My Hero Died Today – From Our Cold Dead Hands

My Hero Died Today
From Our Cold Dead Hands

For me, retrospectives have always been odd to tackle, especially when they exist as my entry point to a group. Rather than observe the band morph and grow over time, complete collections such as From Our Cold Dead Hands, a disc which compiles the entirety of late nineties European hardcore group My Hero Died Today’s songs, act as a panoramic view of a time period, capturing and creating memories for tumultuous times I never experienced and agitations of which I never felt wakes. Of note is that members from MHDT went on to form/join such bands as Jettison, Paint the Town Red, Boy Sets Fire, Flyswatter, and Mitote.

The twenty one tracks on Hands construct a cacophonous approach to political hardcore music, boasting urgent, abrasive odes to dissent and cultural cynicism. The band’s brutal guitar-driven assault frames the overall message well; a grand outlet, I would imagine, for those brimming with political anxiety and scrutiny – and, nowadays, who isn’t?

However, MHDT falters in its approach to various issues. Most songs bemoan the downfall of modern society and oppressing authorities, though none ever broach the elusive grounds of change. Rather than posit alternatives to their various worriments, the band barks out would-be anthems and expects them to act as catalysts. In the myriad of similar bands, though, this is hardly adequate; to stand out, a band must be expected to reach beyond conventional realms. Rather than be intelligent spectators, they must infiltrate and disseminate new ideologies. How this can be accomplished I must admit I’m not certain, but the need for singularity in the music scene implores deeper involvement.

Beyond even this, though, the main caveat I see with collections for bands such as MHDT merits sticker placement on the album’s case: Warning! This compilation allows you to see how little the group grew over time! What bits of enjoyment or impulsion to be found on Hands are diluted by recurring styles and lyrical motifs repeated ad nauseam. There’s only so much vocal chord straining and gnashing of teeth before one’s throat and mouth begin to hurt. A single LP I could see providing entertainment, but a complete collection is far too exhausting. Add to this inessential covers of The Beatles and Nine Inch Nails for an even more heightened level of frustration.