four sounds like the Sex Pistols just because they’re both punk bands. Sorry, guys. I’m just not too familiar with your particular type of voodoo. I do know that this record comes with a goofy comic book insert featuring skulls, hipsters, and vengeance (and also features a download card), and metal dudes would most likely do well to pick this one up. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help, gentlemen.
–Keith Rosson (A389)
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