There are so many reunions happening these days that we often lose count. We welcome some much more than others and one of those is the return of California hardcore mob Lionheart who are back after less than 12 months since they called it a day
The band called it a day in November 2016 but announced their reunion via Facebook with the following post “ATTN: When we announced our breakup, over a year ago, we meant it. Balancing jobs and personal lives w/ trying to tour full time was impossible, so we chose to take a step back. However, it wasn’t long before we all missed it. This is what we’ve known for over a decade and this is who we are. We all miss playing shows and releasing music, so fuck it: We are back. We’ll never be a full time band again, but close friends of ours have encouraged us to join them on a short run, so we will share that info later today. We never should have broken up in the first place, but we’ve been fucking up since day 1 so why change now? Life is short. See you soon. LHHC.”
We’re lucky enough to get an early copy of the bands forthcoming record WELCOME TO THE WEST COAST II which is the follow on from the EP they released of the same name in 2014. For a band on their seventh release you’d expect by now that they would be masters of their craft and it’s fair to say they have their sound down to a fine art. We’d gone into this album with some expectations of how it would sound and we weren’t too far wrong. It’s not that the album is predictable but certain bands just have their own sound and Lionheart is one of them.
The first track ‘Cali Stomp’ sets the tone for what is to follow with a little nod to the reunion and having ‘Took a little break, saw through some shit and now it’s on again stronger than ever’.
There’s some real aggression on some of these tracks. Most notably ‘Vultures’ and ‘Cursed’ which hit with a lot of venom. Lyrically focussed on the bands struggles and overcoming them as well as plenty of odes to where they come from. This seems to be a recurring theme on a lot of hardcore records but i guess there’s nothing wrong with shouting out your home town/state.
It’s not all about that though and track 3 ‘Shelter’ gets serious. It’s actually an emotional ode to the love and sacrifices that vocalist Rob Watsons mother made for him and his brother to ensure they had the best lives that she could give them ”Never had much, but we had enough/that much is true, this ones for you” and ”I was raised by a real woman, she ain’t afraid to go to war for her two children”. It’s pretty rare that you see this kind of love and appreciation in hardcore, especially what some might consider to be ‘tough guy harccore’ but in reality there is nothing more hardcore than that!
The album is rounded off with LLHC 17 and features Deez Nuts frontman JJ Peters, if you know Lionheart you’ll know this song is a new version of the 2014 version that featured on the EP.
With this record Lionheart aren’t reinventing the wheel but to be honest we’re not sure if that’s actually the bands agenda. They write solid hardcore songs and cross boundaries into punk and metalcore, Like if Hatebreed/Terror had a baby with Cro Mags and Shattered Realm was the godfather. There is plenty of mosh to be had and i’m certain that if you’re a fan of the bands previous releases that you’ll enjoy this one as well, after a few listens it is certainly growing on me.