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The Pledge - Distress (Cover Artwork)

The Pledge

The Pledge: DistressDistress (2006)
self-released

Reviewer Rating: 3


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

Hardcore started in the 1980s in DC as an outlet for the anger that societal misfits had toward society. They expressed their rage by dancing a way no one did and asserting their disgust with the world. Other kids who felt "out of step" around the country harnessed this energy and hardcore took off .


Hardcore started in the 1980s in DC as an outlet for the anger that societal misfits had toward society. They expressed their rage by dancing a way no one did and asserting their disgust with the world. Other kids who felt "out of step" around the country harnessed this energy and hardcore took off in a more radical direction in the New England area where gangs of vehemently straight-edge kids created violent youth crews around their brand of hardcore that was heavily influenced by metal. People in the know began to label this more violent and masculine form of hardcore: moshcore. Bands like Slapshot, Bold, and Youth of Today were the forefathers of this subgenre and played extremely aggressive music that no one could have foreseen. Hardcore lost its unique sing-along potential as it was replaced by overtly gory and cheesy lyrics screamed out gutturally like a vocalist in a metal band. The simple beauty of the bar chord was replaced with dropped C tuning and chugging metal riffs. Anything of the brilliant simplicity and blunt rage that hardcore had in its beginning was completely swallowed up by the mainstream movement in hardcore today (the culprits usually being Eulogy, Ferret, and Victory Records).

Hardcore buffs are getting tired of the moshcore and are harkening back to some of the great hardcore bands of the `90s (In My Eyes, Lifetime, Quicksand, Ignite) and `80s (Bad Brains, Gorilla Biscuits, Minor Threat) and merging those styles with more inventive guitars that showcase a maturity level higher than just listlessly playing bar chords and double kicking drums and just repeating things that have already been done. This rebirth of hardcore is taking place in some of the areas in New England where kids are getting tired of moshcore and in the normal areas where you find musical progression (California, Chicago, New York, etc.) and in the hardcore meccas of Philadelphia and DC. The Midwest is surprisingly lacking in these new wave of hardcore bands, however one of those few is the Pledge out of Dayton, Ohio.

I will strive to be free
No one would guess that this would be a line on a hardcore 7" but that is what separates the Pledge from the rest of the hardcore bands out there. This is a striking antithesis to one line I found randomly from the latest Hatebreed album:
I've taken this vow of hatred, Take the Vow.
A promise to myself to never be my own defeatist
This is my hatred, this is my vow
Never to be broken"
The Pledge, known to some as Stephen Colbert's favorite hardcore band, also has another side to it. They add intricate post-hardcore guitar parts that drive the songs along at a slow pace until the song finally kicks into gear and drives to a powerful end. Lead singer Erik's assertive voice can get pretty boring at times but that's just because he needs to learn to leave his monotone vocal persona at some points to find a more appropriate vocal styling that adds more feeling to the Pledge's songs. His voice is amazing on "Amendment," "Freedom Rings," and "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" but it falters on some tracks ("We Hold These Truths to Be Self Evident" and "Do Something").

Distress overall is a strong album that goes where few bands in hardcore go in terms of their lyrics and sound. Erik and crew address the rights we have as citizens and the concerns we should have about how things are run today. The final product ends up being a good 7". Despite the few tarnishes one would expect from a self-released effort Distress is a surprisingly good release out of an area not known for hardcore. The Pledge are looking for distribution for Distress after a label that was interested pulled out. We can only wish them the good luck that they truly deserve. The Pledge is riding the new wave of hardcore and I don't mind being taken for a trip.

 


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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.
Anonymous (February 19, 2007)

mid west hardcore lives on thru chi town.

Anonymous (February 19, 2007)

Thanks for this Jon, it's much appreciated. If you have any questions about this band or release, just email thepledge@gmail.com, or contact us at myspace.com/thepledge.

We're recording new material next week, so it will be a nice update to a collection of songs we recorded well over a year ago. Check up on us to keep posted!

