Tuesday, February 25, 2014

CEREMONY Society Verse book review

Unless you are just entering Hardcore, you've probably already heard of the band Ceremony. Well that band was on the top of the American hardcore billboard for years, every release was highly anticipated and pre-orders made the computer systems almost crash. They also came to Europe several times. They started out with the 'Ruined' ep and the 'Violence Violence' LP on Malfunction Records and later on moved to Bridge 9 Records. For them they did 'Scared People', 'Still Nothing Moves You' , 'Rohnert Park' and finally a covers LP too.

Well, the vocalist's name is Ross Farrar and he writes hard to understand lyrics. Kids and other people asked him the meaning of his lyrics. Therefore they decided to write them up in a book called 'Society Verse'.

The book features all the lyrics per release and chronological in time. And Ross explains them one by one. I think that's an interesting and innovating book concept. I'm sure in Hardcore not many or even no one at all has ever done this before him and Bridge 9 Press. Sometimes lyrical explanations do appear on the lyric sheet, but never before I've seen a book solely made for that.

Front cover with the iconic Ceremony roses

ceremony society verse book
Back cover with an iconic imagery (Skate board, Bad Brains and B9 all placed against the wall)

I think it's a good book overall, less work to make than a real history book. But if you are or were into Ceremony definitely your source for reading pleasure. Published by B9 PRESS.

My rating is 6/10

And an original concept that some Belgian vocalists can follow too. Especially for the cryptic lyrical content of 90's Metalcore. I'd say feel free to do so!




Monday, February 24, 2014

Burning Fight Book Review

In follow-up to the previous posts about ways of documenting Hardcore, this post is about one of the already existing books. Burning Fight by Brian Peterson is about 90's hardcore. He writes parts by himself but the main talking is done by those who were involved on the spot.
The concept of the book has been well-thought over. It's interviewing numerous then and/or still involved people about relevant topics and bands. Then the author thought out a framework and fills in the content with snippets of those interviews.

Firstly you need to know those relevant topics in 90's hardcore. For instance Work ethic, DIY, Krishna, vegetarianism, veganism, straight-edge, political correct- or incorrectness, etc. Another thing are the bands that the author found relevant. It's impossible to go broad and in depth at the same time. So there's a balance between completeness and depth to be found.

I read the book some years ago in it's entirety and was surprised on how good it was. Especially the Integrity part was revealing and breath taking to read. Other bands include Earth Crisis, 108, Undertow and many more. All American and some I didn't even know the existence of ...

The illustration of the book could be better in my opinion. Small pictures and black and white ink, but you get the main atmosphere of it. 

Book is brought out by REVELATION PUBLISHING and gets my score of 7/10.

burning fight book revelation records brian peterson
Burning Fight book by Brian Peterson



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I Refuse To Beg

Another well-succeeded release coming from Reaper Records. This is the 65th release of the label I collect. Seems like they did a lot more than that. But that's probably a deformed thought because they press numerous versions of one release.
If I own 215 different records of the entire Reaper Records catalog. And if regardless of CD's there are 59 vinyl release (65 releases - 6 CD only releases = 59 vinyl releases), this means that I own an average of 3.6 versions per releases. And since I probably do not know the existence of several other missing versions, I can't make the average for their entire catalog. I estimate it somewhere around 5 versions per release on average (Test, pre-order, record release, regular distro color(s), fest presses, etc...).

Numbers aside, this is again a good one. Reminds me of the early No Warning sound mostly. I think the layout looks good also, especially the vinyl labels. The cover though is a rip off from an existing painting but the chaos it breaths seems to suit the atmosphere of Born Low's delivery or environment it's created in.

BORN LOW Refuse To beg Oxblood vinyl 


Both colors

Swamp green vinyl

RWHAF Is Looking For CO-AUTHORS

The RWHAF team is looking for co- or guest-authors. If you listen to Hardcore music - in the broad sense of the word – and want to write about that, then this might be your opportunity to do so. RWHAF is in the branch since 2008 and has done coverage of various aspects of Hardcore in the past and needs you to keep doing so in the future.

The framework in which we want to operate in the future is as follows:

Collecting: Coverage of collecting records: looking, searching, negotiating over and buying records. If you want to write about that your always welcome here.
Purchase-guiding: If you want to guide people to a purchase, this site might be the ideal place to be. Always looking for things and want to share what you find and you are not buying it for yourself, hint it here. You might make others happy in the meanwhile!
Reviews are still the life-blood of the musical world. Formulate your opinion and knowledge about a release and contribute to the perception of Hardcore music.
Show reports: You went to an awesome show? Tell people who weren’t there everything about your live-experience. Or start a debate with other people who were there. Give feedback to band’s performances.

The personal profile we are looking for is people who are dedicated to publishing on the internet. You are willing to build up a democratic knowledge base and value the correctness of data above the sensational value. You are dedicated to Hardcore and spent lots of time listening to it, going to shows, you take time to buy and choose certain releases.

English is a language that you write fluently, you are able to make yourself clear in it. And have interest in further developing your skills of English.

What do I need to do to start writing for RWHAF? You contact me with an English email with answers to the following personal questions.

  1. What is your background in Hardcore?
  2. Why do you want to write for RWHAF?
  3. How much input you are estimating to deliver. Daily post, weekly post, monthly post?
  4. And in which part of the above framework you are mainly going to write. Will it be Purchase guiding, writing reviews of older stuff or newer stuff, collectors post (collection photo’s, pressing info, purchase experiences, rarities, etc.) or are you going to contribute to showreports?

How will it work? Everybody  that contacts me answers all off the four personal questions. If you are coming into consideration I will ask you to write an example post. Then you will be selected or not...

