It's a horribly inappropriate metaphor, given the eating and drinking habits of many in this scene, but aren't good old-school hardcore records kind of the audio equivalent of a bacon cheeseburger and a cheap cold beer? Sure, it's nice to see bands spreading their wings, getting all technical, melding styles, whatever. But sometimes you just want savage breakdowns, fast polka beats, hoarse throat-scraping vocals and pissed-off messages of militant anger. Simple, satisfying fare — audio comfort food for the circle-pit generation.
If that sounds good to you, and you haven't scored a leak of the new HATEBREED yet — or you've got that whole knee-jerk "big labels = bad" headtrip going on — TO THIS DAY will black in the X's on the backs of your hands just fine. These guys hearken back to a day when hardcore and metal weren't synonyms, and when simple, face-punching rhythms were the order of the day. There's not much, if anything, to set TO THIS DAY apart from a hundred other bands in their ZIP code in Buffalo, much less the rest of the world — but originality is hardly the point here, conviction is, and these guys have got it.
If you must pick through the melee and find some shards of individuality – the riffing in "Legends" and "OM" is almost black metal, and there's even some half-assed blast beating going on, if only for a few measures. Then it's over, before you realize it, and you're into another short song on this short record, immersed in another hardcore cliché that doesn't sound so bad, coming from these guys. Before you know it, you're at the brooding, squalling "Blackout", and the album's over.
Adjust the rating accordingly if you're planning to buy the CD from the band's merch table after a show in someone's basement, or if you're still immersed in this DIY lifestyle. It'll seem a bit one-dimensional to the rest of the world, but it's a safe bet the band could give a shit what the rest of the world thinks. Integrity for miles.