Saturday, February 20, 2010
Here's another collection i've wanted to revise for some time now, especially since some people (including a member of the band) were nice enough to help me compile all this music. Unfortunately it was at a time before i had the capabilities to improve on the sound, and the end result was a mess. This extensive collection of some of the best hardcore songs of the late '90s/early '00s deserves better treatment, so i spent the last week trying to do it justice. I cleaned up all the recordings that were ripped from vinyl or cassette as best as possible, and adjusted the levels so all the songs are at roughly the same volume. It was worth the effort as this CD now sounds cohesive, and all the tracks have a loud, full, and clean sound.
Life's Halt formed in the late '90s in Southern California. Their debut 7", We Sold Our Souls For Hardcore was without a doubt the best thing to happen to hardcore in the late '90s. I consider it to be the last true "classic" hardcore 7" of the era. Fast, raw and powerful stuff with great riffs and tons of energy and passion. It just seemed to come out of nowhere at a time when real hardcore punk was nearly on it's deathbed. I hear a huge late '80s NYHC influence in their early recordings (especially the demo, first ep and split with No Reply), and a heavy dose of Los Crudos in the later stuff. All of it kills. Riffs like the opening of To The Heart and Race For '97 were just instantly memorable. They seemed to revive hardcore in the late '90s the same way bands like Citizens Arrest and Born Against revived it in the early '90s.
This collection is a complete discography of the band's studio recordings between 1997 and 2003, including a dozen unreleased recordings (all alternate versions or instrumentals of released tracks). They also had live tracks on a 7" called Intense Energy (Camel Clutch Records) and a live version of To The Heart on the Short, Fast + Loud compilation (Slap A Ham), not in this collection. Thanks to Rich, Jon, Dan and anyone else who sent me music and/or info, it's very appreciated. So here you go, 55 tracks of the mighty Life's Halt. Enjoy.
Life's Halt: 1997-2003
Lineup #1 (1997 to mid 1998 - demo only)
Ernie - vocals
Felix - bass
Charlie - guitar
Anthony - drums
Lineup #2 (1998 to June 2000 - 1st 7", NR split, comp session #1, comp session #2)
Ernie - vocals
Felix - bass
Charlie - guitar
Yvo - drums
Lineup #3 (Summer 2000 to December 2001 - WHN split, comp session #3)Ernie - vocals
Felix - bass
Charlie - guitar
Jon - guitar
Noel - drums
We Sold Our Souls For Hardcore 7" was originally released on Youngblood Records in 1998.
This Is Springfield, Not Shelbyville comp CD came with the Sept. '98 issue of Change Fanzine. The entire issue was dedicated to The Simpsons, and the CD included 50 tracks of punk bands doing Simpsons tribute songs. The Life's Halt track was a parody of the song Oxnard by Ill Repute. Change was published from 1991-2002, owned and operated by Pat West out of CT and NY. Thirteen issues were printed along with two 7"s and one CD.
As The Sun Sets: A Southern Hardcore Compilation CD was released by The Association of Welterweights Records in 1999. Other bands on the comp included No Reply, Ignite, Carry On, Death By Stereo, as well as lots more, but lesser-known bands. The label released only one other CD, A Sometimes Promise discography.
Life's Halt/No Reply split 7" was released on Indecision Records in 2000. The tracks were re-released on CD in 2001 as part of the Indecision Records Split Series CD, along with five other split 7"s.
Barbaric Thrash Demolition Vol. 2 7" was released on 625 Records in 2000. Other bands were Discarga, Esperanza, Jellyroll Rockheads and Limp Wrist.
Memories of Tomorrow comp LP was released on Youngblood Records in the Fall of 2000. Other bands were No Justice, H-Street, No Reply, Best of Times, Holding On, Dirty Dirt & The Dirts, Carry On, What Happens Next?, Gazpacho, Handplant, Vitamin X, Varsity, The Gate Crashers, Committed and Rancor. Released on both LP and CD. Great comp!
Sk8 or Die comp 7" was released on Pigpen Inc. in March of 2001. Other bands were Fistfull, No Reply, WHN? and Dirty Dirt & The Dirts.
Life's Halt/What Happens Next? split LP aka Start Something, was a split release with Youngblood and 625. Released in 2001 on both LP and CD.
Four Corners: An International DIY Positive Hardcore Compilation LP was released on 625 Records in November of 2002. Other bands were Highscore (Germany), Dead End (Sweden), Point of Few (Holland) and Razlog Za (Croatia).
