Only Living Witness “Innocents” CD

Only Living Witness - InnocentsI briefly (though admittedly cryptically) touched upon—or at least hinted at—the absolute brilliance of this album a few months ago, but god damn have I been listening to these songs over and over and over lately. I just can't believe how consistently blown away I am. I haven't posted about many older releases recently, but I'm just not gonna get into the usual "biographical information" spiel this time around (check out Only Living Witness on MySpace if you want background facts), 'cause I'm just all about flat out gushing here, boys and girls. That's all there is to it. The album's that fucking incredible. Seriously.

Originally released in 1996 and then re-released (remastered with bonus tracks) alongside their debut, "Prone Mortal Form", as part of a 2xCD set in 2006, something about "Innocents" just kicks the shit out of me every time. And I'm not gonna lie, I never even owned this album until the reissue came out. Fuckin' pathetic, yeah? I had "Prone Mortal Form" on cassette when I was a kid (I thought the album cover looked awesome), somehow ended up with the 7" that Chainsaw Safety released, and of course had the track that was on the "East Coast Assault" compilation (which always reminded me of Death Angel, oddly enough), but that was the extent of my Only Living Witness collection until 2006. And my full-blown worship didn't blossom until sometime in mid-2007, when "Downpour" came on my iPod during shuffle and I was suddenly like, "Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait... now that is a fucking million dollar song right there." I listened to that track about 20 times that day (it's the most played song in my iTunes library now), and have listened to this album about five times already this week—something that I almost never do anymore. I don't know why it took some time, but "Innocents" rapidly grew on me from that point forward, and now I can't get enough of it, and fully regret the fact that I inexplicably paid it no mind 12 fucking years ago when it originally hit the streets. (Damn you, chugging mid-90's hardcore, for once, damn you...)

And it's weird, because this isn't particularly the type of record that I'd normally think of as being one of "those records" for me—which perhaps makes it somehow all the more likely candidate to be just that type of record, but... well, whatever. I guess it covers all the bases. Heavy, diverse , rockin', melodic, creative... great riffs, excellent recording, golden performances... and it's damn sure loaded with feeling and emotion. I don't know what it is, because for the most part it's only little fragmented bits and pieces of the lyrics that jump out at me and make want to shoot myself in the face (And for me, that's actually a good thing here. I'm all about connection and response with music, so if it makes me want to put my fist through a wall or something like that, we're good to go.), but... the vast majority of these songs hit me like a fuckin' brick in the mouth, and though the metaphor reads illogically, I'd be a much happier man if I could find more music that stirred such feelings within me.

I realize I've said very little about their actual music, but that's because I'm going to let it speak for itself:

Only Living Witness "Downpour"
Only Living Witness "Knew Her Gone"

I should say so much more, but I don't even know what more to say. Amazing, amazing album, and I commend these cats with full fucking force across the board for this one. I'm floored. (And, yeah, embarrassed. Why the hell did it take me so long to wake up? Why!?)

I mean, if that shit doesn't do something for you, something's not right, man...

With regard to "Downpour" I stated awhile back that everyone in Only Living Witness "should be fuckin' rich for having something to do with a song so amazing". I wasn't kidding. They are, however, not rich. "Innocents" is, however, fucking perfect. So you should, of course, buy the album and contribute to their continually unfortunate lack of riches. Unless my eyes deceive me, Century Media seems to be selling the 2xCD reissue for a mere $5 (That makes no sense, but it's a hell of a deal, so jump at it!), so... if you download this album for free, you suck. The end.

Get It

Century Media


  1. Couldn’t agree more with the comments.  This band were incredible and split up far too soon.  Check out Milligram’s “Hello Motherfucker” album and anything by Raw Radar War for some more stuff by Jonah Jenkins.  Not quite in the same league as OLW but pretty good all the same.

    1.11.2008 | By Sutton

  2. Awesome…thanks for posting ‘Downpour’.

    I commented the last time you posted about Only Living Witness but have decided to no longer use my actual name on forums for various (possibly over-paranoid) reasons. I’ve since racked up a lot of plays on their myspace page though and fully intend to buy that 2CD reissue very soon as everything I’ve heard is gold. In fact I’m off to see if Century Media will dispatch directly to the UK.


