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Maximum Penalty - Demo 89 & East Side Story EP (Cover Artwork)

Maximum Penalty

Maximum Penalty: Demo 89 & East Side Story EPDemo 89 & East Side Story EP (2006)
I Scream Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5


Contributed by: AnchorsAnchors
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Among discussions of the Cro-Mags, Madball, Kill Your Idols, and Agnostic Front, there's always one pre-eminent NYHC band that for reasons unbeknownst to me, always gets left out of the picture. Maximum Penalty is the name of that oft-forgotten band, and this latest release from I Scream Records is .


Among discussions of the Cro-Mags, Madball, Kill Your Idols, and Agnostic Front, there's always one pre-eminent NYHC band that for reasons unbeknownst to me, always gets left out of the picture. Maximum Penalty is the name of that oft-forgotten band, and this latest release from I Scream Records is a collection of one of the band's early, long-out-of-print demos, and the EP, East Side Story, that preceded the eventual full-length.

The demo is an absolutely perfect encapsulation of the band's earliest material: raw and in your face. As with most bands that carried the flag of New York hardcore, Maximum Penalty are firm proponents of the straight-ahead, no bullshit approach to hardcore. And unlike many of the era's forbearers, time has done nothing to stifle the rage and intensity coming from the band. Each song on the demo has a unique identity, but is strongly bolstered by the gruff but distinguishable vocals of singer Jim Williams. The consummate frontman for this type of band, Williams has the perfect sound and the perfect amount of energy in his inflection to not overshadow all that is going on around him.

That's not to say that the arrangements are complicated -- far from it, but many times in hardcore the vocalist tends to serve as the be all / end all, and the rest of the band's members are just going through the motions and contributing the breakdowns and gang vocals right where they're ‚??supposed to.' Not here. "Be Yourself" storms out of the gate with crackling distortion and quickly delivered vocals as the pace seems to continually quicken. Sporadic backing vocals help to flesh out the sound, and the heavy drum fills keep everything centered. Most would contend that it's an easy sound to get right, and maybe it is, but to set yourself apart as a band from all the others playing that style, there has to be a sincerity, and that's something that Maximum Penalty find a way to work well into their unrelenting onslaught.

The EP, though recorded four years after the demo, continues largely in the same vein. I don't want to say the band didn't progress much, but‚?¶the band didn't progress much. Still as enjoyable and hard-hitting, simply not much progression though. Jim Williams' vocals take a bit of a turn towards metal, as with more singing over slower riffing, but the band is largely the same.

Too many good songs and not enough credit for some of New York City's finest, but what's lost in accolades is made up in enjoyability. This collection is a solid piece of hardcore history, and anyone who claims to be part of the NYHC scene had damn well better take their stake in it.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
GlassPipeMurder (June 10, 2008)

Agree with the review.

Anonymous (December 30, 2006)

"- Earth Crisis, though I don't agree with their ideologies, did more for hardcore than any other band of that era."

Well, umm, yeah...what about Rorschach?

BrandonSideleau (December 30, 2006)

Stuff like Agnostic Front attracts some of the most knuckleheaded morons I have ever seen. Whatever happened to REAL hardcore...the kind that was insightful, intellectual and was pretty much in harsh contrast to the "tough guy" mentality? All these skinheads running around punching each other and bagging on other people are just a bunch of brainless wimps.....way to fight for the machine.

Anonymous (December 29, 2006)

Hardcore shows by nature are homo-erotic orgies.

eyeslikebombs (December 29, 2006)

Hardcore shows are by nature violent

Could people stop saying this shit, or at least add in some qualifiers? It's not that way in Richmond, even at the tough guyest of tough guy shows. Though I'm sure some people will tell you differently to lend themselves some cred. Maybe it's because I'm a big guy who played football in high school, but nothing that violent really goes down.

What's really lame about these arguments about Earth Crisis and their ilk, is that none of them really want all-out violence. They want to have it both ways. I've seen Earth Crisis both condemn and promote violence (Videos of them doing so, at least.)

I find it really hard to like a band when they're calling out individuals and their friends in the audience (In a non-joking manner.) and then act confused when a fight starts. I'm looking at you, Down To Nothing. I don't know who "Simon" is or why I should "Fuck that kid and all his friends." and I don't care either. Just play the music and stop talking shit so I can commence with the fun.

SloaneDaley (December 28, 2006)

This could be one of my favourite review threads ever. Could someone please change MY diaper.

Anonymous (December 28, 2006)

Can someone change my diaper?

