Striking Distance – The Bleeding Starts Here

Striking Distance
The Bleeding Starts Here

Striking Distance play unapologetic hardcore. They don’t innovate, they don’t attempt to fuse metal with hardcore, or hardcore with grindcore, or hardcore with any one of 1,500 subgenres out there. They play hardcore. From the pick slides to the rumbling bass lines, from the 4/4 drumming to the simple bar chords to the sub-two minute songs. From the chugga chugga breakdowns to the shout-along singing. It’s hardcore.
Now, if after reading that paragraph, you don’t know what Striking Distance do, let me state it one more time. Striking Distance are a hardcore band. I seriously can’t remember the last time I heard anything like this, probably not since I was in high school (for the record, I am in my 30s), and I am probably not Striking Distance’s target audience. In fact, I imagine with my long hair and bad attitude, I imagine myself being beat up by Striking Distance’s target audience, and chucked right out of the all-ages show.
For the record, Striking Distance are of the DC/Minor Threat school of hardcore (they do a Minor Threat cover toward the end of the record), and The Bleeding Starts Here is a compilation of their earlier material. Their lyrics contain the same sort of message of loathing for the system, combined with an odd positivity and a call to think for oneself, which, in my old age, has always struck me as ironic in a form of music that has such rigid rules. There’s not a breakdown, tempo change, or chord on this record that’s not predictable. But for fans of hardcore, that’s sometimes beside the point. And, no doubt, those who remember the DC scene, or still live for bands who sound like this will find a lot to like here. These guys sound pissed off, the album sounds loud and raw (though the two songs at the end from bad production which makes them lose their punch), and the singer screams as though every verse is the most important thing you’ll hear today.
However, its strengths are its weaknesses. They are only capable of sounding pissed off, loud, and raw. It’s like eating an entire box of saltines. You might love the first couple, but after a while, it’s just bland and unvaried. Your tolerance for this band will depend largely on how you read that opening paragraph; if you thought “shit yeah!”, this one’s for you. If you snickered, well, pass this one by.