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MADBALL - For The Cause

Release date June 15/18 (Nuclear Blast)

Been a hardcore fan since the 80's when I discovered Agnostic Front's Liberty And Justice For ... opus. Since then I've also been drawn to the likes of Sick Of It All, Raised Fist, Strife, All Out War, Pro-Pain and Terror along the way. Gotta say though that I've never been able to embrace Madball fully, always considering them as Agnostic Front imitators. (Madball was originally an Agnostic Front side-band where AF's Roger Miret would allow his younger half-brother Freddy Cricien to take the mic. Since then, the band has evolved into its own standalone entity, this being their ninth release.)

Call me pleasantly surprised then upon imbibing For The Cause, its impact growing on me with every repeated listen, as every good HC album will do. There's no doubting that Madball play a similar NYHC style as Agnostic Front - chugging rhythms that will make mosh pits go nuts and spitted-out vox with shout backing vocals being the order of the day. However, there is no disputing that this is top notch stuff that stands on its own. All 12 tracks work well here, but take a listen to 'Tempest', 'Old-Fashioned', 'Damaged Goods' and 'Evil Ways' (with an Ice-T vocal) for some prime NYHC.

Lyrics are always important in HC and Madball faithfully deliver their own message of individuality. Espousing the importance of standing up for what you believe, they rail against those who go through life without focus and child killers ("not mentally ill, your killing fucking kids, you're a piece of shit, hell awaits"), amongst many other societal ills.

A damn fine album that warrants your attention if you've ever dabbled in hardcore. (Now I gotta go back into their discography to hear what I've missed.)

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