Crystal Lake‘s new record True Northinstantly tops the must-have list for fans of all genres of heavy music. It’s got the instrumental complexity that metalheads love, hardcore heaviness (“Six Feet Under”), killer metalcore vocals, and even electronic and rap influences. OK, we know some of you instantly got scared at the mention of the “R-word”, but trust us, “Hatred” is one of the best songs on the album.
Hailing from Tokyo, Japan, Crystal Lake have made a name for themselves internationally with their first couple of records, and True North is going to push them over the edge. No matter how heavy they get, they are equal parts melodic and artistic, as exemplified by the title track on the new record. This is an example of a band whose cover art does their sound complete justice. Their most beautiful musical moments sound like watercolor brought to life.
If you don’t buy this album, you’re making bad choices with your life. It is nothing short of sensational.
The Vans Warped Tour unveiled the whole of their 2016 lineup yesterday, along with an announcement for 2017. Bands like Atreyu, Ice Nine Kills, Cane Hill, Sum 41, Every Time I Die and Vanna amongst many others were announced for this year’s Warped Tour, but probably the most uplifting piece of news was that The Ghost Inside was officially announced as the first band on the 2017 Warped Tour lineup. This will mark the band’s first confirmed live performance since a terrible bus wreck left them intensely hurt several months ago.
Born out of the NYC/NJ areas, we love to rep bands from our home base. It’s an exciting scene exploding with talent deserving of larger recognition. One such band is Heroes, New York City hardcore/metalcore outfit, who just released a new music video for their song “Never Enough.” The video takes you through a day of that NYC grind and is as DIY as it gets. But it’s the song that will keep you hitting replay, with its painstaking honesty and The Ghost Inside-esque rhythms. And speaking of which, they’ll be opening for TGI on November 9th at Webster Hall in NYC for the Locals Only tour, so get your tickets! Trust us. You’ll love it.
Several albums are about to drop on October 30th: Myka Relocate‘s The Young Souls, Escape The Fate‘s Hate Me, and Get Scared‘s Demons, to name a few. What you may not have heard so much about yet is hardcore band Insvrgence who are set to release their new record, Every Living Creature Dies Alone, on the same day. We were able to listen to the album a little early, and it’s definitely worth paying just as much attention to. Social and political commentary combine with brazen hardcore and metal influences for a really explosive sound. If you’re like us and you love bands like The Ghost Inside, you’ll certainly like Insvrgence. Check out the track listing and the album artwork below, and be sure to keep your eye out for these guys.
4. Social Darwinism
5. What Does It Mean to Be Human
6. Robber Barons
7. End Transmission
8. Mafia Wives
9. Superiority Complex
10. After Life
11. Birth Rights
12. Fed to the Wolves
13. Every Living Creature Dies Alone
On June 19th, Yahoo! Screen streamed the first date of Vans Warped Tour 2015 on its Live Nation Channel from the Fairplex in Pomona, CA. The live stream kicks off a hugely important festival for the “underground,” but it also kicks off an important question: Do live concert streaming and hard rock shows really belong together?
We’re all used to seeing live performances on TV by now. Come the Super Bowl, the halftime show is all that matters for many viewers. We watch televised performances from the likes of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, The Oscars, and nightly programs like Jimmy Kimmel Live and Conan. While broadcasted musical events have become commonplace, live concert streaming takes the concept to a next level and thus raises next level questions. When a -core band’s show inside a local venue becomes easily viewable from remote locations, is it just cool or does it take something away? When you can watch Stick To Your Guns play a set from your laptop in bed with some hot cocoa, for example, it inarguably changes the experience. But is it for the better?
Vans Warped Tour and Stick To Your Guns aren’t the only examples of streamed shows, of course, and Yahoo! isn’t the only platform for this market. (Others include IROCKE and ConcertTV & Concert Window, for instance). Various acts from genres all across the board have dabbled in the new digital music phenomenon. Bands like The Ghost Inside, Falling In Reverse, Chelsea Grin, August Burns Red, and Bayside have live streamed their shows via Yahoo!, as have acts like Stone Temple Pilots, Infected Mushroom and Meghan Trainor. On one hand, you might note how fair the platform is to music of all types. Heavy bands aren’t usually deemed noteworthy enough to appear side-by-side with ultra-famous pop singers or widely-known psychedelic trance groups. Alternatively, though it may be nice to see your favorite bands emerge from the more shadowy corners of the music world, there is something about watching their performances from a computer screen that can justifiably raise an eyebrow or two.
I’ll admit, the first time I heard about live concert streaming, I thought it was pretty freakin’ awesome. “No way!” was followed by “I’ve gotta try that!” was followed by “I’m totally living in the future right now!” I actually tuned in to a couple of shows to see what it was like or to see how the bands actually performed live. Each time, I stared at my computer screen allowing that exact same train of thought to pass through my brain…for about 60 seconds. Then I got over it.
