The Metal Examiner: The Rival Mob’s Hardcore for Hardcore

Every Friday, The Metal Examiner delves metal’s endless depths to present the genre’s most important and exciting albums.

The Rival Mob - Hardcore for HardcoreThe Rival Mob: Hardcore for Hardcore 7″ (Six Feet Under Records, 8/6/2010)

The Rival Mob: “Hardcore for Hardcore” [audio:|titles=The Rival Mob – Hardcore for Hardcore]

The Rival Mob has collected all sorts of praise with its approach to the New York hardcore sound of the late ’80s, and it doesn’t hurt that vocalist Brendan Radigan splits time playing drums in niche-loved Mind Eraser. Although everyone knows not to judge an album by its cover, the lush, conflict-laden painting adorning Hardcore for Hardcore, the band’s new six-song seven-inch, primes the listener adequately for what lies within.

Hardcore for Hardcore is the The Rival Mob’s third release, following the 2009 Raw Life EP and a 2007 demo. Fans of these previous recordings should find plenty to like, as the band has not strayed significantly from its creative vision. A tenacious approach and shrewd transitions separate this EP from other current bands playing in a similar style. Radigan’s vocal delivery is idiosyncratic and engaging in spite of lyrical cliches about back-stabbing posers. The song-writing intent remains a rhythmic pummeling of memorable, mid-paced riffing, but without being overly chuggy.  Instead, the band achieves heaviness through clever switches of emphasis and syncopation.  Though each musical idea is stimulating enough on its own, the relationships between riffs create songs that are more than merely a sum of their parts. This type of rhythmic gaming and structuring is what makes bands like Sepultura, Celtic Frost, and Black Flag so effective.

However, unlike these canonical artists, The Rival Mob favors straight-forward songs in lieu of chaos. Each song has an unmissable focal point that serves as a foundation. From the get-go, it’s obvious that every song will move through fast parts before climaxing with an ending intended for moshing. The Rival Mob keeps this format engaging by specializing in creative transitions: everything suddenly cuts out for a drum break or a vocal yelp. Even though the listener knows what is coming most of the time, the quality of the riffs and the obvious emotional engagement of the band are more than enough to bear repeat plays.

This band is is one of the most talked-about bands on hardcore message boards across the Internet, and not since No Warning in the early 2000s has a band been this hyped while deserving the praise offered by the masses. The Rival Mob clearly loves what it does, and that makes it easy to love its music.

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