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(Hardcore Punk) DEMO/EP ROUNDUP - True Cross and Empire Down

It's time once again to go venturing way underground into the hardcore punk scene for some new demos and EPs that will set mohawks alight ...

Grabbing us by the throat first by way of Phoenix, Arizona are True Cross with their pleasantly titled No Fucker EP (Bandcamp). Opening track "No" sends the signal that we're in for an exercise in punishing hardcore punk, the bass and drums leading the assault, along with accusatory yell vocals ... all done in 39 seconds! Second track ("A Permanent Fixture In A Forgotten Place") continues in the same abusive uptempo manner, however, a melodic guitar refrain is added intermittently, providing the track with depth.

The three-track, six-minute release concludes with the pummeling mid-tempo instrumental "A Fascist Preoccupation", proving that True Cross are no one trick ponies. A very impressive and diverse release for sure. I'll definitely be keeping my eyes and ears open for more from these guys. (8)

Okay, we now turn north to Minneapolis, Minnesota for Gallows of Winter by Empire Down (Bandcamp). Sitting firmly in the hardcore camp, this sophomore four track EP will evoke comparisons with NYHC veterans Sick Of It All and Agnostic Front in its aggressive rhythms, team shout backing vocals and us-versus-them lyrical stance. This metalhead is always up for some well produced and played hardcore of this style, so I'm pleased to report that Empire Down have enough personality to stand out on their own. All the four tracks here are mosh pit ready and memorable. They must be gnashing at the teeth to unleash some hell when concert season re-opens. Watch out for these guys. (8)


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