STRIKEFORCE DIABLO: The Hymns of Yore: LP

May 15, 2023

The internet will have you believe that Florida Man is a blacked-out drunk maniac who tears across the Sunshine State, committing absurd crimes in marinas and gas station minimarts. Punks of a certain age beg to differ. To us, Florida Man is a twenty-something with a messy beard, scratchy voice, and subtle sense of melody who lives under the Gainesville pines and knows how to rip a sweaty house show. In their initial run, circa 2000, Strikeforce Diablo were quintessential Florida Men. They did a record on No Idea, shared stages (or basement floors) with True North and 12 Hour Turn, and played churning, bombastic emo-core with syncopated Shotmaker rhythms. The Hymns of Yore is a ten-song collection of splits and comp tracks recorded during their original run, remastered but still maintaining that delicious pre-digital murk. The packaging is really nice, with plenty of lyrics and old photos, but they leaned a little too hard into the “biblical/hymns” schtick and neglected to include much contextual info. So, I know what thirty of their sunburned friends look like standing outside a cabin-like Florida punk house, but I can’t tell what years these songs were recorded, or where they originally appeared. Still, I don’t need all the details to enjoy this music, and maybe not knowing frees the tunes from the amber of nostalgia and allows me to enjoy it for what it is: some adventurous, vital DIY punk. –Chris Terry (Ashtray Monument, ashtraymonument.com)

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