“Heavy duty New York hardcore sounds, coming out of the boat in L.A cool. Who the fuck else could it be but Madball”. This is exactly how I felt upon hearing For The Cause. NYHC legends, Madball have come back swinging with their ninth album to date. Like their previous album titled stated, Hardcore Still Lives. If you are new to the Madball game, then For The Cause will be a crash course in what the band is all about.
It is New York Hardcore to the very core. Combining the groove and rhythm of old school hardcore with heavy hitting breaks and bridges of the modern age. I knew when the album opened with Smile Now Pay Later and Rev Up that this album was going to get me on that Madball high. Damaged Goods goes from bouncing grooves to fast rapid assaults in a blend of riffs that play off tempos to create a mosher’s dream. Tempest and Old Fashion hammer home just how well the band utilise each other. The guitars riff away, whilst the drums keep that hard drive going leaving Freddy to drop his vocals to create the right amount of fist clenching and foot stomping.
Freddy Cricien vocals are clearly inspired by his hip-hop/rap side projects with his lyrics bouncing up and down over the instruments. The riffs and drums work as a wave for Freddy to ride, spitting out lyrics like a well-oiled machine. The lyrics themselves are addictive in nature. Inspirational and classically hardcore with each use of gang vocals hitting hard. It is most evident in Evil Ways that features rapper Ice T. The combination of these two is destructive trade off of pure scorn and spite. A glorious guest spot on a hard as nails song.
Speaking of guest spot. The quote from the beginning of this review comes from The Fog that features Tim Armstrong of RANCID. It harkens back to Doc Marten Stomp and features more of a punk or rock style. A catchy song that is hard to get out of your head but lacks that punch that has been present for most of the album so far. Which is far from a disappointment as the simple progressions and chorus drill their way deep into your brain. Pushing out any useless knowledge you may have to make room for its message. For You backs this up as well. More of an anthem than a pit inducing mosh feast. It has some decent chugs but the selling point is that massive, massive chorus.
Yeah of course, there are breakdowns. I mean it is hardcore at the end of the day. Like most Madball offerings these punch through the songs at the opportune moment. The breakdown in Freight Train especially hits like… well like a freight train. It is a trait the band have pulsating through most of their discography. Another classic Madball trait is the all-Spanish song which acts a celebration of Freddy’s heritage. Es Tu Vida makes me want to learn Spanish as I would kill to sing along to this beast of a song. Ending the album is the titular track. An explosion that ends the album nicely. It is true Madball really do ‘go on and on and on’.
For The Cause is 100% Madball. The band aren’t here to change the game. Hell, after 30 years in the NYHC scene I don’t see a need for Madball to change anything. There are a few songs that venture into new territory but for the majority it is that Madball groove and aggression that we have come to know and love. A groove and aggression that could level a ten-mile block of flats. If you have been following Madball for any length of time then you won’t want to miss out on For The Cause as it is a solid offering from these veterans.