Review of Just’s First Full Length, II

Every once in a while, a band emerges within the hardcore community that shatters expectations and raises our level of enjoyment, encourages our self-worth, and promotes a sense of pride of what this community can produce. Personally, there are three things that any giving project must have in order for it to have a successful run. Originality to break the mold, dedication or the drive to continue, and talent because that’s a fucking given. It seems as if these days hardcore has reached a mindset that forsakes most, if not all, of these unwritten and arguably unnecessary prerequisites. It’s almost as if kids care more about image or reputation more so than providing their fans with a raw, respected, and impassioned deliverance of music. Personally, I’m glad to see that people are out there giving music a chance but can we please do it for the sake of personal creativity and self-expression and not towards boosting one’s ego or image? This is hardcore, there are no winners in this game, baby.

Speaking of which, the band we are quite stoked to bring forth to your attention is an act that will soon be played heavily on your playlist after reading this article. Just, a Brooklyn based hardcore unit is comprised of members of various other projects from several genres spanning over 15 plus years of influence. This is inherently true upon first listen as this band mixes a heterogeneous collection of musical direction stemming from a multitude of styles. Seriously, at one point you can hear the tumultuous anarchy of 1980’s hardcore punk while the next minute you are in a diazepam daze of reverberating glare that only the 1990’s was ever able to produce accordingly.

An integral point that should be laid out before the listener is that this isn’t just another hardcore project nearly as much as it is an art project. When asked about the direction of this band, it was said that Just is “all his brain, his pen, and his art.” You may also know of his other project, No Honeymoon.

Hardcore has always been more than glaring guitars, screaming heads, or the violent discourse it tends to manufacture in a live setting. It is an art that takes the innermost sentiments of which we love and expresses the hate within our problematic world in a manner that is both poetic and artistic. Instead of dropping a fire merch collection or worrying about the band’s’ image or adhering to public demands, Just only cares about producing something worthy of its true self.

II is the second self-titled record and first in terms of bringing forth a full length to light. A vibrating warmth of tonal clarity matched with aggressive undertones that possess a lyricism style that is rather vengeful in nature. Furthermore, the attitude is fucking spiteful with topics that range from existential thought (Dream) to battling the demanding stress and pain of living life in the big bad city (Dusk). As I said earlier, this formation of music is paired with multifarious sounds and influences. All without sacrificing the simplicity and energy that punk offers us. No song stretches for more than a minute or so and the writing was constructed with both a professional and fervent mindset.

“Mostly, we’re influenced by fun times and the macabre, punk, Raymond Pettibon, and 1980’s hardcore.”


It can be a tricky task in combining dissimilar genres for the sake of creating something fresh and original. Often times, it ends up with something that sounds distasteful or shitty for a lack of better terms. Fortunately, this was not the case on Just’s freshmen full length as they were successful in producing a seven inch that orchestrates the use of harmonious leads while combining disorderly rhythm sections in the writing of II. With such forceful tracks like October or Trick, the craving desire that makes you want to put a head through a wall or call someone out on their bullshit becomes tenfold. You know? That anger that rests anxiously within each and every one of us. Regardless if we wish to admit it or not, this record has a tendency to express such an emotional outpour of aggravation on the opening track alone…

What is Just?
Just is that feeling in your gut
What is Just?
Just is a compass collecting rust
What is Just?
Just is an equal share
What is just when you just don’t give a fuck?

On the same token, tracks like City or Gut yield a melodious sense of reverberation that more and more bands seem to find as a gratifying addition to incorporating to any given piece. As for as personal opinions go, far too many bands are cheaply mimicking the gorgeous echoes of glaring reverbs and the saturated chorus of the 1990’s. Now, I’ll never call a band out for their failures or misfortunes because nobody is above that. What will be said is that very few bands are able to draw a distinct line between influence and inspiration. Carry a sense of due diligence with your writing that neither undermines your own talent or completely constricts your sound to the likes of someone else. For “hardcore’s sake,” projects such as the ever popular Turnstile or West Coast riff train, Mizery, were efficacious in bringing forth an intoxicating sound of harmony paired immaculately with a loaded tone. As is the case with Just so please do give the open eye and open set of ears on this banger because it still holds roots to a punk sensibility. This isn’t an aesthetic nearly as it is an art project focused on raw, energetic and impassioned music. More importantly, punk-hardcore.

Oh, and for the record, Just sounds entirely separate and distinct from those mentioned above.

