Hardcore started off as the more ferocious brother of the punk era featuring straight-talking vocalists spouting about rebellion and injustice in the system, standing up for the average Joe’s troubles and calling for every man on the street to rise up. It’s hard to find another genre that delivers its message effectively and without any overriding favouritism towards a single instrument.
In step Madball, who have been in existence since the late 1980s and even coined their own regional form of the genre: New York hardcore.
Over the years, they’ve had an extensive line-up changes, with vocalist Freddy Cricien being the only founding member left but they still bound in like it’s still 1988 on their now ninth album, ‘For The Cause’.
It starts off with ‘Smile Now Pay Later’, which has an introduction of open distorted guitars and impactful drums, and the feeling is there instantly. There’s rebellion in the air even before the vocals start to spout direct into your ears with political messages. There’s even some interchanges of speed that border on thrash metal territory, before a gentle open build-up to a breakdown and chanting of the main focal chant sees it off.
Interspaced in the introductions are spoken word sections from various supporters of the band that give a retrospective view. The first of these is on ‘Rev-Up’, a short and riotous track amping up the ante on the theme of revolution, which is followed by the similarly fast-paced and rebellious ‘Freight Train’.
‘Temptest’ is easily the heaviest and most lyrically violent track on the album, talking about revenge against the injustices, and flows with equal speed and ferocity throughout.
Madball are masters at what they do, and are still just as volatile, energetic, and passionate twenty years down the line, and still fighting strong ‘For The Cause’.