Saturday, March 21, 2020

Lost In Umeå Hardcore (90s and 00s period) special post part 1: Introduction and Step Forward

Note: I guess the lockdown is driving me a little bit crazy...

Coucou, les! We're back with the highly anticipated first special post of 2020: Lost In Umeå Hardcore (90s and 00s period). This entry was supposed to be published yesterday but I had some technical and logistical difficulties and, well, I have to admit that even this lockdown due to this COVID-19 pandemic is stressful as fuck because not many people out there is capable of control themselves. I'm kinda habitué.e. aux confinements but this one has had so much impact on the media that you can breathe desperation and confusion every goddamn minute. Don't forget to stay calm, take care of yourselves and your own circles and try to be solidaire.s. with those who have difficulties to withstand all of this (if possible)...Well, let's forget about that just a little moment with this humble entry... 

Now, I also have to admit that I have many, many years trying to make this special post but either I forget about it or I write about something else. Ha ha ha, sorry. But, well, the time fina-fuckin'-lly has come. So, what's all the fuzz about this small town from Sweden? If you're into 90s hardcore you may know names like Refused and Abhinanda. Guess what? They're from Umeå. Unlike other areas from their native country, most of these bands were more interested in american hardcore (mostly youth crew and the early stages of metalcore) rather than crust, d-beat or even death metal. The vegan straight edge mindset, probably a key element in both 90s american and european hardcore, was prominent and, unlike other hardcore counterparts, these swedish ones were into politics (notably Guy Debord's writings) and participated to different direct action performances such as demonstrations and manifestos as well. Finally, this hardcore scene surprisingly is so praised in their hometown that's now considered as part of their cultural heritage and also an important element of rock history in Sweden. And, yes, everyone knows who Dennis Lykzen, Refused's vocalist, is and even many have his phone number ha ha. If you want to know a little bit more about this intriguing scene, you can read Klas Sivertson's Swedish Hardcore: A Documentation of Photos from the Scene Between 1992-2002 and Linda Lurve's Umeå Hardcore 1993-1994 photobooks and watch the UxÅ documentary. Highly recommended.     

Finally, I think I'll spend 4 or 5 entries for covering the Umeå's hardcore scene during the 90s and early 00s. For this particular entry, we'll start off  with Step Forward, probably the first hardcore punk band in the town. And, of course, for this special post, I have some interesting surprises under the sleeve for your maximum entertainment. Just wait and see. Don't worry that I'll publish other entries as well during the next days. En la variedad está el placer, no? With all that written, let's begin.       

Step Forward - It Did Make A Difference discography

As I previously mentioned you, Step Forward probably was the first hardcore punk band in Umeå. They only released two demo cassettes Does It Make A Difference and I Am Me (Umeå Hardcore Records (Sweden), 1990) and only live performed at Mariehems UG in their hometown. Regarding the sound, the band was more into youth crew acts such as Side By Side, Youth Of Today and Bold (some tracks also slightly teasing with thrashcore) with short, fast and loud songs. Most of the lyrics are mostly about straight edge lifestyle and some others with more political content denouncing the horrors of capitalism and racism, among others. Finally, this discography (Desperate Fight Records (Sweden), 1996) contains the aforementioned demos, their only live performances and two unreleased tracks that could have make it to an EP or LP. Some covers to 7 Seconds, Misfits, Minor Threat and even The Monkeys' tracks are included as well. Oh, and I almost forgot. 3/4 of Step Forward went on to form Refused, of whom will write about sometime later in this special post. Finally, click on the image for downloading this record. Highly recommended. Enjoy and until next time. Kisses and hugs!   

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