Friday, November 20, 2009

Harley's War - "Hardcore All-Stars" CD/DVD

Harley Flanagan is a founding member of veteran New York hardcore band the Cro-Mags, and Harley's War is his outlet for, well, more hardcore fraternizing with friends and associates (some from other bands like Bad Brains, Agnostic Front, Suicidal Tendencies, etc). That said, the music CD's first 12 cuts (the studio stuff) is pretty consistent -- streetwise, often violent, confrontational, and punk-oriented. Don't expect finesse, dynamic, or emotive songs that convey anything besides aggression or attitude here. The thuggy braggadocio of the nu-metal-style "Hardcore NYHC-OG" is pretty unnecessary, but the ramshackle bulldog-punk of "Last Days" is pretty intense, for example. This guy means it, even if nearly every song/assault is a carbon copy of the last. Harley's 1982 demos are cool, classic hardcore in the vein of Minor Threat, albeit with a slightly more metallic approach, perhaps. There's also a live CBGB show, exhibiting the raw, in-your-face aggression of Harley's War. The DVD has a load of live footage (from NY, Germany, and Japan, and with a variety of band lineups), a telling interview with Harley, in which he divulges a bunch of punk/hardcore history, a brief tour of legendary underground music mecca, CBGB's (with Harley and owner Hilly Kristal), a bunch of photos, and a promo video. It's really a huge amount of info, sights, and sounds, and successfully captures the steely, streetwise, and single-minded spirit of New York hardcore from one of the genre's founders. (MVD Audio)

Harley's Cro-Mags site

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