Full Scale Riot - Empower (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Full Scale Riot

Empower (2016)

Eulogy records

Full Scale Riot is a NYHC band that I really want to like. There are a lot of things to like about Empower, but I am unable to fully embrace it. Musically it’s pretty cool. I’d call it a cross between Rage Against The Machine and thrash metal. There are some interesting, noodling instrumental passages and some fast, straight up killer riffs. The lyrics are also solid, although they tend to stick with well worn hardcore topics. Where I get hung up is on the vocals. They just don’t do it for me. They sound like a combination of Zack de la Rocha and that annoying, simple-minded Adam Sandler character. (As much as I still occasionally enjoy RATM, de la Rocha’s whiny vocal style has not really aged well, and I never particularly enjoyed Sandler)

The individual songs are all at least solid. Anthemic opener “Hold You to the Fire” is followed by the catchy “All Day PMA”. (Is that a play on the name of one of my favorite beers, Founders All Day IPA?) “Eighty-Two Hundred Drop” is a pro marijuana rant by none other than NYHC legend Jimmy Gestapo (who’s also a personal favorite), that leads into “Eighty-Two Hundred”. “Game Face”, “Hope” and “Rising Tide” are sturdy hardcore songs, even if they are a bit predictable. “The Day I Die” is probably my favorite track on Empower. It’s a powerful song about a friend who took his own life. Closer “Freedom of Self” is another favorite that deals with our loss of individual liberty.

Full Scale Riot contains two former members of MOD, so their thrash and hardcore credibility is strong. Along the way we also get guest appearances from singer/multi-instrumentalist Ben Harper and rapper Chris Rivers (son of the late Big Pun) that add to the soul and hip hop flavor. Take a minute to check out Full Scale Riot for yourself. Empower is far from being a bad album. It’s just frustrating that it’s not better.