Detriot is home to some of the most legendary hardcore bands of all time. Walls Of Jericho, Cold As Life & Negative Approach helped build the sonic sounds of the city, Now the next generation spearheaded by Never Ending Game is here to bring that once classic scene to the forefront of modern hardcore.
Formed in 2018 NEG was born from the ashes of some fantastic Detroit bands. Detain & Freedom both on the polar opposites of hardcore joined forces to create a unique twist of hardcore not heard in some time. Mixing heavy elements of bands like Bulldoze & Terror Ave with the emotionally melodic moments of E Town Concrete & 100 Demons.
“Welcome To The…” blew onto the scene hard & the band gained a huge buzz. In 2019 the band’s first full-length “Just Another Day” became the biggest album of the year in hardcore.
The band’s follow-up LP has been eagerly awaited & hotly anticipated.
Opening out with the title track “Outcry” this is the best the band have sounded to date. Working again with Andy Nelson at Bricktop Recording has kept the band’s heavy & chunky tone but also helped to push their now signature licks shine through.
Vocalist Mikey has one of my voices in hardcore right now. Aggressive but so emotive, Adding little vocal change-ups make his flow even more interesting & fresh. A not surprisingly heavy opener from these guys.
“Never Die” is a greatly interesting track. Featuring Sam & Justice from the legendary Trapped Under Ice, this track is a reworking of unreleased riffs from Sam & TUI that NEG guitarist Will repurposed to create one of NEG’s most catchy tracks to date. Bassist Denis gets to shine during the verse section, keeping the track funky with drummer Derrick’s jaw-dropping drumming style. All leading to an ending section that just makes you want to jump up & down shoulder to shoulder with everyone in the pit!
By the third track, NEG’s next evolution starts to shine. “Down There (With You)” really starts to push the guitar licks & metallic elements the band are so great at. Feeling like a nice sequel to “1 Of Those Nights”, guitarists Will & Mike are able to create a song that follows great lead work & integrate those elements into the song’s melody. Creating something special & now so uniquely NEG. I can see this track being one of the most popular on the album for sure!
“Hate Today… Die Tomorrow” really turns up the ante. One of the most punishing NEG songs to date. A relentless assault that lets up just enough for you to start moshing & throwing those spin kicks.
A perfect blend of the darker side of Hatebreed & the spiteful moments of Cold As Life. Oh and one the biggest breakdowns on the album. These guys always know how to cap off a track.
Now this might be a controversial take but for me i love it when hardcore bands push the boundaries & take risks. “Tank On E” is the most the band have pushed their sound to date & for me it is a big swing that hits hard.
This track could be the new hardcore anthem we are looking for since Turnstiles – “Holiday”. NEG are that great at writing mosh parts just as much & they can write a catchy, meaningful emotive chorus. Now for me No Warning’s – Suffer Survive was a big swing that hit & i feel NEG have been able to write a few tracks like on that album that have pushed their more unconventional elements to create an album that might fly over a select few heads but in a few times will be looked at the next step in hardcores evolution.
The addition to “Outcry” with the rerecording of “Goin’ Thru Some Things” suits the album well. The closing track from the band’s first E.P which first showed what the band were capable off & introducing the melodic elements was a great choice to add to the album. The rerecording has helped thicken up the track, give it more of a punch & the chance for singer Mikey Petroski to push the agoning lyrics in this track a great second pass.
The later half of the album is still able to keep up the pace. “Memories” feels like a seminal moment for the band, and one of the best hardcore tracks I’ve heard this year so far. A chorus that sticks with you after a few bars & has you singing along quickly.
Guitarist Will doesn’t get enough credit in my eyes currently within hardcore. Not only does the guy write gems like this track but he’s also created Gridiron (please listen to their full length “No Good At Goodbyes” it’s ridiculously good). Will & Mike both as guitarists have been able to bring that 90’s hard & heavy hardcore sound of Hate Inc & Fury Of Five but also update it with a modern lens that works so well in 2023 for a modern listener.
Album closer feels like the perfect merge of Pantera’s – “This Love” & Biohazard – “Love Denied”. Starting with a clean, reverb heavy picked guitar pattern as second guitarist Mike brings in the epic whammy dive bombs before the track builds into a great heavy chugging section before it slowly creeps back into the melancholic & ethereal opening section. The track again slowly builds up to the perfect closing moments & is the most expensive the band have been thus far & its fan-fucking-tastic. A surprising but perfectly fitting way to close out the biggest album the band have crafted to date.
“Outcry” is a perfect hardcore record. Not only does it blend the best & hardest elements of classic hardcore but it’s also pushes the envelope for a modern & new wave of hardcore fans.
NEG’s discography is flawless & adding another immaculate album in “Outcry” just shows how talented these guys are. Within a few years NEG will have legendary status like bands like Terror, and the new kings within the wave of modern hardcore.