Without the live show aspect of hardcore music in our current state of existence I’m particularly attentive to anything new that crosses my path, more so than I was previous to the pandemic.
I yearn for new, good, exciting, or innovative material because I don’t have bands coming and playing down the street a few nights a week like I used to.
When Streets of Hate contacted me about doing a review for their split release of Pain of Truth and Age of Apocalypse, I was amped because:
1. A new opportunity to analyze contemporary hardcore music and
2. A release from two bands that are making waves despite the hardships of the music world in 2021 should definitely be highlighted.
Let’s start with the Pain of Truth tracks. If I had heard the band when I was early into my hardcore journey, I would have been fiending like no other to see them in a live setting. The aspect of multiple singers/guest spots is something fun/cool for me personally. I love the idea of different people gracing the stage for one set; it adds an element of the unexpected when there is a revolving door of people on a track.
Bands like Barfight or Minority Unit were great examples of this concept in years previous and I think Pain of Truth holds this style down well for the current generation of hardcore.
Their tracks are… well, hard. The vocals are clear which I think is important in regards to being catchy and getting people to sing along and the music itself has a beatdown quality that the average mosher can latch on to.
I wouldn’t say they are fully in the weeds of the beatdown genre, but you can pick up Pain of Truth are students of bands of that nature. Hard mosh, fun energy, and clear and distinct vocals; these tracks are a recipe for hits.
Now I don’t mean to play favorites here, but Age of Apocalypse is my personal flavor. I think the 2 songs on this split are the best tracks they have in their catalog. With each release AOA just gets better. They really do the Only Living Witness sound justice and I think on these tracks specifically they project a “local sound” in a way.
These songs sound like they should be played in the same halls as their neighbors Mindforce, but are distinctly doing their own at the same time. I’m excited about Age of Apocalypse, both on this release and for whatever they do in the future.
I saw someone once say that Age of Apocalypse are a take on the Stigmata sound, I think in regards to their previous material that definitely checks out, but for these songs they are leaning into something else. Whatever it is, it’s working for me.
Both Age of Apocalypse and Pain of Truth are constantly brought up in conversations about contemporary hardcore, and there’s a reason for that.
Take a listen and find out for yourself.