Back in the late eighties when Agnostic Front’s Roger Miret first let his 12 year old brother Freddy Cricien jump on stage and take the mic no one could have thought that “Madball” Freddy and his pals would still be recording Hardcore and would become legends in their own right.
For the Cause is Madball’s 9th studio outing and their first since 2014’s Hardcore Lives. Of course that 12 year old fire brand is older and wiser but he and his mob are still full of piss and vinegar and those trademark NYHC chops and beatdowns plus slices of hip-hop and cholo attitude.
For the Cause is produced by Tim Armstrong of Rancid and Transplants fame and his knob twiddling earns him a guest spot on “The Fog” which also features a certain Steve Whale of the Business , who incidentally supplies the none more Laaandaahn spoken intro.
The aforementioned twosome are not the only cameos on the album. Ice Muthafuckin’ T (to give him his full name) takes a break from Body Count, Law and Order and reality T.V. to spit some bars on Evil Ways. This is Ice in full bile spitting BC mode and he and Freddy slam into each other rather than bounce in a short sharp tale of death and evil doers.
“Es Tu Vida” is a crushing slice of Latino hardcore. Sung in Spanish with a riff that demands an old style sweaty pit –none of this fucking potato mashing crowd killing shit! This is machismo spurting from the neck of a guitar! “For You” that follows is almost a ballad in comparison – a hymn for a fallen comrade with Queen like drums and a chorus that demands to be chanted live. These are the sort of tracks that show the brother and sisterhood of Hardcore the world over. There are plenty of staples on here. “Smile Now and Pay Later” which opens up the album drips Big Apple attitude with Freddy rasping in a Koller way. Ice T is not the only Hip Hop luminary to step up for Madball. Sick Jacken of Psycho Realm opens up “Rev Up” .” Truth sparks revolution and is therefore labelled violent” I ain’t gonna argue. The track that follows barrels along like a freight train which strangely is the name of the track that follows it. “Old Fashioned” asks for listeners to walk heads held high and live true and not via a computer screen. When the guitars chug like this there is certainly a reason to drop the black mirror.
The title track may have a slightly hardcore cliché title but it is a catchy as measles. Chantalong bits, big tough guy/gal riffs. “My cause my beliefs – My dedication!” This is what punk is about – this is what music is about. Midway through the tracks and we get a beautiful echoey reggae revolution track. The angelic female vocalist providing a stark contrast to Freddy’s angry larynx.
No fear though as there is the short angry burst of “Confessions” to deal the killer blow.
Madball, of course have delivered. In doing so they have shown they are as relevant now as they were in the beginning. The production is fantastic and the guests feel part of the family rather than last minute add-ons. Put this on turn up and get sweaty.
(8.5/10 Matt Mason)