“For the Cause” 

by Thor

I love Madball.  And I love NYHC.  Madball is literally the little brother of hardcore gods Agnostic Front!  Well, singer and lone constant member Freddy Cricien is Roger Miret’s little brother, anyway.  But regardless of the lineage, the lineup or whatever else, these guys have always been the real deal.

So, what about Madball’s latest full-length album—available from Nuclear Blast—called “For the Cause” (a super Madballish title if ever there was one)?  

“For the Cause” is another album of heavy hardcore tunes that all share something pretty nuanced and not altogether tangible that ties them together into one obvious and cohesive collection.  That’s Madball’s M.O. These guys never stay the same.  Yet—and just as impressively—they never stray too far from their trademark approach, either.  And that approach is super aggressive, quintessentially New York-style hardcore stuffed to the pissed off gills with chunky beatdown riffs, meaty drums, and yell-along choruses that redress myriad grievances. 

The conceptual through-line of “For the Cause” is a penchant for groove.  It’s heavy and it’s aggressive, but it’s less conventionally hardcore than their last full-length, “Hardcore Lives” (2014), for example.  That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially of you dig groove metal.  I happen to enjoy their more crossover-thrashy material the most and will likely need more time to wrap around “For the Cause.”  However, I can say with certainty right now that when this album is at its most aggressive, it’s a thing of adrenaline-inducing beauty.

Sonically, the album destroys.  The drums in particular sound great, especially the snare.  The mix is clean and massive, featuring thick guitars and an aggressive vocal mix.  Even given Madball’s aforementioned groove-oriented stylistic approach to this album, there’s certainly enough here to enjoy if you dig other parts of Madball’s catalog.