The Bitter Taste of Lost Years – Compilation Review

When we dive way back when to the beginnings of hardcore, we turn back to the days of punk rock growing in popularity during the late ’70s, especially with the likes of fast-paced Motörhead leading the forces in the UK. But it was the band Minor Threat (1980-1983) from Washington DC, alongside West Coast iconic groups Bad Brains and Black Flag, which spearheaded what we have come to know of the genre of hardcore that continued the trend leading into the ’90s.

Since then, the genre has evolved with crossovers from metal and other subgenres – that to some purists, was one of the worst things to happen, mainly towards the likes of heavy, power, thrash, death and black metal. This was mainly for the reason that melodies were now replaced by breakdowns, and a lack of creativity was creeping in.

Even though from a personal point of view, that may be true in some aspects, but that does also go for any variety of musical genre, where lack of care, professionalism and artistic expression can falter any band.

Newly formed Californian label Resuscitation Records is passionate and focused on spirit-filled hardcore and metalcore in itself, with the old classic sounds, and its progression as well within some existing bands.

As a debut release the label got together with ten bands from around the world that contributed their music for this compilation album which is available on CD and vinyl pressing, entitled The Bitter Taste of Lost Years.

  1. The Pull – I Am The Vine (Windsor, Ontario, Canada)
  2. Pain Split – Plead The Widows Cause (New Jersey, USA)
  3. Vipers – BoughtByBlood (Antipolo, Philippines)
  4. Wide Of The Mark – Collapse//Revive (Michigan, USA)
  5. Speed Of Light – Barriers (United Kingdom)
  6. Wandering Stars – Your Hands Write History (Oregon, USA)
  7. Slave – So Much Hope, Buried. (Pennsylvania, USA)
  8. Fide – Intercessor (Minnesota, USA)
  9. Despite All This – Ænon (Sydney, Australia)
  10. O My Soul – The Forerunner (Las Vegas, USA)

I Am The Vine kicks off with their single “The Pull”. These guys remind me a lot of early ’00s metalcore, that catches you very early on musically, with some good production, and melodic, as well as some slow brooding brutal bass-driven breakdowns, however vocally it is not my cup of tea, but that is the beauty of metalcore. Plead The Widows Cause with their single “Pain Split”, captures some pop-punk elements from the late ’90s, and melodic alternative hardcore also is blended in nicely with this track.

BoughtByBlood from the Philippines with their song “Vipers”, reminds me a lot of their Indian counterpart R.A.I.D. from Rottweiler Records with a similar hardcore sound that seem to linger throughout the eastern countries, as well as adding a dimension of a brutal delivery. Next up is Collapse//Revive which are one of the bigger bands on this compilation, as their popularity has been growing well, production is great, technicality plays a part in this, also their play on current djent influences is constant throughout the track.

With the band Barriers I was most intrigued about as these guys, they come from the UK, of which I had many years residing in that fine country before I relocated to southern California. I was impressed with their old-school style of hardcore, which was more aimed around the late ’80s and early ’90s. A humble sound and vocal delivery to where it maintained a healthy balance and none of those commercialized sounds that we have come to expect from many metalcore/hardcore projects.

Your Hands Write History and their song “Wandering Stars” comes to life within the second half of this release, very similar to Convictions and adding a progressive outlook musically and a different direction which isn’t a popular leaning. These guys certainly make it their own, with a stunning blend of clean vocals, shouts and growls, even a Mike Patton – style (Faith No More) scream makes a pleasurable appearance. Another bigwig in hardcore, So Much Hope, Buried. makes their presence known, and this is purely progressive hardcore, with alternative elements that are utilized well with piano twangs heard, and melodic overtones that inspire and absorb you into the moment.

Intercessor bounces in their djent stop-start guitars kind of way with their single “Fide”, aiming to be brutal however, still having that electronica aspect that I found was a huge thing in early 2010s metalcore. Next up is Australian Sydney based band Ænon, with their track “Despite All This” which isn’t bad at all, like Intercessor with a focus on djent-driven guitars and electronic music aspects, however it lacks in production and lacks a well-rounded sound that I believe should be expressed and expected when representing yourselves.

Finally, to finish off this record is Vegas band The Forerunner, with their single “O My Soul”, which is my favorite song on the whole compilation. You get the sense of a powerful live band and stage show, melodic, brutal and what I feel, is to what more bands should aspire to, sometimes without electronic based guitars and what we heard in the last two tracks, gives the sound a more authentic and powerful edge.

Overall this is a great representation on what unsigned and underground hardcore/metalcore there is around the planet. There is a healthy mixture of different elements displayed in the subgenre, I’ve certainly tried to explain it the best way I can and to give you all a better understanding.

Christian Sullivan – 8/10 – The Metal Onslaught Magazine

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