Album Review: Street Soldier – Original Murda Material

Album Review: Street Soldier - Original Murda Material
Reviewed by Dan Barnes

I’d have to refer you to more learned colleagues, but I cannot remember a time when the UK Hardcore scene has been in such rude health. With the likes of Knuckledust, Ironed Out and Borstal attracting attention over the past few years and with a host of bands emerging into the clubs and festivals, ready to spill blood and stake a claim.

One such collective is York’s Street Soldier who I had the pleasure of seeing a couple of times last year and whose set at Bloodstock is high on my agenda in a couple of weeks. Ahead of their Catton Park debut, the band will be releasing a new EP, Original Murda Material, to sit alongside their existing four.

Beginning with Rewind, Street Soldier throw a curve ball into the idea that Original Murda Material was going to be anything like a by-the-numbers Hardcore record. The muscular bass that opens the track fills the listener with the sense of foreboding and when the pay off comes, it sees the band mixing a massive Nu influence with huge Hip Hop beats. About halfway through, ripping guitars take centre stage and aggressive posturing and a Soulfly bounce vie with each other for superiority.

It's these touches that make Original Murda Material to be Street Soldier’s best release to date; while the previous records were filled with ideas and deviations from the Hardcore template, this new one feels even more as though Hardcore is merely a starting point.

Album Review: Street Soldier - Original Murda Material

Middle Fingaz revisits the Nu vibes and Hip Hop stylings, opening with a trancey moment before giving way to big, brash Hardcore rhythms, easily as heavy as anything Korn have ever created.

Taking the confrontational idea a stage further is Nah Nah Fuck You, whose sharp, stabbing guitar lines feel at odds to the funky rhythms established early on. Die Widda Brain takes influence from the likes of Cypress Hill and serves up a complex composition that offers both immediate gratification and endless possibilities.

Early on, Can’t Break This delivers up some seriously heavy and hostile hardcore, made out of crunching grooving riffs that will fill pits for sure and Time to Lose has those dirty guitar lines and mammoth bass usually associated with the USHC scene exponents like Biohazard.

Bringing the twenty-seven minutes duration to a close is the Urban Annihilation mix of Hard Mentality’s Nonce Killa – which must be one of the best song titles ever. Here, Street Soldier go hard and replace the HC vocals of the original with a far more extreme slamming death metal voice and the riffing with dirty, slogging chords, leading to a ferocious breakdown.

Although they break the mould of the perception of the average Hardcore band, the four-piece are a fine example of everything that is good about the burgeoning UK scene; no longer will these bands be constrained in their creativity and, instead, are free to spread their wings and soar. That said, their lives shows will thankfully still be absolute carnage. The New Blood tent won’t know what hit it!

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