New York hardcore band Activator released their debut, self-titled album last month almost a decade after their formation. Coming together after meeting at the popular nightclub Max Fish, the group was created by four hardcore veterans who hoped to make the music that they felt was missing from the city’s current scene. The group pays tribute to their hometown by opening the album with 30 seconds of what seems to be the average ambiance of the city gone wrong, giving into eerie sound effects before the first chords of “Savior” kick in.

The majority of the 11 tracks on the disc take direction from classic thrash and punk at its best, with several songs that don’t hit the two-minute mark. For instance, “Tramp Stamp” opens with Shannon Moore’s soaring, screaming vocals along with drummer Sunny Leejean’s double-kicks and is only 57 seconds long. “Bedside Manor” and “Left Unsaid” stand out on the record as two of the most memorable songs, incorporating powerful rhythms and ever-changing riffs to add to their already intense, energetic vibe.

“Savior (Reprise)” serves as a gentle interlude on the album, borrowing the melodic riff from the opener which shares its name. However, taking that into consideration, it still seems out of place on an otherwise hard-hitting collection of songs, disrupting the album’s flow and coming off as disconnected. Regardless, the LP serves as a sound debut which is sure to be a nostalgic but welcomed throwback to classic hardcore fans.

In A Word: Impassioned

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