With Code Orange and Turnstile pushing hardcore into innovative new territory and mainstream acceptance (TV spots, Grammy nods, Times Square billboards – the whole nine yards), it’s always worth remembering that there are dozens of Lionhearts holding firm on the genre’s traditions.
That’s not a bad thing per se, but there’s no denying the thump of Welcome To The West Coast III – as its title not-so-subtly suggests – is as meat-and-potatoes hardcore as it comes. From the West Coast, naturally.
This album lives and dies on Lionheart’s capability to reproduce the same thuggish menace and sheer physicality of bands like Suicidal Tendencies or Hatebreed.
By and large, they succeed – Death Comes In 3’s, Cold Water Farewell and Live By The Gun throw some seriously hefty riffs and enormous mosh-calls. But the presence of guests like Jamey Jasta and Ice-T feels a bit too on-the-nose reminding listeners that, yes, we’ve heard this before – and better.