An angel down on her knees who appears to be praying in a snowy, dingy alley who also has a sinister looking man in a suit standing behind her holding a gun to the back of her head. If that doesn’t make a statement, then I don’t know what does? The new album from European Hardcore Veterans, RYKER’S, entitled The Beginning…. Doesn’t Know the End, is the statement I’m taking about. Fifteen brand new tracks of pure punishment are what you can expect from this album. A powerful mix of old school, beatdown and just about everything in between. With over 25 years in the game, RYKER’s has remained one of Europe’s top hardcore acts.
They kick off the album with a fast guitar riff that quickly erupts into a circle-pit sing along entitled, Let’s Ruin the Scene. Aside from the gang vocals and other hardcore signatures, the song had a cool Pennywise ring to it. The decrescendo style ending to the song also gave it a good finishing touch. The next track, Losing Touch, just comes right out and blasts you in the face with its super-fast pace. Pounding drums, thumping bass, riffs, and vocals that are “in Your Face”! Things are starting to escalate here. Cast in Stone, the next track, continues the escalation. This song had a great Madball sound coming from guitarists Fusel and Steve, with plenty of crunch and breakdown action.
It didn’t take me long to realize that the band had enlisted the vocal talents of the legendary Agnostic Front singer, Roger Miret on the next one called Dead End Street. As a good standout track from the album, it has a great blend of Old School Hardcore with gang vocals and singalong chants. Then Roger’s vocals toward the end of the song just seal the deal. Great song. The album title track, The Beginning Doesn’t Know the End, is next in line. The thick bass sound from Chris on this one just kills! Killer vocals and great lyrics from vocalist, Dennis, on this track as well. This album is still going ‘full speed ahead” at this point and I am enjoying it. Old Passion takes the pace even faster with some good 80’s style thrash. With sounds reminiscent of M.O.D. or even Pitboss 2000, the old school continues to flow.
Some more vocal and musical talent on this record comes from the next song, Collateral Damage. A great display of chugs and gang vocals that are just flat-out powerful. Another favorite of mine is the next one, No Matter What. This song was a great blend of melody and harmony crossed with “circle-pit” style riffs. Don’t get tired now. There is still plenty of quick heaviness to go around on this record. But The Stomp Award on this album goes to the song, Overboard. And if that didn’t satisfy one’s thirst for Stomp, then the next one called, The Six Million Dollar Band, sure will. Cold Lost Sick changed up the tone briefly with an acoustic guitar melody and guest vocals from a woman named Rebecca Haviland. A nice tune and a beautiful voice only added to the impact felt from when the next song, Hard Pill to Swallow, kicked in. Great lyrics about persevering when life gets tough were a big standout, as well as the awesome breakdown toward the end.
Another good beatdown song, Bully Boy, sure hit the spot for me. Then they come right back and hit you with the next tune, The End Justifies the Means. Those of you who have already read some of my reviews would know I am a “Beatdown Hardcore Aficionado” and this song passes the test. For real, it had me at “I will F#$k you up”! Good stuff, right there. The band then closes the album with, Sightseeing in the Age of BBQ. A fun way to close the album with an old school party song about visiting NY. It made me get a little nostalgic and I started to miss my old homeland in North Jersey where I could catch a bus and get there in 15 minutes.
All in all, this album let’s you know just exactly why this band has withstood the test of time in the hardcore scene. Europe or not, they stay true to the old NY style hardcore sound that we all know and love. Another great old school record from an old school band. This album will be available on May 31st via BDHW Records, so pick it up!