|MØRE OG ROMSDAL HARDCORE|
I founded my first bona fide HC band when I was 17, the vegetarian/straight edge outfit, BREAKPOINT, which later evolved to BACK X DOWN, nowadays, for obvious reasons, just BACK DOWN. We signed Stormstrike Records(same label as LASH OUT) for a 7" already in 1994 but unfortunately, due to far too many projects going on at the same time, we managed to blow that opportunity.I forgot all about it, until I heard the 2 tracks that once came out on an underground DIY compilation tape called "Norway Hardcore". I decided on the spot to get the gang together again and (at least) record that 7" or EP, counting intro plus 5 tracks, 4 own tracks and 1 cover, a homage to native metal gods DARKTHRONE...BUT title will remain a surprise for slightly longer, folks.
BREAKPOINT came together as a consequence of me discovering straight edge hardcore for real after a couple of shows at Kulturelt Alternativ in Molde(an hour drive from Christiansin). Prior to the STENGTE DØRER/NAFTIA/LAST STRAW in late September 1990, I was only briefly introduced to the term, mainly through my MINOR THREAT records,the FAITH/VOID split,HOGANS HEROES and a SO MUCH HATE interview with Norwegian underground magazine Folk & Røvere, where vocalist Gunnar Nuven mentioned the term.
To see LAST STRAW, a local hardcore band featuring future members of bands like LASH OUT and ONWARD, that night, playing a super tight fast and metaled up vein of hardcore, clearly inspired by the few US bands I had heard in those days but somehow lending much more into the metal segment, thanks to the riffs of guitarist Bjørnar Darknaess. I remember they did a version of SSDs "Glue", which was the only recognizable element in their style. The other time I saw them that autumn, roughly 3 months after, they were probably at their peak, delievering one of the most energic and tight sets I ever heard during those early days, doing loads of covers as well, "Seein´Red" by MINOR THREAT, "Cats & Dogs" by GORILLA BISCUITS, "Sick People" by BREAKDOWN, "Break Down The Walls" by YOUTH OF TODAY and even "Forelska I Lærer´n by the corny power pop outfit THE KIDS.
LAST STRAW instantly gave me the spark that I carefully brought back home, cultivated and grew for myself for some time, before I kinda officially got out of political crust core and converted to choir boy haircut,vegetarianism/veganism, straight edge and pseudo-new religious(Hare Krishna). Without having it confirmed, I always presumed their name was taken from the WIDE AWAKE song. The released a brilliant demo in 1990 and was probably the best European hardcore band of their days.
I reached out to 3 guys in my own home town I knew through skateboarding. Thomas Saltkjelvik,bass player, and Thommy Liabø, vocals, were just below my age and into punk rock but had no previous experience before joining in. We used to hang out, skate,watch skateboard videos,talk shit, cruise around town to watch all the local chicks and idiots. We ordered a lot of import vinyl in those days, and got into bands like GORILLA BISCUITS,JUDGE,YOUTH OF TODAY,SLAPSHOT,DAG NASTY,INTEGRITY,INSIDE OUT,BOLD,CHAIN OF STRENGTH,TURNING POINT,NO FOR AN ANSWER etc together. Gradually, both also went edge and vegetarian, much appreciated by a guy that had developed the ambitions of starting up an all edge hardcore band.
Then came drummer Espen Pedersen along, who seemed to be perfect for such a band, modelling itself after bands like THE STIMULATORS, with a 12 years old HARLEY FLANEGAN on drums, and of course YOUTH OF TODAY, at their height at the We re Not Into This Alone album, depicting a 12-13 years old SAMMY on drums. Espen was 12 years old when he joined BREAKPOINT. He was that rare kid who seemed to have received all talents of his world. At the age of 11 he was sponsored by classic skateboard brand Powell Peralta, and among the few guys in town doing aerials stretching over the coping(edge)on the vert ramp, and generally ripping his board like no other guy in town, no matter age. He was also a much talented soccer keeper and a natural in most kinds of sport. Now he was starting his invasion of the artistic spheres and boy, he was making progress in the speed of a devil, like he had submitted to the Faustian pact of darkness for earthly goods.
