International Superheroes of Hardcore - HPxHC [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)

International Superheroes of Hardcore

HPxHC [7 inch] (2008)

Bridge 9

Chad Gilbert and Co. are on a mission to not only pay tribute to hardcore, but inject some sorely needed humor into the genre. Fresh on the heels of their debut Takin' It Ova! from earlier this year, this latest release collects three B-sides from the Japanese release of Takin' It Ova! and one new song, which delves into the heavily debated subject of whether or not Harry Potter is hardcore.

In the title track, it seems "Sgt. Soy" (Ian Grushka, with a hilarious New York tough guy accent) isn't quite convinced of Harry's hardcore roots, but Capt. Straight Edge (Gilbert) sets the record straight in typical ISHC fashion. The cover of the 7" features Harry Potter-themed artwork, and in a move that shows especially impressive attention to detail, Bridge 9 has released it on four different dual-colored 7"s, each representing one of the Hogwarts Team's color schemes.

Other important issues covered on the release include their commitment to keeping it real (with gang vocal examples like Santa Claus, unicorns and wrestling, to name a few), their ongoing feud with Batman, and how, like MC Hammer before them, they're "Too Legit to Quit."

The music is fast-paced but as tight as a band that's been playing together as long as these guys have. Chad, er, I mean Capt. Straight Edge's voice, first introduced briefly in Shai Hulud, then in increasingly larger increments to New Found Glory material, is surprisingly well-suited for hardcore -- forceful yet clear.

This record is cheap, comes on cool colors, and is a lot of fun. With New Found Glory's recent signing to Epitaph, the music and touring of NFG is sure to take precedence over their superhero alter-egos. But I hope Sgt. Soy, Chugga Chugga, Mister Mosh, The Amazing Breakdown and Capt. Straight Edge don't get lost in the shuffle, and that their Hammer-like "Too Legit to Quit" boast turns out to be right.