The Narrow Path Divided
While hardcore and straight edge may have been started by bands like Minor Threat, it was groups like Youth of Today, Chain of Strength, Bold and Judge who helped push it further than when Ian MacKaye screamed â€šÃ„ÃºIâ€šÃ„Ã´ve got the straight edge.â€šÃ„Ã¹Fortunately Revelation Records has seen the resurgence in hardcore over the past few years, and has released discographies from Judge and Bold, entitled What It Meant and The Search, respectively.
While both groups were around during the same time of New York Hardcore, and played together often, they played different styles, with Bold having a more melodic and musical feel, contrasting to Judgeâ€šÃ„Ã´s more in your face, grittier sound. These discographies allow listeners to check both of them out from beginning to end.
The Search is in reverse chronological order, beginning with tracks from there self-titled 7 inch, and ending with songs under their previous moniker, Crippled Youth. Songs like â€šÃ„ÃºNailed to the Xâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºWalk Tall, Walk Straightâ€šÃ„Ã¹ still sound forceful today, though the overall audio fidelity is flat and garbled. One could say itâ€šÃ„Ã´s for nostalgic reasons, but it makes the songs not have the power they should.
The Search shows Boldâ€šÃ„Ã´s evolution, from sloppy punk-influenced hardcore when they went under the name Crippled Youth, to their later work such as â€šÃ„ÃºRunning Like Thievesâ€šÃ„Ã¹ which has strong melodies and vocal hooks. Their inspiration is easily seen in bands like Betrayed, Champion, and Comeback Kid.
The hard-line group, Judge started as a side project and became a force to be reckoned with. Lyrically they were more aggressive, with vocals about violence, friends losing the straight edge and hardcore faith, and about dark deep rooted issues that hit on a more personal level. What they lacked in musical prowess, they made up for in anger and intensity, with Mike Judgeâ€šÃ„Ã´s growling and yelling cementing the cacophony together.
What It Meant, still proves to hold strong in the days where adding â€šÃ„Ãº-coreâ€šÃ„Ã¹ to anything makes it better. Hearing rarities such as their cover of Led Zeppelinâ€šÃ„Ã´s â€šÃ„ÃºWhen The Levee Breaksâ€šÃ„Ã¹ help complete the package.
With the resurgence of hardcore, Revelation did well to release these discographies. Whether one remembers seeing Bold and Judge play at the hardcore matinees at CBGBs, or has only recently heard the terms straight edge, hardcore, and posi, these discs are both worth the purchase.