Nothing irritates me more these days than the bastardization of hardcore. The genre has seemingly sucked in the metal/noise/grind sub-cores much like its skinnier, better looking cousin “indie rock” did with emo and punk a couple years back. What is deemed “hardcore” in today’s scene is anything but what the 80s DC scene was churning at out its peak.

New Mexican Disaster Squad is a throwback to that DC era sound. They’re snotty, brash, and play their instruments at full speed on Don’t Believe. Showing true hardcore spirit, most tracks never eclipse the two minute mark before fading out (they actually fade). In spite of all this, NMDS have managed to maintain a melody and rhythm to their work. Making Don’t Believe accessible to more than just your friend with the X tattoo on his ankle. Don’t mistake melody for weakness, as the band knows their roots and sticks closely enough to them.

The strength of bands from that DC era was in their lyrics. Good hardcore always comes with a message or two about anti-authority and vocalist Sam Johnson and crew know how to deliver. Oft political, Johnson angrily spits about everything from military recruiting practices on “The Killing Machine” to mass media hypocrisy on “Cast No Shadows”.

It’s not metal. It’s not grind. It’s not emocore. It’s hardcore. Ironic how something so heavily influenced by music made 20 years ago can sound so fresh.

Ian MacKaye could kick my ass: “Bullshit Detector”, “The Killing Machine”

Dischord is my favorite chord: Black Cross, Kid Dynamite, Hit the Switch

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