-Will

GlassPipeMurder (December 28, 2006)

I scream has put out some decent stuff lately. Mercy Killers/Enemy Rose Split, Wrecking Crew, Heideroosjes, and this looks like it might be decent, but I haven't heard it yet.

feeeding5000 (December 27, 2006)

This has gotten out of hand. How about we all just agree to disagree...Will, you can think that Earth Crisis sucks, Anchors, you can continue to dislike them. People are allowed to have different opinions about stuff...

rkl (December 27, 2006)

heh...

unlike either of the protagonists in this great argument, i dont have to rely on second-hand hearsay.

i was at eXc shows before they broke up.
there was one time where i got jumped going outside to smoke a cigarette, and another time where i almost got in a fight for daring to drink a beer in the venue...

did eXc tell people to do this? no.
but they sure as fuck didnt tell folks not to do it either, as evident from the stage banter of the shows.

strangenotes (December 27, 2006)

Nuke the frats.

Enemy_Will (December 27, 2006)

It hurts me to say this, but Will is right: Earth Crisis is fucking shit. Vegans advocating violence in the way they did is fucking dumb. I'd like to see them beat up polar bear or something.

Earth Crisis: "Hey polar bear, i thought you were vegan for life?"

Polar Bear: "Nah, I was just hibernating. Sorry dudes..."

Confused* Earth Crisis Fan: "Get the bear with the white fur!"

Enemy_Will (December 27, 2006)

It hurts me to say this, but Will is right: Earth Crisis is fucking shit. Vegans advocating violence in the way they did is fucking dumb. I'd like to see them beat up polar bear or something.

Earth Crisis: "Hey polar bear, i thought you were vegan for life?"

Polar Bear: "Nah, I was just hibernating. Sorry dudes..."

Confused* Earth Crisis Fan: "Get the bear with the white fur!"

Anonymous (December 27, 2006)

You're all a bunch of dorks. Get a new hobby.

BrandonSideleau (December 27, 2006)

I don't drink, do drugs or any of that shit...but I don't have a problem with people who do...and i definitely don't give two fucks about any "scene" or some bullshit like that. I've said it before and I'll say it again- "Straight Edge" has been horrifically represented.....no wonder Ian MacKaye has tried to distance himself from these bands as much as possible, considering he never really meant anything by the song "Straight Edge" other than he was a healthy, sober person......which is really the best form of resistance. He was never trying to ignite a "scene" or anything like that. I think Henry Rollins said it best- "I think people should stop showing up for the poison. If you hate the man so much and you want real revenge? Out live the motherfuckers, don't kill yourself in front of them."

Anonymous (December 27, 2006)

""And Will, Earth Crisis may have had some lyrics, a lot of lyrics actually, that I don't agree with, but they didn't play shows and tell kids to fight everyone who didn't agree with their way of thinking. They were a hardline band, there's no denying that, or the fights and violence that occured at their shows, but that falls on the burden of the kids being involved in those fights. They made the decisions, not Earth Crisis."

I agree somewhat, but a responsible political band would actually make it clear if they disagreed with how their fans were acting... If Earth Crisis intended to influence activism, they did a horrible job of it because all they did was give vegans, animal rights fighters, and environmentalists bad reputations by not responsibly moderating their political movement.

"Hardcore shows are by nature violent, and it was a time where a lot of kids couldn't take EC lyrics as just that, and decided to fight over stupid shit. "

EC didn't intend for their lyrics to be seen as "just lyrics." You spout about how I "wasn't there" and I'm not from Syracuse, but the fact is that interviews from this time indicate that Earth Crisis meant for their lyrics to be taken literally. Earth Crisis shows were notorious for their violence. This isn't just "word on the street" or anything, it's a reputation they gained by actually being insanely violent in a jockish, unfun way.

"But you don't know that they condoned it or did not speak out against it, because once again, you weren't there. You acknowledged that you weren't at any EC shows (like you had a choice) yet you still try to tell me what they were like. Give me a break. I'd even cut you some slack if you were from Syracuse, because at least then you'd have friends who saw EC a ton of times, and knew what they were about, but you don't."

Lay it off with the "Syracuse" bullshit. I'm pretty sure you're only one or two years older than me, and Earth Crisis went on multiple tours. The violence and hard line bullshit they inspired and condoned is still around today all over the country.

"It wasn't their ideas that were bullshit, it was the attitude of a lot kids in general during that time period. In Syracuse, in Boston, New York, everywhere."

