I've always enjoyed hardcore, but never really enjoyed particular hardcore bands. When it comes down to it, most hardcore bands sound extremely similar to me and I really don't have a preference as to which one I listen to when I'm in a hardcore mood. This often makes it tough for me to review hardcore albums because, 9 times out of 10, I'm simply inclined to give a middle of the road score and description. Maybe there's some special nuance that separates different hardcore bands and it's noticeable to some, but I don't really do a good job of differentiating hardcore bands. With that said, here's a review from February 21, 2009 about an Italian hardcore band that I had published at Decoy Music.
I may be venturing outside of my realm by attempting to review an Italian hardcore band, but as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow put it, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” La Crisi, hailing from Milan, Italy, seem to embody all of the stereotypes of the hardcore genre—two minute song lengths, breakneck pacing, spat vocals, raw emotion, and even rawer production. For those of us who are Italian challenged, La Crisi translates to “The Crisis” and Tutti a Pezzi is “All to Pieces”. Again, they embody the hardcore mythos with intense band and album names.
It’s somewhat refreshing to find out that hardcore sounds the same no matter where it is played and what language it is played in. Outside of the Italian lyrics and unique inflection of the language, La Crisi could easily be a brother band to Gallows in England or Ruiner here in the US. Instead of traveling down the path so many modern hardcore bands have taken, La Crisi eschew the layered, slow-burn hardcore pioneered by the likes of Modern Life is War and Verse, and stick to the basics: fast drumming, a few chords, and barked out vocals. If you’re looking for flair or progression, get the hell away from La Crisi.
It may sound like a slam to say that the band lacks progression (and it is to point), but these guys know exactly what they want to do, and they do it. There’s no worrying about an identity crisis, as they defy their moniker, and you aren’t getting an album that you’ll potentially only enjoy part of. If you like one song on this album, you’ll love them all, especially their ode to the States’ most noted space opera in “Star Warz”.
As with any classically styled hardcore band, the main criticism always comes in the form of wondering why this album would be worth listening to when you can get basically the same experience by tossing on some old Black Flag, Bad Brains, or Sick of It All. Well, there’s the fact that the lyrics are in Italian, which is unique for a US or English speaking audience. There are also some slight Converge undertones in a couple of spots, no doubt because the album was produced by Kurt Ballou. Beyond those novelties, however, there is no way to overcome this age old criticism.
Let’s be honest, though; if you’re not already into the classic hardcore sound, Tutti a Pezzi won’t get you into it. La Crisi do what they do competently and the energy with which they play is easily apparent. You can tell that they believe in what they’re doing, so all you hardcore and hardcore punk fanatics, find a way to get this album. If anything, at least you’ll feel cultured after you listen to it.