By Oz Litvac
New York Hardcore music is alive and well. Madball’s latest album, Empire, solidifies this theory. Needless to say the DMS Crew, also known as Doc Martens Stompers, which includes several bands such as legendary Agnostic Front, Skarhead, Madball and other affiliates, set a standard for this genre and really stamped it with their own originality.
With chunky guitar riffs, solid breakdowns and raw lyrics that deal with real concepts and being true to themselves, Madball started as a side project to Agnostic Front, nevertheless quickly built their fan base and helped maintained the legacy of the New York Hardcore scene.
Over twenty years in the game and eight plus albums later, Madball delivers their latest creation proving these veterans are as solid as ever, just as they were when they first appeared on the scene in the late eighties.
Unfortunately many bands lose their edge after being in the industry, particularly in this scene for many years. Not Madball. Still as relevant as ever, and although Empire does not introduce anything new in terms of style or structure, it’s as hard-hitting as some of their best earlier projects.
It has good, angry energy and includes all the right ingredients necessary to make great hardcore music. Bouncy breakdowns perfect for floor punching, with a touch of slam dancing feel to it.
The song “All or Nothing” really embraces the bands’ integrity in its lyrics and is an example and honest representation of everything they stand for.
Although maintaining the ‘don’t give a fuck’ attitude, Madball still manages to demonstrate maturity in their understanding of the responsibility they hold to the hardcore scene and the fans. They are easy to relate to with their ‘blue collar’ values and mentality, and keep a positive spin on this angry genre with the morals in their songs.
In conclusion it is important to mention that any band that makes you feel a certain way, and does so consistently for twenty years, no matter what that feeling is, deserves respect. Although it is only thirty-five minutes long and perhaps angrier than previous albums, Empire is another example of solid NYHC legendary music with no compromise on lyricism.