LABEL THE TRAITOR: The Battle of the Common: CD

Oh man, with song titles like “Burned at the Stake,” “Let the Demons Go,” and “The Horns of the Shepherd,” I was so ready to hate this. I was preparing myself for an album full of whiplash-inducing metal that read like a D&D manual and was rife with shitty solos and falsettos. Thankfully, I was way, way off the mark. Instead, Label the Traitor managed to give us an album full of furious hardcore that plays all the requisite sonic tricks but throws a few more in the blender as well. Most importantly, they’re not dumb. Un-fucking-believeable! Musically, the stuff’s pretty good, but what really sets this band head and shoulders above their peers is the fact that while the lyrics intelligently cover topics like the dangers of blind patriotism, drug addiction, hipsterism, apathy, work as identity, etc., they addend these with thoughtful liner notes. End result is, in a genre that’s chock full of thick-neck assholes espousing the joys of street-thuggery and thinly veiled gang mentalities, it’s nice to hear from a group of guys who actually take the time to step beyond idiotic “watch your back” sloganeering. If you’re into the current crop of straight-up hardcore, stuff that’s totally void of any emo undertones, pick this one up—these guys impressed the hell out of me with this one.

 –keith (Five Point)