Histeria Vol. 1 comp LP was released on Lengua Armada Discos in 2003. Other bands were Limp Wrist, DS13, Deathreat, Seein' Red, E-150, Esperanza, Sin Orden and Melee. Lengua Armada Discos was run by Los Crudos/Limp Wrist front-man, Martin Sorrondeguy.
The Life's Halt demo tape was self-released in 1997. Lyrics included. Some of the demos were early versions of tracks from the band's first 7" and split with No Reply, others like Kingdom Come, Ranker and Down were exclusive to this tape. The demo was bootlegged onto vinyl as the '97 Demo 7" (no label). It came with a flyer for a show at Head Line Records, and had a fold out sleeve with lyrics on the back.
The unreleased material is all alternate versions and instrumentals of released songs, taken from a few different recording sessions. Even though i cleaned up these tracks, the sound quality varies from track to track. It all sounds pretty good though. The last track, comprised of instrumental versions of Skate Fer Fun and No Substance is excellent. Icing on the cake.
Check out the Life's Halt Myspace page here.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Born Without A Face were a great diverse hardcore band from Grand Rapids, Michigan. They covered it all, from fast and chaotic hardcore, to doomy dirges, to more psychotic and darker sounds. They had an element of metal in their sound at times, but never enough to put them into crossover territory. The band took obvious influences from Corrosion of Conformity, Discharge, Black Flag, The Fix, Black Sabbath, and the early '80s hardcore scene in general, and melded it all into their own powerful sound. They had a lot of great demo material, but unfortunately only released two 7"s, keeping the band relatively obscure. I think a full length would have put this band over the top, and they would have been held in the same regard as their more well-known contemporaries.
Punks Before Profits Records was supposed to release a discography LP entitled "This Is The Hate", but the project got scrapped about a year and a half ago. So here you go, the band's discography (as i know it to be), in great sound quality. Thanks to Geeheeb and Cooch for the music. Enjoy!
Born Without A Face: 1984-1986
Here's a quick rundown:
First up is the band's debut 7", Unbecoming, which was recorded in 1985 and self-released in 1986. A lyric sheet was included, which you can check out here. This is a monster of a record, and my personal fave. Next is the band's follow-up 7", Worship, which was also self-released in 1986. They end this ep with a pulverizing and ominous cover of Heartbreak Hotel (originally recorded by Elvis Presley in 1956), which has to be heard to be believed. After that is Hostages, an exclusive track to the excellent compilation LP, There's A Method To Our Madness, originally released on Phantom Records (Alaska) in 1986 and repressed on We Bite Records (Germany) in 1987. Cover art by RK Sloane, who passed away on October 20, 2006. Born Without A Face contributed 2 tracks to this comp, but the other track, Maelstrom, was released on the Unbecoming 7". Ending the collection are the bands demos. Freakshow (1985) and Psych! (1984). Both fantastic from beginning to end, but i'll say Seven Steps To Hell stands out as my favorite song.
Many of the band's demo tracks appeared on various compilations, mostly tape comps. Here's some that i know of:
"Hideous Freaks Search For Happiness" tape (BCT 1984)
tracks: Only Human / Slum Feeder / Not A Love Song / Another American Success Story
"Numb Tongue No Taste" tape (Empty Records 1984)
tracks: Trash Is Truth / Seven Steps To Hell
"Save The Dead" tape (KML Records 1986)
tracks: Feed Your Head / Next Big Thing
"Godsmell" 2 tape comp (Empty Records 1988)
track: Not A Love Song
"War Between the States: South" comp LP (TPOS 1989)
tracks: Sloth / Seven Steps To Hell / Stubborn Beast Flesh
There's not much info to be found on this band online. Mark Dancey (founding member) went on to play guitar for Big Chief with Barry Henssler of The Necros.
The members of Born Without A Face (during the first 7") were: Mark Dancey, Robert Eastway, Dan Ross and Eric. I'm not sure who played what instrument, as it's not mentioned on the ep. According to an interview, the band had 3 constant members but went through a dozen drummers. You can check out the interview here.
In 1991, the majority of Born Without A Face formed a band called 36D (which i have yet to hear). This was the lineup:
Robert Eastway - vocals
Dan Ross - guitar
Mank Dancey - bass
Ed Alterman - drums
additional personel: Barry Henssler and Phil Durr
If anyone has any more info on this great band, please leave a comment.