New States cover art

STABBED IN BACK is a melodic hardcore band from Albuquerque, New Mexico and was started in 2004. THE SCANDALS are a punk rock band from Bayonne, New Jersey and was started in 2004 as well. 

STABBED IN BACK starts off their two songs with “Under The Black Flag” a fast-paced punk song that has the band playing with a vengeance, with a great guitar solo, shouted vocals with some gang vocals, pummeling drums and throbbing bass add up to a killer start. “100 Proof” is a great cover of 88 FINGERS LOUIE and keeps the intensity up with inspired playing. Up next is THE SCANDALS with their first song “The Motions” which has a harder and heavier punk sound with gruff lead vocals, lots of gang vocals and woah-ohs, thick bass, thundering drums mixed with the rumbling bass, and tasty lead guitar playing. “Needle and Thread” has those great gruff vocals and lots of background vocals, plus more inspired guitar playing.

A really short, but well done four song single that has two bands complimenting each other’s styles and having every song being high quality, not just throw aways. Totally worth checking out, so go to the website, or have your favorite store order you a copy.


BIGBLAST: All Saviours: CD

BIGBLAST is a French melodic hardcore band that has a female as the lead singer. They play powerful, melodic hardcore with political lyrics and musical influences from RISE AGAINST to PARAMORE. In 2008, they released their first EP Deaf To The sirens and their first full-length entitled All Saviours came out in January of 2012.

Emi on lead vocal has a strong and very melodic voice  that brings a lot of character to the songs, Liom and Seb on guitars put a lot of great leads and solos on these songs that will surprise you at how proficient they are, Jérome on drums and Greg on bass really carry the bouncy melody on the album. The band really gels and gets you in a great mood with the aggressive, but harmonious music that grabs your attention right away. The strength of the songwriting and the depth of the playing really shine on this album, taking you away to a place where you can totally escape to and lose yourself in the euphoria of music that transcends the average and flings you into the stratosphere, away from the crappy day you might be having and put a smile in your heart. Some songs that stuck with me were “Something To Sing About”, “Hostages In Our Own World”, “Tonight We Own This Place”, my favorite “Everything Changes”, “No Repents”, “Invisible Enemy”, “Waiting For The Go Signal”, and “A Revolution A Day”.

A fantastic debut album that really gets lodged in your head and forces you to listen to it again, and then you just fall more in love with it. I really have nothing more to say except that you need to get this album and turn it up loud, sing along to it and feel good while doing it.



MONARCH is a four-piece melodic hardcore band from Southern NH / Northern MA. Over the past year they’ve put out two five track E.P.s using the writings of their vocalist’s grandfather.

“Incarnadine” kicks things off and it kicks you in the gonads right away with the power and ferocity that the band brings to this song. The song is one hell of a great start to the E,P. that just keeps going right into the next song. “Love” with the band still raging on this track with the power tempered by a bit of slowed down beats that show off the bands playing prowess. “The Virgin and the Profligate” isn’t an all-out fast song, but the intensity that they play on it just gives it a passionate feel. “Volunteer” brings the aggressiveness back and they’re out to get you into the pit with the energy that this song gives off. “Happenstance” ends things with more restrain and melody, but the power that they bring to their playing just grabs you.

The band really has an ear for melody that shines through the E.P. and the lyrics are very interesting and should be read while listening, which you can do on their Bandcamp site. This was a very impressive collection of songs that will be played frequently around my house and you should grab a copy and do the same at your house. These guys are the real deal, don’t miss out!

GATEWAYS: Departures: CD

Ten songs of melodic hardcore from this band from Sterling Heights, MI on their very short debut album from Hotfoot Records. The band consists of Jayson Ignacio on lead vocals, Rob Ketchum on guitar and vocals, guitarist Graham Lock, bassist Mike Howells, and Jake Bell on drums.

You get dual vocals with one doing the lead shouting and the other doing the more melodic vocals on the album and very positive lyrics which is a good thing in the punk/hardcore community, there needs to be more positive influences in a genre with tons of darkness and negativity. I don’t mean just stupid, happy songs, but songs with a message which GATEWAYS try to get across to the listener. Lyrics about believing in yourself, not caring about what others think are all over this release. Tracks like “Insights” and “From My Side” talk about looking at yourself and finding something positive to motivate you to be a good person and not care about what other people think, which is a great sentiment. There is an instrumental on here aptly titled “Instrumental” that is really cool, and the title song has a very nice mellow flow that gets harder and mellows out again, and has some great harmonizing on it.

This is a really good album and I was impressed with the playing on here and hope that these guys keep getting more fans into their more positive approach to music. If they keep putting out music this good, it shouldn’t take very long before more people know their name.

DEPARTURES: Teenage Haze: CD

On this sophomore album from Glasgow, Scotland’s DEPARTURES have recorded nine new songs of melodic hardcore with screamo added to it. This is the follow-up to their self-titled album from 2011 and it’s their debut release on No Sleep Records.

“Teenage Haze” is a very short, relaxed instrumental which was cool because lead singer/shouter/screamer James McKean gets a break and so do we. It’s not that I didn’t like his vocals; on the contrary, I just think that sometimes the vocals could be mellowed out a bit, and not screamed in every song. A bit more versatility on the vocals would improve the album a bit, but the band plays really well and McKean does bring a lot of passion to the vocals. The song “Small Steps” starts off slow and builds into a nice hard, fast paced song, then fades again, really well done. “21” is intense with strong vocals, tasty guitar riffs, and pounding drums, and “Where The Time Will Go” starts off slow and then accelerates to the speed of light taking you on its trip.

This band has a lot of potential and the album is really well done. This will surprise fans of hardcore, that you can have more relaxed, mellow songs and still come up with an album that shreds.