Nine Eleven - City of Quartz [12 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Nine Eleven

City of Quartz [12 inch] (2009)

Chorus of One

Obnoxiously attention-whoring name aside (claimed to be chiefly referencing the 1973 C.I.A. overthrow in Chile), Nine Eleven's City of Quartz is one of the year's best new-school hardcore full-lengths.

While bands like Bane and Paint It Black spent 2009 releasing EPs and singles, City of Quartz draws from the aforementioned alongside Verse, Have Heart and Modern Life Is War. From the hammering onslaught laid forth by "The New Shame of Punk to Come" to the head-bobbing opening of "White Trash Kids = Redneck Geeks," Nine Eleven holds little back, if any at all. The French quintet tackles 10 songs plus an untitled bonus song on City of Quartz, which bounds between the 22-second "The Story of Our Life" and the nearly six-minute "The Quik and the Dead."

Throughout, there's a surprising proficiency of English, demonstrated for example in the balls-out barn-burner "Take to Remake": "Mirages flower to the beat of hearts / Stirred by the thousand-paged modern tragedy that is hope to which we are leashed like a dog / The epilogue and prologue are united where new names and faces draw the well-built lines of the labyrinth / Sheltering windmills at the feet of which we once laid down our arms." A bit stilted perhaps, but powerful nonetheless. The five-minute "Sen" opens with a layer of meandering notes, somewhere between Integrity and MLIW before lead vocalist Romain shouts Neil Young's infamous Cobain-inspiring declaration, "It's better to burn out than to fade away!"

City of Quartz has all the formulaic makings of a great hardcore record, from its measured buildups of potential energy to its thundering kinetic bursts of aggression. But more than just having the right parts, Nine Eleven channels the passion and vigor it takes to create a memorable album with the sincerity that hardcore fans demand.