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9 out of 10
Hassle Records, a UK based independent label, home to such bands as Alexisonfire, Cancer Bats, Juliette & The Licks, City & Colour, Thursday, Attack In Black and Zico Chain, has been a noise factory for some time. With such an impressive roster, a five-track sampler simply doesn't do the label justice and offer a true reflection of Hassle's current output. However, it is not a bad selection at all.
Kicking off with Anti-Flag's 'Good And Ready', the sampler stomps off to a massive start. With machine like rhythm guitars and big socially conscious choruses, 'Good And Ready' sits like a window into the label's ethos and could well stand as the company's motto. Attack In Black's 'Broken Things' is more relaxed than the opening track and despite feeling like it is about to explode at any time; it never peaks, leaving me more than a little confused. The band is tight and the production is great, but I just can't help but feel that the song was never entirely finished. Four Year Strong, however, wake the whole thing up again and the intro of 'Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Hell' leaves me wanting to lean out of the window and scream at the neighbours. Sounding much like Fall Out Boy on steroids, Four Year Strong are sure to make an impact on teen audiences all around the world and should do well on radio-play alone. Cancer Bats, renowned for the jugular-grabbing riffs, are on fine form on this sampler. 'Pray For Darkness' is aggressive, meaty and raring to go from the very first beat., but lasting only 92 seconds the tune leaves you gagging for more. Finally, City & Colour turn the sampler down a more acoustic route, allowing the listener to get lost in 'Confessions', a tune reminiscent of the likes of Joseph Arthur and Jose Gonzalez which leaves you grinning from ear to ear.
1. Anti-Flag - "Good And Ready"
2. Attack In Black - "Broken Things"
3. Four Year Strong - "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Hell"
4. Cancer Bats - "Pray For Darkness"
5. City & Colour - "Confessions"