February 5, 2013 | , | 3.5

Strife, Witness a Rebirth

Strife: Witness a Rebirth

A quick glance around this site and one can’t help but notice that I’ve been listening to a hell of a lot of death metal the past couple of months. At least, those are the types of reviews I’ve been shoveling down your gullet. Well, it’s time for a quick, violent break from the old school buzzing riffs and gurggling growls. How about some thrashing, metallic hardcore? Yes? Excellent. Let’s check out the first new material in over eleven years from Southern California’s Strife.

So how does one come out of retirement and still remain relevant in today’s hardcore scene when just about every permutation or style has been stretched beyond recognition in every imaginable way possible? By releasing an album that is true to your roots, powerfully produced, viciously delivered and features a few of your friends for good measure. And that is exactly what we have with Strife’s Witness a Rebirth.

There’s really nothing new under the sun with the band’s latest full-length effort. The lyrics, delivered with a vengeance, are what you would expect for the style and the song structures are right in line, as well. But what Witness has going for it is the band’s delivery. It’s in your face. It’s raucous. It’s well produced thanks to Nick Jett (Terror). Oh, and it’s got the drum kit of one Igor Cavalera (yes, of the Sepultura Cavaleras) providing bruising rhythms and a slick thrash influence. Put all those together (along with guest vocal spots from Biohazard’s Billy Graziadei, Terror’s Scott Vogel and a guitar solo by Soufly’s Marc Rizzo) and you have an album that is not only infectious, but just damn fun to shout along with. It’s simple in it’s methods, but sticks to your ribs for a good long while after it’s done.

Some of those songs that hang around a bit afterwards are the back-alley beatdown of “Show No Mercy,” the thrashtastic pace of “No Apologies,” the absolutely blistering “Look Away” and the solid ending combination of “End of Days” and “Life or Death.” Witness a Rebirth may not push any envelopes in the hardcore genre, but I’ll be damned if I haven’t been playing the hell out of it the past couple of weeks.