Here’s a fun fact: Out Cold’s Goodbye Cruel World was the fist album I’ve ever reviewed when DIY Conspiracy started back in 2005. This shouldn’t be a surprise as Out Cold is a band that has represented the real, unadulterated hardcore punk for around two decades after their inception.
Formed in 1989 in the town of Dracut, Massachussets—just a half an hour drive from hardcore’s mecca Boston—Out Cold quickly became a staple in the US hardcore scene. Taking the best bits of 1980s “This is Boston Not L.A.” era and mixing them up with dark, misanthropic and depressive lyrical themes, this is a band that any hardcore fan should appreciate appropriately.
Despite being such a beast to be dealt with, Out Cold have never been a hyped enough formation to get the proper recognition they deserved. You’d probably forgive this angry Massachusetts hardcore band for slipping into obscurity after the heartbreaking and unfortunate passing of guitarist/vocalist Mark Sheehan in 2010. So many passionate people and musicians in our community have gone untimely, leaving their friends and family in grief.
However, with a changed line-up following 2005’s Goodbye Cruel World, the remaining members of the band recorded drum and guitar sessions for two full-lengths worth of material. Rather than letting these new Out Cold songs get lost down the drain, the band teamed up with founding singer Kevin Mertens to complete and ultimately continue the legacy of the band. Half of these songs became 2013’s A Heated Display, the remaining half was released in 2019 as Living Is Killing Me.
The spirit remains and this 14-track banger is brimmed to the rim with stomping hardcore riffs, rapid drumming and, of course, the ferocious vocals of Kevin, who sounds as powerful as on the first Out Cold record. The band still wears proudly their old school US hardcore breed on their sleeve, but also incorporate some Sabbath and Motörhead influences to their sound. You can’t help but want to bang your head and start a circle pit to every track on this record.
The lyrics are still lurking into the darker corners of the human psyche and corrupted society we live in, which is always a good thing in my book. The album is solid from start to finish, and, if this is the first time you come across Out Cold, you should definitely give it a try before going back to explore their classic material from the 1990s and the first decade of 00s. Huge thank you to all the labels involved in releasing this material.