Here we got another entry to “What Makes Us Tick” -series and we continue with Edwin of OnexPath -blog, about one of his favourite records ever. Be sure to check his site, it’s filled with crazy good old and obscure hardcore gems!
Friday the 13th, January 1995. I wish that was a joke, but it’s not. Sick Of It All were set to play at the Noorderligt in Tilburg, The Netherlands. Noorderligt, formerly a (sex-)cinema, had been converted into a great venue for shows sometime in the mid 80s, including metal & hardcore shows. I saw all kinds of bands there in the early 90s like Biohazard, The Spudmonsters, Danzig, White Zombie, Pantera, Sepultura, etc… Anyways, on that cold evening Sick Of It All had brought along a US support act, Strife. I had heard Strife before but in many ways they were YAHCB (Yet Another Hardcore Band ™). Still, their set surprised me tho, it was filled with a ton of energy and Rick Rodney was all over the stage. They sounded so much better and intense than what I had heard of their stuff. I bought their ‘One Truth’ CD afterwards and a Sick Of It All t-shirt.
‘It burns – in my heart’
Over the course of a month or so I went from listening to a song or two here and there before moving on to another record to playing the CD several times a day, sometimes back-to-back. Things clicked. It was a gradual click, sure, but it hasn’t unclicked since. It’s fair to say I’ve listened to ‘One Truth’ more than any other record in my collection.
‘Am I the only one?’
It’s impossible to pinpoint what exactly it is about this record that makes it stand out for me. All I know is that it’s about as perfect a hardcore record as anything before or since. 90s hardcore through and through, what more could you ask for (see what I did there)? ‘One Truth’ was hardcore, but also with a definite metallic edge. If you want a template for 90s new school hardcore, look no further. Divebombs? Check. Moshparts & breakdowns? Check. More personal lyrics? Check. Huge singalongs? Check. The Edge? Check. At least until Rick decided he never sang about The Edge after all. A ballad? Check… Wait, what?
‘I fell again, and where were you? My crutch, my need, my everything’
Yes, a ballad. People have talked shit about ‘Slipping’ since the album was released. And you know what? I don’t give a fuck, it’s an amazing track. Strife went out on a limb and did something they wanted to do, and fuck it, it works. It still grabs me and gives me goosebumps. Sure, it’s not exactly youth crew hardcore. It’s layered, emotional and the lyrics could’ve been used for any ‘normal’ hardcore song and all the haters would’ve been up-front, screaming their lungs out. Lyrically it fits the rest of the album to a tee. Musically, it wraps up the album, the last track on the LP version, and in a way it’s what always leaves me wanting to listen to the entire album again. Fuck the haters, ‘Slipping’ rules.
‘Lift my mind my body my soul’
The other stand-out track is my fave Strife song, period, ‘Lift’. When the break happens at 1.40 and the song goes into full chugga chugga mode, I still want to bash a hole in the wall to this day. Shit still gets me pumped so hard. The entire album makes me want to get back on stage again and scream my lungs out (except for ‘Slipping’ perhaps), but nothing like what ‘Lift’ does to me. Fuck it, got to play it again right now.
‘What will remain of those days?’
Another thing people have talked shit about from day one is the production. Too over-produced? No, it’s almost perfect. Not heavy enough? No, it’s almost perfect. We’re talking 1994, and a young band with only 2 7″s under their belt. Cut ’em some slack. Maybe it’s my ears, gawd knows they’re fucked up from not wearing earplugs at shows and rehearsals for years, but this album just sounds so good to me, loud but clear, and with a ton of power. Fuck it, even the additional re-recorded older tracks on the CD version sound better than their original recordings. I don’t know… ‘One Truth’ is hardcore perfection to me. That is all.
‘There’s only one truth!’
And yes, I also still have that SOIA t-shirt I bought that night… somewhere.
Edwin Heijmen – ‘The author is a vegan straight edge oldhead who still wears his tulasi beads as if the 90s never ended.’