Review Summary: Groovy hardcore with one or two memorable moments to boot
Throwdown are essentially your classic hardcore band-breakdowns galore, lots of angry ranting about doing things for yourself, with no ***t getting in your way and some pretty catchy riffs as well. Ask any Throwdown fan about the bands discography and this will probably be at the top of their list, for it just about manages to rear its ugly head above similar acts and while it does not carve any distinct path of its own, it just about manages to hold itself together to require a second listen.
The album essentially draws its lifeblood from Pantera’s “Far beyond Driven” and “The Great Southern Trendkill” which means lyrically, it’s no diamond in the rough. Splattered all over the place is your usual hardcore fodder;
“I know a thing or two about you,
Your bull*** attitude.
You’re ***ing weak and lemme tell you it shows right through.
You don’t know *** about me or my friends,
What they are what I am.
So cut the *** and try not to pretend.
You’re scared of who and what we are and so you question yourself,
But your pride won’t let you show your fear to anyone else.”
If you take the album lyrically, then yes you are left with very little. However, instrumentally and performance wise, it’s actually rather good. It presses all the essential buttons needed for the genre to be successful, and one or two nice inclusions of a distorted guitar there and good drum fill here mean it even begins to sound rather good. The best track on offer here may not be the lead single, but “You Can’t Kill Integrity” is the heaviest offering with plenty of angst, spit and bile packed in behind some great, thrash guitar work and occasional blastbeats from drummer Jarrod Alexander. It is also the longest offering on the disk, and builds into a fist-punching anthem with singer Dave Peters screaming “That’s all there’s left to say!”
Unfortunately, the band purposely seems to force their frontman to become the main focus of the album, which turns out to be a more miss than hit affair. Yes, its classic hardcore. Yes, it’s full of rage for anyone who puts a toe out of line. But is this really any good anymore in 2010? Not really. It was written when the genre was at its peak in popularity, which meant it slipped nicely into the pack to be dished out to angry teenagers lapping up music that crammed all of their inner thoughts into one, concise package. Some of it sounds too overworked, too lame to be even taken half seriously. One song in particular, “Slip” should have been called “***ing Hostile” part II as it takes a great song by the band who appears to be the biggest influence for this group of musicians, reworks it into something worse and more repetitive, and hands it out on the album. Plus, the best moments on the album seem to be short-lived, as within 40 minutes (take away the huge 15 minute-odd interlude of “Raise your Fist”) it ends. And the worst parts, such as the dreadful gang vocals that litter the second half of the disk like acne on its audience’s face, are just a bit too frequent to make it fully enjoyable.
Nonetheless, to say that “Haymaker” is a bad album would be wholly unfair. Yes, it has a far superior first half and it does indeed focus too much of the stereotype, but does not leave you with a bitter taste. Indeed, one or two moments will have you coming back for more, which is more than respectful in a genre that is huffing and puffing more and more with each passing year.
1. Walk Away
2. You Can’t Kill Integrity
4. Raise Your Fist