The Plug

II was engineered and mixed over at Barbershop Studios (New Jersey) by Kevin Kumetz with support from Mike Kalajian over at Rogue Planet in mastering this fucking gem. The record dropped last Friday as an independent release and with no external support. Seriously, the DIY mentality is fucking perfect and leaves no doubt or question that these young men are in it for the right reasons.

This isn’t just another hardcore band, this is Just.


Review of Scary Stories’ Rope

Rope, a vicious six track record of hectic proportions, dropped on July 7th off of Black Numbers. The New Jersey hardcore based quartet Scary Stories have outdone themselves on this cut, my friends. Rope is an ungovernable force. It is an emotional delve of personal affliction. A reigning torment that only few could ever understand. I mean shit, it takes a whole different breed of character to listen and thoroughly enjoy a hardcore or metal record.

Well, let’s get down to business and talk shop about this furiously enraging 7″ that the boys in Scary Stories have proudly unleashed upon us.The lyrics within this abhorrent record are that of an abysmally dwelling consciousness focused on the negative repercussions of surviving in a postmodern society. Rope plays like a cruising behemoth that is hell bent on self-destruction. A borderline nihilistic outcry towards death’s cold grip and the implications surrounding this seemingly despairing existence. From the filthy bigotry of our nation (White Plague) to the endless amount of “witch hunts” within this society (More Weight), Rope is anything but quiet or typical.

At times, the record spins like a malicious fit of rage fueled by personal discontent towards implications arising from one’s decisions regarding any manner of existence. An existential crisis would be far too much of a cliche as the intent of Paul’s lyricism dives far into the deep end of our emotions. The place where heartache, pain, and despair lay dormant. A place colder and more crushing than the darkest depths of the farthest reaches of the deep blue sea. Then at parts, it becomes resentful yet yearning while expressing anger in a manner that excretes passion. Chaotic in nature, the intention of this record is a pairing of dwelling poetry and boisterous music structure. Coming from a fan with a sincere love for The Chariot and Converge, this latest bit of anarchic music is sure to satisfy such a taste.

Credits: Grab Shot Promo

To sum this record up with a definitive statement, I would say that this second release by Scary Stories is a lawless rampage fueled by an innate distaste of our society and the contradictory standard it holds. There are far too many underrated bands within our scene and it kills me to know that Scary Stories is but the best of many.

As said earlier, Black Numbers is responsible for putting this record out and physical copies can be bought at their Merch Connection page. For those that were fortunate to attend the record release show, there was a limited tie-dye colorway that was being sold so I’m a bit jealous least to say the least. From what we heard the show was a straight banger with support from Ides, What of Us, Devoidov, and Concussed fucking killing it at Backroom Studios. Speaking of which, what better place to christen this record than by where it was produced? Scot Moriarty, front-man of Organ Dealer, was the man behind the helm of this project. Once again, Scot provided a bang up job in bringing Rope to life. Not a lot of folks know what it takes to produce a great record let alone have the ability, drive, and talent to make it actually happen. When you find a great relationship with an engineer, it would be wise to continue such a connection because chemistry can be a mother fucker. Great to see such an outcome between artist and producer and I’m looking forward to what comes next between these two parties.

Anarchic in fashion while mutinous in nature towards conformity. Grab a copy, download it to your phone, or just give them some love. The scariest story you may have ever heard could just very well be your own life

Credits: Matthew Glodek

Control Releases New EP Entitled “The Lonely”

Control is a four piece New Jersey-based collective that focuses its writing towards mid-90’s post-hardcore and emo. A sound that incorporates a contemporary style for this generation based on erstwhile sounds and aesthetics some years ago. Their music’s influence resonates strongly against bands such as The GetUp Kids, Quicksand, and Fugazi. An inherent take away that many should come to hear upon their first listen. More importantly if I may note, is that this quick demo presents itself with a modern sensibility that neither constricts them towards nostalgic listening or prevents their music from adhering to modern demands.

Hailing from Ogdensburg, New Jersey this band is comprised of members from Earth Stood Still and the former hardcore outfit, Captives. The original intent of this project was “playing hard, melodic, post-hardcore music with a complete DIY ethic” so we can see how this local act has strong roots towards creating original and impassionetly driven music. With a full length and several EP’s under their belt their newest release, entitled The Lonely, is one that will separate themselves from their past discography.

The Lonely is a jaded self-realization that our problems aren’t necessarily as bad as they seem. A proclamation fueled by self-loathing that says we are all destined to die and to die alone. Clocking in at just eleven minutes, this third EP and the first bit of music since 2015 is one that is nearly a decade in the making. It is both an easy listen and a deep delve of conscious thought as the lyrics are underlined by poignant melodies and a saddened prose.

