Astounded might be an appropriate word to describe the feeling on listening to the new album ‘For the Cause’ by Madball! It’s a total ball of energy looking to explode… which it doesn’t but it’s a slow burn with totally welcome, and incredible, bursts of power released sporadically along the way in all the right places. Neither have they mellowed, or sold out. There’s still bone-crunching breakdowns here as in their past albums, the riffs really kick hard, the lyrics are still intense, the band is tighter than ever, and this all mixes in to make this album groove and slam damn hard.

‘For the Cause’ is the ninth release by Madball and what a release it is! This band have been around now for about 30 years and always evolving within their genre of Hardcore, of which they have always incorporated elements of Metal, and hip hop etc to positive results. This album is no different but possibly one of their better additions amongst recent releases of this band of Hardcore leaders and innovators.

The solid sound on this release is consolidated by the bands’ continuous touring, including several times to Australia, and what comes from many years of playing together. Long-time bassist Hoya Roc clocks in at 25 years and is only surpassed by singer Freddy Cricien who started the band in 1988. Initially Madball was a side project, which Cricien did with his step-brother Roger Miret (Agnostic Front).

The producer on ‘For the Cause’ was Tim Armstrong (Rancid, The Old Firm Casuals) whilst Tue Madsen (Meshuggah, Sick of it All) tweaked the mix.

There are some great cameos on ‘For the Cause.’ These are by producer Tim Armstrong and The BusinessSteve Whale, helping with The Fog, and emcee Ice-T on Evil Ways. Also, hip hop Psycho Realm’s Sick Jacken freestyled on the track Rev Up. The UK Oi! legend Whale provided the cool spoken intro and a guitar lead to the anthemic street punk tune.

Madball maintain the core of Hardcore ethos as the themes present on ‘For the Cause,’ with tunes containing messages of unity, positivity, authenticity, sincerity, getting you to speak up, fight for your beliefs, for all to live their way, and make a difference.

There are many choice tracks on this album, a few include wicked Smile Now Pay Later, the encouraging Old Fashioned, Evil Ways, For the Cause, and The Fog. Smile Now Pay Later is a great opener with the cool intro of feedback which slowly gets louder, rising and morphs into some wicked drumming and guitar riffs. Evil Ways is a killer up-tempo track that guests Ice-T who trades menacing vocals with Cricien, making it live up to its title. Producer Tim Armstrong joins Whale in really adding to this track, in vocals and riffs with the band on The Fog. For the Cause, the album’s title track, really kicks hard and sums up this ninth release of Madball. As with all songs on this opus, it feels “real” and all in its place – the vocals rock, all instruments seem well placed and are killer – like a movie in which you slip into the believability of its story.

Madball’s ‘For the Cause’ is an incredible album in which the band has grown and still retain, as well as improved, their signature sound. It will totally satisfy the long-time Hardcore fans, and the genres it crosses will draw in others who are aural witness to it.