When it comes to hardcore music today you gotta know your history. New York Hardcore Veteran, John Joseph has been all about the history growing up on the streets. Living a Straight Edge lifestyle, apart from being a musician Joseph is also an author and triathlete.
From the opening track, We Gotta Know on the Cro-Mags debut LP, Age of Quarrel (1986) til today with the title-track, Up In Arms, where that distinct voice leads the Bloodclot troops. The ringing guitars turn into a traditional hardcore riff by none other than Todd Youth, legendary guitarist of NYHC’s Murphy’s Law.
Coming at breakneck speed is Joey Castillo, who when witnessed on stage, is one sight who has to be seen to be believed. The ex-Danzig drummer, who for many years spent time belting sticks for Queens of the Stone Age was first a drummer for Los Angeles Hardcore Punk outfit, Wasted Youth. It is no surprise, the force and precision reached with his drumming style. QOSTA bandmate Nick Oliveri (Dwarves, Mondo Generator, Kyuss) works the four string like a mad dog on heat. Put this group of musicians who play with passion together in a room and you have one solid disc.
The energy is continued throughout as Up In Arms was a staple intro to let the kids know what real hardcore is with its heavy-hitting breakdowns and loose bass grooves. Fire is a catchy number and a blast of hardcore fury, followed by one of many highlights in the form of Manic. The pummeling bass of Oliveri is accompanied by thunderous riffs and nifty solos courtesy of Youth, which only increases in intensity with more inspiring leads on Kill the Beast.
The drumming and galloping bass on Prayer is a standout. Joseph is in fine form, sounding better than ever as he sings over riffs of Godzilla proportions. Siva/ Rudra lets out screams of angst and songs with meaning can be found in the likes of Soldiers of the New Babylon, “Never quit/Fight the good fight… The voice in power/ the power of one/ we stand for truth let’s get this done… We got strength in numbers/We are one.”
Back to back highlights Kali and Slow Kill Genocide bounce off each other like two mental escapees going ape-shit on a jumping castle. The latter mentioned features a catchy chorus and just the right dose of guitar solos. Let’s not forget the frantic bass and guitar solos on Slipping into Darkness and the psychotic Life As One, which has more changes than a split personality in a dressing room.
All killer no filler has been heard before but the statement speaks the truth when musicians of high caliber continue to slay till the very final note of You’ll Be The Death of Me, which will make you want to be part of the jam sesh. When one is reminded of hardcore greats such as Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Bad Brains and Cro-Mags, it is difficult to find any fault.