Survival’s Nick Noro: What I’m Listening To

Saturday, 4th July 2015

What I’m listening to:

Freedom – Promo LP 2015
Detroit straight edge band “Freedom” is becoming increasingly popular in the hardcore scene right now. A 5-piece, they look virtually identical to any other hardcore band right now with the exception of their singer, a lanky doc-rocking skin-looker. What separates these guys from the rest for me was “Anti-Poison,” the first song on the Promo LP (2015) which I found roaming the dark corners of youtube a few months back. Between the snare line of the chorus, the congested vocals and healthy balance between pounding, groovy stagedive parts and the chorus breaks, I was gone. Also on this recording is a Warzone cover, which should illustrate to you the command this band has on NYHC song-structure. They embody this archetype completely. Freedom blends in perfectly with Backtrack, Expire, Breakdown and Killing Time – which is perfect for me.

Victor Griffen – Late for an Early Grave
I’ve been blasting this record a lot over the last year. The internet says it came out in 2004, but I could have sworn it was released in the early 1990s (the label is “Outlaw Recordings” which just makes too much sense). I saw Pentagram in San Francisco almost two years ago and amidst crowd-surfing, knocked into Victor Griffen’s pedalboard. He got agro and security jumped in as he proceeded to kick the shit out of me. It was fucking awesome. This record is fucking awesome.

It goes to show that, while Bobby Liebling gives the Pentagram name notoriety via controversy and drug abuse, Griffen does so by writing some of the best songs in the biker doom stratosphere. This album is 100% raw, uncut dopeness. Griffon sings about being young, lost, hopeless, addicted and confused. I feel it. There is also a track with Wino (who has always brought me an equal degree of doom satisfaction). It feels like he may have produced this on an early version of Garageband (synthetic drums) and while I’m inclined to bitch about that sort of thing, the songs rip too hard for me to even notice. While the lead guitarwork is stellar, as are Griffon’s vocals, the real treat here is the composition. Also a sick Dead Boys cover.

Dark – Round The Edges
This is psychedelic rock. Awesomely recorded, awesomely composed psychedelic rock. The story is that this trio formed in the late 1960s, wrote this album, met some guy who produced them a recording at a professional studio, pressed a few copies and then split up. Whatever – the whole thing rules and for 1971, has dark metal tendencies that seem to preface NWOBHM to come. Goes well alongside UFO, Deep Purple, Captain Beyond and King Crimson’s Red.

Poison Idea – Feel the Darkness
I know this is a classic, but despite my upbringing on crossover bands like Excel, Attitude Adjustment, Sacrilege BC, The Accused, D.R.I. and The Crucified, I am a latecomer to Feel the Darkness. I never really liked Poison Idea that much, but I understand that Pig Champion’s song writing appealed to the Greg Ginn sentiment: break the rules and create some weird, dark, cool shit. And while this record does that, it is met at the halfway point by a more rational, left-brain musicianship. This record is some really well balanced crossover. It destroys.

The intro to the album is stone cold power. The first six songs proceed to kick lots and lots of ass (note: “Plastic Bomb” progression is identical to Verbal Abuse’s “I Hate You,” but whatever). Then the two best songs on the whole record drop: “Taken By Surprise” and “Alan’s on Fire.” “Taken By Surprise” feels like the victory song of the entire record – it gives the listener that sensation which can only be reached otherwise by copious amounts of stagediving. Very much like a drug. Very much. Then, “Alan’s on Fire” is an anthem for standing up relentlessly for the truth (and its kind of like a more punk rock Hatebreed “I Will Be Heard” circa 1990). Other awesome songs are “Painkiller” and the title track. The lyrics mostly speak to the umbrage of being a pathetic, angry loner (that and the escapism of alcohol/narcotics). If you for some reason have not heard this record yet, get it right now.

Survival’s most recent, self-released effort, Shadya, is available now. You can stream the album below.

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