Sunday, January 30, 2011

In Cold Blood - Hell on Earth (1998)

Man, what was in the water in Cleveland in the 90's? Well, there is probably a long and toxic list of answers to that question, but I was mostly referring to the output of the Sixth City's hardcore scene.

This may be the great forgotten Cleveland hardcore album. It has its devotees, sure, but compared to the amount of play the bands from the same period (and sharing the same members) continue to get, it's a bit of a head-scratcher. Integrity, Ringworm, One Life Crew, even older, shittier bands like Die Hard seem to be on people's minds a lot more than In Cold Blood. If you asked any younger kids (like 18-22) about them, I bet you'd get a lot of blank looks. I mean seriously, what gives? Because (strap yourself in for a controversial opinion here): this record is harder than any other Clevo-core record short of the OLC LP.

It was meant to happen, really. You see, the Melnick Brothers were in this band (you may know them as the main songwriters behind all of Integrity's good albums, especially the best Integ album, Seasons in the Size of Days), and they wrote some of the hardest riffs in the history of guitars and amps, except for the ones that Blaze Tishko wrote. But wait, Blaze Tishko was in In Cold Blood too! If you are a normal, decent human being you probably have no idea what I'm talking about, but if you're like me that is the definition of an all-star songwriting team. I mean, fuck! It shows, too. The riffs have that bouncy, hooky, sledgehammer quality that hits you like one of those 2000 lb acme weights in a Wile E. Coyote cartoon, but with Blaze's signature picking style. It all comes together so well.

This album came out in 1998. I was in eighth grade and too stupid to know about what was happening in the world of Clevo-core. Even if I had known, I probably still would've had more pressing concerns, like wondering what making out with a chick felt like. Oh shit, what's better: making out with a slamming babe, or blasting Crime Ridden Society and busting out some ignorant living room mosh while a babe frowns disapprovingly? In my world, that is a real toss-up.

We'll leave that one to the great minds, though. When it comes to pummeling wiggerslam, this In Cold Blood LP is a complete no-brainer. Only a few songs break two minutes, but the amount of heavy-ass riffs on here makes my head spin. A band could make a long career just with the riffs on this one album. There are some melodic interludes reminiscent of this era of Integrity, which gives the listener a few seconds of respite to re-lace their Timberlands. But for the most part this is the epitome of Cleveland-style hardcore. So-called "tough guy" hardcore has become a bunch of mindless flatulent crap, but this is the real shit. The mosh parts are so hard they almost seem like cheap thrills, but the care that went into their construction is plainly evident. Pit like a tyrannosaurus to this.

Essential information: "War is Waged" has a big mosher (at 2:06) that will make you want to bodyslam your dad through a car windshield. Not to sound rude, but if you don't like this record you are a total fruitcake.


  1. I never knew my hometown had such a rich cultural history, I cannot believe these sons of Cleve are unknown to the masses! But as Cato the Elder once said, "I would much rather have men ask why I have no statue, than why I have one."

    Although, he also said "Anger so clouds the mind, that it cannot perceive the truth" so maybe this dude is just a total fruitcake.

  2. One of the most underrated 90's HC albums. And it has the singer from Mushroomhead. Who woulda thunk.