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Madball - Infiltrate the System (Cover Artwork)

Madball

Madball: Infiltrate the SystemInfiltrate the System (2007)
Ferret Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


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

Few `80s hardcore bands are still managing to get by in 2007. Fewer are as relevant today as they were when "hardcore" actually meant something. And even fewer are putting out their best work 20 years after they began. But just like the norm of late `80s hardcore bands that were done by the early `9.
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Few `80s hardcore bands are still managing to get by in 2007. Fewer are as relevant today as they were when "hardcore" actually meant something. And even fewer are putting out their best work 20 years after they began. But just like the norm of late `80s hardcore bands that were done by the early `90s, there are exceptions. And few, if any, have been as potent a force as Madball.

It's impossible to deny Madball's far-reaching influence and the respect they've garnered among fans and fellow musicians. Whether getting name-dropped in songs by the likes of Rancid and H2O, earning a top friends spot from None More Black, or being talked up on Punknews by the Ducky Boys' Mark Lind, Madball has secured a stronghold in the hardcore punk community that's as durable as they come. As if brotherly love isn't enough, the legions of imitators that continue spawning to this day are proof of the band's legendary instrumentality in bridging hardcore from the 1980s to the 1990s to the 2000s.

Parallel to latter-day hardcore kinfolk Throwdown, Madball's 2007 effort has produced the band's most accomplished album to date, through both words and music. While Throwdown developed guitar soloing and diverged from their pointed straight-edge themes, Infiltrate the System features more complex structures and compositions than the Madball of the past, while the lyrical content has moved beyond topics of hardcore and family loyalty to far more engaging lexicon. "Renegades" opens with a nearly post-punk feel that could trigger memories of At the Drive-In if it didn't subsequently whip into Madball's trademark heavy two-step hardcore. The album's title track builds with delicately restrained aggression and hits full tread with a group-assisted rally cry: "Spread freedom / What will you do to ignite change? Infect the masses / What will you do with your experience untold? / Spread wisdom / Now it's time to infiltrate the system."

Album standout "Revolt" transitions smoothly from a Refused-like intro to a pounding double-bass-spiked verse and circle-pit thrash-around with some of the album's most telling lines: "Those in position, start the revolution / We need this change / We need you / In my world there's no left or right, there's only common sense / You can save your politics and all that come with it for those easily swayed / [...] / Open your eyes / Open your minds."

Frontman Freddy Cricien has come a long way since the 12-year-old side-project novelty of his brother Roger Miret's Agnostic Front. His gruff intermittent vocal delivery is as much inspired by rap (Cricien moonlights with DJ Stress as a hip-hop duo on the side) as traditional raw-throated hardcore, and has been emulated by new-school hardcore acts from the Warriors to Terror. On the chugga-rific "Liberty or Death," Cricien appears his most convicted: "Liberty or death to the violator, the instigator / Liberty or death to the traitor, soon you will face them / The souls people you betrayed / Your people you enslaved / Your revolution never had them in mind / Fight this oppression until you die." "Novelty" takes aim at the resurgence of hardcore bands that broke up when hardcore stopped being fashionable and reunited when there was more money to be made.

The only snags on Infiltrate the System are built on the foundations of more traditional Madball lyrics with excessively bald-faced threats and hostility. While songs like "No Escape," "The Messenger" and "You're Gone" feature some of the album's best hardcore, the substance is considerably lacking. However, the fact that portions of the album's sales are going to the Arpoador Children's Fund makes such qualms seem frivolous.

Although Madball are among the most influential of `80s bands that remains active, Infiltrate the System is still a pleasant surprise. While the band has managed an immense following even with fairly simple music and cliché hardcore lyrics throughout the years, Infiltrate the System is a big step up in the band's evolution and one that won't lose any diehard Madball fans along the way.

