Trustkill Records needs no introduction to anyone with even a passing interest in hardcore. Many of hardcore's heavyweights are on their books, or were until they risked the wrath of certain, dyed-in-the-wool fanatics by moving to a major label (Eighteen Visions, Poison The Well etc).
Whatever the intra-genre legalities, there's no way anyone could accuse Trustkill Video Assault Vol 1 of being a sleek, commercial DVD. No, this is severely simple, DIY and therefore I suppose, "punk".
There are 12 videos in all, though only 10 bands represented because Eighteen Visions and Bleeding Through both get a double slot. It won't take you long to spot a pattern - virtually every video consists of the band playing live in a room, with periodic cuts to an external sub-plot such as a Fight Club (Throwdown's Forever) or a guy going to visit the site where his parents were killed in a crash (Eighteen Visions' Waiting For The Heavens). In other words, there's nothing here that's going to be challenging for a cinematic award...
Each video is introduced by Trustkill President Josh Grabelle. Although he reveals some interesting snippets of info (the bare-knuckle fight scenes in Throwdown's video are real; Poison The Well's Botchla was the first Trustkill video to make it to television), a pattern quickly emerges with his commentary too, namely that every video is "really awesome". It's a shame there's no way of watching each video without the verbal preface.
All of this should tell you that the only reasons to buy this DVD are if you're a hardcore hardcore fan, or as an alternative to a cheap compilation CD so you can seek out some new bands. This is the particularly the case since the "extras" - 30 second trailers for DVDs of past hardcore festivals, together with amateurly shot, live footage of bands sounding out of tune from said festivals - are not exactly riveting.
So if it's all about the music, what do we get? Well, a plus point is that the 12 videos pretty much run the gamut of modern hardcore, from the overly emo, all bluster-but-no-balls of Roses Are Red, Hopesfall and Armsbendback to the testosterone-overdosed and frankly neanderthal likes of Most Precious Blood and Throwdown.
In between these two extremes we get the good stuff. Eighteen Visions' Waiting For The Heavens is a winner of a song, full of stomping metallic riffs but also a memorable chorus. The video is one of the better ones here and CEO Crabelle is actually right in his pre-amble - when guitarist Keith adjusts his tie before resuming his riffing, it is cool.
Eighteen Visions lose brownie points for You Broke Like Glass, whose video featuring two models making out is a tad incongrous with the song. No such inconsistency for Bleeding Through, however, whose two videos both have suitably a gothic horror vibe to match the band members' image, and whose old skool thrash is every bit as brutal as Most Precious Blood and Throwdown but without the machismo.
Also worthy of note are Nora's stoner metal/screamo hybrid I Should've Sent Flowers; Open Hand's very Nirvana-ish In Your Eyes; and Poison The Well's Botchla, although the lack of bassist in the latter (pointed out by Crabelle beforehand) detracts from the reality of the live performance.
And there you have it. A simple summary of a simple DVD. Let's hope Trustkill can afford to be a bit more ambitious with Video Assault Vol 2.