In the eye of a long-winded nihilistic storm of metal releases suffocating ‘good Friday’ this year Berthold City‘s short swift kick-to-the-ear of straight edge hardcore couldn’t have dropped in my queue at a better time. Look, hey, if you can stretch your flabby mind across the last fifteen years of hardcore the biggest cocks walkin’ these days are more interested in their favorite 90’s groove metal bands than hardcore punk. Well, hey if you don’t agree at least Strife/World Be Free guitarist and WAR Records big cheese Andrew Kline knows whats up. So, he’s singing for Berthold City, a straight edge hardcore band that jumps right back to 1989 and strangles the metalcore aspirations right out of Revelation‘s back catalog. Their first official release ‘Moment of Truth’ offers a shouted-and-slammed 11 minute blast of energetic old school straight edge hardcore worth hearing.
If Kill Your Idols is still managing to peddle their wares and FireBurn have surfaced with two smoking EPs in a short period of time it was about time someone like Kline recharged the straight edge hardcore batteries. He’s got a great band of Los Angeles hardcore musicians behind his righteous barking and they read like the obligatory “ex-members of” an old catalog’s ad copy. We’ve got guitarist Dennis McDonald from Internal Affairs, a great LA band that took a lot of spirit and influence from Boston straight edge. If you don’t know Internal Affairs check out ‘This is For You’ and ‘Deadly Visions’ for their best material. Also on guitars is Devin Vale of Final Fight, I believe he only played on ‘Half Head, Full Shred’ which was a decent melodic hardcore record, less sappy compared to ‘Under Attack’. On drums is Adam Galindo of One Choice, a straight edge revivalist band which I’d compare to Judge or damn close to Strife‘s ‘One Truth’ with a bit more metalcore feeling when they slow down. John Eightclip, former vocalist of San Francisco straight edge band Allegiance provides bass guitar in Berthold City. The line-up pulls guys from all over the map of 00’s straight edge revival and they nail the energy best in this group.
This EP compiles the full session from their 2017 ‘Moment of Truth’ demo which includes three additional tracks, all more or less written/performed by Kline and Galindo. The main inspiration/reference point for Berthold City‘s sound is Judge‘s first post-Youth of Today EP ‘New York Crew’ and I’d throw in the first Uniform Choice record into the mix as well. The interesting thing is that you might be expecting Strife-like heaviness and odd hardcore swagger but this is a far more orthodox straight edge hardcore moment. They somehow got Don Fury (Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today) to mix the damn thing and his touch adds to the authenticity intended. I always found this type of righteous and principled hardcore album refreshing and sometimes helpful in redirection towards positive thinking or examining personal values. The message is just as important as the sonic revival of old school hardcore and it’d be easy to skip over Berthold City‘s intentions if ‘Moment of Truth’ wasn’t delivered with such sharp conviction and without specific politics or pushy judgments.
|Released||March 30th, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on War Records’ Bandcamp!||Follow War Records on Facebook|
Bonds of steel, turned to rust. 4.0/5.0
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