Sound — 8
Unfortunately, many modern hardcore bands are injecting their material with the technical and flashy tendencies usually reserved for metal bands. It's only natural that a lot of the albums coming out of the scene are bogged down by the sterile production that a lot of death, modern thrash, and nu-metal bands are guilt of. For this reason alone, anytime a new Hardcore CD comes across my desk, I usually know what to expect sonically. So imagine my surprise when Cold World's new album, Dedicated To Babies Who Came Feet First came blaring out of my speakers! If you've had a chance to listen to the band's new material on their label's website, you'll know what I'm talking about.
Produced by Biohazard guitarist/vocalist Billy Graziadei, DTBWCFF sounds like a Hardcore record that would have come out during the early '90s; this is not a bad thing! The blood, fury, and blue-collar angst of greats like Killing Time, Sick of It All, and the aforementioned Biohazard, courses through the record. Graziadei doesn't fuss up the performances with the bells and whistles found on most of the stuff coming out of Cold World's scene today. This is not an overly Pro-Tooled album in any sense. First off, the bass drum actually has a lot of bottom end to it which when you think about it, should always be the case but sadly, it isn't. Not only do Nick Woj's drums sound killer, Alex Russin and Haroun Khan's guitars positively pummel! The producer also pushes frontman, Dan Mills further than any other engineer has on past recordings resulting in some of the most vitriolic yet clear vocals you'll hear this year.
Lyrics — 8
The clarity in Mills' vocal delivery on DTBWCFF is another huge reason why the album works so well. Instead of the Death Metal informed growling many of his peers have adopted, the singer projects each and every single line with intense power but he never sacrifices the lyrics' projection in the process. Songs with sentiments as heartfelt and urgent as the ones found in songs like No Angels and Do The Knowledge are all the more potent with Mills' straight-forward vocal style. He also injects some of the material with a croon reminiscent of Keith Caputo's from the great Life of Agony. It would be great to hear him explore this side of his style a little more on their future recordings. One look at the band's gritty lyrics and you'll begin to understand the bleak word Mills is obviously living in. The streetwise lyrics about drug addiction, betrayal, and poverty have an almost Hip-Hop aspect to them in their cold, matter-of-factness. Just take Roaches and Rats which opens with the brutal line, I'm sorry but I haven't been the same since I've seen the needle in his vein for further proof of the subject matter's weight.
Overall Impression — 8
One thing you'll always hear people my age (33 yrs old) go on about is how great Hardcore bands used to be back in the day. Well folks, someone must be hearing our cries because what Cold World have done here is create an album that wouldn't have sounded out of place in an underground club in 1993 and did I mention how heavy it is? Khan and Russin show up to the party with riff after riff of the most abrasive kind this side of early Cro-Mags and Bulldoze. Their performances, like the band's overall style, are direct, muscular, and always intense. The choice of Graziadei as producer was the ace in their sleeve as his no-frills, bare-bones recording style meshes perfectly with the band's material. Look for the Biohazard musician to get more studio work once people get their hands on this record! Like their Hardcore allies in Blacklisted (whose singer, George Hirsch makes an appearance on the album) who also released a dynamic album earlier this year, Cold World clearly have their heart invested in the bands and essence of the past but they put their sound forth in a fresh and urgent voice. It goes to show how good, old-fashioned, meat and potatoes Hardcore can still thrill.