After our recent quick update from Sofia melodic hardcore band EXPECTATIONS, we’re looking back at the Bulgarian hardcore scene, this time to serve you a harder punches with the city’s own NO HALF MEASURES, who have just unveiled their heay new album “Friends With The Enemy” and checked in on IDIOTEQ with their special commentary on each and every track from this thick riffed, mid-tempo paced hardcore monster.
Recorded by Simeon Zahariev, mixed and mastered by Jonny Price and featuring guest appearances by Yannick of Clench Your Fist, Dane MANTLET and Bozhko of REJUVENATION, the new banger from NO HALF MEASURES touches on both positive and negative issues in their lyrics. With seven of the record’s nine tracks clocking in under three minutes and thirty seconds a piece, this isn’t an offering that wastes any time in laying waste to everything around it. “Friends With The Enemy” is a stomping and fist slamming of an album, arriving in a monolithic, yet super muscular manner.
“What we tried to capture are specific emotions/topics or mental states rather than a general topic for the whole album.” – comments the band. “We feel that this way it would be much easier for people to relate to and reflect on the lyrics. It’s stuff that we deal with on a daily basis so we put it into our music and this is the result.”
Track by track commentary:
Failure to consent
I think everyone can relate to this song as it’s aimed at people who consider themselves better than everyone else. While they stand on their high horses, thinking they’re owed everything, the rest of us continue to go through everyday life pushing forward. Sooner or later, they’re bound to realize the consequences of their behavior, but by the time they do, no one would listen as they’ve pushed everyone away.
This is a really important one for us because it’s a song about our scene and the scene in general. We’re far from the last band to make a song about it, but we had a few words to say. This is directed to all the kids who think being tough and aggressive is cool, who associate hardcore with these attributes and haven’t found the true, community driven, values yet. We’re yet to gain a lot of experience in general, so we don’t really see this as us trying to teach people stuff, but we are noticing a very strong ongoing tendency for aggression and violence based gimmicks in hardcore. We don’t think that hardcore should promote violence and negative attitude so with this song we try to promote the positive, supportive and motivating side of hardcore.
Friends With The Enemy
One of the most important songs of the record carrying its title. FWTE is an antifascist song. To be more exact, it’s a song about people who claim to be part of the hardcore scene/community and at the same time are friends with nazis, fascists and people with far right beliefs. Ever since communism fell in Bulgaria the biggest political trend has been fascism/nazism and far right tendencies. And it’s been normalized to a point where these people have made their way to the hardcore scene, which in our opinion is unacceptable. This song is a direct reference to ignorance and two-faced hypocrisy. You can’t use hardcore to promote your image while you don’t back up it’s core principles, even if you’ve been in the scene for a long time. We hope that by emphasizing this topic enough we would motivate the younger people coming to shows to adopt these beliefs and stand firm by them. This is by no means a call to aggression, it’s an appeal to defend a position on one of the most important topics in hardcore culture.
Not A Silent Witness
This one is about the steady ongoing collapse of the human race, destroying everything around us as we fail to preserve life. It’s about seeing the damage done and it getting worse and worse by the day. It describes a feeling of hopelessness and despair as we bear witness to the steady decay of human morals, while realizing we’re powerless against our own certain downfall as a species. The collapse of civilization is imminent. We as common people don’t have the power to change the course of humanity so the least we can do is live in a way that’s helpful to the people close to us and our communities and be respectful and compassionate towards all life that surrounds us. This is what the title “Not A Silent Witness” symbolizes.
This is not your playground
A simple “diss” track to all the people that, mostly pass through the Hardcore scene, because they were compelled by the “fashion” and image of the community. People that only care about how tough their appearance is, how heavy your breakdowns are and what’s the brand of your sneakers. We’ve always welcomed people, hoping that, even if they don’t stick around, they might learn a thing or two about the culture and it may better their lives in one way or another. But there are a lot of cases where when the “honeymoon” period ends, they jump off to the next thing and leave all “pretend values” in the rear view mirror.
The Face Of Liberty
The lyrics to this were written a week before the war in Ukraine began. A depressing coincidence that just proves the relevance of this song and it’s topic. It’s an anti-war song. A song that tries to capture how we imagine it feels running for your life as the bombs are falling around you. It’s the heaviest and most aggressive song on the album, the blast beats and fast parts symbolizing the hectic and chaotic nature of war, while the breakdown symbolizing the destructive blast force of the weapons used. It features our good friends Bozhko from Rejuvenation and Dane from some of UK’s finest: Mantlet CVHC and xDELIVERANCEx.
Deprived Of Life
At the point of recording the album everyone in the (then) current lineup of the band was either Vegan or Vegetarian. We are firm believers that animals are the purest form of life on this planet and deserve to have a calm and peaceful life, unbothered by humans. Unfortunately, this is not the case. This song is anti animal cruelty, focusing on people who exploit animals for fights, sports, testing etc. Compassion is one of the most trivial and essential qualities we as a species should all preserve. This song is also an homage to everyone who still fights for animal rights and puts in effort and work into bettering their lives.
This one is about struggling to find purpose and trying to overcome the feeling of uselessness. Sometimes we get lost in the repetitive nature of everyday life and it can get so bad to the point where we feel like our life has no meaning and we’re just passing the time. The name “Pressure” pretty much sums up how that feels. Constantly pressured by the thought of your life rolling away as you fail to do anything meaningful or leave any trace of your existence. Despite the grim subject this one finishes off in a more motivational manner as we all have to do our best to live purposely and not give in to the pressure of uncertainty.
Exile is one of the heavier songs on the album and it’s the first we wrote for NHM. It’s a simple one and not very positive as it shows a desperate perspective of the direction humanity is moving in. It’s pretty similar to “Not A Silent Witness” but is a bit gloomier. We don’t always feel motivated or driven by positivity and hope and this is exactly what this song is about. The times that feel like we’re in “Exile” alone with our thoughts of a doomed existence.