Album Review: War Hound - 'Return of the Hardstyle'

20 March 2011 | 9:32 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

New York Hardcore with flawless production.

From the first look of this EP from Chicago’s War Hound, you know what you’re in for. The cover appropriating Biohazard’s Urban Discipline and a title that has the word ‘hard’ in it sum’s it up pretty well. Taking its cues from Biohazard and Madball, what we have here is one of the heaviest hardcore CD’s heard recently, stacking up fine next to recent contemporaries such as Trapped Under Ice, Bitter End and Cruel Hand.

This 4 track EP begins with the title track ‘Return of The Hardstlye’, which from its first couple of bars will have you wanting to be doing weights or turning the areas surrounding you into a wasteland, and should, as it did in my case have the listener hooked on what’s to come. In its simplest definition this intro is a culmination of everything that one expects from the NYHC sound - long rung out chords into chugging, police sirens, lead guitars using the whammy bar and gang vocals. ‘Reality Check’, track two, further reinforces the early 90’s Biohazard vibe, with vocals being delivered in an almost rap-like style (alike to the vocals on Cold World’s Dedicated to the Babies Who Came Feet First) and uses a palm-muted breakdown at the end of the song to create a sludgy mosh part that I’m sure has left people hurt and will continue to do so.

The following track ‘The Path of The Wicked’ utilises a strong chorus coupled with a very strong verse riff that makes for good listening. Guitarist Ronnie also provides a verse, which helps the track greatly as it adds some colour to the vocals, which are delivered throughout in a very similar manner. The outro of this track has to be one of the strongest points on the EP, with its repetitive chant of “This is the path, the path of the wicked”. Album closer ‘Despair’ introduces the audience to new elements such as clean singing in the vein of Only Living Witness and Life of Agony. This track although strong, is probably the most mediocre on the release, with only the previously stated singing being a true standout.

The production on this release is flawless with some of the heaviest guitar and bass tones I’ve heard in a long time, and also packs a great drum sound, and is refreshing to the hardcore scene as most of the time bands want to have a very raw sound as demonstrated by Dead End Path’s Death Walks Beside Us and others.

This EP can be downloaded for free from the band via this link.

This EP is in no way groundbreaking, but it is 9 entertaining minutes of some of the heaviest New York style hardcore heard in the last couple of years. Back this with catchy lyrics touching on heartbreak and betrayal amongst other things and you have yourself an EP that you will listen to mutiple times a day.

  1. Return of the Hardstyle
  2. Reality Check
  3. The Path of the Wicked
  4. Despair