With the disbanding of numerous high-profile Boston hardcore bands, and the recent sub-par effort by Righteous Jams, that steadfast Boston scene is looking a bit slimmer than normal.
Don’t count the city down and out just yet, however. Sure, the Bruins and Celtics are off to lackluster season starts, and the BoSox weren’t even close to the playoffs this season, but hardcore fans do still have one thing to cheer about. And no, not the New England Patriots. I’m speaking of Wrecking Crew. I Scream records have recently been kind enough to re-release one of the most integral albums in Boston hardcore history: Balance of Terror.
While not new by any means, this blast from the not-so-distant past is still the best piece of music recording to come out of Beantown in years. Sounding every bit as angry and full of energy as the it did when initially released in 1990, these 14 songs (two bonus) exemplify the style that the city built its scene on.
The gritty vocals of Glenn Dudley are perfect for the kind of recording that’s found on the album. Extremely under-produced, and better off for it, Balance of Terror rips through all 14 tracks in a little more than half an hour, Dudley’s deep delivery leading the way. The quick bass riffs of “Holding Back” segue well into Dudley’s ‘everyman’ style of writing. The universal themes presented are easy to grasp onto, and easy to apply to your own life or situation. The song picks up steam towards the end, where the riffing becomes quicker, the drumming becomes quicker, and the vocals seem to louden all in unison, right before abruptly cutting off.
“Too Late” is another fine example of a song picking up more and more steam as it moves along. It may begin with some relatively simple riffs, but quickly the buzzsaw guitars louden, the distortion kicks in, and those trademark vocals cut through it all. Slowing down only for a brief few moments about halfway through, the song just keeps plodding along.
I’ll admit, I complain a lot about the amount and quality of albums being re-recorded, re-issued, re-this and re-that lately, but no such complaints this time. Boston hardcore that’s just as solid now as it was 16 years ago.