LIV. – “Be the Change”


LIVPositive hardcore, posi-core, whatever you want to call it or label it, there is no denying the energy, intensity, and ability of the music and words to lift your spirits.  Given the general lack of bands making music in this style anymore, one might think the critics are correct in that this is a dated, obsolete form.  There are a few bands still around that fit the bill, H2O comes to mind, but there is a bit of hole, especially from the younger crowd.  With Be the Change, LIV are stepping up to the plate to fill this void.

Straight out of South Bay Los Angeles, LIV (Liv’ In Victory) is a relatively newcomer, having formed in December of 2012.  United by a love of bands like 7 Seconds, Black Flag, and Gorilla Biscuits, things must have come together quickly.  While detractors may scoff and say that only hardcore and punk bands could pull off this sort of timeline because the music is simple, make no mistake, there is a lot more that goes into this music than style and instrumental virtuosity.  Hardcore done right relies on heart and sincerity, and you simply can’t fake that or practice it into being.  Bands either have it or they don’t.  While the music may be considered by some as simple, uncomplicated, it’s no mean feat to write a song that gets crowds moving and clamoring for the mic to sing along because the song literally means something to them and speaks for them.  I suppose that’s enough of a rant on the merits of hardcore for now…

Before even getting into the details on Be the Change, I can say that I hear a lot of the bands they cite as influences, Gorilla Biscuits and 7 Seconds, and would also add in Warzone, Chain of Strength and probably nearly any other band that would fit into that genre.  Listening to this brings to mind crazy shows, with bodies flying all over, huge pile-ons, sing-alongs, and a band jumping all over the stage, just a ton of energy here.  Mixing and production are spot-on for this style of music, the instruments, vocals and emotion comes through loud and clear.

In one sense, the songs excel in that attention has been paid to the little things, like the bass intro to Livin’ In Victory, which totally reminds me of something off Blood, Sweat, and No Tears by Sick of It All.  Just some good songwriting.  Drums and guitar are properly loud and forceful but now overwhelming the shouted vocals that are near the ragged edge.  The importance of the bass in driving the songs along is another aspect to their sound that really adds to the overall groove feel to the songs, which will certainly get the crowd moving. The lyrics in Make Moves sum up the band’s view on music perfectly

Genuine music for the genuine soul
The key is on simplicity
This is what we want to be

Faith and their beliefs in God are a common thread through the lyrics and that creates the positive outlook even in the most trying of circumstances.  “Roots” slows things down a bit with most of the verses  just being shouted over a cool bass and drum groove and describes this walk of faith during struggle.

I was seventeen years old when you gave me your present
Till this day I shout out
“Your presence is present”
Heaviness and chills running down my body
I will never let go of what this truth showed me…
…Remember, remember my roots
Got to keep a positive outlook
Remember, remember my roots
Stay humble, stay faithful

For some, this album will bring back old memories of bands and shows past, but rest assured, this is not a throwback to an old sound or some glorification of the old days.  Be the Change is not only a hard-charging, emotional hardcore album by a band looking to “change our whole generation”, it’s also a lot of fun to listen to…

A loss of words I can’t explain
I’m finding victory in all of my days
There’s no escape in this world of hate
It’s up to me to be the change (from “Be the Change”)

Rating: 8/10

Written by John Jackson

1. Livin’ In Victory
2. Make Moves
3. ‘Till Next Time
4. Roots
5. A Standard Issue
6. Rise
7. Miles
8. Be The Change
9. The New Revolution

Band Members:
Matthew Salamante – vocals
Jason Diaz – bass
Ace Esguerra – guitar
Tony Esquivel – drums

Record Label: On the Attack Records, April 2014

Weblinks: Facebook / Bandcamp

Buy the album here:
First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission
Metal Helm

Video below ‘Roots’

Video below ‘A Standard Issue’

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