    1.11.2008 | By mooseybwoy

  3. They won’t!

    1.11.2008 | By mooseybwoy

  4. Hmmm, If Century Media won’t ship outside the US you should go to The End Records as they have it in stock.  Regular price, but still… great, great material.

    1.11.2008 | By Andrew Aversionline

  5. As I was a decade ago, I’m a little mixed on this.  Killer music, questionable vocals…for my taste at least.  Not horrible, but just kinda “eh.”

    1.11.2008 | By Johnny

  6. This is one mighty record, I was also way too late discovering it. I already gave credit on this site for leading me to them. Jonah Jenkins, WAW, such a great voice, each song is totally different from the others. You posted my personal favorite ‘knew her gone’, the chorus, maaaan, that riff is so powerful, drumfill comes in and suddenly Jonah wanted skies more, I want skies more when I hear that song!  ‘Hank Crane,’ is that Ennio Morricone there? The build up, the acoustic guitar, the drum march, excellent. The groove in Deed’s Pride, all out rockin ‘Some will never know’, Strata is also one of my favorites ‘all my heroes…’ fuck man. Everyone should listen to this disc, way ahead of it’s time, maybe that’s why these guys aren’t given the credit they deserve?

    1.11.2008 | By tim

  7. Johnny, dude, the vocals are 100,000% unquestionably awesome.  I’m shocked that you’re doubting on the vocals!?

    Tim, yeah, man, the chorus to “Knew Her Gone” totally destroys me, too.  Fuckin’ insane.  I could’ve gushed about each song for about as long as I did about the entire album in the post above, ha, ha…

    1.11.2008 | By Andrew Aversionline

  8. One more pseudo-related thing, a while ago you posted two of your favorite songs, one was Downpour and the other one was ‘Get Used to It’ by Solid Ground, after a few listens that song really grew on me, well seems like the band is now signed by LetItBurn and will drop their new cd in a few months. There are three new songs of that on their myspace, check it.

    1.11.2008 | By tim

  9. I don’t know.  They just don’t fit the tunes with me.  He definitely has the passion but they’re up in the mix and just seem a little askew of the riffage.  I know that’s heresy, but I gotta call ‘em as I see them.

    1.11.2008 | By Johnny


    So there you go. Two bold statements. No care whatsoever haha.

    I totally love this band, but I think everyone that knows me a little knows I do. I love both albums, but for whatever reason Prone Mortal Form gets more spins over here.

    In your article you pretty much mentioned all their stuff, but forgot about their first 7” (Complex Man / Dying System / Bad Blood). It’s a bit different, more technical, different line-up too. But still really good. Oh and there’s also an incredible live version of Deed’s Pride on the “Bloodlines - The Seeds Of Rebellion” sampler.

    Also check out Milligram & Miltown (not mentioned yet) if you dig this. Jonah’s now doing Raw Radar War, which is a lot different from OLW, way way more heavy. Like a soundtrack to absolute total destruction of everything you know.

    I’ll have to drop in a link to the Jonah Jenkins (singer) interview I did some time ago at Again I hear you thinking? Yes, again. Check it out here:

    On a sidenote, I’m currently working on a (paper) zine called “Some Will Never Know” (now where did that name come from? haha) and it will feature that very same interview with Jonah Jenkins but also a write up about “Some Will Never Know” by the man himself. Thought that would be a good introduction to my zine… So if you’re interested, keep an eye out for that.

    Good post Andrew, good post! I could go on a lot longer about this as well, but I’d bore people to death haha.

    1.11.2008 | By Pim

  11. I also liked Jonah’s work with 5ive. Definitely an awesome collaboration.

    I heard rumors about an Only Living Witness reunion show happening this year. I guess Jonah and a few of the other guys from OLW. I’m really interested in checking that out when material is delivered.

    1.11.2008 | By Eddie

  12. when I heard the track Downpour something in my mind said or better ask: Is this remind you of some other band? And I think and think and I would say it’s somewhat remind me on Farside, maybe Texas is the Reason or the Handsome. Bunch of that ‘kind’ of bands are somewhat (too) similiar to each other.  I don’t know. Downpour is quite great track but as I said I would hard to say which of this bands is the best.Also vocals are quite similar.

