Tag Archives: leeds hardcore

Higher Power demo review



Higher Power are YET ANOTHER example of how Leeds does hardcore right in 2015. Whilst the city is perhaps best known for it’s Boston/’82 style bands like The Flex, Violent Reaction, Obstruct etc the creative milieu bubbling away in the student ghettos is clearly a fertile environment for all types of underground activity. With members drawn from the recently departed Abolition and Bleak Reality, HP’s sauce is a logical extension of those culmulative influences. Just take a casual listen to their demo (avilable from Neutral Words Records) HERE and it ain’t hard to recognise where they are coming from.

Vocalist Jimmy Wizard (yes that is his REAL name) could quite easily tip up on the next season of Stars In Their Eyes, why? Because his vocal impersonation of Ezac is absolutely spot on. For real, when I started listening to the demo I had to stop it and double check I hadn’t put a Crown Of Thornz tape in the deck. For those who are not familar with that reference point let me enlighten. Higher Power clearly take inspiration from that branch of New York Hardcore that was not afraid to temper aggression with melody and create some almost spirtual sounds. Jimmy’s vocals are crystal clear, raw but still tuneful. Nailing a style that stretches the vocalist behind screaming and shouting is not easy, if it aint dead on it sounds bloody awful. This is not the clumsy attempts at sung vocals we are so often subjected to by mediocre bands trying to switch their shit up, nope my man is putting some SOUL into these train yard blues.


Musically Higher Power do not play around either. There’s a solid rhythmic backbone at work here, keeping the grooves tight and your head bobbing. This demo is infested with crunchy memorable riffs and inspired song structures that twist and evolve as the songs progress. Sure it’s melodic in places but that don’t mean its soft. Cold Front were not soft. Maximum Penalty were not soft. Crown Of Thornz were not soft and Higher Power sure as Hell ain’t soft. Goddamnit, that sick thugged out groove in third song Twisted Vision is pure Mike Dijan perfection. And that solo midway through opener Peace is so fucking LIFTED it takes the actual piss.


And in spite of all the obvious NYHC references peppered throughout this demo there’s some other interesting stuff happening here….the massive breakdown in No Son for example reminds me a lot of the Four Walls Falling song Fall Of Rome and that is no bad thing. I have been rinsing these songs all day and I am still tripping off how perfectly conceptualized and executed this demo tape is.If you like what you hear and are interested to learn more, get linked up to what HP are doing HERE Personally, I cannot wait to see where this band goes next because yo three songs just ain’t enough.

(Title pic courtesy of Natalie Wood, thank you!)

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New Breed Of UK Straight Edge……



Hosted by Violent Reaction main man Tom Pimlott at the Temple Of Boom in Leeds, the New Breed Of UK Straight Edge promised to be one for the books. As is too often the case these days, the internet buzz did not equate to bums on seats and despite much being made of the NWOBHC hash tag it still amounted to a small room packed with 35 of the usual suspects. Regardless, I wasn’t moaning as it provided a welcome night away from my studies to check out some new hardcore in a space that was refreshingly free of exhausting punishers and bullshit attitudes. Ideal.



First to take the stage was Regiment, featuring The Flex vocalist Sam Laycock on the mic and assorted Tom’s drawn from Violent Reaction, Shrapnel et al behind the music. Belligerent and to the point Negative FX inspired punk rock was the order of the day here. Primitive as fuck beats and raw boned riffs complimented by Laycock’s lumbering sasquatch stage presence created a bareknuckle vibe that will no doubt inspire ludicrous and sprawling pit’s once the demo is out. I’ll be honest, a lot of the ’82 inspired stuff kind of sounds similar to me so I’m not qualified to give specific pointers,but yo, it’s straight edge so Regiment is cool with me. If you dig on the X-Claim or early Taang records style, give them a whirl.

Manchester’s Unjust were next up. I have reviewed their demo for DroidxRage a few weeks ago (listen to it HERE )and off the back of that I was really looking forward to seeing how they cut it live. I was not to be disappointed, what followed was a boisterous set of Brotherhood meets Confront hayseed hardcore. Despite blowing his voice out the night before, monolithic frontman Mike Porter cut a formidable figure, prowling the lip of the stage handing out the mic to the pit rats at the front. The band themselves were tight as hell and I noticed that the Manchester bands definitely had a more polished crunch than their more rough and ready Leeds counterparts. It was a short and sweet set and with everyone packed into such a small room Unjust succeeded in starting the shenanigans on the dancefloor. Top notch.



Members of Obstruct reshuffled to present the debut performance of True Vision. Straight out of LS4 and fronted by Tom Hardwick, a fellow more often seen behind the kit than prowling around in front of it.  TxV delivered a brief set of songs clearly inspired by the first Warzone 7” and the Side By Side 7”, and much to my delight they even covered You’re Only Young Once…. Bravo! Once again the sound was rough and ragged and I liked it plenty. However the real discovery here was Hardwick’s mic game and stage presence. Dry northern wit coupled with the right amount of cockiness to be endearing, the lads a natural frontman with a unique and distinctive voice. They just put their demo up online for nowt HERE Definitely a band to keep an eye on!



Insist arrived from the other end of the M62 and hit the stage with a vengeance. Clearly drawing inspiration from the React! records back catalogue along with The First Step, Mindset, Floorpunch etc they hit the line hard with a fuck ton of explosive energy and the material to back it up. Considering this probably only their fifth or sixth show I was absolutely blown away by how confident and together their set was. Roger is a perfect frontman for a band of this style, very humble and unassuming off the stage but energetic and inspired whilst bounding across it. The crowd responded favourably and a raging cover of Youth Of Todays’s Honesty crowned an awesome set. I see big things in this bands future and I think it’s dope that the UK finally has a legit/non cheesedick youth crew band to compete with the american masters of the form. Give their demo a squizz HERE


INSIST – few lads having a sing

Shrapnel were not billed to play but since all the lads were kicking about anyway they jumped on and banged out a few of the hits. If you don’t know that band it’s time to wake up and live mate. Straight Edge fellows on that Breakdown ’87 demo trip. Unfortunately I had to split one song into their set, so can’t give much of a review, but what I saw was ill. That band is fucking sweet.



Shout out to Pimlott for sorting a good night. Shout out to Natalie Wood for documenting what’s really going on.  All these photos are pinched off her website, go peep it HERE for more excellent photos of shows you wish you went to. Shout out to Leeds Hardcore for doing it up proper style.  Shout out to myself for writing this review quick as fuck. Listen to Higher Power. Bye. XXX

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Filed under Hardcore, Straight Edge