Madball Guitarist Talks New York Hardcore

Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags were first bands to incorporate metal, says Mitts

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In a new interview, Madball guitarist Mitts (real name: Brian Daniels) discussed the origins of hardcore’s incorporation into metal and the band’s new album.

“We’re writing for a new record right now. We’ve got three or four songs,” says Mitts.

“As a hardcore band, our songs are fairly short compared to metal — they’re not, like, seven-, eight-minute songs. Our songs are generally between two and three minutes, so we usually go for in the 12-to-15-song range for a record. We like to have at least 30 minutes.”

When asked which bands started the metal-meets-hardcore thing, Mitts said, “I think Agnostic Front, the Cro-Mags. In those early records by those bands, you can start to see the development. On the first Agnostic Front record, you can hear that late ’70s punk sound and that early ’80s sound that started to become hardcore. Bands like the Circle Jerks and the Dead Kennedys and the Bad Brains were merging that speed with the punk. Punk was the Sex Pistols and the Ramones, but then hardcore started just making it a little louder, a little heavier, and a little more aggressive. And then you had the New York sound — I think New York pioneered what still lasts as hardcore today. They started to add more metal into it, more right hand riffing, more palm muting riffing as opposed to just, ‘dadadadadadadada.’ That was punk, that open strumming.

“You listen to records like the first Cro-Mags record, The Age Of Quarrel, there’s a lot of right-hand chugging, like metallic kind of riffs. Same thing with Agnostic Front. Their second record, Cause For Alarm, all of a sudden you start to hear really fast picking, a lot of dissident guitar patterns and stuff like that. So those are the bands that really started to pioneer that. You look at hardcore today, and 90 percent of hardcore bands that are around today doing well still have that metal edge to them.”

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