"Victory Style 4" (Victory Records)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I've got to admit that I'm not the biggest fan of punk, hardcore, or ska; however, I do appreciate what those genres have to offer. Punk and hardcore, especially, offer some reprieve after I've listened to too much black metal or death metal. Punk and hardcore allows me to step back in the sense that I get to hear music that is grounded in reality and directness.

Victory Record's "Victory Style 4" is a compilation disc that gives twenty-three bands the chance to shine. Most of the bands take full advantage of the opportunity and leave lasting impressions.

I'd already heard a few bands like All Out War and No Innocent Victim so I wasn't surprised that there'd be something to hear that I liked.  However, many of the other 21 bands easily caught my ear. 

Outfits like Earth Crisis, Snapcase, Blood For Blood, and Warzone really made me take notice about the power and catharsis of hardcore. This was also the first time I'd actually heard Hatebreed and I could finally see how their metal-core sound is a shining example of how Hatebreed is 'saving' hardcore. I was also impressed with Snapcase's "Typecast Modulator" because it was hard, but still had melody. Another interesting twist on the hardcore sound is Integrity 2000's use of electronic elements to toughen up their approach. 

The punk stylings of Greyarea, Electric Frankenstein, OS101, Boy Sets Fire, and River City Rebels all reminded me of the fun had seeing the Ramones back in '91 with a buddy who was a huge punk fan. 

Ska bands like Catch 22 are as fun to listen to as though I was there at the recording studio watching the band actually perform. The Strike's "Shots Heard Round The World" was fun to hear as it echoed the past glory of The Clash and The Jam. 

Some bands fall outside the strict punk or hardcore classifications.  For instance, Grade sounds like what Handsome might have done had that band continued, Strife sounds like a more honest version of the ever-so-popular nu-metal sound being made by countless bands these days. 

One thing I learned from listening to this compilation is that there is great diversity in the punk, hardcore, and ska scenes. I had naively thought that punk and hardcore were only about anger and frustration, but there's more to it than that: the emotional packed content of punk and hardcore has room for a variety of emotions as does most music.  Ska, on the other hand, has always seemed like happy music to me and there are no disappointments here. 

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2000 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 12 Feb 2018 21:33:05 -0500.