Music Reviews

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Author: BRIAN PETERSON
Title: Burning Fight
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Revelation records (@)
Rated: *****
A while ago I happened to talk about this book with another old fart like me and he came out with: "that's the hardcore era we experienced"...holy shit!! That's one of these sentences that makes you feel like you've become a dinosaur and your next option is extinction! So "What will remain?" to quote a good old Strife anthem...memories and retrospective analysis and that's what Brian Peterson has collected and sewed together in this book. Peterson has probably cut the majority of the interviews into small interventions through which he speaks about the main topics and all of the peculiarities of the hardcore scene of the nineties. The end result is a composed portrait painted thanks the voices of some of the protagonists of the U.S. scene of that period and I think many of you have already heard names like Kent Mcclard, Vic Dicara, Ray Cappo, Robert Fish, Aaron Turner, Mike Heartsfield, Freddy Cricien, etc. As you may already have guessed, the book intentionally covers the U.S. scene and some of the of the most significant bands (but not all them) of the decade and I'm sure you'll find some interesting profiles for bands such as like: 108, Coalesce, Unbroken, Inside Out, Downcast, Integrity, Strife, Heart Crisis, Guilt, Groundwork and many, many more. Being more or less a coeval of the author and having witnessed the period and having experienced many dynamics related to the hardcore scene of those days, I was looking forward to checking if it was some sort of revaluation of the past. Unfortunately aging you see how everybody has to face the "old days nostalgia" and the side effect of it is that most of us tend to re-depict their past erasing the bad things, but I can guarantee even if the global atmosphere gives the picture of a scene less divided if compared to the present time and where spirituality, politics or ethics still meant a lot, that's not the case. I can assure you Peterson never falls into pathetic overestimations of the past, the only possible remark to his "historical reconstruction" could be he mainly focused on a great variety of muscular bands you can easily label as hardcore (even if it includes uneasily categorizable bands like Deadguy, Guilt, Rorshach) and even if he didn't forget to include combos like Swing Kids, Spitboy or Chamberlain there's no trace of forerunners like Iceburn, Junction, Engine Kids or labels like Art Monk Construction, Doghouse and so on. Please don't get me wrong, this' not sterile criticism, since I believe "Burning Fight" is an intense and interesting reading and I'm sure if some of you have experienced that scene, here and there you'll feel a sort of homecoming. I also understand the book was already huge (almost 500 pages), I just think despite their musical style, some of these "weird" unconventional-hardcore bands with people with a punk/hardcore background proved/prove how, despite its roots, for a short period the nineties hardcore community has been enlightened by an incredible open mindedness that later has slowly disappeared. I don't mean that "these were the days!!" and now the scene sucks, come on!! Those who have experienced the punk-hardcore scene from the eighties could have said the same thing about the nineties. I just think it all has happened because every-once in a while, above all when things are still far from being both categorized and segmented and above all far from becoming more "economically organized" and more "business oriented", curiosity and a genuine interest for self expression may bring some people "beyond the border". For me that's the point, that crossing the Rubicon and that search for self expression are what sometimes become lowest common denominators that link different generations of punks; many define it as a genre of music (and I can't deny I myself sometimes adhere to this kind of classification) but in general I think it's "just" a matter of attitude. I'm sure many of you will easily identify with the words of this or that scenester, above all when you'll read during the teenage days the hardcore scene was a safe place where you finally had the chance to feel surrounded by people like you, "a club for misfits" who were not able to feel comfortable in the "normal" society. Hard to say what's left of these days beyond the musical influence or beside the living inheritance of people like Converge, Sunn O)))), Gentry Densely (Ascend/Eagle Twin), The Locust. It's hard to judge the present objectively and I'm not exactly the right person to do it, after all there's "no time like the present". Differently from "All ages: Reflections on Straight Edge" this book goes to the core of its subject avoids superficiality by expressing a true involvement. "What will remain?"...good question Watson!.



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