*Ravi
The Pledge

Anonymous (February 18, 2007)

The Pledge better finish that keg or he's never getting initiated.

Anonymous (February 18, 2007)

"4 words. modern life is war"

HA! I'm seeing them tonight, and I have four words: MODERN LIFE IS BORE.

-Will

feeeding5000 (February 17, 2007)

Ha- my friend's older brother plays in Energy...they say they're influenced by AFI. At least, if we're talking about the same Energy. Hardcore did not start in DC. It came to fruition in DC w/ bands like Minor Threat and the Bad Brains, but Hardcore itself was really started in California, w/ bands like the Germs, Black Flag, and...whatsit...that one that everyone claims started hardcore.

Anonymous (February 17, 2007)

how does the line "i will strive to be free" something that seperates this band from every other late 80s influenced posi hardcore record? unless every other current hardcore band shares the same hatebreed lyric. this review is insulting.

also no good midwest hardcore?

4 words. modern life is war

Anonymous (February 17, 2007)

"did this dumbass really call youth of today and bold the forefathers of all the shitty mosh bands that are around now? calling youth of today aggressive and violent, but praising gorilla biscuits who were stylistically very similar makes tons of sense."

You forgot to mention where he called Quicksand a hardcore band and where he tried to say the term moshcore started with slapshot in the 80s and not in the past 2 years.

Anonymous (February 17, 2007)

did this dumbass really call youth of today and bold the forefathers of all the shitty mosh bands that are around now? calling youth of today aggressive and violent, but praising gorilla biscuits who were stylistically very similar makes tons of sense.

learn your history before you try to give a history lesson

Anonymous (February 17, 2007)

What? You call Midwest hardcore "watered down," then namedrop fucking ENERGY?! Crazy, dude. Actually learn about what you're talking about before you make dumbass generalizations that make you look stupid. You write pretty well, so I don't think you're an idiot, but I think you are really out of touch with hardcore.

-Will

BJR (February 17, 2007)

I meant that alot of the Hardcore I listen to comes from the East Coast, not the Midwest.

inagreendase (February 16, 2007)

Though alot of the hardcore that is around [the midwest] tends to be watered down and uninventive (in my opinion) and that's not what I'm about. Lion of Judah does great stuff, Outbreak is great and there are a lot of good bands out there like Tradition and Energy...

What the hell are you talking about? Lion of Judah is from D.C., Outbreak -- Maine and Energy -- Massachusetts.

BJR (February 16, 2007)

I'm not huge into Hardcore in the midwest, and I'll check out some of the bands you posted. Though alot of the hardcore that is around tends to be watered down and uninventive (in my opinion) and that's not what I'm about. Lion of Judah does great stuff, Outbreak is great and there are a lot of good bands out there like Tradition and Energy doin' some great stuff. But compared to the East and West Coast I think hardcore in the Midwest is lagging behind just a tad in productivity of the scene and attracting lots of kids to shows. If that were true I'd be going to more shows in my area alas, that is not the case in Cincinnati or the area around it in which I could make an effort to go to a show or two.

Rastid (February 16, 2007)

"Midwest HC rules"

This is at least true for Chicago. Chicago has had some amazing hardcore bands come up recently. In fact, new Chicago HC bands are better than new NYC ones, and I'm a New Yorker..

Anonymous (February 16, 2007)

"The Midwest is surprisingly lacking in these new wave of hardcore bands, however one of those few is the Pledge out of Dayton, Ohio."

WHOA!!

Midwest HC rules, if you don't know much about it, that's cool, but please proceed to check out Cardiac Arrest, Wound Up, Civic Progress, Chronic Seizure, I Attack, The Repos, Punch In the Face, 9 Shocks Terror, Formaldehyde Junkies, We're Fucked, etc. MWxHC

Amazingthemike (February 16, 2007)

Good band - too bad this never actually got released by a label.

Anonymous (February 16, 2007)

nice history lesson...jerk.

ncarlber (February 16, 2007)

Why are they Colbert's fav. hardcore band?

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