After 10 years as leaders of the Christian hardcore movement, Corona, California's NO INNOCENT VICTIM called it quits. Never say never. Now reformed as a quintet with the addition of former XDISCIPLE ADX members Dave Quiggle (guitar) and Neil Hartman (bass), the band pulls no punches its fifth album, "To Burn Again".
Long-respected by hardcore bands (including HATEBREED and AGNOSTIC FRONT) and fans alike (Christian or otherwise), "To Burn Again" is the sound of a group that hasn't lost a step. One time through and you'll be back for additional listens. Each of these 14 tracks is a keeper; none better than any other and each a memorable smack in the mouth. More than a few bands have struggled with staying true to hardcore form without getting boring; NO INNOCENT VICTIM is not one of those bands. Whether it is the full-on, up-tempo battery of "Set Apart", "Life Debt", or the title track, the old-school fat bass groove of "Bring Them Back", or the street-tough gang shouts of "Ready to Fight" and "To the Death", the beating never ceases. Vocalist Jason Moody barks like Gary Meskil (PRO-PAIN), letting you know in no uncertain terms to lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way. You'll also hear elements of that metal-edged PRO-PAIN crush groove on songs like "Open".
Whether you agree with the band's spiritual message or not, the unwavering dedication to a belief system comes through loud and clear. Lines like "Stand up for your maker" (from "Stand") don't leave much room for interpretation, while others such as "Picking our brothers up off the ground" (from "Bring Them Back") can be applied to situations that have little or nothing to do with faith. Christian, Buddhist, or Satanist, any fan of hardcore should check this one out - not because it is a cutting edge effort or a reinvention of the genre, but because it's a well-written, no-bullshit hardcore album.