Drugs, Music & Sex

Written by: PP on 03/12/2009 19:40:34

Skarhead were formed 14 years ago by Danny Diablo, the iconic hardcore vocalist known for his heavily tattooed image and his Queens-bred thug lifestyle (AltPress characterized it as 'Grand Theft Autocore'). That's what Wikipedia says about him, anyway, because I've only heard his name in passing which most likely means previous Skarhead records haven't been big hits outside the underground. I could be mistaken, of course, but usually my complete lack of knowledge to a band means that they're being over-hyped by the label and/or PR agency. You tell me. In any case, "Drugs, Music & Sex" is the newest Skarhead album, and should I pull a genre name out of my magician's hat instead of a rabbit, the sheet of paper would read "street hardcore", plus with a footnote saying "rather good". Maybe I just don't know my hardcore history well enough?

In practice, 'street hardcore' translates into a brand of hardcore that combines about half and half from New York Hardcore and moshcore; tight, intense, in-your-face hardcore characterized by gang shouts and a close similarity to bands like Sick Of It All and especially Madball and Agnostic Front. Skarhead keeps the pace at a moshable tempo, but deviation into melodic hardcore punk territory isn't entirely uncommon either, best displayed during the melodic gang shouts of "D.F.F", incidentally also the best track on the record. Then you have "P.S.P" and its hints of nu-metal given its machine-like backing vocals as well. For the most part, however, the band plays basic hardcore bearing considerable similarity to International Superheroes Of Hardcore, except Skarhead are obviously precisely the sort of hardcore band that ISHC parodies: they take their music waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too seriously, which reflects on their 'thug' lyrics about living life on the 'streets'. Yawn. Bring on a song about wearing a seat belt with a massive beatdown instead (ISHC: "Seat Belt" if you didn't catch the reference). "Fuck The Scene" did make me smile though with its intense hate on scene bands especially during the murderous "EEEMOOOO KILLLEEER" screams that finish the track.

Part of me wonders why Skarhead weren't on the radio soundtrack for "Grand Theft Auto IV", because AltPress definitely hit the bullseye with their description of Skarhead. So I'm guessing that if hardcore's your thing, and you also liked all GTA games (who doesn't, honestly?), "Drugs, Music & Sex" will be an early Christmas present this year. Especially because the list of artists collaborating on the disc is impressive to say the least: Freddy Cricien (Madball vocalist), Civ (Gorilla Biscuits), Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed), Armand Majidi (Sick Of It All), and Vinnie Stigma (Agnostic Front) among some lesser known personnel all make sure that variety is something this disc ain't lacking.


Download: D.F.F, P.S.P, Fuck The Scene, Evil Woman
For the fans of: Madball, International Superheroes of Hardcore, Sick Of It All, Agnostic Front
Listen: Myspace

Release date 23.11.2009
I Scream Records

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