Review: Lionheart – 'Love Don't Live Here'

Hardcore is one of the rarest of genres, in that it’s sound and ethos has changed little since its inception. Listen to any early hardcore band and any recent one (although try and find one that’s untarnished by subgenres or genre-splicing wankery) – the similarity will leave you smiling blissfully, feeling that all is right with the world.

Today’s subject for review are just such a band. California’s Lionheart formed in 2004, and have been steadily releasing material that flies the hardcore flag ever since. Their latest album ‘Love Don’t Live Here’, their first since 2014’s ‘Welcome To The West Coast’, is due for release on January 23rd on Fast Break! Records (Europe) and their own LHHC Records (rest of world).

Lead single ‘Pain’ opens the record, all viciously spat out vocals and relentless beats. They also smash the hell out of every metalcore band’s over-reliance on breakdowns: This is how you do it, boys!

In truth, there’s not much more to say about the album. There’s no flashy number, no fucking around with subgenres, no guest vocalist, no ballad. There’s no unpleasant ‘WTF?’ moments, or puzzling surprises. What there is is pure, proper hardcore, complete with streetwise lyrics, brutally honest confessionals (check out ‘Witness’ with its apology to the lyricist’s mother and agonising description of depression), a challenging, ‘finger poked painfully in your chest’ tone, and a huge wave of testosterone-laden machismo.

They take a swing at the music industry (‘Dead Wrong’), people who treated them as outsiders (‘Still’), and, bitingly, the ‘selfie’ generation (‘New Enemies’), as well as sneering at boys who like to play at being big men and the distasteful concept of a ‘9 to 5’ life. All proper hardcore subjects, present and accounted for.

If there’s one tiny niggle, it would be the use of fade outs at the end of several songs. C’mon guys, how’s that gonna work live? No, just no! That aside, this is a bracing, snarling and frankly terrific album, and an absolute must for every hardcore music follower out there who is sick to death of their beloved genre being fucked with. There are traces – mere dashes – of metal throughout (most noticeably in some of the gnarly guitar work) but rest assured, this is most emphatically NOT a metalcore album. This is hardcore. Tough, gritty and catchy as fuck. Hardcore fans: assemble.

Review: Melaine Brehaut.

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