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Madball - For The Cause

For The Cause
by Jon Conant at 19 June 2018, 5:42 PM

It’s kind of hard to write anything negative about a band when you respect so much what they’ve created even if it sounds a bit derivative and stale in 2018. That’s what’s happened for me with MADBALL’s latest and 9th full length effort, “For The Cause”. It’s not a bad album at all, it’s the classic NY hardcore that we all know and love, and it sounds great for what it is. But, ultimately it does fall a few paces behind the ever-growing modern styles of metal. Which is fine, it just stands out as its own thing, which makes sense because MADBALL has always stood out as their own thing. So while I can’t say it wasn’t anything we haven’t already before a lot, it was really good. Which is kind of a weird thing to say seeing as they’re playing a style they helped pioneer, but…still.

The production was crisp and the mix was extremely well balanced. The guitar and bass moved together perfectly. The down picked rhythms from Matt Henderson (his first with MADBALL since their 2000 full length “Hold It Down”) and dark even in the poppier and punk inspired moments. So when the breakdowns come, it’s really fucking great. The heavier breakdown moments are without a doubt the highlight of the album.

That being said, the poppier and punk inspired moments aren’t bad either (granted that’s never been to my personal taste). Most of the songs on the album have an amped up “fight song” type feel to them (of course, this is classic MADBALL), and the hooks are all relatively catchy and fresh sounding, even though the overall style feels generic. For the most part, the songs stand out from one another well enough. The late 80s hip-hop inspiration, especially in Freddy Cricien’s vocals, is still there. It’s a little bit nostalgic, and is overall awesome. It’s also super badass they had a song featuring Ice T, and that song of course had some of the heaviest breakdown moments and was a highlight of the album.

Highlights of the album for me were for SURE “Esta Tu Vida”, that shit was so good I couldn’t even handle it. I hope it had something to do with saying fuck Trump, but who knows. I could probably look it up, but I prefer the mystery.  “Evil Ways” ft Ice T was of course the shit. Opener “Smile Now Pay Later” is a strong start with a definite heavier and more metal inspired sound that sounds a lot more modern. Track 3 “Freight Train”, while much more punk inspired, had some cool breakdown moments (track 2 “Rev Up” is one of my least favorite on the album). “For You” has an awesome thumping groove and chunk feel to it that is slowed down, which I personally loved. It was a fun song with an excellent chorus, a great addition late in the album at track 11. The duration of “For The Cause” definitely has a lot of ebb and flow throughout, which is great. Nailing song order is always a good thing and a lot of bands do screw it up.

This is a great album, it’s just not a new accomplishment for MADBALL or anything particularly unexpected (“Esta Tu Vuda” was just amazing though). If you like MADBALL, give it a listen and you’ll love it. There’s not a whole lot going wrong.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Smile Now Pay Later
2. Rev Up
3. Freight Train
4. Tempest
5. Old Fashioned
6. Evil Ways feat. Ice T
7. Lone Wolf
8. Damaged Goods
9. The Fog feat. Tim Timebomb
10. Es Tu Vida
11. For You
12. For The Cause
13. Confessions
Freddy Cricien - Vocals
Hoya Roc - Bass
Mike Justian - Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast


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Edited 23 March 2023

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