The band was formed back in 2015 by hardcore/punk rock lifers Don Mazza (vocals) and Jason Dovalina (rhythm guitar), who quickly recruited close friends Andy Spraker (drums), Sean McGuire (bass), and Shaun Andri (lead guitar). True stories from members’ lives and salutations to fallen friends drive the writing and influence of the album. Each band member has overcome their own significant obstacles, including incarceration and addiction, and it shows in their lyrics, activism and commitment to doing everything they can to educate, but not preach.
Originally self-released on CD format by the band as Athletes to the Front which sold out immediately, Hardcore contains two additional tracks (“Mass Hysteria” and “Blood Clot”). The album also features a cover of Peter and the Test Tube Babies’ “Banned From The Pubs” and Social Distortion’s 1982 classic “Mass Hysteria.” The album is a punch in the gut and a kick in the ears that will make you shout…not in pain, but in complete joy, because someone gets it! Hardcore without the metal wanking and bullshit lyrics that too many bands seem to have nowadays. These guys are taking the old school sound, before metal crept into hardcore and taking a step back, but pushing the format ahead at the same time. Since this is not metal, it’s like a blast from the past, but maybe others can get their shit together and join in what they are doing and start more bands that are pure hardcore…maybe the start of a new trend…of doing it right. Gruff vocals, buzz-saw guitar playing, thick bass, and drums pounded within an inch of their life, plus awesome lyrics make for an album that is pure gold for these old ears. Short, to the point songs with no filler, and yes…all killer…sorry. The last song is truly powerful, listing their departed friends at the end of the song, a hardcore version of Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died” in a way.
The album is a definite blazing collection of songs that will get you up and slamming along to, but take a listen to the lyrics too, feel the pain and emotion that the band puts forth. Having some people close to me die from drugs and bad decisions, this album not only was a punk rock fest for me, but it also meant something to me. Thank you for this great album guys.