An endearing appreciation goes out to Bedside Manner Collective for bringing this talented act to light to my own regards and self-interest. This is a New Jersey based record label that centers its ethos around a DIY perspective while producing limited run batches of records, tapes, and discs. Great label for those that are keen on local acts and collecting limited and small batch records. Definitely, keep in line with those guys as they are sure to bring that ear candy.

Interview Set with Mike Belveduto

HEAD WALK: The maturity and emotion within The Lonely seems more developed and fulfilling compared to your previous endeavors. Would you say this project has grown from its original consideration as just a post-hardcore outfit into what it is now?

Mike Belveduto: Totally! I’d say we have grown as musicians and as people in general. It can take some time to find yourself and it could take even longer to find your musical style, or groove if you will. You may never find either! (Laughs)

But really a huge part of our writing, in the beginning, was influenced by our former drummer Kevin Carafa. Kevin is such a great talent and it was a lot of fun to write with him over the years. He’s one of those guys who plays a ton of instruments and really gets how to write music. Most importantly, he listens and sees the big picture. After he left we sort of just threw in the towel for a bit until we came back with our good friend Kellene and our buddy Ryan. Our style has definitely changed a bit due to the changing of drummers but also our own influences have changed a bit as well.

HW: The lyrical content is one that strikes a chord of interest for myself as it reflects keenly on what a great “emo-tional” record ought to sound like. Where, if any, do you find your artistry towards writing and with that; what track stands out the most in terms of personal appreciation?

MB: As I have gotten older, I feel as if my writing and lyrical influence has changed quite a bit. I used to write about books I’ve read or something I may have seen on the news, or mostly towards some science fiction thing I was watching on television. Lately, I have unintentionally been writing about things like loneliness, anger, depression, a pinched nerve in my neck (that one I wrote about intentionally). I may have some built up feelings brewing inside that hopefully won’t explode one day. I have never seen a therapist before so I would say music is my therapy. Writing, listening, it’s the cheapest and most effective therapy I can think of honestly.

As far as a favorite song? I can’t really say. I kinda dig all three as a whole. There have been times I could pick a favorite easily, not this time.

HW: How was the recording process for The Lonely?

MB: It was a great, fun, and tedious process (laughs)! We tracked drums and bass over at Portrait Recording Studios in Pompton Plains New Jersey with our buddy John Ferrara. Then we took the tracks back to our home studio to track guitar and vocals. It’s always a fun experience being at Portrait, and then it’s always hard and tedious work finishing it up at home (laughs)! I’m just so damn picky when it comes to my vocals and I really don’t consider myself any kind of “professional singer” so it would really cost us an arm and a leg with all the time I take to do my vocals. We had it mixed by our old friend Chris Badami at Portrait Recording Studios. He’s our guy and we love him. Then we had it mastered by Dan Coutant at Sun Room Audio. This has been our formula for our last two releases and we are very happy with it.

As far as guitar gear we used our own stuff. Either an Orange AD30 or a Marshall JCM 800 head alongside some Marshall 1960 cabs. Not too many pedals get used because we are a pretty straightforward band. On this last one, I think all we used was a Boss Chorus and a Boss DD6.

Back in the day, we used to track everything with our drummer Kevin. He would mix and master it all. Our first couple EPs and Obsolete Through Automation were done like that as well.

HW: Control has been a band for nearly a decade now. Being the well-seasoned band that you are, how would you say being a local level act has been over the years? Is it easier or harder to play shows as the years go by?

MB: I’d say it’s about the same. I’ve been playing in local bands for about 18 years now and I’ve always given it my all. Regardless of whether it be a big crowd or small crowd. I feel like playing music is pretty much like everything else, the more you play the more you learn. I’ve always felt the key to “success” is just showing up with a positive attitude. If you keep showing up, playing your heart out, and continue doing your best? Someone will wanna see you.

HW: What can we expect from y’all this summer and have you any plans for tours or announcements you’d like to publicize?

MB: As of now there is not much going on this summer. We really wanna focus on writing and actually making a plan for the future. It’s been awhile since we’ve done that. Sometimes life can really get in the way of the things you love to do, that has been the case lately.

HW: Lastly, shout outs and final plugs.

MB: #defeatthemainstream #listentocontrol

Mosh for Paws Presents: Culture Killer’s Final Tour

Apparently, Kevin hasn’t thrown in the towel with booking righteous gigs over here in North Jersey because we have one hell of an announcement today, folks. Culture Killer, a violent act of anarchic proportions, are leaving their Floridian territories in search of violence and destruction one last time. You can thank Mosh for Paws for putting together this banger.

