Album Reviews

Madball – Legacy

(tom day) UK release date: 1 August 2005


“Self-doubt has been getting the best of me for way too long / I’ve been fighting this, fighting this all my life / Now I’m ready for it to be gone.”

So begins half an hour of some of the most painfully honest music you will ever hear. Freddy Cricien has been unashamedly barking his street style therapy throughout the hardcore underground for the past 17 years. However, far from getting hoarse with age, his screams are finally cutting their way through the mountain of waste that infest hard music today, to reveal a true diamond in the dirt.

Recently signed to Ferret Records, and given some heavyweight distribution throughout our fine land courtesy of Roadrunner, Madball is a positive and inspirational band in an aggressive music scene that habitually chooses nihilism instead of affirmation of one’s beliefs.

Confronting an ever-changing scene which they helped to lay the very foundations of is not something these New Yorkers take lightly either: “I’ve seen a lot of changes within ourselves, within our scene. I’m not trying to rearrange things, but we’ve come back for the crown – it’s time to claim it!” Far from dwelling on the negative however, Madball instead concentrate on paying the utmost respect to the fans who’ve kept them in business over the years – those so dedicated to hardcore, it has become not just a scene, but a creed, a religion, a lifestyle.

Musically, few will be flabbergasted to discover Madball’s style is as hardcore as it ever was, although their latest 16 tracks of aggression-filled destruction have been given a more brutal production edge by the mighty Zeuss (Shadows Fall / Hatebreed).

Awesome single HeavenHell crashes in with grinding bass, crunching riffage and is crying out for some accompanying mosh-pit fury. Freddy is on fine form, with his lyrics bordering on the liturgical as he rips out his bleeding heart and spews it down the mic.

Meanwhile, other cuts such as Timebomb take a surprisingly mature and introspective look at the negative results of allowing anger to guide your actions, and demands that all those within earshot stop playing the victim and get a grip. Tackling issues as tough as this in such a straight-faced way could surely see the boys forcing Ricky Lake and other morning TV merchants out of a job – here’s hoping!

Although Legacy does little to negate claims that the hardcore scene is often lacking in musical originality, old school fans will rejoice at Madball’s comeback and high profile. For anyone else who’s seeking some viciously heavy tunes that are overflowing with positivity and self-empowerment, they need look no further either.


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