Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Review: Chained Down - Crossroads (2014)

While looking through another blog that I find very useful for finding new stuff, RottenYoungEarth, I came across a few records I felt like checking out and reviewing. This first one is a short album by Salt Lake City based band, Chained Down. The band was categorised on the blog as Youth Crew and they self describe themselves as "punk hardcore hardcore punk punk hardcore punk rock punkrock". Not sure if that is a typing error, but it's a pretty good categorisation. You also find out, after hearing the songs and reading the lyrics, that they are very much a Straight Edge band. Really, the cast iron chains laid in a form of an X/cross on the cover should have given it away. Doy!
Opening track, Doubt, really gives you an idea of what this band does, both musically and lyrically. It zooms passed you at breakneck speed in that typical "youth crew" way before getting into that hardcore groove that I love so much. The track is a song for the downtrodden. Kind of reminding me of stuff I used to try writing. It basically talks about one's acknowledgment of having lost their way in life and how they need to take the experience they have had and make a better future. In a way, it's quite "posi", and I for one can relate to it. The vocal delivery on this track and on the rest of the album is nice and raw. No growling, no unintelligible screaming and no "blechs". Although, I have a soft spot for those. The frontman (I can't seem to find members' names anywhere) is just loudly proclaiming everything he feels. That's real emo right there, folks.
The rest of the album continues on the same sort of musical vibe. Nice riffy, straight up hc with cool grooves thrown in. This is not just punk rock; this is punk rock that will properly get you pumped and ready to "mosh", 2 step, stage dive, back spin... Just about anything, really. I especially like the frenzied drumming in Vile, which will have your feet going mental!
Tracks like Impact, Strength Within and Set Aside help cement the "posi" attitude of this band. Identify is the not-so-subtle Straight Edge track. Other tracks Sham Life and Held Back are almost specifically targeted angry songs. The vocal delivery throughout, as previously mentioned, is just beautifully raw and..well...real. There are also times where there is almost a rapping quality about it. There's a bit of a mixture here of Youth Of Today and Trapped Under Ice. They might not be the tightest of bands or the most original, but is it good? Yes... Yes it is.

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