Hardcore Album of 2017: If I Can't Listen to UNIFIED RIGHT In Heaven..., by Unified Right

Unified Right hail from Sarasota, FL, not exactly the first place one thinks of when someone brings up hardcore music. But here we are at the end of the year and the band's If I Can't Listen to UNIFIED RIGHT in Heaven Then Send Me Straight to Hell is my pick for Hardcore Album of 2017. Its mouthful of a title aside, the 10-song LP is a perfect example of the "don't fix it if it ain't broke" mindset that I'll never tire of hardcore, when the songwriting is this tight.

Yes, Unified Right's influences (Youth of Today, Warzone, Agnostic Front) come across in songs like "Ode to Living" and "Power Core" in a loud and clear sort of way, but again, the material is delivered with so much heart and conviction that it doesn't really matter. Frontman Branden (sorry, I don't know his last name) brings forth a gruff vocal attack but it's not one-dimensional in the least. He bends his phrasing and extends certain lines to echo specific parts in songs, lending the LP an element of melody that isn't obvious upon initial listens. If Unified Right move forward with new music in the coming years, it'll be interesting to see how Branden's vocal approach develops along with it.

Outside of a few fellow websites, the press coverage on hardcore is painfully lacking, but the hope is that people that love the genre manage to find albums like this despite that.

Photo: Nate Zoeller

If I Can't Listen to UNIFIED RIGHT in Heaven Then Send Me Straight to Hell is available digitally on Bandcamp, and physical copies are up for sale via Triple-B Records.

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