I think it was both. When you advocate violence in your lyrics, act violently towards people, and don't say a word against the violence that your fans commit, you are irresponsible to say the least, and an idiot to be blunt.

"But please, don't acknowledge any of that, instead keep up the facade that you're not full of shit."

If being full of shit means realizing that Earth Crisis fucking sucked, I am guilty as charged.

-Will

Anchors (December 27, 2006)

Posted by feeeding5000 on 2006-12-27 14:20:23
Ok, Anchors...you didn't refute what I said.


What you said was a giant mess of misinformed and unintelligible garbage. I'm not even going to waste my time.

rinjonjori (December 27, 2006)

Maximum Penalty is in no way the same league as Cro-Mags or AF. Maybe Madball (aka AF lite), but when this came out the NY Scene was pretty much dying. Roger went to jail and Harley was turning the Cro-mags into a joke (aka Alpha Omega). Jimy did a great job by trying to do a little something different. In retrospect this sounds great and representative of the era, but back then it was very different. Back in late 80's/ early 90's basketball jersey's and camo pants were not the fashion at all. No I have to dig out that casette and listen to this again.

feeeding5000 (December 27, 2006)

Ok, Anchors...you didn't refute what I said. They may not have been a fascist band, but they certainly had fascist leanings. Ultimately, this argument is between you and Will over if the music is good or not. It is not about the content, that's only being used as a facade for him saying,"Earth Crisis sucks!", and you going, "Nuh Uh!".

Anchors (December 27, 2006)

Make that two people in this thread who don't know what they're talking about.

And Will, Earth Crisis may have had some lyrics, a lot of lyrics actually, that I don't agree with, but they didn't play shows and tell kids to fight everyone who didn't agree with their way of thinking. They were a hardline band, there's no denying that, or the fights and violence that occured at their shows, but that falls on the burden of the kids being involved in those fights. They made the decisions, not Earth Crisis.

Hardcore shows are by nature violent, and it was a time where a lot of kids couldn't take EC lyrics as just that, and decided to fight over stupid shit.

But you don't know that they condoned it or did not speak out against it, because once again, you weren't there. You acknowledged that you weren't at any EC shows (like you had a choice) yet you still try to tell me what they were like. Give me a break. I'd even cut you some slack if you were from Syracuse, because at least then you'd have friends who saw EC a ton of times, and knew what they were about, but you don't.

It wasn't their ideas that were bullshit, it was the attitude of a lot kids in general during that time period. In Syracuse, in Boston, New York, everywhere.

But please, don't acknowledge any of that, instead keep up the facade that you're not full of shit.

feeeding5000 (December 27, 2006)

My 2 cents, even though I'm younger, and more removed:
Earth Crisis (or Vegan Reich, same diff) advocated a period of "Vegan Fascism" after their "revolution". Everyone would be forced to adhere to strict veganism and abstinence from alcohol and drugs, and those that "resisted" would be sent to re-education camps, or killed. Even though this is obviously impossible, the fact that anyone advocates that kind of thing is mind blowing. It's upsetting. They also believed that women should not be allowed to work, or go outside the home, because "their natural place" is making babies and being subservient to men. Oh, and their music is almost directly linked to the shit out there today- you know, death metal with bad lyrics masquerading as hardcore. Hey, everyone, how far do we have to go in arguing about the merits of idiotic thug-core before someone mentions Danny Diablo?

Anonymous (December 27, 2006)

LOL at Parental Advisory.

Godfather (December 27, 2006)

will, you got fucking slaughtered....not a damn thing you can say right now to change that

Anonymous (December 27, 2006)

They didn't advocate violence? So their lyrics didn't talk about violently getting rid of drug addicts and dealers? They passively condoned the violence they inspired by not speaking out against it...

No, I wasn't honestly trying to lie. I was trying to prove a point. I wasn't around to see a lot of things, but it doesn't mean I can't call their ideas bullshit.

-Will

Anchors (December 27, 2006)

Yeah sure, and my mom's hair stylist's mailman once almost bumped into Denzel Washington in Times square. Gotcha.

1) Widely recognized? By who. This argument entirely based on hearsay is working very well for you.

2) So? I don't give a shit. I'm 100% pro-choice but respect their ability to write about things they're strongly convicted to.

3) Again, hearsay.

Look Will, just be honest here. I called you out on a lie, and you're basing everything you say on the words of a friend of a friend or something you read online or God knows what. You weren't around here then, you're not around here now -- you don't know. Simple as that.

