Review Summary: Go ahead and try to stop this straight edge youth.
In an era where hardcore bands are experimenting with lower tunings and the inclusion of beatdowns, other bands are keeping the original hardcore sound alive and well. Once known as “that straight edge band with Fall Out Boy‘s drummer”, FocusedxMinds‘ début full-length, titled ‘The Fact Remains’, is a 15-minute burst of youthful aggression.
Musically, the band pays tribute to the forefathers of the genre; Minor Threat and Youth Of Today influence is absolutely everywhere, especially in the form of short songs which are straight edge anthems and lyrics celebrating a drug free, forward-thinking lifestyle.
With an album so short and with a number of songs lasting mere seconds, it may sound as though the whole LP just blends together with no stand-out tracks, but naysayers will be put to shame. wastes no time in introducing the band’s sound, and with lyrics like “I’m not the man you used to see / I was holding myself back, I’ll set myself free”, ‘Set Free’ is built for a live setting. ‘My Choice’ is a personal favourite, and it’s where the band are the most fun. The break in the middle, “Hey, *** you man! I’ve made my choice!”, sums up the band’s message in a few simple words as they blast through faster sections and two-step parts.
If there’s one downside to ‘The Fact Remains’, it’s that those who don’t live an edge lifestyle may be turned off by the hostility with which singer Johnny delivers his lyrics. Some may argue that the band relies far too much on the straight edge topic and even come off as a bit preachy after a while. Despite being only 15 minutes too, the last few tracks drag. ‘See The Same’ and ‘Lowered’ are good tracks, but when placed alongside the earlier songs, they’re difficult to get excited about.
Regardless though, if absolutely furious hardcore is your thing, then FocusedxMinds are for you. If you dig the straight edge and self-betterment themes, then ‘The Fact Remains’ should definitely be near the top of your end-of-year list for hardcore.