Various Artists

Victory Style, Vol. 4

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On some of those rare moments when Victory Records isn't just good for a laugh, they can also provide the masses with some of the better new-school hardcore. The only problem is that their better bands are shunned because of being on the same label that introduced Earth Crisis and One Life Crew. Victory Style, Vol. 4 is another label sampler that could function as the PR gimmick of rebuilding Victory reputation. When they're not contributing to the stereotype of hardcore being a testosterone-filled orgy of second-rate Pantera's, they're also releasing the occasional record of mature, positive ethics. The featured "new wave" of Victory bands like Grade and Boy Sets Fire reinforce the labels gradual shift in direction, while the faster, heavier acts of Shutdown, Buried Alive, Cause For Alarm, Greyarea, and Reach The Sky prove that hardcore has a brain. Just pretend that Skarhead, Earth Crisis, No Innocent Victim, and Blood For Blood never happened.

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