 

 
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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.
CartierLoveBracelet (August 7, 2012)

I like this weblog it’s a master piece! Glad I discovered this on google.
http://www.173brands.com/cartier-love-bracelet-replica

maersk (November 9, 2010)

"potent force"? LOLZ. they just release the same goddamn album ever 4-5 years or so. nothing ever changed with this band and just like 90% of NYHC, thats a BAD thing. this band and warzone are the reasons i hate NYHC. (citizens arrest/hell no/die 116/burn and a few others excepted)

i guess madball could shit in a jewelcase and all these sub 70 IQ tough guys wild still eat it up with a spoon......

Madball (October 30, 2009)

Finally somebody on this dumbass website has the mental capacity to understand the intricacies of MAD FUCKING BALL.

mikelagglesby (September 12, 2007)

good retort glasspipe. nothing personal. i'm an english student, critiquing writing is what i do. i wasnt saying that madball is not influential, just that your evidence wasnt very good. anyway i probably should have just kept my mouth shut...

Rastid (September 11, 2007)

glasspipe's the only one making any sense here. i haven't heard a single argument about why madball are bad either musically or as people. i've just heard the word "bro" about a thousand times. that's not an argument. glasspipe gave some pretty good reasons why they're good as both a band (evolving music, better lyrics) and as people (giving to charity). i haven't heard the album or hung out with the band really, so i can't say for sure, but glasspipe is at least persuasive.

mattramone (September 11, 2007)

Punkgato, I don't expect anyone who defends Brodown will 1) put together a logical argument, 2) care too much for music OR lyrics.

punkgato (September 11, 2007)

"there are more important things in life than music and lyrics" ...in regards to music with lyrics?

It's better to be silent and thought a fool, than to speak aloud and remove all doubt...indeed!

GlassPipeMurder (September 11, 2007)

the commentary about throwdown does nothing to aid the review. it only clutters it. being told that madball does not sound like throwdown seems somewhat arbitrary. madball doesnt sound like lots of bands. also i dont see how giving a portion of the proceeds to charity makes their lyrics good. again the two have nothing to do with each other. and finally being somebody's friend on myspace and being mentioned in a punknews comment hardly qualifies as having lasting influence.

though i'd like to think the people out there in internetland have better things to do than nitpick reviews by volunteer writers, i'll take the bait
1) you missed the point about Throwdown entirely. you have two hardcore bands (close friends, by the way) often criticized for the simplicity of their lyrics and music, who have both stepped beyond that in releases within a month of each other.
2) read again. i didn't say that it made the lyrics good by any means. only that there are more important things in life than music and lyrics and madball seems to have that in perspective.
3) if you can even question the lasting influence of madball without evidence, you just may be living under a rock. however, the section you referenced had nothing to do with that, but rather that though elitist kids throughout the internet slag madball left and right, they're respected by musicians across the board.

It's better to be silent and thought a fool, than to speak aloud and remove all doubt

SydBarrett420 (September 11, 2007)

Some of you guys should give these dudes a break. I did an interview with them and they were pretty cool:

http://www.politicalpunk.org/MadballInterview.aspx

mikelagglesby (September 11, 2007)

the commentary about throwdown does nothing to aid the review. it only clutters it. being told that madball does not sound like throwdown seems somewhat arbitrary. madball doesnt sound like lots of bands. also i dont see how giving a portion of the proceeds to charity makes their lyrics good. again the two have nothing to do with each other. and finally being somebody's friend on myspace and being mentioned in a punknews comment hardly qualifies as having lasting influence.

pdxtoph (September 11, 2007)

this band fucking blows... i dont care if i cant post anonymous.

seriously i'd rather listen to a mix of hawthorne heights, angels and airwaves, and cartel than this steaming pile of shit. YEAH BRO... HXC FOREVER

almosttragichero (September 10, 2007)

well considering you're probably some 17 year old internet punk who thinks he's awesome cause he can make fun of bands that are easy targets, i think that's pretty funny.

score is for paul

mattramone (September 10, 2007)

Paul from None More Black got super pissed at me when I called Madball lame and gave me a lecture about how true friends stick together. true story.

