Review – Hard Stare – Hard Stare II

What are you going to do in five and a half minutes? We will tell you what you should be doing, and that’s letting the upcoming new release from Scotland Crossover monsters ‘Hard Stare’ violate your ears!

The four piece ‘super group’ consists of members from other killer bands from across Scotland – namely Lev (Kingpin) on vocals, Billy (Disposable) on bass, George (Gendo Ikari, ex-Kingpin) on drums and Liam (Fatal Collision) on guitars and in the DIY tradition that the band are formed on, the drums and gang vocals for were recorded at Transmission Room Studios in Clydebank, but all other instruments (guitars, bass and vocals) as well as mixing and mastering done by the band members themselves in various bedrooms and kitchens. The cover art was also painted at home by the bassist, Billy.

Crossover as a genre is really strong again at the moment, and the UK scene in particular keeps delivering us some gems, with bands like Inhuman Nature, Overpower and Pest Control (and Hard Stare) being fine examples of what you can offer if you take the punk and hardcore ethos and blend it with some of the best thrash riffs you can lay your fingers on….

Over the past few years, the term “crossover” has come to be shorthand for “sounds like Power Trip”, but with all the respect in the world for Power Trip – Hard Stare’s crossover does not aim to just sound like Power Trip. Hard Stare’s crossover goes back to the drawing board, taking all of the members’ individual passions for thrash metal and hardcore punk and fusing together choice elements of each – along with whatever other influences they feel like throwing in from anywhere else – to create music with its own unique identity not bound by trying too hard to sound like any one particular thing.

Lev

And thats exactly what the guys have done, created what is clearly a crossover EP, that has those comforting elements that thrashers and hardcore fans look for, yet sounds like ‘Hard Stare’ and nobody else

The three tracks, kick off with ‘No More Time’ a full on hit to the chops, Lev launches into a volley of quick fire lyrics we get to a “urghhhh” and then we get the breakdown we were looking for before tearing headlong into the rest of the track, that suddenly finishes and launches into 2nd track ‘You Decide…But Why’ that even manages to cram a killer solo in the 1:33 play time and before we know it we head into the longest track of the three ‘Hit Da Bricks’ which even gets slowed down a little as hit heads into the final guitar squeals.

And that’s it.. 5 and a half minutes of finest Scottish Crossover comes to an end, it’s probably taken you longer to read this review, but don’t let that stop you…. hit the play button again!

Photo – Barry Douglas 2022

These guys are in my ‘bands to see live bucket list’ for next year, and Hard Stare’s first show of 2023 will be on January 23rd alongside friends Cryptic Shift and Inhuman Nature at the Garage Attic in Glasgow, tickets for which will be available from: http://www.kingpin-glasgow.com/cryptic

The band’s new EP, “Hard Stare II”, will be released via the usual streaming channels on Friday 16th December 2022 (physical release details TBC). “Hard Stare II” is the follow up the debut EP, “Hard Stare”, which was released for streaming and on cassette tape via Nuclear Family Records in August 2021. Pre-save link should be available here: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/hardstare/hard-stare-ii

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