American hardcore stalwarts, Madball, have released their 9th full length studio album called For the Cause. For the Cause came out on the 15th of June via Nuclear Blast.
Originally born from an Agnostic Front side project, Madball have been around in some form or another since the late 1980s. That is 3 decades releasing music, both propping up and propelling forward the hardcore genre. Madball are fronted by Freddy Cricien, who started as vocalist for the band at just 12 years old. A lot has changed with Madball over the years leaving Freddy as the only original member of the band. They have been through some members too though I guess a lot changes over the course of 30 years.
On For the Cause, Madball are Freddy Cricien on vocals with Jorge Guerra on bass, who joined in 1993. On drums we have Mike Justian who joined in 2011. Guitars were looked after by Matt Henderson, as a session guitarist though he had actually been in Madball from 1992 to 2000. Henderson came in to cover the duties of Brian Daniels (Mitts) who left the band in 2017.
So over the course of the last three decades, Madball have released 4 EPs, a compilation album and 9 studio albums, including For the Cause. For the Cause has 12 tracks on it and in typical hardcore style, lasts for just 33 minutes. Over the short course of For the Cause you quickly see that this is just Madball doing their thing. No fat, no frills, no unnecessary additions. Just straight up, energetic, in your face hardcore. Tracks like the album opener, Buy Now Pay Later contain every element expected of the famous NYHC scene. Screeching feedback, fast drums, gang vocals and furious punk energy.
A brief opening statement encouraging the people to stand up for themselves leads in the second track, Rev Up, before it jumps into a fast drum and quick riff with catchy vocal streams. A little change up comes with a chugging riff and a little less speed on Freight Train. That gets completely reversed on the next track, Tempest, which is a faster, straight up hardcore track with some excellent guitar sections. Old Fashioned and Lone Wolf are similar, really embracing the old school hardcore sound with bundles of energy and attitude but there are tracks that switch things up a bit too. They really show Madball as a band still able to lead and influence the genre’s progression.
Evil Ways, which has a guest vocal section from Body Count’s Ice T, is quick and heavy with poignant lyrics that has a darker undertone running through it. The Fog, which features Rancid’s Tim Armstrong, is a quick punky track with snarled, menacing vocals. You even get a little more of the thrash metal stylings with the song Es Tu Vida which means It’s Your Life.
For the Cause has a lot to offer. Mostly you get pure and proper New York hardcore of the highest quality with forceful music and attitude filled vocals. There are still moments of progression here that show Madball still have loads of ideas too. To say they are still relevant would be an understatement. They are still leading.
You can grab your copy of For the Cause on all the usual streaming services now. For a physical copy, head to Nuclear Blast here or grab it from the Amazon links below. Find out more about Madball at their Facebook or Twitter pages.
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For the Cause by Madball (Nuclear Blast)
The Final Score - 8.5/10