96 – Caught In The Grips (2012)

Even though I personally hadn’t heard from 96 before, they have been steadily making a name for themselves in the scene. They released some EPs and played shows with Suicidal Tendencies, Sick Of It All and Cro-Mags (those aren’t exactly what you call “small bands”), so I was kind of surprised their name didn’t ring a bell. Maybe all these guys need is a killer debut album, and that just so happens to be what Caught In The Grips is. Just a few seconds into the first song, you already know what you’re in for; groovy, fast and no nonsense hardcore. They’ve been described as “90s youth crew revival” and even though there is something to say for that description, I don’t feel like it covers the whole package these guys bring to the table. You can clearly hear their roots and influences, but they go beyond them and create something far more complex than just a revival of how they used to play in the 90s (but maybe that’s just me and the feeling that description gives me). Throughout the whole record, they never really take a break. There are thirteen songs and only four of them clock in over two minutes. The thing that impressed me the most was their ability to keep things interesting and surprising. Sometimes they throw in a nice little solo, sometimes gang vocals, or just slow the whole thing down a bit (as I said, a bit, because if anything this album just grips you by the throat and leaves you hanging).

Overall, the lyrical content is well thought through and pretty “typical”, but this didn’t bother me for a second since most of the bands that play this kind of hardcore touch topics that don’t really get old and stay relevant. The fun thing with 96 is that they throw in some goofy lyrics too, like on the song “Iced Tea”, the lyrics are “Iced tea, give me a motherfucking iced tea, with ice” which is a fun break from the serious topics.

As I said, it’s an interesting and surprsingly varied record that gives everything it has to offer from the first to the last second and has no time for nonsense. I believe that these guys are ready to get the attention they deserve now. They take a lot of aspects from different styles of hardcore and throw in their own typical sound. I feel like there is something in Caught In The Grips for everyone who loves hardcore, be it modern or 90s youthcrew. Give these guys a little more time (like one more EP or something) and they’ll be on everyone’s radar, but actually that should already be the case after this release.


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By Enzo ~ Me Gusta Reviews