Yup, this is it my friends. The last time any of us will ever be graced by this lawless sense of musical disorder. It surely has been a minute since the boys in Culture Killer last made their way up north so do expect a rather tumultuous gathering of degeneracy.

Well, let’s keep this short and to the point…

Head over to Mexicali Live on July 19th to witness an onslaught of talent from the likes of Culture Killer, Phantom Pain, Refuge, and our family in On Sight. Tickets are only ten dollars if you get them the day before the show. If you want to beat the surcharges and fees, just swing by the venue to pick these tickets up. You’ve spent far more on much worse so don’t give us a fucking excuse as to why you couldn’t purchase them. If you’d rather buy tickets from home then head over to this link to cop these bad boys.

With that in mind, I would like to take a quick second to note that this will be one of the last Mexicali Live shows. What does this mean you ask?
For starters, it means that there will be a new face for music in North Jersey. A premiere venue curated, especially for hardcore, punk, and metal. As of September 12th of this year, the venue will be operating under the name Debonair Music Hall. This rebranding will be bringing bigger and better acts while disassociating itself from its former bluegrass and folk-based roots. In other words, more rock n’ roll and fewer hippies smelling the joint up.

Lastly, we had a chance to sit down and chat with Dylan and Hunter from Culture Killer about their decision to break up while discussing their forthcoming final record. Check it out below and be sure to save the date. See y’all at the rock show.

Interview Set

HEAD WALK: Gavel, your recent and seemingly last display of work, was a rather hard hitting demo. What went into the recording and engineering process of your most recent release? More importantly, would you care to explain the intention and meaning that this viciously hitting demo aims to present towards the listener? The message is rather clear but please do elaborate.

Hunter: The recording process was very simple and straightforward. I had some downtime with an engineer friend of ours and wanted to put out an “anthem” type track. It was just Ryan Harvey and myself banging out a track in a few hours. Ian, our former vocalist, contributed lyrics to the song as well. I originally put vocals on “Gavel” for demo purposes, but those takes are the same ones we released. Regarding the lyrical intention, it stands for exactly what it says. There’s no hidden meanings or exceptions.

“A.C.A.B, Calling all pigs in the P.D.”

Dylan: Culture Killer has never been a silent act. Lyrical displays of personal resentments against police brutality, inherent corruption within government, and an overall distaste of social and political factors seem to stem from your music. What is it right now within our society that needs to be resolved or at the very least, be brought to light?

I’ve got a huge problem with social dependency. People say they want a revolution but won’t make a move unless someone else makes one first. In a sense, Culture Killer was that first move. Like, “Okay you’re mad about something? Us too. Let’s fucking do something about it.”

By no means are we the first band to do it, but I’d like to think that we’ve left a print in the sand. At least for our generation.

HW: Why the decision to throw in the towel? Was it entirely due to an inability of maintaining a steady line up or in part of financial woes or the other reasons expressed in that facebook post? Do you feel that there will ever be a rebirth or is this all for the best?

Dylan: There’s a time and place for everything, and we feel like this is the time to pinch the flame for CK. It’s not that we don’t love the music we write, or what we do because we do. But on the other hand, it’s draining when you’re trying to have fun, while also having to constantly sort out unnecessary bullshit. Losing members was one thing, and don’t get us wrong, we pulled the plug on multiple people. But by no means are we ever going to beg for someone to be in, or stay in our band.

I’d say it’s for the best. It’s better to burn out than to fade away.

HW: Speaking of which, you expressed that you guys have been finalizing what looks to be your last release as a band? What can we the listener expect from Culture Killer’s swan song?

Dylan: Our final EP is by far the most violent thing we’ve put out to date. Listeners can expect a lot of bitter rage. The lyrics are pretty personal to me, as this album is OUR closure. This last album, lyrically, says everything that we needed too. Nothing more, nothing less.

Hunter: I really feel like I wrote “Throes of Mankind” for a much older audience because of the pressure of signing to Metal Blade. At the end of the day, I love the record BUT, I recognize where my head was at that time.

This last EP feels a lot more natural to me than “Throes.”

HW: Will anyone be chasing music after the split or is back to the nine to five?

Hunter: Dylan and I have another project, that has been in the works for the past year. It’s definitely something that we’re taking our time on.

I know Dylan Boyer (Oscar) is starting a couple projects as well.

HW: Any last words you’d like to say before we depart?

Exterminate Filth, Motherfuckers.