What better way to start my reviews for DIY Conspiracy other than reviewing a good youth crew straight edge band? I am pretty honored.
xAwakex is a band from Lisbon/Portugal. They fit together nicely with the whole “Faro Straight Edge” scene, which stands for Portuguese traditional youth crew with a heavier, modern touch and a revivalist straight edge attitude. This is also the case with xAwakex’s demo: what we get is 4 songs of tough youth crew that doesn’t forget to include a lot of melody but without getting too poppy or anything. Actually, it’s the opposite, due to the heavy vocals and the 100% old school attitude. There is also an overall feeling of bitterness and melancholy not uncommon with many of the best youth crew bands (from Chain of Strength to Champion).
This piece of heartfelt and beautiful hardcore music is also accompanied by a great cover: a city train wagon graffiti-ed with “XAWAKEX”. In a sense, hardcore can easily be understood as an urban art form, much like graffiti also is. After all, gruff city imagery always had a place in hardcore, so thumbs up for this cover, which is also a real graffiti. Who hasn’t found him/herself standing at some bleak city station with only the music on our headphones to rely on for some hope? I know I have.
If you like youth crew hardcore with tons of energy, sad overtones and a nicely balanced production (almost 80s sounding, unpolished but pretty professional), then you will surely dig xAwakex. They can still have something worthwhile to give in this oversaturated scene that European straight edge/youth crew is. I wish I could get my hands on the limited edition tape!