Project X - Straight Edge Revenge [reissue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Project X

Straight Edge Revenge [reissue] (2005)

Bridge Nine

Instant classics are few and far between in the world of hardcore. There's so much standardized material being pumped out daily, it takes more than just some fast power chords and angsty shouts to rise above the heap. For side projects, such well-received releases are even less frequent, as they're usually overlooked in favor of the big-name titles of their collective effort. But for every rule, there is an exception. And the aptly named Project X is that exception.

Formed out of the sheer necessity of releasing music to accompany their zine, Schism, John Porcelly (Youth of Today, Judge) and Alex Brown (Side by Side, Gorilla Biscuits) assembled fellow bandmates Walter Schreifels and Sammy Siegler to record the seven-inch and ended up playing some shows in the late `80s.

Side one belongs to "Straight Edge Revenge," quite possibly the most celebrated straight-edge anthem this side of anything by Minor Threat. With its over-the-top militant lyrics and brooding chromatic bassline, the uncompromising assault served as the centerpiece of an already exceptional EP and the battle cry of a reignited straight-edge movement. The band doesn't use straight-edge as a lyrical crutch, however, as the next tune, "Shutdown," chronicles Youth of Today being banned from CBGB for encouraging stagediving, while the eight-second "Cross Me" lands its lyrical punch squarely at its enemy: "You've talked your shit for the last time / Now you'll fucking get it / Cross me!" "Dance Floor Justice" launches from a simple bass pattern on a start-and-stop time signature to a furious onslaught of shouts and break-neck rhythms, while "Where It Ends" builds slowly and only erupts periodically in between a more measured composition as the EP's longest single track at 2:17.

Initially pressed as a limited run of 500 and sold at shows, copies were extremely hard to find before its fortunate re-release by Bridge 9 in 2005. With the re-release comes a bonus track tacked on at the end, which offers a nice live glimpse of such a short-lived band. Recorded in 1988 at the Anthrax club in Connecticut, the extra track pairs "Dance Floor Justice" with a band/audience collaboration on "Cross Me."

In between songs on the bonus live track, the band can be heard saying "We only have two more songs, because that's all we know…because we're not really a real band." Even if they didn't consider themselves a real band, however, this EP is a real classic.