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Madball - Empire (Cover Artwork)

Madball

Madball: EmpireEmpire (2010)
Good Fight Entertainment

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:


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

Madball is a particularly polarizing band here. I've always had a fond place in my heart for them, though. Sure, they're not nuclear physicists, but they're honest guys who seem to enjoy what they're doing and genuinely care about it. The music is pretty fun. While it fits a mold, these are guys who.
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Madball is a particularly polarizing band here. I've always had a fond place in my heart for them, though. Sure, they're not nuclear physicists, but they're honest guys who seem to enjoy what they're doing and genuinely care about it. The music is pretty fun. While it fits a mold, these are guys who were involved in creating that mold, so I don't think you can really blame them for sticking to that end of the "stagnant"/"sellout" rock/hard place.

This is a good album. The songs have hooks, it hits hard, it flows well, and the lyrics...have a nice sound to them. These guys obviously know what they're doing, and they have produced another album up to their standards, to the extent that you like hard-hitting, straightforward, moshable NYHC.

Listening to it, though, I was wondering why I wasn't extremely excited about it as compared with, say, the new Cruel Hand record. Both of these records are straightforward, heavy hardcore, picking up some metal influences without becoming full-fledged metalcore. Both of the records are catchy and pretty easy to listen to. But I think what it comes down to is that, while the Cruel Hand record feels like a collection of songs begging to be recorded, the Madball record seems like a bunch of experienced veterans who decided they wanted to make an album, so they squeezed out some songs.

it's mostly the little things. While the Cruel Hand record has great little moments (e.g. the little laugh at the end of "Cruel Hand"), Empire just feels slightly off. Madball has never been known for its deep lyrics--the goal is more lyrics with flow, with rhymes that connect, and that don't cause you to blush out of embarrassment when singing along. All of that is met here. But at times the lyrics feel like they were forced out. Take the chorus from the first song, "Invigorate": "They evaluate, / we dictate. / They sit and wait, we take charge. / Invigorate." Neither deep nor embarrassing, but still somehow forced.

This sort of sets the tone for the album. It's hard to articulate examples, but even the guitar lines have a similar feel. There are some good moments. "R.A.H.C." is a passionate defense of living hardcore. It's a song that I can see myself continuing to listen to down the line. But the album is a full 16 songs long, which really doesn't seem necessary given that it doesn't feel like they came into the studio with a ton of songs they were desperate to record.

Look, I don't know these guys. Maybe they thought up all these songs on the road, fell in love with them, and needed to get them all out on a record. But they didn't do a good job in conveying it. Maybe just editing a few of the lines that were a little off would have helped.

Anyways, the point is that this is a fun, catchy album, but it's not a great album. You can probably spend a bunch of very enjoyable hours listening to it (again, if you like NYHC). But it's not a classic. Also, some of it is in Spanish.

 

 
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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.
dlangl4 (August 7, 2011)

Dear hardcpz,

The correct punctuation should look like this:

"They evaluate; we dictate.
They sit and wait; we take charge; invigorate!"

hardcpz (January 6, 2011)

Actually, the correct punctuation should looks like this:

"They evaluate, we dictate.
They sit and wait, we take charge, invigorate!"

If you can‚??t really read between the lines of this one, you shouldn‚??t be writing a review about this band at all.

Just landed on this site, and went through all Madball reviews‚?? lots of pussies are writing hate comments, 90% of the people posting here seem to feel personally offended by the band‚??s music/lyrics/attitude. What‚??s you problem with the ‚??tough guy‚?? attitude? Life either makes you tough, or you become a coach potato spreading your poison through the keyboard.

Since this album came out, I listen to it almost all the time ‚?? and it is the most INVIGORATING thing I‚??ve listened to since Tightrope (N.Y.H.C.).

I am 34 years old; I‚??ve been into metal/punk/hardcore music since I was 12. I‚??ve seen every single band I‚??ve ever wanted, but Madball remain the most genuine, down to earth and friendly band I‚??ve ever met. Been to 8 or 9 of their concerts, every time there are no barriers, no security. In Sofia they smoked weed with us after the show, in London Underworld (to me ‚?? the home of world HC scene as it seems everywhere else our music is considered ‚??too violent‚??) almost every time they drink beer at the bar with the people who came to the gig before going on stage.

You may like or dislike them, but you can‚??t deny the fact that ‚??The monopolies have seen some better days‚?? ‚?? thanks to genuine bands like Madball, who play in small venues for little or no profit, tour with the same bus they‚??ve been using for 10 years now and always show respect to their people.

Last words to the author:

‚??Also, some of it is in Spanish.‚?? ‚?? last time I checked there was no such thing as ‚??language standard‚?? for the HC music imposed.

Haters ‚?? keep hating, that‚??s the only thing you love doing. Like it or not, we‚??re the tough guys, and you fear to express your thoughts in person. It has been like that since day one.

