Rising from the ashes, legendary ‘90s hardcore band Strife has returned with their first album since 2001’s Angermeans. Strife was one of the flagship bands which built Victory Records as a label in the ‘90s, with two studio albums, a singles collection, and a split live release with fellow ‘90s hardcore titans Earth Crisis and Snapcase. With Witness a Rebirth, Strife finds a home on the excellent 6131 label, and embarks on a new era of their already storied career. The album, in many ways, is a literal rebirth for the band. Drummer Sidney Niesen is the only notable absence from the core lineup of the band, replaced by ex-Sepultura drummer Igor Cavalera. Musically, the band has returned to the root of their sound with technical and aggressive playing, calling to mind their first two studio albums: 1994s One Truth and 1997s In This Defiance. The tracks “Carry the Torch,” from whose lyrics comes the name of the album, “Show No Mercy,” and “The Distance” were my favorite tracks because they captured so well what I think of as the essence of Strife’s sound. A number of tracks feature guest performers, including Billy Graziadei on “Never Look Back,” Marc Rizzo on “In This Defiance,” and Terror’s Scott Vogel on “Look Away.” Of all the guest appearances, Marc Rizzio’s guitar solo towards the close of “Never Look Back” was my favorite. Longtime fans will be so taken by Strife’s return to form, they’ll be checking their beepers and iphones trying to figure out what decade this is.
–Paul J. Comeau (6131, [email protected])