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Portland’s Cruel Hand name their influences as Cro-Mags, Madball and early Metallica. Boy, is that obvious after listening to new album, “Lock And Key”. The album is their 3rd full length, second on Bridge 9 Records, and since the 2007 release of their debut album, they’ve been turning heads in the hardcore punk and metal scenes with their heavy, old-school style hardcore.
It all starts with the title track, heavy heavy hardcore, with a touch of metal in there too. Think early Agnostic Front. A good sign of what’s to come. The track that shares the band’s name is possibly one of the best examples of old school style hardcore to be released for a long time. There’s some awesome metal riffage on ‘Day Or Darkness’. ‘Labyrinth’ and ‘One Cold Face’ are very metal infused, the former more so than the latter, but you still know it’s hardcore. In fact, the latter sounds much like Victim In Pain era AF. ‘Dismissed’ could give any venue the best circle pit it had ever seen. The riff on ‘Two Fold’ may be your typical metalcore beat, but it still helps to create one hell of a track. The last track, ‘The Bottom’, is another very fast one. Again, would get a monster of a circle pit going. Great way to end an album.
The track lengths are pretty long, showing it is new school, not that that’s a bad thing though. They seem to have the mix between old and new school down to a tee. Mixing it up by alternating between traditional HC and metalcore creates a great, diverse release. Which should be expected from yet another solid hardcore band of the moment, showing Bridge Nine has the best taste when it comes to signing bands in this genre.