HCxPZ

soulbleed (December 15, 2010)

madball should have stayed broken up. i haven't liked any of their new material, except maybe the "nyhc" ep.

fox82 (December 14, 2010)

Definitely not the greatest contemporary NYCH record, but now that I think of it, I don't think any Madball full-length was consistent all the way through; despite some pretty sweet moshtastic songs on every record, they always seemed to get a bit lazy when writing songs.

Youmadbro (December 13, 2010)

Greatest album ever.

GlassPipeMurder (December 11, 2010)

good, evenhanded review. a rarity for bands like this.

thepopeofchili-town (December 11, 2010)

Best review ever:

http://www.punknews.org/review/2881

Except maybe the Calvin & Hobbes HWM one.

regreteverything (December 11, 2010)

Smell him a little... Yeah, that's good.

robalobadob (December 11, 2010)

WHAT HAPPENED TO MY CAPS?!?!?!?!

My friend, don't worry. Put down the caps for a moment. Let your words stand alone, trembling in the soft glow of punknews. This is a safe place. You don't to violently insert all that vitriol into your thoughts. Oh, xtoughxguyx, I see you. You're so scared. You're shaking. Come here, let me hold you.

It's okay, you can cry now.

regreteverything (December 11, 2010)

Madball are the Mad TV of hardcore: Awkward, uncomfortable, lacking talent, and unfunny even as a parody. You just want to call their mothers and offer your condolences. That having been said, I'm glad they're still together because I don't think I could handle them all going on to other bands.

conebone69 (December 11, 2010)

lol

Who listens to this shit?

xtoughxguyx (December 11, 2010)

WHAT HAPPENED TO MY CAPS?!?!?!?!

xtoughxguyx (December 11, 2010)

Just go play for that shitty against me! band and leave the grown up music to the grown ups. Nerd.

Rastid (December 11, 2010)

YOU'RE BEING WARNED.

to be his son or not to be his son? i don't understand what you want me to do!

xtoughxguyx (December 11, 2010)

YOU'RE PROBABLY MAXWEINBERG'S SON.

the layers of sarcasm are so thick that i don't know whether i'm being ironically insulted or sarcastically complimented.

YOU'RE BEING WARNED.

Rastid (December 11, 2010)

I guess what I'm saying - Madball, write a poppy ska song with serious lyrics. Don't record it, don't play it live, just rehearse it a few times. Then get back to hardcore. I swear your next record will be gold.

ummmmmm, this is actually a really good idea.

wyzo (December 11, 2010)

If you want to brighten your day, google search for this album's review on killyourstereo.com

never read that website, won't start now, but I actually thought the review was satire until the 2nd to last line of the first paragraph. Plus two people left comments, and the second guy replying to the first guy IS ALL IN CAPS. AWESOME!!!

Probably the only good thing to come from this record existing.

But anyway, Madball has always been a running joke to me, like since high school, which was way too long ago. We used to make jokes that Madball was the surprise opening band for shows and generally use the name of the band as if it was a punchline in a variety of situations.

I don't know what this band has to prove about not having anything to prove, but they proved it. Continually, unnecessarily for years.

Message received. Quit yelling, get a stress ball.

The tenor of the lyrics and music has always reminded me of being coerced, like your being interrogated by the music to like it and shut the fuck up and waive your right to an attorney and we promise to tell the DA you cooperated. No one can actually like this music. It's like liking food because of what it looks like even though it tastes bad. Like, this has a right to exist and someone has made it exist therefore it has to be given credit for simply existing. Music has no right to life. Shitty music should be aborted.

But, as a regional positive, I support the band. So on a local band level, more to them within the state of new york. I don't want to take away from any personal fun they may acquire from this activity. Outside NY, see above. It just sounds like they hate you, so if they are having fun or living for the now, I don't get that. I just get being punched in the face and being angry all the time.

I guess what I'm saying - Madball, write a poppy ska song with serious lyrics. Don't record it, don't play it live, just rehearse it a few times. Then get back to hardcore. I swear your next record will be gold.

Rastid (December 11, 2010)

YOU'RE PROBABLY MAXWEINBERG'S SON.

the layers of sarcasm are so thick that i don't know whether i'm being ironically insulted or sarcastically complimented.

xtoughxguyx (December 11, 2010)

ALBUM OF THE DECADE!!!

3 STARS?!

SAY THAT TO THEIR FACES, PUSSY.

YOU'RE PROBABLY MAXWEINBERG'S SON.

thepopeofchili-town (December 11, 2010)

No. Just... no.

swank (December 10, 2010)

Does this album have any songs about the streets and/or brotherhood?

FudgePakistan (December 10, 2010)

man i got some mad balls yo

cyanotic (December 10, 2010)

u mad, ball?

hey_sailor (December 10, 2010)

There is no way this album has any redeeming qualities. Where's MadballRamone when you need him?

llmp (December 10, 2010)

lol. balls.

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