Pit Beast

Written by: PP on 16/06/2009 22:05:07

We're nearing the fifteenth anniversary of HOODS, a straight up west coast hardcore band that has a huge following within the hardcore scene but fails completely at appealing to anyone outside the core of the genre. "Pit Beast" is their eighth album, and finally they're at least starting to sound like band with some relevance again after a whole bunch of mediocre albums earlier this decade (including the failed Victory Records ventures). The rough edged power chords from their previous album "Ghettoblaster" are still present, harsh yells scream of punk/hardcore ideology perhaps louder than ever before, and as an added element, the band's guitarists have actually learned how to write a couple of fairly sweet and memorable licks this time around.

HOODS sound precisely like International Superheroes of Hardcore, the famous New Found Glory hardcore parody side project, who wrote average hardcore songs about wearing seat belts and destroying screamo music, but since they had a whole bunch of humour in the process, the record actually worked and was received favourably. The funny thing is that HOODS are precisely the type of band that ISHC loves to make fun of. They are an overly serious, typical run of the mill hardcore band that's so 'true' to 'the cause' that I feel slightly nauseous. Consider these excerpts from a March 2009 statement by the band's founder Mike Hood: "I live, eat, and breathe this music. I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for hardcore and this band I truly love. In today's music industry there's still the same fakes and cut throats [...] They will never conquer us. This love of music outweighs their world of greed and lies [...] I've given more than a half of my life to the scene and I have no regrets. I give you all my love and passion in this album. I didn't find hardcore - hardcore found me."

It's true that the band occasionally injects a bit of humour into their music (see "Punk's Dead - Emo Kids Next") but even here I'm not entirely sure if it is intentional or accidental. The "I want a circle pit, I want a circle pit, MOSH MOSH MOSH MOSH" sequence on "Nunchuk" is a good example of the type of stuff and sound that this band promotes. They are hardcore/punk to the bone and show it off equivalently, and if that's really what you're into, wearing the camouflage shorts, wife-beaters and caps at shows, then you'll probably disagree completely with this review. Good for you, because for as far as generic, stereotypical hardcore bands go, HOODS are probably the best one of the bunch, so I won't fault you for that.

I'm sure that this album will be fucking intense live, like all their previous albums that I'm familiar with (last three), but the whole thing with hardcore records of this style is that all too many of them are completely monotonous on record. Okay, perhaps I'm being a tad bit too harsh on "Pit Beast" because there's at least a handful of decent songs here, but exaggeration furthers my point. If you don't have the songs that people can rock out to consistently at home, you'll never advance beyond the intimate club venues at any point during your career no matter how great your live show. I may have to eat my words eventually, however, considering they have 2 million Myspace plays already. But a quick look at the karate moshers and stage diving people on the artwork coupled with the hardcore ideology mentioned earlier gives me the idea though that HOODS doesn't give a rats ass about playing bigger venues in the first place, so in that sense, mission accomplished.

Download: Nunchuk, Friend Or Foe, Punk's Dead - Emo Kids Next
For the fans of: International Superheroes Of Hardcore, Lionheart, Stigma, Madball
Listen: Myspace

Release date 30.05.2009
I Scream Records

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