Saturday August 19th 2017

Held Hostage – “International Brotherhood Of Hardcore”

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Held Hostage – “International Brotherhood Of Hardcore”

 

When I first sent an e-mail to Andy Bang informing him that I was going to review Held Hostage, due to my general incoherency and less than spectacular writing skills, he got the impression that I was being “held hostage” for ransom and offered to “pay any price, within reason, to save his sorry ass.”

Seeing a possibility to supplement my meager income as an ice cream man, driving my little truck only during the winter months, I leapt at the opportunity.

After much haggling my exorbitant demand of one hundred dollars for my freedom was reduced to thirty seven dollars and fifty cents. (I’d appreciate no one mentioning this to him; I know for a fact he doesn’t read my reviews).

 

(Slimedog)

 

Wait, I feel I forgot to do something.

Oh yeah, review the CD.

Held Hostage is a Rhode Island based hardcore band made of veterans of other local punk and hardcore bands. Their style falls within the realm of heavy hardcore or what we’ve come to refer to as “New York Hardcore.” This is hardcore that is serious and ominous in tone with dissonant or minor chords that lend a metal touch to the proceedings. In this band that is also combined with certain progressive elements such as odd time changes or funky bass that pokes its angular head in at times.

While some bands of this type may lose their passion to fancy playing, I feel Held Hostage, though displaying the musicianship of a metal band, never lose the energy, grit and fury of hardcore,

I’ve only seen this band play live once before but was interested enough to check them out on their newly recorded CD; care to join me?

 

After eight beats on one chord, “Giving Up” accelerates into some awesome, passionate hardcore with high, emotional vocals that are eventually brought back to earth with the crunching guitar intro. A somewhat melodic chorus comes in with chopping, upbeat drums but normalcy only exists for a short time before the rhythm draws us back into a swirling vortex of sound, aggression and bile. A metal reggae beat erupts at the end. What! Is that possible? Some eerie oh-oh’s bring a fitting climax to a great song, almost my favorite on the album.

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A lonely bass starts off “Back Stabber” before some sustaining guitar chords come in and are followed by a nicely harmonized guitar line. A propulsive, tumbling rhythm leads into an intense hard rock beat with unison vocals until it reverts to the original rhythm again. An actual technical guitar solo in the Eddie Van Halen/ Steve Vai style arises somewhere in there but is played well and works perfectly. Possibly the most metal influenced song on the CD and, surprisingly for me, my favorite song on the album.

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“The Freedom Fighters” starts with some chugging guitar with the drums and vocals just waiting to bust in, but once they do a heavy, powerful groove is established. Then rap like vocals recalling Rage Against The Machine spring forth. A funky bass at times supports the exhorting vocals before the crushing guitar barges its way in again. “We all yearn to be free/ We gotta fight to be free.” Rock, funk, metal, rap all meet here and all come out looking the better for it. “Taking our freedom? We’ll give you a fight.”

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“United” has a mellow start, a quick chord change and an amplifier’s feedback ringing. Then it sounds like a storm is brewing and the winds picks up in a cauldron of boiling rhythms that eventually, explode into a charging, chopping snare on every beat rhythm that hits like a spike being driven into your brain. This is excellent, passionate hardcore that takes a pause after a few minutes only to create a breakdown with a dissonant chord change. Then the intro along with chugging bass and screeching guitar brings us back into the power of the hardcore verses wallop- excellent song.

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I believe you can procure this CD for a lot less than the thirty-seven fifty I was valued at. Hell, I think this CD is worth more than me, now that I think about it. And I can guarantee it will be around long after my sorry ass is in the ground.

Or in an urn. Or my ashes scattered along the Midway floor along with scratch tickets and aluminum beer can tops. Or smeared against the guardrails on the Pacific Coast Highway just outside San Latos.

 

(Slimedog)

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