Even though I wrote all songs and lyrics, BACK DOWN would never had been the same without Espen on drums and Thommy on vocals, both having really unique qualities to what they contributed to the sound and distinctiveness in style. I was only playing the guitar in the most typical metaled up hardcore way, a role that in the reformed line up of BACK DOWN has been exchanged into playing the bass, which is kinda my main instrument anyways. I guess the early Anders Wimpelman would have been thrilled to know that the future guitarist of the band would become the same guitarist that was responsible for casting that magic hardcore spell on him in the first place, with LAST STRAW.
BACK X DOWN, live 1992.
Another great influence on the driving creative force of BACK DOWN was the Norwegian band ONWARD, featuring members from other 1st generation Norway straight edge bands like GAIN and S.Y.F("Straight Youth Federation"/"Support Your Friends", later in more established band names like CONTENTION, AMULET, SPORTSWEAR(FOR PETE´S SAKE. They were formerly doing some shows and also recording a demo in 1990 under the name ALL IN THE HEAD, taken from that classic UNIT PRIDE song.
|ONWARD 7",1991.Yup, yours truly behind the "w".|
I was an instant fan right from that first rocking intro of obscure killer "On My Own"(on the first demo), the song to open that (for me) crucial show on the 27th of December 1990, together with INVERT(2 future LASH OUT members) and LAST STRAW. Unlike LAST STRAW they had a much more generic US stylistic approach in their formal language, not afraid to adopt the standard elements of the US templates, like the riff structures, breaks,breakdowns, mosh parts, singalongs, instead of trying to break a ground of their own, a popular but very seldom successful credo among native artists. They had most of the traces typical for 2nd generation US straight edge bands like UP FRONT,UNIT PRIDE,CHAIN OF STRENGTH,YOUTH OF TODAY and BOLD. I remember they played a cover of "Bottled Violence" by MINOR THREAT, "Fed Up" by JUDGE and "Straight Edge Revenge" by PROJECT X. This show was probably number one catalyst for my conversion from anarchopunk to straight edge/vegetarian. Vocalist Torghny Amdam(later fronting AMULET)sold Enquirer fanzines for Bhakta Vic(BEYOND,INSIDE OUT,SHELTER,108) so I even got my first taste of Krishna hardcore at this show.
Another BACK DOWN show from 1992:
I think the very first stuff we ever played together was "Stumped" by MINOR THREAT and "Youth Crew" by YOUTH OF TODAY. Later on we played "Final Word" by MEAN STREAK and "All Of Me" by UP FRONT. Then came my first song for the band, "Behind Your Wall", which was heavily influenced by one specific release of 1990, the Rebuilding compilation on Temperance Records, 1990, with NO ESCAPE,GORILLA BISCUITS,BURN and TURNING POINT.
|UNDER YOUR INFLUENCE: Essential BD reference.|
Especially TURNING POINT was basically what I had in mind when writing that first song, "Behind The Wall", "acoustic" intro and mid part, generally metaled up and mid tempo. Song number 2, "Push Comes To Shove", was definitely influenced by ONWARD and POWERHOUSE(first 7")in music and words, while the latest and arguably best material had finally reached a more genuine state, though you might hear the ghosts of the early 90s wave of US straight edge in the background: TURNING POINT,4 WALLS FALLING,INSTED,INSIDE OUT,JUDGE,WORLDS COLLIDE, KINGPIN, BORDERLINE,FACE VALUE and INTEGRITY. Nowadays it kind of reminds me of TURNING POINT doing Reign In Blood area SLAYER covers.
Me and Thomas Saltkjelvik later played together in WINTERPALE and SWIMSUIT, while Espen transformed into a highly skilled metal drummer, playing in the local metal heroes of my days in my native town, TERROR or SEMPER FI, as they later re-baptized themselves as.
LOOK OUT for the forthcoming 7" on Neuflex Records and make sure to become a fan of our Facebook page, as well as Neuflex Records with link below. 3/4 of BACK DOWN also provide the ranks of True Norwegian Black Metal band VINTERBLEK.