Crippled Youth got moving. While most kids their age were trying to talk their parents into letting them go see Kiss at MSG (if that), the four Katonah youths were making their way up and down the northeast United States, and assembling their own K-Town Mosh Crew. With playing out and continuous song writing came a transformation away from Crippled Youth, a name Matt remembers just sounding "too punk," to that which would soon become recognized as that of BOLD - a name change they found more appropriate and a better reflection of no-punches-pulled songs like "Nailed to the X," "Still Strong," and "Always Try." They weren't little kids much longer...
Embraced and absorbed by the booming NYC Hardcore scene, BOLD quickly found themselves alongside the likes of Straight Ahead, Underdog, Warzone, Supertouch, Side By Side, Gorilla Biscuits, Sick Of It All, and of course, Youth Of Today, by the time 1987 rolled around. Not only were they growing up physically, BOLD's sound was evolving with a harder, denser, and even more convincing mix of straight edge hardcore tracks that would end up comprising the "Speak Out" twelve inch LP. Recorded throughout 1987 at upstate NY's Electric Reels Studios (the home of the Underdog EP and YOT's "Break Down The Walls," which Drew played drums on), Speak Out was a work in progress that took never-ending weekend trips by the band to complete. Though originally slated for a late 1987 release on Orange County, California's Wishingwell Records, dissatisfaction with the OC label's continuous delays and prioritizing led to a shift in plans. The growing surge of then-Connecticut based Revelation Records along with some sweet talk from owners Jordan Cooper and Ray Cappo resulted in the decision to make "Speak Out" Revelation release number nine.
Matt / Tim / Drew / John / Tom
||Rev Fest 2017 @ Aurea Vista: Bold
Interviews and Reviews
Bold "The Search: 1985 - 1989" CD
Fuck yes! First the Judge discography and now this! You wouldn't necessarily assume it, but I fucking love Bold. Of course, you know me, I think "Looking Back" crushes everything else they ever did, but it's all gold, and this massive collection houses it all under one roof - all the way back to the Crippled Youth EP that started it all. In case you're unaware, Bold was around for a fairly short time in the late-80's, and members later went on to the almighty Quicksand, Into Another, more recently Running Like Thieves, and many others over the course of the years. For the most part the tracks are arranged in reverse chronological order here, with a couple of compilation/bonus tracks interspersed between the more significant releases.
So, first up are the tracks that made up the band's self-titled 7", recorded in 1989, and later re-released in longer form as "Looking Back". I'll go ahead and put it out there that if you think "Speak Out" is better than "Looking Back", you're a fuckin' idiot. For a band that was basically dismissed as a sort of "Youth of Today, Jr." for the first few years of their existence, the progression they made after picking up Tom Capone from Beyond still fucking kills me to this day. Seriously, the maturity of the songwriting, the emphatic use of melody, the creativity of the riffs... I just cannot fathom why this material wasn't more widely respected and influential when it was originally released, because I flipped out over this shit when I was 15 years old, and 13 years later I still absolute adore these seven songs and listen to them fairly often. You'd just never really guess that this is the work of a band that was a straight up three-chord hardcore act a few short years earlier. "Running Like Thieves" kicks things off with a couple of chugging picking patterns and simplistic power chords but has one of the best choruses in the band's history, also making use of some nice basslines and melodic textures to make this one of the best examples of how the band kept one foot in the hardcore realm while totally reaching into another direction entirely. "You're the Friend That I Don't Need" gets a little heavier at that start before picking up the pace and keeping the melodic accents fairly restrained at first, but then there's a sweet clean break with a slow paced lead run that totally kicks ass and surges forth into a blazing solo. And what about the revamped edition of "Always Try"? It's incredible what a difference a few melodic alternate picking riffs and zippy rhythmic alterations can make in an old school hardcore staple! The amazing "Looking Back" opens with some slick harmonics and is among the more energetic numbers, dropping lots of fluid transitions in a quick timeframe; whereas "Hateful" first builds in slowly with more harmonics over a subdued clean passage that takes about a minute to rise in with some killer rocked out metal riffs and more raging solos. "Speak Out" is a little more straightforward than some of the other tracks, but closer "Today We Live" is pretty epic with the atypically delivered clean intro that again gives way to some rocked out metal riffs performed with a hardcore viewpoint, and I really enjoy the vocal work midway through before the clean guitars return as well. A great, great set of songs here. Sure, the way the vocals fluctuate between a mild form of yelling and almost singing can come off as a little crude and take some getting used to, but I actually really dig the vocal performance here, and it definitely adds an additional air of uniqueness to the songwriting. The only thing that holds the material back is that the recording is painfully thin and has a dirty edge to it that's not at all doing justice to the power of the songs. The guitar tone is especially weak and hollow, while there's not much bass in the mix and the percussion is basically flimsy. The songs are so fucking good that I've never had a problem overlooking it, but a thicker and more polished sound could've easily made this record a 10/10 for me in its original form.
