Here's another mid-90's hardcore gem that I can't believe is around 10 years old already. Crown of Thornz did pretty well in their day, but I still feel like this band had so much more to offer than they were ever given credit for, and they don't get namedropped nearly enough these days either. Yeah, yeah, we all know of the countless, countless mounds of rumors and gossip (both fact and fiction) that eventually surrounded this band and created a rather notorious aura throughout their existence, but I'm not concerned with that. And looking past all that extraneous information there's one truth you can't deny here: Love it or hate it, these guys had a sound that was all their own.
I do kind of think that some of the over the top "behind the scenes" antics associated with the aforementioned "extraneous information" surrounding this band caused a lot of people to unfairly overlook Crown of Thornz as a band – some of which stemmed from the fact that members became involved with Skarhead shortly after Crown of Thornz got rolling – because hardcore was kind of at an all-time high as far as "politically correct" attitudes were concerned back then, and violent reputations combined with any form of lighthearted/indulgent extremism were a surefire way to get a lot of people's panties in a massive bunch. But the thing is, all that conjecture just doesn't jive with what these cats were doing musically. Crown of Thornz was not some "toughguy band". Read the lyrics, you know? Sure, the shit is bleak. But it's the real deal. It's honest: Heavy both musically and emotionally. And these guys were also dealing with a lot more melody than was to be expected from NYHC – they just did so in a way that never went too far, and always managed to keep things in your face.
Both the debut "Train Yard Blues" EP and the "Mentally Vexed" full-length are consistently quality spins, but I've always held a slight preference for the somewhat colder and more menacing tone of the EP – which probably explains why I tend to find myself pulling it out more often around this time of year. It's a little rawer overall, but something about these five tracks really communicates a darker and more distinct edge than the vast majority of hardcore.
Sometimes I walk these streets with my head down, a blank stare and an occasional frown. I want to rock and sleep my life away. Wake me up. Wake me up another fucking day. The razors at my wrist and the hands of time keep turning. The faucet drips another drop and my mind is burning…
You can still buy this puppy on the cheap, too. If you dig it, pick it up straight from the label for just $8:
@ Equal Vision Records
I also have to say, these guys were a fucking great live band. I caught them during their later days and was shocked by how impressive they were, and that show really reignited my interest in their material at the time. While I can't imagine it ever happening, I'd totally love to see Crown of Thornz do another record someday.
I realize that I'm posting about way too many mid-90's hardcore acts as of late, but I assure you it's entirely coincidental. I guess I listen to this stuff more often than I ever realized, ha. I'm trying to continue keeping things balanced in terms of different genres and whatnot, but I have so much shit that I could choose to post that I always get sick of thinking about it and just post whatever I'm currently spinning – so there might be a few more shots of 90's hardcore to come before I move on to something else for awhile! If anyone else has any requests, let me know…