At its purest, there is little that can match the visceral thrill and empowering spirit of hardcore. As frontman of New York City hardcore kings Cro-Mags, this is something John Joseph knows very well, and with Up In Arms, he and his Bloodclot compatriots deliver a furious collection that hits hard on every level. "In this band we're doing what each of us have always done: give it our all," he states plainly.
The results reflect the roots and passions of the individual members. Danzig/Murphy's Law guitarist Todd Youth was the first piece of the puzzle. Having been friends with Queens Of The Stone Age and Danzig powerhouse drummer Joey Castillo for three decades, he and Joseph had long admired each other's work, and their collaboration has been a long time coming. Following Castillo's suggestion of bringing in Nick Oliveri (Queens Of The Stone Age, The Dwarves) to handle bass duties, the lineup was complete.
Every track on Up In Arms lives up to the rallying cry of the album's title – the bursts of high energy hardcore act as the perfect accompaniment to Joseph setting his sights on injustice and the seemingly endless flaws of the contemporary world. The breakneck thrashing of "Slow Kill Genocide" is an anthem for everyone sickened by those responsible for "killing the planet and all its inhabitants through industry and war. They're fucking maniacs and must be stopped." The suitably titled "Manic" attacks with bared fangs, Joseph making it clear that you can only push someone so far before they will react with violence – a call to arms for the disenfranchised who want tomorrow's world to be better than today's.
Tracked at NRG in Los Angeles, the raw, old-school production that leaps out from the speaker comes courtesy of producer Zeuss (Hatebreed, Revocation), and the record was mixed by Kyle McAulay at NRG. From the moment the opening title track explodes to life, it's clear that everyone involved is having a blast and playing from the heart, and that this is no frills / no bullshit music at its most passionate – every song evoking mental images of utter chaos in a heaving mosh pit.