After that there's a quick break with some early compilation/unreleased recordings, one of which was re-recorded for "Speak Out", while the otherwise unreleased "Having My Say" was originally tacked onto it as a bonus track. 1987's "Speak Out" full-length is a far more straightforward burst of pissed off, traditional, straightedge old school hardcore that definitely hints at many of the Youth of Today-isms that built the band (especially some of the vocal treatments and general arrangements). There's no denying that a number of these tracks are absolute classics ("Nailed to the X", anyone? Come on, how can you lose with a title that over the top!?), and I'm a big fan of this record, but when all is said and done it is a pretty standard platter of youth crew hardcore - anthemic or not. It's definitely way better than you'd expect from a bunch of high school kids, though! "Talk is Cheap" kicks it off in fine form, "Clear" starts out slower and heavier and is certainly a bit more in your face than much of the record (the chorus is totally killer in this one), "Change Within" tosses in a little more energy and uses some of the plunky basslines for which this niche of hardcore became so known, "Wise Up" is another textbook old school hardcore anthem, and "Still Strong" is among the only tracks that sort of starts to hint at bits of the melody that were later to become a driving force for the band. "Strength Through Hope" is an unreleased track from the "Speak Out" sessions that cranks out a little over two minutes of the same brand of basic hardcore heard elsewhere herein, so I'm not entirely sure why it was never released before. Despite being recorded in spurts over a rather long period of time, the sound holds up alright. It's a little thin, and definitely has some ruggedness and inconsistency involved, but whatever. It's a dated recording, so it sounds that way. It's never really bothered me at all.
After a couple of other early compilation tracks (more alternates that were later re-recorded for "Speak Out") things close out with the Crippled Youth "Join the Fight" 7": Nine tracks of extremely raw, extremely juvenile, extremely over "posi" pre-Bold hardcore from 1985 drawing as much from Minor Threat as it does from Youth of Today. That the band members were in their early teens at the time really shows, especially vocally, so this 7" never really did anything for me and doesn't stand the test of time that well either. The leaps and bounds that these guys improved in just two years' time is fucking insane. I guess if this EP had a stronger recording and the vocals didn't sound so child-like (not that the dude could help it, he was 13, after all) it would've been pretty solid, but I still can't really get into it. Hey, it's worth inclusion on the CD for documentation purposes, though. The packaging includes some liner notes compliments of vocalist Matt Warnke that reflect on the band's formation and such, with all of the lyrics included alongside plenty of flyers and live shots from years gone by. All of this makes for a pretty fat booklet that's got tons of content. And, of course, the lyrics progressed over the years as well, from typical hardcore fare like, "You talk big when you preach, but empty promises are what you keep. You say your dedication is so deep, but I know that your talk is cheap," to more reflective passages such as, "We never know who to blame. Why wouldn't things stay the same?" I'm not sure if they remastered the stuff or what, but they could've made things a little louder if you ask me. Fuck it, though. I think it's criminal that "Looking Back" still doesn't get the props it deserves, and "Speak Out" is definitely a straightedge classic, so... I'm all over this collection and I'm really psyched to see all this material back out there. Worth the $11 for the "Looking Back" tracks alone, but there's tons of hot shit here, so I don't want to overshadow its other merits or anything. I just fuckin' love this band. And trust me, any younger fans of melodic hardcore that have never heard "Looking Back" need to pick this shit up immediately... I simply can't get over how insanely awesome those songs are to this very day. (9/10)
Running time - 66:17, Tracks: 32
[Notable tracks: Running Like Thieves, You're the Friend That I Don't Need, Always Try, Looking Back, Hateful, Speak Out, Today We Live, Talk is Cheap, Nailed to the X, Clear, Wise Up, Still Strong]