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This Is Hardcore: BoySetsFire – After The Eulogy

Gallows guitarist Lags picks his essential hardcore and punk releases – every Thursday on TeamRock

In 2000, I was working part-time at the closest thing Watford had to a record shop. Virgin Megastore (RIP) may have been lacking in fashionable underground releases but they made up for it with the metal shelves, which were fairly well-stocked with the latest punk bands' releases. This is largely because, as an employee, I’d make bold attempts to guarantee indie record labels like Epitaph, Fat Wreck, Revelation, and Victory had as much presence as the majors.

These smaller labels would release low-priced compilation CDs showcasing up and coming releases – a sort of 'try before you buy' scheme before MP3s came along and flooded the music industry. Victory Records’ series of budget comps were named Victory Style and usually delivered crushing hardcore from the likes of Earth Crisis, Snapcase and Integrity. The fourth compilation in the series was discernible for featuring a raw and passionate band that acknowledged memorable guitar lines and catchy hooks. This was the first time I'd heard of Delaware's BoySetsFire. Their song Rookie instantly grabbed my attention and my excitement wouldn’t abate until I bought the album, After The Eulogy.

This mix of different genres may sound confusing on paper, but their diverse musical styles are well-balanced throughout the recording. Yet at Connecticut's Carriage House Studios, they used just two guitar tones: clean or distorted. This simple production technique creates a uniform sound that ties all the songs together, while singer Nathan Gray's passionate vocal delivery never wavers; in particular, his raspy scream sits beautifully next to his singing on tracks like Twelve Step Hammer Program.

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