Crucial Records # 13 : Onward – Self – Titled

By Tieuma

It’s been a while since the last issue of this serie, and since the last post in fact. But don’t worry, I’m back with my annoying nostalgia, for the better and the worst.

As FOR PETE’S SAKE just released their killer LP lately, it gave me the idea for this review. I wanted to do a european record so it just fit, isn’t it ?

For once, it wasn’t a hard choice, as it’s the only ONWARD record I ever owned and played on regular basis, and their discography being not that big, it was the right thing to do, I believe.

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The first time I saw FOR PETE’S SAKE, it was with JUSTICE in Antwerp, two years ago (I believe ?). For me, it was a reincarnation of SPORTSWEAR mostly, I never made the link between all the bands at the time, but on their set they played a few ONWARD songs, I can’t remember which one for sure.

If these people played in all those bands together, and did more or less the same things, ONWARD was by far my favorite act.

Out in 1991 on Crucial Response Records, the 7″ comes in at least 3 colors (Black, Red and Blue) and been repressed one time. Nowadays it’s that much a rare record so you can buy one copy for a really honest price. I remember paying only a few bucks for the one I used to own.

To put it back in context, I think ONWARD was amongst the first European Youth Crew band I ever listened, and they really nailed the thing.

Back in those days Youth Crew was slowly going down, seen as a jock thing and a joke more and more. EARTH CRISIS will put out All Out War in 1992 and the sound was obviously taking a more metallic turn.

But they didn’t seem to care, and even though they took a lot to OUTSPOKEN, they suceed to create something that didn’t sound like and american band, but a sound of their own. In fact, when I listen to MINDSET today, there’s definitly a ONWARD feel.

In my opinion, they totally took the energy, the aggression and the rawness of YOUTH OF TODAY which they blended with the MOUTHPIECE/CHAIN OF STRENGHT updated sound to create something more than just a pale rip off of the said bands.

When playing a easily redudent type of music, it’s a hard task to avoid being boring or generic, but it’s even harder to create a unique sound. And it’s only a personnal opinion but I’m not sure there’s any band before ONWARD that sound the same, this positive and energic riffs yet super fast and aggressive.

This might be also a matter of trying new ideas. When you listen closely, there’s some things that could have turned really badly in other situations, but they just find the right amount fo bad to sort something out.

Indeed, it’s not rocket science, they didn’t change the terrible fate of the Youth Crew with this record, but they gave it a new energy, and they mostly shown that european people could rip off GORILLA BISCUIT and not sound boring.

I won’t go further on the lyrics thought. It’s classic and efficient, nothing new, and I think the important point here is the delivery. It’s raging and straight in your face, something that’ll fade a bit in the next EP.

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It’s always hard to find something that stand for itself with Youth Crew bands, not because it’s bad, but most of the time it goes a bit in circles, it’s either redundent or too classic, but in the case of this EP, they put the genre back on track and they opened the way for a lot of bands, not only in Europe. More than being a classic and important Youth Crew sounding record, it’s also an important European records, putting the great white north on the map for something else than their metalic sounding hardcore bands.

For me, they tried what other people would have found lame back then, and they totally nailed it.

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