Album Review

Throwdown - Intolerance

Released January 20, 2014
Lisa Sanchez
Some music scenes are more ephemeral than others. Unfortunately, the finicky quality of the music business seems to collect on the edges of genres like hardcore and metal. If your post-punk groove-metal band hasn't released a new album in five years your ship has pretty much sailed. No, correction, it hasn't just sailed, dysentery has run rampant through the crew and mutineers have left the captain belly up to the gulls.

Luckily, Throwdown is one of the exceptions to the "out of sight, out of mind" syndrome that plagues the YouTube generation. Intolerance, Throwdown's first release in almost five years, firmly asserts the band is alive, unstoppable, and still relentlessly straight-edge.

Firstly, Intolerance is a great, hard-edged album, but the whole thing sounds like an MMA mash-up soundtrack. Many of the songs, including "Fight or Die", "Defend With Violence", and "Suffer, Conquer", just play as a testament to Throwdown's inability to play nice with others. But, that's understandable because the material comes from a band whose moniker could double as the title for a straight-to-DVD Jean-Claude Van Damme movie.

If you're not familiar with the band, Throwdown have powered themselves on a diet of aggression, catchy slogans, and straight-edge principals since 1997. The band's rhetoric hasn't changed much since their early days, but they make their message blazingly clear; they are a straight-edge band, no apologies and no excuses. They're pretty much the most obvious theme band since GWAR, but with less slime.

Admittedly, Intolerance is one of the best psych-up albums I've heard in recent hardcore memory. Sure, it's a little bro-tastic, and I can just picture an army of gym-short-wearing, muscle-bound meat-bags doing wicked squats while blaring "Without Weakness", but that doesn't mean you can't use Intolerance to amp up multiple activities. For example: brushing your teeth, doing your taxes, and eating waffles. All of these are viable options and your teeth will be the cleanest they've ever been because you won't tolerate that shit anymore! Yeah.

"Condemned to Live", the last song on Intolerance, is pretty much Throwdown's version of "Walking on Sunshine". It follows suit with most of the other songs on the album; fast-paced, unrelenting, and energetic. I seriously recommend getting Intolerance just for its function as an alarm clock. These guys sound so excited throughout the entirety of the album, despite it's rigorous pace, that you'll be wired for the rest of the day just from the power of drum beats.

Most of Intolerance sounds like if D.A.R.E. and any Army recruitment campaign had a baby. All jokes aside, Throwdown have certainly mastered their established sound. It's not a masterpiece of musical accomplishment, but it's a strong assault that gets the job done. The lyrics are well thought out, the groove is catchy, and at times the album is just outright surprising.