Anyone who follows me on Twitter (@atonement666 if you don't) will know I am a massive fan of the blog: UNCHECKED AGGRESSION
This blog provides near daily updates on classic (metallic) hardcore records, and a fantastic focus on UKHC, very much in danger of being lost to history. I can't praise this enough and have downloaded hour & hours of music I thought I'd never heard again much less never have in my (albeit digital) collection. Stylistically, If you are enjoying what Atonement is releasing I feel like there is a lot you could learn from just reading this blog, let alone putting the time in to appreciate so many of the great records hosted.
Having similar tastes in hardcore and what felt like a mirrored sense of urgency for keeping the past relevant to a new audience I thought it would be fitting to have a chat with Danny and see what he had to say;
Who are you, what have you done and what are you doing?
I'm Danny, I’m 31 years old, born and raised in Manchester. I did vocals in a band called Camorra between late 2005 to early 2009. We put out a couple of demos and an EP on Calculated Risk Products in 2006 which put us into a position to play some amazing gigs and make a ton of new friends. As a band, we generally punched above our weight but we had a lot of fun.
The reason we're talking today is for the last few months I've been doing the Unchecked Aggression music blog, which seems to have gone over well and caught a few people's attention. The content and format seems to be fairly popular, and it's something I’m having a lot of fun doing.
What prompted the blog?
It wasn't anything more than I just woke up one morning with nothing else to do and thought I'd like to write a blog and share some music. I had a ton of demo CDs that I thought people would be interested in hearing, and it's really just gone from there on to me posting other out of print or rare records that I particularly like.
I've seen people refer to the blog as a preservation and/or documentation of 90s Metalcore and UKHC, which was never an intention or consideration. I don't see myself as anything like the person best qualified to document either of those, nor do I have the record collection to be able back that up in anything like a comprehensive way. My musical knowledge and frames of reference are fairly limited compared to some of peers, but doing the blog has been personally beneficial in improving that as I've taken more time to research or refresh my memory of band's histories and associations.
I'd initially thought of solely focussing on 90s metalcore, which is a particular passion for me, but when I discovered the STUCK IN THE PAST blog I felt a bit like that South Park episode 'Simpson's already did it'. That's a blog that deserves a ton of praise for their commitment to preserving 90s hardcore/metalcore records, and sharing a wealth of information that could otherwise have been easily lost or forgotten.
There have been some great things about doing the blog, that although not a prompt for doing it in the first place, are definitely reasons for me to continue. Hearing/reading people say it's helped them find records they've lost or always wanted to hear, or any type of positive feedback about the content or concept is always really nice. I think we've all lost a hard drive full of music or sold a ton of Cds/records to fund other interests that seemed more important at the time. So if anyone is able to rediscover, or just discover, a band because I did this blog then that's awesome. Plus, of late, I've been getting people emailing me most days wanting to send me records I've been looking for, or just music they think I might like, or their band's demo etc. I can only encourage people to continue doing so as it honestly makes my day.
Of the records you've posted, which 3 mean the most to you and why? (Not necessarily your favourites or the most important on terms of hardcore etc, just interested in you telling a story)
I'm glad you framed the question that way because I'd hate to answer with 'this was the first album I heard' or 'these guys invented metalcore', but it's still a really tough question so these may still seem a bit like cop-outs;
I'm going to say firstly the North Meadow Park album In Alpha Zones, which I actually haven't posted yet but it's imminent.
It's important because it's the first album that made me realise that just because a band has released an album in the age of the internet it doesn't mean that it can't be lost forever. This is a band that had a record label, played shows with a ton of notable names, all within the last decade, yet a Google search for them would turn up nothing. I've spent around 7 years actively trying to find more information on the band and get a copy of the album with no joy. There were a couple of near-misses, I had an email address for the drummer, Jamie from TDON thought he knew someone who would have the album, and people on various forums expressed a desire to help out, but it wasn't until last month, and because of the blog, that I got a copy of both their demo and album.
Neither the demo or the album are likely going to change anyone's lives who hears them now, so I don't want to build them up and have people be disappointment if they download them off the blog and not appreciate why I pined for them for so long. I absolutely love them, though, they play a mix of both euro and American style metalcore with some off-kilter jazzy moments thrown in, along with electronics, a touch of black metal influence, and they just sound genuinely harrowing in parts. But yeah I guess it's more the journey to actually getting the records that means they're definitely noteworthy to me, I'd still be happier with physical copies though ha.
The reason I haven't posted them on the blog yet because I'm now in contact with the guitarist, and hopefully he's going to be doing a little interview for me, plus send over some other media (flyers, videos, pictures) to make the post a bit more special. I need to make a point of chasing him up about that, though.
I've said something similar on the blog already, but picking up the Evilfest 98 CD on a whim was one of those fork in the road moments. I know selecting a compilation CD for this answer is also a bit of a cop out, but any CD that introduces a young mind to Liar, Kickback, Congress and Stampin' Ground on the same day deserves its dues. Evilfest put on some amazing lineups, we'd planned to go to the 2000 edition, which looking back on it now still has one of the coolest lineups for any fest I've seen, but it unfortunately fell through at the last minute due to a band we were friends with having to pull out and various lifts falling through as a result.
But yeah, I guess as you'll know, music discovery in 1998 was still mostly word of mouth, and for a while, living where I did and in the circle of friends I had, I didn't have many people around pointing me in the direction of anything other than the usual stuff you'd read in Kerrang. Compilation Cds were a cheap way of finding 10 or so new bands to either follow up on or ignore forever. I was always excited about the novelty of being able to buy an 'album' for less than fiver too ha. I actually got into black metal the same way, by picking up one of those Blackened Cds, Volume 1 or 2 I can't quite remember. Either that or I watched that Cradle of Filth living with the enemy thing first, I can't quite remember the series of events there.
Lastly I'd have to say the Goodlife issue of Distance Only Makes the Heart Grow Fonder. I think Poison the Well basically perfected metalcore with Opposite, but Distance was a sensational debut. Obstacle, Grain of Salt, Material Christ and Torn shit on 99.9% of anything before or since.
Poison the Well were also a gateway band for a lot of people I know who got into better music. They were the one band who everyone I knew every band I know wanted to sound like them, and everyone could just agree that they'd set the standard. In Manchester we had both Everette and Son of the Mourning who were hugely influenced by PTW and Skycamefalling on their demos, so the effect of early PTW records had a wider effect for me as the local scene I was a part of was put together by people directly influenced by Poison the Well. Plus it really opened our eyes fully to the other bands Goodlife had released records by, which was a real golden era of music for a while.
I'd like to think Danny for taking the time to answer these questions in full. If I had to pick just 3 records to download from the blog I'd certainly struggle but just from memory if you aren't devouring Jane, Red Sky, Piecemeal, Stalingrad, the Bogmonsta demo, the Southbound London compilation (the best Ninebar tracks in existence) and the UK's greatest: CANVAS then you are missing out. Feel free to drop me message or tweet to chat about this stuff - communication, etc