Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New Day Rising - double 7"

My friends! Welcome to another installment over here at Creation Of Minerals, the blog that brings to you terrible essays on awesome music (most of the time) which first appeared quite some time ago...again, most of the time. Today is the Spring Equinox, so in anticipation of the warmer days ahead of us, I would like to celebrate the fact that winter has finally come to an end with this pleasing 1996 release from Etobicoke, Ontario's Upheaval Records.

This 2 x 7" marked my first exposure to New Day Rising. It was the Canadian band's first solo vinyl release; prior to this they appeared on a split 7" with New York's Atlas Shrugged put out by Moo Cow Records a few months earlier. Shortly after putting out the self-titled release on display here, they turned up on another Moo Cow split 7", this time with then-fledgling Buffalo powerhouses Despair. I have to say, I was hooked on this band from the very first time  heard them. For those of you who may not be up to speed on what they were all about, New Day Rising wrote music with a ton of energy, yet their songs were basically completely devoid of "fast" parts. Many (if not most) NDR songs combined quietly-strummed guitar parts with rousing, sung vocal passages that flowed straight into some dope as fuck mid-90's mosh bits, complete with furious, frantic dual screaming and loads of high-pitched china boy cymbal bashing going on (translation: SHIT YEAH). These four songs are fueled by equal parts angst, compassion, and the need for societal change, and are quite well done. With what they achieved on this EP, It's not hard to see why this band went on to become rather popular during their course of life, albeit somewhat alienating many people at the very same time. Sometimes their lyrics were governmental in nature, and on other occasions they dealt with more social topics (for example, the pro-choice masterpiece "Woman's Right", one of my absolute favorite songs from our scene written during the middle part of the 1990's). They always had something to say and, similarly to fellow countrymen Chokehold, they didn't really give a fuck what you thought about their opinions...and rightfully so. You know, 'cause it's their fucking band and not yours.

There is definitely a good bit of diversity (and personal writings) to be found in releases these boys and girl did, and I still listen to this band with regularity today partly due to this fact. Every song turned over a different stone during their search for the answers to the questions which they were on a quest to find. New Day Rising was an inspiring merger of monstrousness and beauty, and the end result was something hauntingly awesome. I mean, just look at how much that kid with the hat is feelin' it in that live pic on the second record. That right there is the complete summation of 90's hardcore punk circa 1996, y'all. Catch the vibe for yourselves below.

These songs were recorded by Rob Sanzo at Signal To Noise during October (they think!) of 1995.
For those of you keeping track, these two slabs of wax are UR-666 and 667.

1) Revolution Song
2) Driven
3) Innocence and Rage
4) Shattered

-"what you put into hardcore, or anything, is what will give it meaning"-

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Focal Point - "Neglected" 7"

Neglected was the first and only extended play released by the Sacramento-area band Focal Point. These five dudes played some rough and ready metallic hardcore that might appeal to fans of Fault, Unconquered, Torn Apart (who had an album released on the same label that did this 7"), Allentown, Pennsylvania's Outcome, and fellow Californians Surface, who may in fact be the best musical comparison to Focal Point that I can think of.

x Life Sentence x Records (the X's were eventually dropped, sadly) in its heyday was a label which became pretty well known for putting out strictly metal-influenced moshcore, and it makes perfect sense to me that Dan was the guy who released this three song 7". Focal Point certainly did not rewrite the book on metallic chugcore, but it doesn't seem like they were trying to do anything that breaks from the mold of the type of shit they played. To their credit, their lyrics reflected an obvious stance on equality, human rights, dedication to ones beliefs, and the fair distribution of justice to people far and wide. The music is mid-paced and energetic, the recording quality here captures a very good fusion of clarity and rawness, yet there are a couple of slightly harsh moments present here. For example, that guitar tone during the intro of "Violated" has never sat well with me, especially once the second guitar joins in. It isn't necessarily something that everyone who listens to this record will be bothered by (or even notice, for that matter), it's just one of those quirky things that I was never able to ignore when that jam played. I can be a little eccentric y'all, sorry. The drummer plays some of those "rap-inspired beats" with loads of accented down stokes and taps on his snare (so the kids can dance along), and he isn't afraid of using his Chinese cymbal, either. This is indeed a good thing.

Moving on, the layout is simple yet effective. The colors really seem to pop on both the front and back cover of this record, and I've always felt that this 7" looked nice and slick when being compared to other debut 7"s from similar-styled bands. It doesn't have a card stock cover, nor is it anything fancy like the Threadbare 7" or the Sarin 7" (it's merely some paper, bro), but that opinion has stuck with me since the day I bought this record, which wasn't long after its release in '96. They kept it simple, but made it look nice.

You should know what you're getting here when I mention that it is one hundred percent 90's metal-inspired hardcore. I'm not sure if I can easily just file this under "g" for generic, since I would say these kids did a better than average job arranging the material on this seven inch. I remember being reminded of Ritual-era Unbroken on occasion when spinning this back in the day, and I'd say that thought still finds its way into my brain in 2017. A few of these songs appeared on their subsequent full length, which was nowhere near as good as this, especially when it comes to the artwork, holy shit. I'd very much recommend that you check out Neglected first before listening to Focal Point's LP, because it's way better.

These songs were recorded by Eric Broyhill at Enharmonik Studios during the latter days of February 1996. Neglected is LSR #6.

1) Neglected
2) Violated
3) Upright

 -here ya go-