Then I started thinking, That’s cool. I’m sure the people who are actually there right now are having fun. Because although being able to watch a live show from your couch is admittedly a neat trick, the initial magic wears off rather quickly. Sure, with pop acts and more mainstream sounds it’s probably a bit different. After all, watching Super Bowl Halftime shows is always fun. But pop, hip-hop, and stadium rock acts are what the doorman of Oz would call a horse of a different color as compared to a hardcore outfit. Those streamline genres are more tailored to broadcast performances. For the most part, vocals are really most of what’s going on in a pop act, and the audio engineers are well-adjusted to those kinds of smooth vocals. But introduce some screaming and growling into the mic, some double bass pedals alongside intense cymbal work, and some crunchy guitars and most live music coming from your home speakers sounds crappy. Even though the actual live show at the venue could be insane, a live hardcore band will never sound as good over your internet connection as it will in person. As it always has with this kind of music, it comes down to the live show, and the thing about live shows is you should probably be there when they happen.
Half of hardcore is the live performance. The recorded tracks are what get you interested perhaps, and they’re definitely what keep you going, but the live show is what it’s all about: being between a certain set of a walls with a certain set of people playing your favorite set of tunes. You go to your favorite venue with familiar graffiti impetuously scribbled on the walls. You stand in a crowd of 50, 100, 500 people wearing shirts of bands you’ll be seeing next month or whose CD you have laying around your car. You get pushed around, jump up and down, thrown front to back, toppled, drowned in the sweat of strangers, get a beer spilled on you, and get close enough to the band that the spit as their screaming flies past your eyelids. To use precise terms, there’s a vibe, an energy you get from the sense of community and from the charisma of the musicians striking chords you’ve heard alone in your room a thousand times. You go to a show to not be alone in your room anymore. You go to a hardcore show because there’s nothing like being ata hardcore show.
True, live streaming can allow you to virtually attend a show you otherwise might not have been able to attend. Boiler Room streams music events from all around the world, making it possible for someone who lives in New York City to “attend” a concert in London. Live streaming also may introduce you to new bands before you decide you want to spend your money on a ticket. However, you don’t get an accurate depiction of what the band in question is actually like because you’re not physically in the space, and you could end up hating a band you might have otherwise loved.
Am I standing atop a hill with a torch in one hand and a mace in the other shouting, “Down with the internet!”? No. Is live concert streaming a terrible development in technology? By no means. However, does it make sense for genres that have historically and culturally found a home in dingy basements and mosh pits? Not in my book.
The music video for “Out Of Control,” the third track off The Ghost Inside’s Dear Youth, has arrived in a blaze. In keeping with the name of the song are the furious townspeople, dressed in garb of another era, out for blood and destruction. This music video is reminiscent of something like Escape The Fate’s“Issues” video, in which the band awaits the onslaught of the ignorant, rampaging villagers. Do the guys in The Ghost Inside survive their own witch-hunt? Let us know what you think, and catch them on the Out Of Control Tour!
“Dear Youth (Day 52)” was the first track to be released off the new The Ghost Inside album and is essentially an embellished lyric video, but what makes it worthy of our “Music Video of the Week” nomination is who’s toting the lyrics here. The video for the title track of Dear Youth, one of our Top 10 HXC Approved Albums of 2014, embodies what we stand for at HXC Magazine. Music, especially hardcore, is about community. Bands like The Ghost Inside wouldn’t be what they are without their fans, and to showcase that fact the band made their fans the stars of this video. The record itself is a loose concept album surrounding a letter vocalist Jonathan Vigil wrote to his younger self, capturing his determination of purpose and loss thereof; sentiments to which we all can relate at one point or another. It only makes sense that those who mosh to his every word should be the ones to disseminate the message. Whether they’re sitting on the toilet or serving in the army, they’re the people who make the scene what it is. So this writer would like to take time to address you all, too: Dear Youth, thank you for carrying these words around with you every day. Sincerely, one hardcore kid to another.
2014 was a huge year for music. We saw the first time a band from the post-hardcore scene put on a music festival that was entirely in, of and for the scene with A Day To Remember’s Self Help Fest. We watched the aftermath of My Chemical Romance’s breakup dissolve into glorified solo projects. The Bury The Hatchet Tour finally happened, marking a long awaited resolution between Escape the Fate and Falling in Reverse. And hell, even Taylor Swift gets a shout out since more hardcore-influenced bands covered her songs than ever before. So the real question is: what were the best musical moments of the year? Check out our editors’ picks for the Top Albums of 2014 in no particular order and let us know what some of your favorites were!