Anonymous (December 27, 2006)

I meant a friend of a friend. I know it's a well known incident. I didn't word myself correctly, I guess. I was trying to prove a point.

Here are some points you have no response for, though.

1) Earth Crisis shows were widely recognized as the most violent in the 90's.

2) Earth Crisis wrote anti-abortion songs.

3) And advocated straight edge violence.

So okay, say what you will about my choice of words. I don't care what you think about my personal integrity, I'm simply trying to prove a point.

-Will

Anchors (December 27, 2006)

*Get The Kid With the Sideburns

My bad, not glasses. I knew that sounded off. Here's the lyrics to the song about "Will's friend." Haaaaahahahahha.

http://www.songmeanings.net/lyric.php?lid=110 784

Anchors (December 27, 2006)

Equating this band with One Life Crew is absolutely fucking retarded.

Will, you clearly have never seen any of the lyrics from Maximum Penalty songs. Stop acting like you have. Because stupid as you are, even you couldn't try to tell me their lyrics have anything to do with the tough guy posing that a lot of bands around today propagate.

"Any true HC fan knows that Earth Crisis damaged this scene more than probably any other band in its history."

I'm from Syracuse, don't even try and tell me what Earth Crisis and their shows were like. You have absolutely no idea whatsoever what you're talking about. You're a highschooler from the midwest. Their shows were violent? No shit. Welcome to most of hardcore in the 90's. They sure as hell weren't the only band that had violent shows. Boston is still an extremely violent city as far as shows are concerned, and it's almost 2007. Do I think the violence was necessary? Absolutely not. But some fighting and overzealous moshers does not diminish the social impact they had on hardcore. If they didn't exist, you wouldn't be seeing tables full of literature about veganism and animal rights at shows. I don't personally care for either of those causes, but the fact that they stood for something so strongly in an era where nobody else did is something that's still felt today in a positive way.

And if my bullshit alarm hadn't gone off yet..

"he beat up one of my friends at a show about ten years ago- Someone threw a bottle at him from the crowd, and when Karl asked who it was, someone told him it was "a guy with a beard." Well this show was in Florida, and you know how beards are down there... Long story short, he got beat up for something he didn't do just because he had a beard."

Haaaaaaaaaahhahahahahhahahahahahhaa. Your friend, huh? Let me set a few things straight about this incident before I explain why you're a ridiculous liar;

- It had nothing to do with beards. At all.
- It was at some fest in Florida where both Earth Crisis and Reversal of Man played.
- The phrase is "get the kid with the glasses."

There's conflicting versions of this, but the most well known is that the lead singer of Reversal Of Man was walking onto stage where he bumped into Karl Crisis and tripped, and then called him a faggot or something to that nature. During EC's set, he made mention of this, and mentioned what the guy looked like, at which point somebody from the crowd yelled "get the kid with the glasses" and some dudes jumped him.

I cannot even believe you had the audacity to try to lie on this big a scale. Even if not me, did you honestly think no one would call you out on this? It's a well known story, it's in the liner notes of a Reversal Of Man record, THEY WROTE A FUCKING SONG ABOUT IT. Not even to mention you'd have been about 8 years old when this incident happened, and you were hanging out with 19 year olds in bands from Florida?

To recap;
- You don't know anything about Maximum Penalty, clearly, or else you would not be blindly spouting whatever bullshit came to your fingertips.
- Earth Crisis, though I don't agree with their ideologies, did more for hardcore than any other band of that era.
- You are a liar, and a terrible one at that. Hahaha I still can't believe you even tried to pull that one over on me. Too good, too good.

Fuzzy (December 26, 2006)

come on justin (fuzzy) i thought you were better than that than to judge based on what they wear or how they look like.. i personally have never heard this band but im not gonna write them off for wearing jerseys
I'm not judging them as people, but to think that certain types of music don't come with certain stylistic trappings is very naive. Like I said, the could be super nice dudes who play asshole music. I've met quite a few people like that. Music, especially in the underground, generally includes (for better or worse) a style of dress with it. THere's a lot to be told about a band by the way they carry themselves.

Yeah, crucify me for being superficial now.

Anonymous (December 26, 2006)

I'm pretty sure a lot of tough guy assholecore is more based in the lyrics than the music. Not that it doesn't sound different than good hardcore. What about One Life Crew? They had fast songs with non-chugga breakdowns, but they were shitheads. Maximum Penalty's lyrics aren't as bad, but they're still idiotic.

