20th Century music’s initial roots are hardly debatable. Early musicians took the same route as any other innovative songwriter: taking two seemingly separate styles and bringing them together to create a new sound altogether. This thought process is what put the “roll” and “blues” in rock n roll and rhythm and blues, respectively. Looking back now, these terms are inseparable, but at a time these combinations were beyond revolutionary. Even though these genres defined culture and time, they too suffered the same fate of their predecessors as they evolved and their original form became largely forgotten.
Hardcore has the same story. The pairing of punk with 70’s American hard rock by way of poor musicianship, simple (yet extremely effective) songwriting, and necessary lyrics proved to be a stale formula to some by the mid 1980’s. Bands traded in bad production for Chung King sound and drew sonic influence from their aggressive music counterpart: metal. While this formula drew backlash from classicists, it proved to be an important movement within an evolving subculture. The new genre of hardcore mentality with metal musicianship was deemed “crossover”, but since the term’s inception has been overused entirely.
When analyzing the term crossover, one must assume the definition of the word rather than it’s colloquial use. Crossover is defined as “an instance of breaking into another category”, and for this term to be effective it, too, should have only been used for an instance. Because once Peter Steele styled riffs were a scene norm, it was no longer crossing over but a recognized style. However, the term has been used for nearly two decades trying to separate two genres that share more in common than not.
Cold World is one of the few true crossover bands within hardcore, and their newly released sophomore LP “How The Gods Chill” is a proper demonstration. Not for it’s references to metal tinged bands like Life of Agony in “Never Knows Best” or Only Living Witness in “No More Fun And Games”, but for it’s musical appropriation of hip hop techniques interspersed throughout the record.
Since the band’s inception in 2004, their use of sampling and scratching showed their ability to combine two separate styles in a seamless fashion. In fact the influence has only grown with time, bringing their latest release to be their most apparent effort yet. Their newest LP borrows and builds to reaffirm the style and sound that is unmistakably Cold World.
“How The Gods Chill” features three members of the band singing, guest spots from George Hirsch and Omar Gonzales, verses from Kool G Rap and Meyhem Lauren, an interlude featuring Soul Vice’s Tome, and an outro from incarcerated rapper Max B. This makes the record flow like a hip hop record giving the listener time to breathe, yet it still features Cold World’s hardest parts to date.
Lyrically, the record takes on cynicism but does so more analytically than narcissistically with lines lies “Wake up you’re not the only one / who feels the seams coming undone.” Like their ability to bring hip hop and hardcore together, Cold World makes this frustration universal without being overbearing.
Cold World have shown their ability to create original music deserving of the term crossover while expanding and improving upon their blueprint, and “How The Gods Chill” might be their best yet.
The LP comes out August 5th via Deathwish Inc., and the band will be appearing on Saturday, July 26, at This is Hardcore Festival in Philadelphia.