A welcomed chaos
LA-based punk band Section H8 might not be super well known, but they had recently made the news when they played at a LA show that pretty much erupted into major chaos. Isn’t that every punk’s dream? The thing is, Section H8 hadn’t really released a full-length album at that point. They released two pretty promising EPs, Winter Games and Phase One. This now changed with the release of the band’s debut album Welcome To The Nightmare.
Other than the album title suggests, this album could actually be every punk and hardcore fan’s dream album. It’s fast, destructive and pure musical chaos. The vocals by frontman Mexi are raw and filled with rage; it might be hard to understand any lyrics, but who needs lyrics during a mosh pit? For their debut album, the band managed to recruit non-other than legendary punk icon Tim Armstrong from Rancid. He is featured on their previously released single “Streetsweeper.”
The first track on the album, “Nightmare,” starts off strong. Fast guitars and even faster drums accompanied by lines like “Who the fuck you think you are?” are just pure punk. After the band screams “Welcome to your nightmare,” the song becomes a little darker and heavier, reminding one more of a classic dark metal song. It’s a great mix of two genres that always go well together, like punk shows and complete chaos.
Track four, “Track & Field,” was also previously released as a single. The song starts off with a short movie sample. After that, another classic hardcore song erupts. It’s aggressive, and the production of the song, the components of vocals and loud instruments are top-notch. Whatever it is, this song really wants you to get moving and take a stand for yourself. The following track, “Roaches,” perfectly matches the energy. “It’s all fun till it isn’t” sums up the song pretty well. The song also features a slower and more melodic sequence at the end. The fans get treated with another short sample over the melodic guitar solo before it gets distorted again, and the song ends.
So, it’s nothing new that California punk bands often have a hate-love relationship with LA; some bands make California their whole personality, looking at you Red Hot Chilli Peppers, but still admit that California and LA definitely have their downsides. “Mist Head” definitely shows the downside of living and breathing in Los Angeles, comparing it a lot to a battlefield. The song then perfectly continues with “F.O.A.D.,” a nice transition is always welcome here.
“Streetsweeper” features, as previously mentioned, Rancid’s Tim Armstrong. Mexi and Armstrong serve fast rage-filled lines; “So kill em all” is one of the clearest and focused lines of the song. The track begins with emergency sirens, like the ones featured throughout The Purge movies. It’s pretty obvious that Section H8 loves a good sample, and they are well placed throughout the album, so nobody minds. “Streetsweeper” has some great guitar solos that will keep a crowd going because, let’s face it, punk is meant to be played live, and nothing can beat a live punk show. You could try to mosh to these songs at home, but it might scare your dog.
The last song, “Hate,” features these little sequences that make it a pretty good drinking song. Maybe it’s because they all scream together “Drink, Drink Drink” or that it reminds one of Celtic-punk a la Dropkick Murphys.
Here’s the thing with debut albums, sometimes they are the best album by the band, and every album after is becoming mediocre, or sometimes it’s the first step of building a legacy. Welcome To The Nightmare promises to be a stepping stone for a bigger hardcore career for the band. There are no soft parts here; it’s just pure and raw hate. People can hear the passion of the band, and that is what makes a great hardcore band a real standout.