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Madball | Hold it Down | review | hardcore | Lollipop indie | alternative | rock

Madball

Hold it Down (Epitaph)
by Tim Den

Looks like the joke's on me this time. After years and years of cynicism and criticism on my part toward Madball, the NY boys have finally pulled a fast one. Hold it Down is the album I thought they'd never make: Not self-righteous, not self-glorifying, not watered-down, but the successor to Agnostic Front's classic One Voice. Perhaps age has taught vocalist (and AF vocalist Roger Miret's kid brother) Freedie Cricien to think twice before romanticizing violence and mob mentality, or perhaps watching his big brother's band age gracefully has shown him that flexibility and humbleness go a long way. Whatever the reason, Hold it Down has none of the tough-guy dumbness or cheap ripoff stink that all the other Madball albums had. New guitarist Rob Rosario (ex-25 Ta Life) and new drummer Darren Morgenthaller (ex-Maximum Penalty) have both not only filled the gaps left by Matt Henderson and Will Shepler (both veterans of Agnostic Front as well), but done so smoothly and convincingly. Maybe the new guys had a say in making the album's first track a hip hop tune? If so: Keep it up. This kind of open-minded attitude toward hardcore, its community, its integrity (listen to the track and pay attention to the voice-over samples to know exactly what I mean), and its unflinching willingness to face experimentation and progression is exactly what made this genre so crucial in the first place. It's the reason we all fell in love with fast music sung in a Brooklyn accent.
(2798 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026)  


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