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Random Violence/Value Lasts, Split (Still Ill, 2015)

Old school styles of hardcore aren't typically my thing, but an old internet acquaintance recently sent me this 7" with a nice handwritten note that really got me nostalgic for the early days of this site, when I would receive packages from and correspond with people from all over the world and get to check out actual, physical releases from all kinds of different bands. In this case, it's two hardcore groups from the Philippines: Random Violence and Value Lasts.

Random Violence opens side A with a Game of Thrones sample that had me halfway expecting something a touch darker/heavier, but for the most part they present straightforward and to the point old school hardcore centered around moderately fast-paced power chord rhythms and plodding bass lines, with breakdowns more conducive to circle pits than moshing. The vocals, however, do possess an added sense of intensity and desperation that I really appreciate. "Swollen Pockets" combines a touch of an early Strife feel with bits of melody that add diversity to their approach, making it the standout for me.

Value Lasts treads a similar path with a slightly more consistently melodic brand of traditional hardcore that flirts with subtle influences from pop-punk or even screamo types of aesthetics. They demonstrate a pretty flawless integration of killer bass breaks, and the vocals tend to be more of a strained/shouted yell that falls in with the grooves. As with side A, the quick clean break during "Perverted" adds enough variety to set it apart, but the slower-paced "Wasteland" creates a more emotional feeling that really works nicely.

Both bands recorded at the same studio with the same engineer during the same month, so the sounds are very cohesively matched overall. The vinyl is housed in a high-quality four-panel black and white sleeve that includes all of the lyrics, some photos, etc. Lyrically, Random Violence offers a personal approach to tackling equality, unity, change for the better, etc.; while Value Lasts boasts a slightly more socio-political edge that touches upon environmentalism, consumerism, as well as a potentially straight edge angle.

It's also always very cool to see these records being released as massive cooperative efforts—in this case between no less than six Filipino labels: Still Ill, Aklasan, Love From Hate, Left Hand Path, Get Up & Go, and Delusion of Terror. Shit, you simply can't deny the authenticity behind a release of this nature, and I truly respect that...

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