Sometimes it is hard to find the words to describe new music. The standard trope about how a band just rips and is so great grows stale and empty, just like most of the bands that the words are supposed to describe. You can find the occasional exception and it isn’t always the same experience for everyone. I’ll never back off of my absurd love of everything Death Grips; Strongarm is the single greatest band to ever exist for writing and recording The Advent of a Miracle. As a person who enjoys music, perhaps to an unhealthy extent, you eventually rise to peaks in your experience and those peaks become the mounts of opinion and experience that you die on.
Early hardcore is always going to have the most special place in my heart – outside of Strongarm and a few of their contemporaries, of course. I’ve sold, given away, or donated so many band t-shirts in my life that I can’t even remember half of them. Most things don’t stick, but I’ve never parted with a single piece of Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today or Champion merch I’ve ever owned. Early hardcore, not the early 1980s, more toward the end of that decade and into the 1990s, was extremely formative for me in my middle school, high school and early adulthood experience.
A lot of bands have tried to copy that and a lot of them have succeeded. It isn’t the same, but it is a good reminder to go back and listen to the better version of it, put on some Floorpunch, Turning Point or more recent classics like Ten Yard Fight.
Champion was huge and definitely my favorite band when they hit their stride. By the time Promises Kept dropped, I was all in on them. It still stands a classic for me and channeled all the energy and emotion of all the “classic” bands I’ve mentioned prior, but they did it in a way that sounded uniquely like them, at least to me. I still know and love all the old bands, but Champion will always stand out as a different sound from a different time. Promises Kept was a fantastic marker of a particular time period in my life, in the evolution of hardcore as a musical genre and the scene that surrounded it.
A few years later, React! Records came along and has had an astonishingly long run as the one label that seems to stick true to that vein of hardcore, with a little variance here and there. But it was through React! that we got music from Get The Most, ON, Right Idea, Mindset, Praise and many, many more. But there was so much going on at that time, some type of Youth Crew “revival” was happening. While it never really took off in full, it gave a lot of bands the chance to be heard, bringing back a very raw, fast sound of a straight edge hardcore that had mostly tailed off over the prior decade or more.
I get that I haven’t really said much about Stand United so far, but that is for good reason. To explain what the new Stand United album sounds like is more about explaining how it makes me feel. It feels like everything I’ve describe leading up to this. It feels like Gorilla Biscuits, hidden deep within. It feels like Champion. It feels like the energy of The First Step.
I had heard the Stand United demo and I was already anticipating the new seven-inch EP release through Six Feet Under Records, so I was probably biased into liking this record. But what is not to like? I’m not ready to say this is the new Break Down The Walls, but I am saying that Stand United brings energy and a fresh sound of fury that is both an evolution and a total throwback.
You’ll have to excuse me. I may be a grown adult, but it’s time to go mosh through my tiny apartment.
by Daniel Coughlin (@xvanwilderx)