Hank Jones - Saturdays Of Thunder (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Hank Jones

Saturdays Of Thunder (2005)


In 2003, a little Canadian band known as Comeback Kid burst onto the hardcore scene with the explosive Turn It Around. A few release dates apart, former members of Kid Dynamite, Lifetime, and a few others put out CVA under the moniker Paint It Black. The two groups paid homage to the early roots of hardcore, but were refreshing and innovative enough to spur relevance in the new era. Both bands have again released stunning albums within the same calendar year; however, there's a new kid on the streets giving the former two a run for their crowns.

Meet Hank Jones -- no, the legendary jazz pianist has not traded in smooth soul for booming breakdowns; I'm speaking of the roaring Hank Jones quartet from Erie, PA. Sliding in at just over twenty minutes, Saturdays Of Thunder is one non-stop fist-pumping and vocal stretching ride. Simply defined, it's an impressive release that's just as aggressive as it is fun and one that grabs the listener from start to finish.

Distinguishing Hank Jones from the cookie-cutter hardcore mold is the unique work performed by guitarist Nick Warren and vocalist Mike Torti's inimitable wails. Instead of supplying overly predictable chugs and breakdowns on the strings, Warren strums out riffs that are clearly influenced, but dispense their own originality -- check out the solo on "Where Did It Go?" and "125 Chestnut's" brutal pace. The most substantial part of Saturdays Of Thunder would be the harsh shouting spewing from each of the thirteen tracks. Torti's vocal chords are tough as nails on the opener "Get Pissed" yet coarser than sandpaper on the thumping "Preaching To The Choir Of Molested Boys."

The recording quality for this Undecided Records release aids in the appeal, not nearly as glossy as the majority of the material being released now. The rugged edge further emphasizes the throwback to early hardcore albums. Despite the raw appraisal, there are times though when the drums sound hollow and clicky; thankfully, the fast-paced songs whiz by and this hardly becomes a deafening issue.

Highlighting the debut record is your new favorite song -- "Pizza Party." No further explanation is needed for the gang vocal-laden anthem; just grab a slice with your friends and enjoy! It's the ideal approach to listen to this surprising unveiling of Hank Jones.