August 21, 2005 | | 4

Rag Men, s/t

I bought this album about a year ago just after its release, and it seems that it’s always in the group of CDs I throw in the car for my daily commute to and from the office. The more I listen to it, the more it grows on me. It’s fast becoming one of my favorite CDs at the moment.

With such a line up featuring past members of Hatebreed, Earth Crisis, Freya and more, I was expecting a listening experience much in the vain of their past projects — heavy, moshy, and angry. What I found however was a nice surprise.

…and a swift kick to the head

The album starts off with the strong, straightforward hardcore punk tracks “My World” and “Warrior Soul.” While all the tracks are heavy and definitely hardcore, they don’t abide by the super moshy breakdowns that I’ve found in most of my CD purchases that last couple of years. There’s no formula to this recording.

In fact, what I did find in the first few tracks is a great groove to the guitars. They are indeed heavy, but not tuned super low or dirty. The guitars on pretty much every track have a great melodic feel to them without being overly done. Don’t mistake that statement as a description of this album as metalcore. It’s not.

I’m a warrior, I choose my own path

Rag Men have chosen their own path with the overall sound on this album. Combine this melodic flow found throughout with some thunderous drums, clean bass, and Jorge Rosado’s delivery and you have yourself an instant classic. Each track has a distinct sound all it’s own that doesn’t detract from the overall flow of the record. The whole thing has a consistent feel but not one that causes you to drone out after a second or third “stand united” anthem.

The production is tight creating a sound that I haven’t heard in a hardcore album for quite some time. There are hints of the past bands that the members have played in, but nothing that stands out for more than a second. With their pedigree the band as a whole has created an album that will surely rank as a classic for many years to come.

…time to make my mark. Break free from excuses and take charge.

Now I know that in a year’s time, many fans of the genre may have already checked out this band or heard of them. I just found it interesting how often I look forward to listening to it on a regular basis. This album is one of the few that I’ve recently purchased that I can listen to several times in a row. I have no doubt that it will be a favorite of mine for a long while.

At least until the next Rag Men comes out.