Everybody interested can contact me at:

willem@rwhaf.net

Monday, February 17, 2014

Possibilities in Documenting Hardcore

Although Hardcore can be perceived as a narrow field, there are many different ways to document it. The different ways to do this is what the following post is about. Hardcore is in my opinion one of the genres with the most active documenting public. There's always the public and the bands, those two parties will always exist. And there's almost always live-performances required too.
I won't go further in that, this post is meant to bring you a reflection on the numerous ways of documenting Hardcore and it's music, bands, culture, scenes, etc.

In my opinion there are roughly 4 main options in which you can document Hardcore in all it's facets. These options are interchangeable with each other, they can have a mixed use. Every option has advantages but negative sides also. The four categories are:

  1. tangible music format
  2. paper printing in zines or books
  3. motion screens 
  4. internet


First way is documenting the music and a band's delivery through recording music and pressing it on a tangible music-format. Different formats can be chosen. The oldest is the vinyl record. This format is still in use nowadays, also for recent releases. Roughly said; thereafter came tapes and then the final format is Compact Disc. There are also other format affiliated like flexi's, mini-discs,... But you get what I mean.

Because it requires skills and money to do so, labels came to existence. Not only do these formats need to be manufactured they also need to be layouted and distributed. The layout of a record can be by the band or by the label or a cooperation of both or even a third party designer. All three formats need to be preferably layouted and have covers. Preferably lyrics are a welcome facet also.
Also brokers and distro's came to existence by the need to press recordings of sound on tangible copies so that they could be spread among the people.

Vinyl

Tapes or cassettes

Compact Discs ( CD )


Second way is in a printed paper (book-)format. Within the book-format there are many different types of documenting you can take on. There are several concepts that can fit in the book-format. I'm trying to elaborate some of them:

    1. First of all and the life blood of our culture are the paper zines. They can be made totally DIY and are not so expensive to be printed.
    2. If you have taken many pictures of bands and live-performances you can for example create a photo-book. The majority of the pages are filled with photo's. Those photo's are the main content featured. 
    3. Another way to document the Hardcore scene is by making a flyer book. The main content here are promotional flyers from Hardcore gigs. Personally I find that an interesting take because you immediately get a view what bands played at which moment in time. If they are both on the same flyer that means they were both active in the same time-era and that they knew each other to some extent.
    4. The third approach to the perception of Hardcore for interested people is the (self-) written biography. There's no collecting of material involved here, such books mainly contain plain text. And deal with the person's life and if he or she is still alive and has written it by themselves, then it's an auto-biography. For sure the author can use artifacts to recollect what happened in his or her life. 
    5. Fourth is also a very informative way of bundling knowledge on a certain scene. These kind of books also lean on collections, in this case collections of zines. Zines are mostly written not long after a record's release or a show that happened, so these are in my opinion the most knowledgeable sources.
    6. Fifth and last but not least are discography books. They give an insight in the existing tangible remnants of an era; namely records. Records pressing info's are if known also included. So you can measure the popularity and or influence throughout the years of a release. If you get what I mean? If there were several pressings, that meant that it sold out and that it needed to be repressed and implicates that many people got them on different moments in time.
    7. There are mixed versions possible also. With texts, photo's, flyers, discographies, etc. all mixed in one...
PAPER ZINES

2 recent paper zines


PHOTO-BOOK example:

Adult Crash book (photo's by Dave Brown)

Example of a photobook layout, live shots breath the atmosphere
FLYER-BOOK example:

Flyers in their entirety printed in a book


(auto-) BIOGRAPHY BOOK example:

Biography book written by Cro-Mags frontman John Joseph

Plain text 

ZINE-COMPILATION BOOK example:

Following the exact same lay-out as the original zine (pictured is Schism zines compilation)

Compilation of all the Touch And Go zines
Compilation of all the H8 zines 


DISCOGRAPHY BOOK example:

Covers of records pictured and mostly accompanied by band info, pressing info. Mostly chronological and focusing on a certain genre.

The third way is if you don't want to aim to a reader-public but rather to those who like to watch and hear on a screen of a TV or a computer. Those who film live sets of bands. Those who have footage of old performances can always put it on DVD's. DVD's still are the main format for anything with motion-screens related and audio related. Not only live-sets can be on a DVD but also interviews, documentaries and also movies about Hardcore.

VIDEO-DOCUMENTARIES examples:







LIVE VIDEO-FOOTAGE COMPILATIONS examples:



The fourth way is through the internet. This can be combinations of the above used methods. They can put photo's, music, video's and texts on the web. The advantage of this is that is wildly accessible to anyone that has access to an internet connection and a way to view and browse it. I'm talking about laptops, PC's, smartphones, tablets,...

Examples of concepts are:

DOWNLOAD Blogs:
Nowadays with the up-rise of technology, internet became a huge role-taker in that field of preserving knowledge and documenting events like shows and record collecting. Download blogs definitely try to document the history hardcore in the musical way. They digitize music from CD's, tapes and vinyl records, but also scan zines and insert or whatever can be digitized. Also VHS digitizing is done.
Many of those blog also blatantly copy and spread music while it's still in print. I do not know the exact laws concerning all this, but I've personally got ethical issues with this way of handling. I mean without asking bands and or labels who actually paid all their savings to get the music on a physical bearer, because there was no digital format back then. And then comes that new generation comes and demands and or even claim the rights to all this... It just doesn't feel right to me.

COLLECTOR Blogs:
They also take advantage of the internet possibilities. But they first buy the record and then take pictures of the pressing characteristics of a certain release. And along with that they usually voice their opinion also. Also pressing info can be added to their writings.

And many many more, such as:

  • news sites such as Punknews 
  • online discography databases such as Discogs 
  • price guiding sites for vinyl records and tapes such as Popsike, Collectors Frenzy