    1.11.2008 | By Bill

  13. Only Living Witness > Farside, Texas Is The Reason, Handsome.

    And I really like Handsome. Don’t get me wrong.

    1.11.2008 | By Pim

  14. Also look into Milligram and Miltown if you haven’t already ... Jonah’s vocals are great on all of them.

    1.11.2008 | By Guav

  15. OLW rules so much.  im glad i got into them in the past few years.

    prone mortal form is good, but it comes down to the first and last song being amazing. if they came out as 7” itd be one of the best ever.  as for the rest of it theres a couple of good songs mixed in, and a couple duds.

    innocents is more of a solid listen start to finish.

    1.11.2008 | By Dan Sullivan

  16. @ Dan. Are you forgetting about VTA? Because that song is great and it’s neither the first or the last song.

    @ Guav. Like I said ;)

    1.11.2008 | By Pim

  17. Finally :P. This was one of my fave records of alltime. I guess that’s enough :)

    1.12.2008 | By adriano

  18. Great post, LOVE this record! I admittedly don’t think Prone Mortal Form or the early HC stuff is that great, but they TOTALLY nailed it with this one.

    1.12.2008 | By Mark P

  19. CM sucks, why the fuck they don’t ship to europe thats just plain wrong. Well i’m going to hunt that 2 in 1 cd down anyway, good stuff.

    1.12.2008 | By markusxKTL

  20. Well I also last year discovered Milligram and OLW. I basically got into it because of Converge’s latest album. Jonah J pipes along with them on Grim heart / Black Rose. Another total ace song. Anyway Innocents is indeed as good as mentioned.

    1.13.2008 | By Stevhan the invincible

  21. Fuck yeah, good stuff. I remember when you posted about them a few months ago you didn’t even mention the band name, and I had to email you to find out. I didn’t remember even after that—but hearing this track, the voice is a dead giveaway.

    This is really good.

    And for the record, I do like his voice a lot! It’s unique.

    Gonna go order at CMdistro now!


    1.14.2008 | By Vince Neilstein

  22. [...] I hadn’t, until Andrew @ Aversionline posted a very personal homage to the Boston-based band’s seminal album Innocents, consisting of lots of lines like this: “The album’s that fucking incredible. Seriously.” [...]


  23. Jonah’s one of the best vocalists out there.  Both OLW albums are awesome.  I also dig Milligram and Miltown.  I wish he’d release that second Miltown CD.  I feel bad that I haven’t checked out Raw Radar War yet

    1.16.2008 | By Paul

  24. To repeat my comment on your previous post, this is one of the best albums I have ever owned. Strangely enough it was also the first CD I ever bought after progressing fromn audio cassettes! :)) Pretty hard to describe how great this album is because I could go on forever!

    Would really love to hear the still unreleased tracks liek Liars Den, which is on some live bootleg recording I think. If anyone reading this has those tracks please get in touch!

    1.26.2008 | By Adam G

  25. brilliant.  saw them with Qintaine Americana on Lansdowne St…WAAAAAY fuckin heavy.

    1.31.2008 | By JMAC

  26. By the way. Does anyone have any live recordings? Because I can’t seem to find any anywhere. Aside from Deed’s Pride on a compilation and the two videos on the 2CD.

    2.1.2008 | By Pim

  27. Hey Andrew,

    thanks for the review. OLW and especially this record is and will always be one of my favourites of all time. Jonah´s vocals AND the amazing drumming, it can´t any better…I write for a German online fanzine and in almost every interview I try to include a “OLW-question” just to make people aware of how f****ing genius this band has been. When I asked JD from SHIPWRECK A.D. about OLW he said the following: “I think Jonah has one of the greatest voices hardcore has ever been graced with”. That pretty much sums it up. I have been listening to “Innocents” yesterday for like the 100000th time or something like that. Songs like “Knew Her Gone” and “Hank Crane” still almost bring me to tears…

    2.8.2008 | By René

  28. DOWNPOUR 2008:

    6.18.2008 | By tim

  29. I will never, ever forgive myself for not going to that show.

    6.24.2008 | By sif

  30. classic classic record

    1.25.2012 | By Anonymous