Not to mention, you are nobody to act elite about hardcore. Any true HC fan knows that Earth Crisis damaged this scene more than probably any other band in its history. Say what you will about "activism" and "awareness," I'll point out that their shows and lyrics advocated violence and intollerance... It's easy to sing about destroying the machines, but A LOT of their fans took to destroying anybody they had a problem with, and Karl Crisis himself was known to act senselessly and without meaning (he beat up one of my friends at a show about ten years ago- Someone threw a bottle at him from the crowd, and when Karl asked who it was, someone told him it was "a guy with a beard." Well this show was in Florida, and you know how beards are down there... Long story short, he got beat up for something he didn't do just because he had a beard.)

-Will

Anchors (December 26, 2006)

Justin I'm going to be blunt here and say you're out of your element when it comes to talking about hardcore.

Camo & basketball jerseys =/= 'jock-core.'

There's no breakdowns on this record, no double bass, no lyrics about brotherhood and vigilance, no inflectionless growling. This is just great 80's NYHC.

Ianw (December 26, 2006)

This ain't hardcore, this is football drills and weight-lifting.

Anonymous (December 26, 2006)

A little late, seeing as my comment and yours were made after Christmas ended.

Someone tell this kid Christmas lasts until Jan. 6. Score is for Will.

AphasiacIIC (December 26, 2006)

come on justin (fuzzy) i thought you were better than that than to judge based on what they wear or how they look like.. i personally have never heard this band but im not gonna write them off for wearing jerseys

Anonymous (December 26, 2006)

This label is really trying to buy their way into the US punk scene...

Fuzzy (December 26, 2006)

I dunno, I'm inclined to agree with Will. Everything I've seen around the internerd has these guys dressed up in basketball jerseys, camo pants and constant references to the macho tough guy scene.

ie: http://www.scenepointblank.com/reviews/890
ie: http://www.hardcore.co.jp/data/outtabomb/product/0110000000942.jp g
ie: http://www.hardcorewebsite.net/maxp.htm
ie: http://myspace-481.vo.llnwd.net/00017/18/42/17632481_l.jpg
ie: http://myspace-574.vo.llnwd.net/00441/47/54/441534574_l.gif

Th en looking at the Last.FM "similar artists" page...I'll pass, thanks. http://www.last.fm/music/Maximum Penalty/ similar

Anonymous (December 26, 2006)

its funny that this review starts off the same as the Code of Honor review. Other than that, good review.

Anonymous (December 26, 2006)

My sincerest apologies, Anchors. I've been very bitchy lately because I sat on my tinker toys by accident and they broke and now I have slivers stuck in my butt. Mom said that this experience will teach me to put my toys away. I hope she's right.

- Will

rkl (December 26, 2006)

im beginning to think that Will & Anchors are really roommates.
or lovers.

Anchors (December 26, 2006)

Really, it was after Christmas already? Wow, nothing gets past you man!

Since it is still the Christmas season, it is still a relevant joke, stop fucking nitpicking. And calling an entire sect of hardcore a "bullshit" pose not only doesn't make sense, but is too steeped in stupidity for me to even make a case against it. You can't make a counter point if there was no point to begin with.

In relation to your initial comment, though, if you think Maximum Penalty is in any way related to "jock hardcore" you're more a fool than I originally thought.

And yes, Earth Crisis is good for more than whatever irony you think is so clever. I don't personally care much for their music, but the fact of the matter is they brought an awareness and activism to hardcore that was in no way prevalent before they came around.

Why do you even bother to comment on my reviews anymore? What do you gain from it? I can't imagine there's any satisfaction in being proved wrong time after time, but still you persist. Get a life for Christ sake.

Anonymous (December 26, 2006)

A little late, seeing as my comment and yours were made after Christmas ended.

But nice attempt at being clever. Too bad you said nothing to refute my argument that NYHC is mostly a bullshit pose. Then again don't you think Earth Crisis are good for reasons other than irony?

-Will

Anchors (December 26, 2006)

All I want for Christmas is for Will to know what he's talking about.

Anonymous (December 26, 2006)

"Maximum Penalty are firm proponents of the straight-ahead, no bullshit approach to hardcore."

I'd argue the contrary. This jock hardcore is all-bullshit, no substance.

Have fun getting your ass kicked for no reason at shows, though! :)

-(Awaiting a DMS beatdown) Will

Laurier (December 26, 2006)

Mention Sick of it All while mentioning NYHC them being most likely the best band from that area.

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