On the one hand, one could easily dismiss the guys in Barcode for offering run-of-the-mill hardcore -- that's the range and scope of 2005's Showdown, their fourth full album in ten years. But, on the other, one can't entirely dismiss this European band's impressive ability to carry off such an American-dominated style so convincingly; and, more objectively, considering the genre's amazingly restrictive boundaries, is hardcore ever not run-of-the-mill to a certain degree? Whatever your opinion, above all else, Showdown confirms Barcode's affinity for the New York hardcore ethic -- both sonically and lyrically -- which they unwaveringly profess in sociopolitical tirade after sociopolitical tirade heard here. The fact that the band's Danish origins lend a fresher perspective to scathing attacks on U.S. foreign policy like "Fanatics" and "End the War" (take that GW!) is only an added bonus! As for other notable tracks, "Drinkslinger" and "Padre Siffredi" show a much needed, more humorous, side to the band, but the overall intensity that drives them never wavers from that of the whole. All in all, unless you find Barcode's cover of Accept's metal classic "I'm a Rebel" so very surprising, Showdown's half-an-hour's worth of 16 songs is hardly the stuff of groundbreaking new directions for hardcore. But, by the genre limitations expressed earlier, this is still an extremely competent and highly enjoyable example of the style.
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AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia