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'Hardcore Lives'
(Nuclear Blast)

jools green

Jools Green


Hardcore/thrash crossover quartet Madball were founded in 1988 as an Agnostic Front side project that featured most of Agnostic Front's members as well as Freddy Cricien, Roger Miret's younger half-brother on vocals.

Now, twenty six years later, with Freddy as the only remaining original member and the band interestingly on their ninth drummer to date, this latest release 'Hardcore Lives' is as fresh and exciting as their first release, 1989s EP 'Ball Of Destruction'.

Full length studio album number eight, 'Hardcore Lives', is fifteen chunks of in your face, exciting and adventurous hardcore, each track with a message, story or meaning.

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Opening with the intense 'Intro' which gets the blood pumping and the heart racing and says "Madball are in the building". This flows beautifully into 'HC Lives', a coming of age song about the struggles and rebellious spirit of Hardcore kids and for me has a definite nod in the direction of 'Sick Of It All'.

'The Balance' is up tempo with an infectious rhythm but beneath that is a heart wrenching tale of balancing your time between the love of your family and the passion for your job that you love almost as much.

'Doc Marten Stomp' leans slightly more towards punk in its sound and is dedicated to the 'DMS crew' and 'Black and Blue' supporters everywhere. 'DNA' discusses connections that go beyond family bonds.

'Here And Now' is about living for the moment and seizing every opportunity and the drop in the tempo for the chorus has a big impact on the message contained in the track. 'Nothing To Me', has a slower tempo and I loved the higher profile drum work on the track which had a strong, deliberate rhythm.

Freddy's wife and son feature in 'Beacon Of Light', they are his beacons and keep him grounded and focused. Short, sharp and to the point, 'Spirit' is about overcoming inner demons, one of the inspiring tracks of the album for me. Living by your word and the ever developing fickle nature of people, is the subject covered on 'Mi Palabra' another standout track for me for the superb bass lines and the Spanish lyrics which add interest.

The shortest track at just twenty seven seconds is 'NBNC', yet there is so much happening in that short time frame, compact and intense. Anxiety disorder is a terrible condition and 'The Beast' is dedicated to anyone who suffers from it. 'For The Judged' tells you to be who you are without shame or fear and puts the ignorant who judge to shame.

There are also a few tracks which have guest vocalists adding more interest to the release, 'True School' feat. Scott Vogel (Terror), 'My Armor' feat. Toby Morse (H2O) and 'Born Strong' feat. Candace Puopolo (Walls Of Jericho), an appropriate track for Candace to guest on, given her other talent is power lifting although the track is about all types of strength, not just physical.

'Hardcore Lives' is a hugely powerful album of hardcore gems, well crafted and equally well delivered, full of passion and powerful messages, an insight into the thoughts and mind of Freddy Cricien.

I have to be honest, I have a soft spot for these guys, I have always found their work an exciting and uplifting listen and this release is no different, if fact it just gets better and better.

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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