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July 18, 2024

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Point Break: Volume 1 (Side Cho Records)

By: Vinnie Apicella

This is about as comprehensive as collection get - eighteen full bore, fist-raising and previous estranged fence-straddling anthems to add a cohesion to the "core" community of "H/C" and "Metal". Each contributor is previously established or an about to break, up and comer type with significant strides made in quickly uniting scene under the flag of aggression, rage, and lately, playability. And not a bad introduction for the newcomer, priced at only $6.98; shit, I remember that being a good deal for a soon to be obsolete record album back in the day and you're lucky to get eight to ten songs! No quality over quantity issues to be found here. Most of the tunes are pulled from the groups' most recent release, with a handful of unreleased tracks - "Deadworld" for instance, by the revered American Metallers, Shadows Fall, originated from the Europe-only "Fear Will Drag You Down." Bands like Thrice, logging in second, though I wasn't thoroughly convinced they belong there with their "Betrayal Is A Symptom," but then maybe I'm still awed by Zao's "Angel Without Wings" Power Metal ballad that's gripping as it is glaring; Skinlab's an old-favorite hitting the bricks with "Slave The Way" from their "Revolting Room" record and opening with a flurry of double-bass and deafening screams that makes Static-X seem soapy. Bands like Avenged Sevenfold and Living Sacrifice, who lend an extra technical dimension to songs and shift gears in tempo and tone more than twice or three times a minute, and Meshuggah, who'd been a state of the art pioneer among the "Metal" ranks years ago with their industrialized often incomprehensive cyber-metal warfare lend another dimension to the idea of a Punk/Metal crossover; Converge does "Broken Vow" from their monstrous "Converge" release. American Nothing's worth at least a mention delivering more sonic intensity fueled on the "hardened" Metal-Core exploits of bands like a Soilwork, Sick Of It All and/or Propain; In Flames? Where'd they come from? Death Metal takes a dive? But if there's a loophole here, Death grunts and pit-strains don't lay out any clear distinctions once the guitars gain amperage and the blast beats reign down; the line's still there, yup, just getting harder to find amidst the thickening layers of reverb. And then there are just those handful of contributors that garner little else than a question mark next to their entry and leave it till later - Neck (covering Metallica's "Thing?") Drowningman, Willhaven? anybody up for Fall Silent? Sorry, not here. Stretch Armstrong concludes the hour plus massacre with "For The Record," a killer cut off one of their weaker - "Revolution Transmission" - releases. There's the common thread of intensity and emotion prevalent in all the bands here that tie them together better than any stupid label of contents could. Nice song selection job overall. "Point Break's" an effective merger of raw talented universal movers and local offenders that's an engaging listen that should sway public opinion, dissuade opposition and at worst justify the seven bucks ya sprang!
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