One of the better hardcore compilations in recent memory, State of the Scene packs a walloping 36 bands into an hour's running time. Featuring a healthy number of relative unknowns from around the world (Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia), Scene showcases a variety of acts within the genre from open-minded, international reaches, and, while containing a granted number of duds, is sure to also have something for everyone.
While there are plenty of standouts, two of my new favorites come right away in the beginning of things. Just Say Go! could be Australia's answer to Stay Gold, while the more upbeat Years from Now mix Gorilla Biscuits' pomp with New Found Glory pop via very Start Today-minded production. Really, there's other good tracks here, but I've already looked into both bands' material simply due to their contributions here. For someone that spends entirely too much time scouring the Internet and looking out for new bands, a 2/36 rate from a compilation in regards to finding a new, very likable band is honestly incredible.
Some vocalist resemblances abound here and there. Both Haunted Life and Slumlords take obvious nods from Sick of It All's Lou Koller, the latter more heavily and sensibly so, as their frontman formerly sang for long-running fellow NYHC act Breakdown. Another Year's vocalist actually sounds an awful lot like the screaming frontman for Alexisonfire, and as that band's song, "Everyday," juxtaposes it with some more melodic yells, a comparison could almost be drawn, but they're definitely more straightforward and traditionally based.
You've got some slightly bigger name side projects to bolster things, too. I haven't been able to get huge into the Ignite-influenced Ambitions (members of With Honor), but their input here, "Uphill Battle" is ridiculously catchy and enjoyable, despite the singer sounding oddly like the Offspring's Dexter Holland at the end of one of his lines. Unexpectedly hearing Bronx frontman Matt Caughthran's voice pop up is great, too -- he appears as part of Bullet Treament, who also contains members of the Suicidal Tendencies and the Drips for an awesome slab of fast hardcore (with a brief R'n'R crosssection) in "Pathetic." Both bands coincidentally derive from Think Fast! Records' roster.
Judging from the lines "Do you feel like a man? She was just a kid," I'd say Van Damage really hates either child molesters or domestic abuse, but then again...I'm not really sure who doesn't. Regardless, the song, featuring guest spots from the respective frontmen of Cold World and Terror, is pretty solid.
Oddly, there are a few bands here who I'd heard before and wasn't quite into previously, but sound pretty good in this context for some reason. The First Step bring standard issue youth crew that's quite solid in the given setting, and Wake Up Call's raspy bitterness is somehow refreshing. Expired Youth make it hard to not perk up when they offer up a live cover of GB's "Breaking Free," while the other kid collective, Youth Attack's "Positive Youth (Crippled Youth)" clearly borrows the mentality of massive GB followers Good Clean Fun ("a POSITIVE POSITIVE POSITIVE scene").
I love No Roses, but it's funny how Dean Baltulonis could be Mark Trombino when their effort comes on -- the production on their song is worlds more professional sounding than most of the other tracks on Scene, and that could be a good thing for them, since it's likely to get people's attention with 36 tracks at hand. It's no less awesome, though.
There's an assortment of more "burly" bands present here as well, so you're sure to find something good in that pile if that's your thing.
It's hard for me to get into compilations of any sort these days. But when they're put together with such uniform identity and obvious ambition in highlighting the smaller scale bands of the style, it's awfully hard not to take it in and simply appreciate.