New York hardcore veterans MADBALL have set "Hardcore Lives" as the title of their ninth studio album, due on June 27 via Nuclear Blast. The CD was tracked and engineered by UNEARTH guitarist Ken Susi and mixed and mastered by longtime collaborator Chris "Zeuss" Harris (HATEBREED, AGNOSTIC FRONT, SOULFLY, TERROR, WHITECHAPEL). Official promo photos were taken by LAMB OF GOD's very own Randall D. Blythe.
Commented MADBALL frontman Freddy Cricien: "I shouted 'Hardcore Lives' on MADBALL's first release, 'Ball Of Destruction'. I was twelve then. It wasn't pre-planned or written down... It was an ad-lib that I just threw out there and we kept it!
"Back then, there was no choice, really, not the way we were recording — two-track live at Don Fury's... NYHC style!
"I feel the sentiment behind the expression still holds true today, maybe even more so. Hence the reason we finally chose to use it as a title. Sure, it's about waving the flag for our genre/culture, etc.
"I've always felt that 'we as a scene' had to scream just a lil louder... to be heard! That said, 'Hardcore Lives', at least to us, is not just about a cool 'catchphrase,' it's about that rebellious spirit that doesn't give in... in life, music, whatever. It's about growing, evolving, and maintaining your integrity in the process. It's about family, overcoming adversity, and respect. All the things that matter inside and outside of the music realm. It's for everyone and anyone with an open mind and heart."
"Hardcore Lives" will be available as limited-edition digipak and on black vinyl, both including two additional bonus tracks: "The Beast", which also appeared on 2012's EP "Rebellion", and "Spit On Your Grave", from 1994's landmark release "Set It Off". Both tracks have been exclusively re-recorded for the inclusion on "Hardcore Lives". The album will also include guest appearances by some of hardcore's most notable singers: Scott Vogel (TERROR), Toby Morse (H20) and Candace Puopolo (formerly Kucsulain, WALLS OF JERICHO).
"Hardcore Lives" track listing:
02. Hardcore Lives
03. The Balance
04. Doc Marten Stomp
06. True School (feat. Scott Vogel)
07. The Here And Now
08. Nothing To Me
09. My Armor (feat. Toby Morse)
10. Beacon Of Light
11. Born Strong (feat. Candace Puopolo)
13. Mi Palabra
15. For The Judged
16. The Beast
17. Spit On Your Grave 2014
Later this month, MADBALL will embark on the fifth installment of the band's renowned Rebellion tour with BIOHAZARD, DEVIL IN ME, WISDOM IN CHAINS and FINAL PRAYER.
New York hardcore legends MADBALL have entered the studio to begin work on their eighth full-length release, their first since 2010's "Empire". The band is recording basic tracks with Ken Susi (UNEARTH) at System Recordings in Grafton, Massachusetts. Additional recording will take place at Pinecrust Studios in Miami, Florida with Jonathan Nuñez at the helm. The CD will be mixed by Chris "Zeuss" Harris, who previously worked with MADBALL on "Legacy" (2005) and "Infiltrate The System" (2007). The as-yet-untitled effort is slated for a mid-summer release.
MADBALL's latest EP, "Rebellion", was released digitally in 2012 via The BNB Label, a brand extension of vocalist Freddy Cricien's Black N Blue Productions group. The six-song effort contained four new tracks and newly recorded versions of two cuts from the band's legendary 1989 seven-inch single, "Ball Of Destruction". The CD was recorded at Mana Recording Studios in St. Petersberg, Florida with producer Erik Rutan (HATE ETERNAL, CANNIBAL CORPSE, MORBID ANGEL).
"Rebellion" marked the first MADBALL recording with former UNEARTH and THE RED CHORD member Mike Justian, who had served as MADBALL's touring drummer for a couple of years.
"Empire" sold around 1,500 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at position No. 15 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.
Greg Prato of Songfacts recently conducted an interview with guitarist Mitts (real name: Brian Daniels) of New York hardcore legends MADBALL. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Songfacts: What is MADBALL currently up to?
Mitts: We're writing for a new record right now. We've got three or four songs. As a hardcore band, our songs are fairly short compared to metal — they're not, like, seven-, eight-minute songs. Our songs are generally between two and three minutes, so we usually go for in the 12-to-15-song range for a record. We like to have at least 30 minutes.
Songfacts: How does the songwriting work in the band? Is it you that comes up with an idea or is it Freddy, or do you guys collaborate?
Mitts: It's basically between my bass player, Hoya, and myself. We'll come up with riffs and song ideas. If it's not just one riff, we'll have one or two riffs that go together and that'll be a piece. When we get those, we'll bring it into the rehearsal room and we'll start to work on it as a band. Nobody ever writes an entire song in MADBALL on their own. Basically, we take a couple of riffs and we piece it together. Once we get it in the room, then the four of us work out the kinks and pitch in ideas on the arrangement and structure of it. And as we're doing that, Freddy, my singer, he'll make a lot of arrangement calls, because he's starting to imagine what he's going to sing over it. And so he'll say, "No, this verse had go to be longer," or "This is where we'll stick a chorus. Let's put a little intro piece here, because I've got an idea for this or that." He definitely has a strong input as far as arrangement. And our drummer, Mike, he's going to try to come up with different drum patterns. Generally the drummer in this band, whoever it may be over the years, has a lot of input as far as what they're playing over these riffs. I'll have an idea for how I think a drum part should go along with one of my riffs, but he's the one that's going to interpret that. And same thing with Hoya. Hoya will sit there and be like, "No, the beat's gotta be more like this or more like that." And he'll specify. But at the end of the day, one of us comes up with a riff or a couple of riffs and then we take it into the room and we all hammer it out.
Songfacts: To the best of your knowledge, who would you say are some of the first bands that truly merged hardcore with heavy metal?
Mitts: I think AGNOSTIC FRONT, the CRO-MAGS. In those early records by those bands, you can start to see the development. On the first AGNOSTIC FRONT record, you can hear that late '70s punk sound and that early '80s sound that started to become hardcore. Bands like the CIRCLE JERKS and the DEAD KENNEDYS and the BAD BRAINS were merging that speed with the punk. Punk was the SEX PISTOLS and the RAMONES, but then hardcore started just making it a little louder, a little heavier, and a little more aggressive. And then you had the New York sound — I think New York pioneered what still lasts as hardcore today. They started to add more metal into it, more right hand riffing, more palm muting riffing as opposed to just, "dadadadadadadada." That was punk, that open strumming. You listen to records like the first CRO-MAGS record, "The Age Of Quarrel", there's a lot of right-hand chugging, like metallic kind of riffs. Same thing with AGNOSTIC FRONT. Their second record, "Cause For Alarm", all of a sudden you start to hear really fast picking, a lot of dissident guitar patterns and stuff like that. So those are the bands that really started to pioneer that. You look at hardcore today, and 90 percent of hardcore bands that are around today doing well still have that metal edge to them.
Read the entire interview at Songfacts.