Tag Archives: this song rips

This Song Rips: Killing Tree “The Bronze”

Most people know of Tim McIlrath from his current and relatively successful band, Rise Against, but before he found fame with that group, he fronted The Killing Tree, a much better band, even if I do like Rise Against. Whereas Rise Against is catchy, fast, singalong pop punk, The Killing Tree was a much darker and heavier band, pulling more from metal and hardcore with thick, chugging riffs and a focus on rhythm more than melody. Their songs were long for hardcore songs, often topping out over six minutes like this one, and they often come in waves, building and crashing against the listener over and over again. Those who can’t find the rhythm may find themselves disoriented and worn out, but if you let yourself ride the waves it becomes an intense and enjoyable experience. This song, “The Bronze,” is from their first EP, Bury Me at Make-out Creek. I don’t think that one’s available anymore, but click the Killing Tree link above to get their second EP (with a bitchin Soundgarden cover) at Amazon.

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This Song Rips: Coliseum “Blind in One Eye”

Alright, this is not the rippingest Coliseum song. In fact, as far as Coliseum songs goes, it’s pretty toned down, but I am so hyped about their new record. I like Coliseum’s past records, but this one sounds like they might have taken some cues from the other Patterson brother’s last album. I loved that Young Widows record, and if the new Coliseum has elements of it mixed in, it might just be the perfect rock album for this summer.

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This Song Rips: Iron Maiden “Number of the Beast”

Sometimes the anticipation of rippage makes a song go so much harder. Consider Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast,” one of the truly great metal classics. There is no doubt that a song called “Number of the Beast” is going to get live, but Maiden knew the value of a good build up. First, there is the text from the book of Revelations: Woe to you O earth and sea for the Devil sends the beast with wrath because he knows the time is short… And you get hyped and think, ‘Oh, man, this song is going to bring it.’ Then the guitar starts with a riff that jams and Bruce Dickinson starts in with Harris’ bad poetry and you just feel that tension start to rise. Dickinson can hardly bear it himself, letting a little steam bubble out at 45 seconds in, and the rest of the band takes his cue and starts to rev their engines, and, god damn, that pot gets boiling and you just get ready to rage hard. Then at around 1:20, Horatio Caine says, “Looks like this beast’s days are numbered” and puts on his sunglasses, and Dickinson lets out a wail that makes Roger Daltrey cry himself to sleep at night. The lid blows off the mother, and for the next three-and-a-half minutes or so it’s constant back flips. God damn, this song rips.

And just for good measure, here’s another classic Maiden track:

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This Song Rips: Descendents “Jean is Dead”

Some people never get punk music. They mistake rawness of emotion for a lack of sophistication and a lack of sophistication for puerility. But to my mind there is no other music that works on such a fundamental level, with such an economy of words and sounds, that it taps into your most primal emotions and lets you vent them all out in two minute bursts of catharsis. It’s like in that scene in Ordinary People when Conrad’s walls finally break down and he says, “I need something. It just keeps coming. I can’t make it stop.”

For every time your emotions are boiling over, there’s a punk song to get you through it, like this song from the Descendents. The first song in this clip, “Jean is Dead” is such a pure response to a complex and heartbreaking situation for the young singer. (Note the tie back to Ordinary People in the subject matter. Great book and movie. Anyway…) This song rips.

You should have told me. I should have known.
Now you’re gone, and I’m alone.
Your mother told me last night on the phone.
Why’d you do it? Now I’m alone.
I would have helped you, would have done anything.
I would have taken you with me or bought you a ring,
But now you’re gone and I’m alone.

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This Song Rips: “Crucified”

Originally recorded by Iron Cross and popularized by Agnostic Front, “Crucified” (here done by 25 Ta Life) became the de facto skinhead anthem on both sides of the political aisle. Traditional skins were fed up with being lumped in with Nazis, and Nazis felt persecution for their racist beliefs (Irony Cross?). But any member of a little-understood and widely-disparaged subculture can identify with the song’s themes of misdirected persecution. I remember goth kids getting harassed after Columbine. I remember having to explain over and over again to people that when I was straightedge, it had nothing to do with the militant moron crowd. It’s guilt by mistaken association, and it’s frustrating as hell. Sometimes you just need to go off, and a song like “Crucified” is perfect for it. This song rips.

They don’t know our feelings, only desperate cries.
They see reflections through distorted eyes.
We don’t care because it breaks their views.
Got to learn to fight to live
Before they grind us under heel!

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This Song Rips: Fucked Up “Crooked Head”

After a lifetime of listening to hardcore music, it is rare for me to hear something in the genre that feels new. Fucked Up are one of those rare bands that can stretch the boundaries the genre while still maintaining a very clear hardcore aesthetic. This song is at once psychedelic, ambient, passionate and thoughtful. This song rips.

Fight against the swell just to throw yourself at the wall.
They’re all dogs, fighting over the bone.
I’m gonna live, I’m gonna leave it alone
Crooked head.

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This Song Rips: 108 “Holyname”

108 “Holyname”

I ran into my old friend Chris this weekend at what amounted to the hardcore high school reunion (a.k.a., the Endpoint reunion weekend), and while catching up, we talked a bit about all of the hardcore bands from the 90s reuniting. Bands like Coalesce have turned in really strong new efforts that build on their previous work without sounding dated, and even Earth Crisis put out a record that rages every bit as hard as they did in their heyday, before that unfortunate foray into nu-metal territory. Above all others, though, I was most excited a few years ago when 108 reunited and released A New Beat from a Dead Heart, one of my favorite records of 2007.

I started listening to 108 when Chris gave me their debut album Holyname, a brilliant, passionate blast of hardcore punctuated with interludes of traditional Krishna music and capped off a set of Krishna talks (now only available on their discography collection Creation. Sustenance. Destruction.). Despite the fact that I am not at all interested in the religious message of this album, the overflow of emotion and unbridled energy still get me to this day. The album really should be listened to as a whole (and the CD was originally released as one long track), but the songs all stand on their own. Above is the title track that opens the album. The whole album is incredible, but this song rips.

I won’t settle for this false me. I’ll cry it out: holy name. I’ll cry it out: your holy name.

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