Madball - Hardcore Lives (Nuclear Blast)

Freddy and co are back for more of the same - but you kinda knew that, right?..
Release Date: 
26 Jun 2014 - 11:30pm

Is there much point reviewing a Madball album in 2014? Fans of Madball will know, twenty years into the band’s career, exactly what to expect from the band’s eighth album, which is precisely the reason that music fans who’ve come into contact with the band before and decided that Freddy Cricien’s wounded bull bellow isn’t for them will know that they can pass on this with confidence. Review necessity is therefore set at a ‘just above zero’ level and everyone goes about their business...

Still, I’ve been charged with telling you all about Hardcore Lives, so here goes. Opening piece Intro possesses one of the best bits of hardcore riffing I’ve heard in years; if I could get that one minute thirteen clip on looped rotation in the cab of my van the risk of falling asleep on one of the many overnight drives I have to do for my ‘day’ job would be significantly reduced. Pure adrenaline in six string form, it’s one of the most memorable things I’ve heard on a Madball album, ever…

But then of course it’s business as usual. Which for Madball means a set of dependably angry, sometimes melodic hardcore, New York style. Doc Martin Stomp adopts a street punk swagger and finds Cricien putting in some of his most melodic ‘singing’ I’ve ever heard – the Cockney Rejects at their height would have been proud of this track – whilst DNA delivers more of what we’ve come to know and love from Madball.

Elsewhere Scott Vogel of Terror adds his own vocal twist to True School – it’s nice to get a bit of a break from Cricien sometimes, and wisely the band also invites a variety of guests to shout along with Madball throughout the album, most notably H2O alumnus Toby Morse, sometime Shai Hulud throat Chad Gilbert and former wrestler CM Punk, all of whom get involved on the track My Armor, whilst Walls of Jericho shouteuse Candace adds her talents to the excellent Born Strong.

And there you have it. Madball, for me, will never be quite as devastatingly effective again as they were on 1996’s Demonstrating My Style, but this gets pretty close in places. Worth a listen if you’ve got a hardcore itch that needs scratching.