VARIOUS ARTISTS: At Both Ends: 2 x 7”

Holy shitballs. Okay, there are four bands on the 2 x 7”, which accompanies the final issue of the slick hardcore zine At Both Ends. However, this review is going to lean very heavily on one of these four bands. It’s unavoidable. Let’s start with the other three first. Unrestrained are a good, newer band who play ‘90s style heavy hardcore, and I’m sure they’re pretty pumped to be on a comp with these three other bands. Grade has new songs on this record, which is weird, and not surprisingly, they’re not very good. Bane is one of my favorite bands in the history of bandkind, and these songs are awesome. One is even a re-recording of “Struck Down by Me” from their masterpiece It All Comes Down to This. Wicked. Okay, okay… Between Earth And Sky… Do you know how long I’ve been waiting for this? DO YOU?! This is Greg Bennick from Trial’s new band. And as I’ve mentioned in many of my reviews in the past, Trial are the finest hardcore band that has ever existed. Are These Our Lives? is, in every way, perfection. So when I found out that Greg Bennick had a new band with Alexei from Trial/Catharsis on drums, I was crazy-stoked… but that was like, a decade ago. Since then, my “Trial fever” has only worsened and become incurable, and while I would regularly check in on what Greg Bennick and Between Earth And Sky were up to, I’d begun to lose hope of this band ever truly materializing. And then this record arrived at my door. After squealing like I’d just unwrapped a Cabbage Patch Kid on Xmas morning, 1983, I ushered my confused wife out of the way and excitedly fired up the record player. And the world made sense again. Bennick’s voice, both soothing and infuriating (in a good way) obviously garners Trial comparisons, and, musically, these two songs aren’t too far from ATOL?, but the presence of more intricate guitar melodies and other such subtleties add a uniqueness that I’m absolutely thrilled about. The lyrics are total Bennick fare, so brilliant, desperate, pleading, and hopeful. I can’t believe I have this in my possession. Please put an LP out soon. Fucking incredible.

 –Dave Dillon (At Both Ends, atbothendsmagazine.blogspot.com)