Whoever said hardcore was supposed to be anything but dangerous and relentless in anger was dead fucking wrong. Hardcore is not some happy, Hot Topic bullshit. It’s absolutely never been meant for the fakers and bandwagon-chasers of a disposable mainstream. Hardcore isn’t for swoop haircuts. It’s not some word to throw around so all of your emo buddies think you’re one of the “cool kids”. It’s not for showing your friends how “br00tal” you look in your sister’s pants. Hardcore isn’t for going to a show and flaunting your high school ninja roundhouse kick skills in the pit. Hardcore is about the parts of life that can’t be bought at a store. Hardcore is more than music, it’s a way of life. Strength and survival. Love and loyalty to friends and family…and the will to never, ever stop fighting for the cause, just for starters. For a lot of kids today, it’s like scraping the icing off of a cake. They take the sweet shit and just go through the motions, but never even think of what it would be like to stop simply acting it…but actually live it.
Which brings us head-on into the one-two fist-to-your-fucking face assault of Indianapolis, Indiana’s very own old school hardcore brigade, Off Balance. Gloriously recalling the heyday of hardcore’s heaviest of hitters, Off Balance channels the fury of the likes of Negative Approach, Sheer Terror and Madball among others, while dishing out a healthy dose of their own DIY approach in pretty much everything they do. In their five blistering years of existence, the band has only just begun to carve their niche into the realm of hardcore with all of the subtlety of a party-hearty, beer-soaked sledgehammer. Cops have been called, shows have been shut down. No frills aggression through and through, Off Balance take pride in taking it all back to the punishing basics, from their artwork straight to the steamroller that roars violently from the speakers when you press the “play” button.
Hot off the presses, the quintet’s 2011 four-song demo, One Dyin’ And A Buryin’, simply refuses to let off the accelerator. Lyrically, Off Balance unleash accounts of a world of merciless darkness, inner doubt and that mental kind of decay that can plague human life so easily. One sentiment that rears its head again and again is the idea of never giving up, even when staring down the cold, hollow eyes of the bitter end itself. Every number found here packs a punch set to destroy, with “At the Helm” and “Doomed for Dementia” being definite highlights. “One Dyin’ and a Buryin’” takes on probably the most metallic approach, as heard in the riffs throughout. Everything else about it is hardcore, time-tested and unstoppable. What’s heard here is the progression of a largely east coast style of hardcore fury, with a little something new for an added kick, similar to the way bands like Biohazard or Life Of Agony added a more metal-sounding flavor into the hardcore mix in their glory days.
Before it’s over, you’ll swear these guys were doing this shit decades ago, tearing up the streets of the east coast straight from NYC. Rest assured though, Off Balance shows that old school hardcore is alive and well in the Midwest. With this brief demo, they have shown that, while life may very well be full of some completely torturous shit a lot of the time, they’ve got the power to knock all enemies, concrete or unseen, flat on their asses and have a damn good time in the process!