Review Summary: Remember those crazy-ass Krishna people you met at the bus station? Yeah, those guys can make a killer hardcore album.
I was around 7 years old when 108 released their “last” album, Threefold Misery
. A lot has happened since 1996, both in the hardcore scene and out. It’s blown up in recent years, despite the fact that most of the old mainstays either crapped out or turned into lame nu-metal/hardcore bull***. Apparently, the world has also changed quite a bit, with consumerism and selfishness rising along with the election of one George W. Bush. So, what are 108 to do after they meet up for a reunion show and decide “Hey, we should make good music again”? Make easily their best record to date, A New Beat From a Dead Heart
, after an 11 year layoff.
Being the quintessential Krishna-core band, its probably a good thing they have laid off the “You shall forever rot in hell for being a regular person” motif they had throughout their previous records and instead gone to a more general stance on things. Slightly more optimistic (not saying much), the message is as strong as ever with lyrics like “are you looking for a war to win or are you looking for change?” and “Sinful minds bring a handicapped existence so much for being free. So much for being me”.
Due in part to Kurt Ballou’s fantastic production, and general maturation of the band, 108 sound far more full and tight than ever before. Instead of being loosely tied together, the whole band is a cohesive unit, with the angular guitar riffs accentuated by a fantastic rhythm section that gives each song its own identity. A combination of early 90s hardcore and post hardcore, 108 generally deliver exciting songs filled to the brim with passion, ranging from the spoken word (“The Sad Truth”) to the building aggression of “We Walk Through Walls” (which starts off heavily Fugazi like, then meets the heavyness of Neurosis somewhere down the road) to the outright pissed off in “Angel Strike Man”.
A New Beat From a Dead Heart
is an apt album title for 108. It’s the rebirth of 108, and its band just as angry as they ever were, but now know how to express themselves fully. It hasn’t sold out the religious roots and overtures they always used to have, but its also built upon and modernized those motifs tremendously, while making almost experimental hardcore to accompany it. Count it among the best records to be released this year perhaps, and make its addition to your collection a necessity.