Back in 1991, bassist Jorge “Hoya Roc” Guerra took over from the legend that is Roger Minet in the Agnostic Front side-project Madball, since when he has been a constant alongside Freddy Cricien. He now has a new claim to fame, providing a shoutout to his favourite Kiwi band at the beginning of this EP. The man is a god to hardcore fans, and there will be many into the New York scene who will seek this out just because of that. But when they get there will they enjoy this little slab from the ‘Tron? We have five songs, total playing time fourteen minutes, and I have already reviewed the leadoff single, People Die which features Mad Joe from Wisdom In Chains. Yes, these guys are moving in exalted circles indeed.

Guitarist Bones and bassist Garreth have played together for years, both being incredibly well known within the Hamilton hardcore scene (which is incredibly vibrant and positive), but prior to going into the studios they had to say goodbye to both Dave and Ben as they could no longer commit to the band and replaced them with singer Mikey and drummer Fu (Brawler NZHC). They open with Rat Race, which is edgy and obviously influenced by Madball with plenty of aggression and a real groove as it bites through and Mikey spits venom over the top. It is easy to hear that Garreth and Bones have played together for so long as they know exactly what to expect and are incredibly tight as Fu locks in behind. I really enjoyed People Die when it was released as a single, but in some ways, it feels quite out of place here as it seems quite commercial when placed against the others. It shows a very different side of the band and certainly contrasts with the rest of the material as this is quite subdued and less aggressive. Papamoa Alleyways is written about a friend of Bones and Garreth who is no longer with us, Jesse Larsen, and is full of passion and over the top hardcore energy guaranteed to get the mosh going at full speed. Bridge City Crew has a somewhat brighter sound and is a homage to all the hardcore bands that came before them and inspired them to get involved, with a chorus which demands everyone shouts out the words and move. The EP ends with a cover of Vendetta’s 1997 song Hamtown Smakdown, which is also now the title of a 2-day hardcore festival which takes place in the city. Bones was in that band back in the day, and it felt right to end the set with this fast-paced belter.

American hardcore royalty have already picked up on this band, and surely it is only a matter of time until they are known far more widely than just by the crew in Hamilton.

Rating: 8/10