Every hardcore lyric since the days of SOIA has been "I'll fuck you up if you mess with my friends/All my friends are backstabbing hypocrites"

AphasiacIIC (September 9, 2007)

madball was on thorp before ferret

and yes madball did have band issues i coulda sworn a member was in jail, theyre not cashing in you dumbasses

GlassPipeMurder (September 9, 2007)

to be technical, i don't think they ever broke up. they took a two year hiatus in like 2001, and that was due to issues within the band. i'm no expert on the band, but it seems like you're missing the point. check out "I Can't Wait" by Good Clean Fun for a similar perspective.

punkgato (September 8, 2007)

I used wikipedia just like you seemed to have...2003 was a Roadrunner cash-in, not an album!

punkgato (September 8, 2007)

Uhh...they borke up after Roadrunner dumped them, and got back together 4 years later when "hardcore" picked back up and signed to Ferret. They're just as bad as Jack Kelly and Ray Cappo!

marcusd (September 8, 2007)

they really need to hang it up. seriously it hasnt been good in...well it was never good.

GlassPipeMurder (September 8, 2007)

Uhh...didn't Madball do exactly that???

Given that they released albums in 1989, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005 before this, I don't see how you could come to that conclusion.

punkgato (September 7, 2007)

"Novelty" takes aim at the resurgence of hardcore bands that broke up when hardcore stopped being fashionable and reunited when there was more money to be made."

Uhh...didn't Madball do exactly that???

internetsanta (September 7, 2007)

yes madball is an easy target,but give me those lyrics as quoted in the review over any lyrics posted on this site in the last 6 months

punkgato (September 7, 2007)

This record is excellent for flexing, posing, trying on wife-beaters, rolling blunts, shadow-boxing, and recycling riffs for the 6th time!

sizzla (September 7, 2007)

i consider myself macho and tough. not madball's idea of tough but more along the lines of randy "macho man" savage.

el_matt (September 7, 2007)

Oh man, i had totally forgotten about the pie chart.

crazytoledo (September 7, 2007)

This is the tough guy hardcore equivalent of what Hawthorne Heights is to the nu-emo scene.

GlassPipeMurder (September 7, 2007)

Adam: NMB gave Madball some plugs when this album came out via myspace bulletins. And to answer your question, most bands choose their "top 8" deliberately, and it makes sense as Paul Delaney has played with Madball.

AphasiacIIC (September 7, 2007)

people who say theyre tough guy dont listen to madball. lots of their lyrics are pretty damn positive. this album is great, better than legacy but a tad worse than hold it down

rkl (September 7, 2007)

while madball may've been come about in the 80s, when i think "80s hardcore" theyre certainly not one of the first(or last, for that matter)bands to come to mind

brown (September 7, 2007)

These guys are tuff.

Rastid (September 7, 2007)

nice, hardworking guys. not my personal favourite hardcore band, but lots of respect for them. great review though--gotta check out the album

WhiteCollar (September 7, 2007)

I will say this first before anyone else does.

DON'T
FORGET
YOUR
ROOTS

ChokingVictim (September 7, 2007)

pretty gay

JerryCola (September 7, 2007)

Hey, the perfect band for "words can not express how much fuck this band"

adam (September 7, 2007)

Does MySpace really hold such social sway that the ranking of a band on another band's friends list has any meaning? That just seems like a strange point to make.

-adam

ILOVESCOTT (September 7, 2007)

this review is way too long

Archangel (September 7, 2007)
Archangel (September 7, 2007)

Well, since the shit-talking comment-fighting is almost inevitable, I'll kick it off: Madball sucks, tough guy hardcore is bullshit, and that review with the pie chart was one of the best things PN has ever seen.

Torgo (September 7, 2007)

Can't take this bad seriously.

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