Shortly after Michael Scondotto wrote us this great piece on Dismember's Indecent and Obscene, he contacted me about reviewing The Time is Now—the debut full-length from his latest band, The Last Stand—released a little over a year ago by Eulogy Recordings (CD) and Demons Run Amok (LP). Having been a fan of Michael's past work with Inhuman, Confusion, and Close Call—and not having followed much new music over the last two years—I was immediately on board.
The Last Stand actually features 3/4 of the lineup of Shutdown alongside Michael Scondotto on vocals. Fun fact: Shutdown's vocalist was actually Michael's brother, Mark; so to some degree, The Last Stand is Shutdown fronted by a different Scondotto brother! That being said, if you can imagine a combination of Inhuman and Shutdown, it's perhaps no surprise that you wouldn't be far off the mark with this material.
Expect 13 songs/28 minutes of no nonsense NYHC where no track tops three minutes. There's just enough of a chugging heaviness to barely flirt with "metal," but make no mistake: this material remains completely true to hardcore. You've got your flawlessly catchy and traditionally fast-paced moments such as "Where Were You?" and "Good Day to Die"; "Change" takes that same approach and tosses in a smidge of post-hardcore dissonance; "TLS Go!" is essentially a minute-and-42-second mosh break; while tracks like "Unleashed" and "Darkness vs. Light" crank out more of a pulsing midpaced groove. There are even a couple of cool guest vocal spots from Lou Koller (Sick of it All) on "Watch You Go" and Dave Franklin (Vision) on "Find Out" (the latter of which has somewhat of an anthemic punk edge).
The production is nice and thick, with a balanced mix where everything meshes perfectly for a fluid, hard-hitting punch; and the layout keeps it simple with a six-page booklet utilizing high-quality photography (the cover looks great), lyrics, and credits. Much like the music, the lyrics are straight to the point and true to form for the genre: Bringin' it back and keepin' it true, striving to change for the better, dealing with general life struggles, and some "stabbed in the back" type stuff thrown in for good measure.
If you're a fan of straightforward NYHC I see no reason why you wouldn't be into The Time is Now. The Last Stand offers up a great blend of the traditional hardcore formula with a dash of added heaviness and memorable, energetic songwriting. What more do you need!?