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Music Review: Charge – Who’s in Control?!

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Charge is a New York hardcore band based in New Jersey. People like to compare them to the Bad Brains. I think they do this because (a) most or all of the musicians are black (depending on the lineup), (b) the band plays hardcore, and (c) the music has reggae breaks. Despite these superficial similarities, Charge definitely has its own sound. It is more straight-up hardcore than the fast punk stuff the Bad Brains have perfected. You definitely hear that 90s New York sound, but the rhythms are interesting, funkier. The 2007 ep Who's in Control?! features five songs. "Logan's Run" is a short reggae song but the remaining four tunes are hardcore.

The band's 2004 release Universal Tribe had posicore lyrics in addition to songs with a political focus. This release is similar but possibly even more pissed off. Even the cover art is angrier: a comic-book style drawing of powerful black man tearing the face off a white man who is revealed to be a robot. The first song is the blistering "Souled Out Souls," warning the listener to keep control of his soul, not give it away to become another zombie: "If you gave up control, you just got sold."

"Don't Look Down" is slower and more driving. It a good song to listen to if you're off to try something new, even if the only ridicule you hear is inside your head. Singer Giri's soulful voice cries,

"What are you waiting for? / You should just break down the door / Fear itself can't be ignored / Now make a move / Don't look down / And when they spit at you / And fuckin' ridicule everything you do / Push on through, push on through / Fuck them all / Don't look down"

"Block the Transmission" warns us to protect our minds from the false messages of the media. The last track, "Days Away," is about living in your head like you are "the sun that our nine planets surround." The guitar solos on this one are more frenetic than the other tracks.

If you've never seen Charge live, you're outta luck: they're taking a break right now. When they come back, check 'em out. They throw down an energetic show. In the meantime, you can order this CD or download it from Reaper Hardcore. You can hear streaming MP3s at Charge's MySpace profile page.

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