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Thinking about what makes toughguy toughguy, I come up with this: no one will ever accuse it of being beautiful.Now, don't get me wrong - I love the stuff, especially its second phase (pretty much that mosh style post 'Under the Knife') - but it's always a music subgenre more for effect than art.Having said that, bands that do what they do well are certainly noticed, Buried Alive or Until the End for example, and bands, like Throwdown, that bring a genuine new sound to the dance floor are loved pretty universally.
One Nation Under, though not a new band, has slipped quietly under the hardcore radar with a new full-length on Eulogy's sister label, Alveran.Before getting into a lengthy discussion, I will simply say: once you hear this album, you will be mortified that no one's talking about it.Sound promisingONU is quite honestly the only band I've heard that plays brutal music in the same vein as Throwdown; this is high praise.They have a gritty, pounding brand of mosh, backed up with gravelly, hoarse vocals, snappy drum work, and breakdowns to raise the hair on the back of your neck.Good, legitimate lyrics pack each number with exhortations to self-betterment and condemnations of the dead eyed masses and betrayal.I can't honestly tell if they're sXe, but if not, they're close.
"Resist," the first track, defies conventional structural wisdom by opening on a goddamn fine breakdown - they have no illusions as to what this music is about.Fast bass and snappy drum runs keep you two-stepping to your hearts content, complimented by nice pace changes.And when the break returns at the end...not only returns, but drops about an octave from that tortured pounding to rounded double bass mayhem.On many tracks, "Everything to Lose" to take one, gang-style vocals hint at sing-alongs-to-come; here too, note the contrasting sound of Disembodied style high-end warbling over the first breakdown."In the Name of" impresses by its well-timed tempo shifts, and slightly more metal riffing.I hear influences of everything from Turmoil to Santa Sangre.My favorite is probably "Broken Glass Everywhere," which uses a repetitive structure to taunt the listener who knows what is to come; the breakdown must be heard to be believed.Period."Redefine," though attractive with sour guitars, is not the most interesting track (I do like the sing along toward the end, however).Its first breakdown also uses an interesting 'walking' note progression, which makes the uninspiring finale less of a disappointment."You Always Hurt," fast and energetic, uses a trick recently noted in ETID's Jimmy Tango's Method, the single chugging guitar line anticipating breakdown, but a surprise two-step, then the promised breakdown which drops out of nowhere.The meatiest track at over 3 minutes, it is ripe with sing-along potential.I can almost see the finger-pointing in my head.
With all this, there are still four named and one unlisted tracks, each just as dancy and powerful as the rest.
Put simply, any band that ends songs with "Everybody move it!" or "Go!" before the final breakdown is pretty darn cool.One Nation Under, all in all, is a tight, hard-hitting hardcore band, bringing the mosh like nobody's business.If you like Throwdown, you will like this album.Unfortunately, the sound is so similar at times that it seems less 'inspired-by' than 'derivative-of,' particularly with less creative song writing, less interesting lyrics, and - conspicuously at times - poorer drum work (although this could be the fault of bad production rather than skill).With this said, One Nation Under is shockingly good for a band that seems to have materialized on the scene overnight; I, personally, can't wait until they come to town.And I have a feeling that once kids start getting their hands on this record, I definitely won't be the only one.