V.A. – Straight Edge and Proud (The European Straight Edge Compilation)

Ugly and Proud Records brings together some of the best European edge metal bands of the day.

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Artist: Various Artists

Title: Straight Edge and Proud

Release: LP / Digital

Year: 2023

Label: Ugly and Proud Records

When the terms ‘straight edge’ and ‘compilation’ are mentioned together, many of you might immediately recall Ebullition’s timeless XXX – Some Ideas Are Poisonous double LP in the States or the killer volumes of Straight Edge As Fuck by Desperate Fight, which encapsulated the influential scene in 1990s Umeå, Sweden. However, it’s worth noting that there have been numerous straight edge compilations over the years, with most of them focusing on the ‘youth crew’ sound and ethos. Yet, when it comes to a European Straight Edge compilation leaning towards the more metallic and politically motivated side of the genre, my mind goes straight to Good Life’s 1996 compilation The Way It Is. This compilation featured prominent bands like Congress, Liar, Blindfold, Mainstrike, Separation, among others.

While the 1990s were undoubtedly an exceptional era, it’s evident that the European ‘straight edge scene’ was primarily dominated by bands hailing from Sweden, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK. Drawing inspiration from these pioneering edge metal scenes of the ’90s and memorizing their lyrics by heart, a new wave of metallic straight edge bands has emerged in Europe. These bands are as resolute and militant as ever, emphasizing a message that remains fitting for the current state of the world, plagued by escalating political corruption, ecological destruction, and social degradation at all levels.

Ugly and Proud Records, though not as renowned as Desperate Fight or Good Life, stands as a current European record label that consistently puts out solid hardcore releases with an unwavering dedication to the straight edge scene, which is especially relevant in these turbulent times. The vinyl compilation titled Straight Edge and Proud, featuring seven international bands, is a testament to their commitment. These seven bands encompass all the qualities of crushing, militant, and uncompromising straight edge hardcore with a notable metal influence. What sets this compilation apart and makes it particularly significant is its inclusion of bands that expand the boundaries of what is traditionally considered Europe, reaching far and wide into the southern, eastern, and western regions.

Straight Edge and Proud showcases bands from various corners of Europe, including the UK (xapothecaryx), France (Iron Deficiency), Italy (Caged), Belgium (xDevourx), Hungary (Escalate), Bulgaria (TRUExFEELING), and Turkey (xRISALEx). As well as geographical diversity, it’s worth noting the striking gender diversity within these bands and their lyrical themes, which venture outside the typical tropes of the genre. It’s not an exaggeration to state that the current European edge metal scene is more socially conscious than ever before. A glance at the activist backgrounds and lyrics of bands like Caged or xRISALEx reveals that their music extends far beyond mere entertainment or posturing. Each band on this compilation is composed of individuals who have long been active in their local activist and hardcore scenes, organizing shows, publishing zines, recording other bands, doing artwork, managing venues, or advocating for animal rights and social change. As the introduction in the LP’s booklet states: “Straight edge is not an end-point. It’s not the ultimate truth—not by itself. With this release we hope to inspire you to be brave and strong, to take action!”

Mastered by none other than Scott Crouse of Earth Crisis, these eleven tracks feature some of the heaviest riffs, earth-shattering breakdowns, and impassioned lyrics that the current metallic straight edge scene has to offer. Moreover, this LP boasts exclusive tracks that cannot be found anywhere else. With two alternate covers, both featuring cover artwork by Ozan of xRISALEx and a booklet containing lyrics, band information, and photos designed by Georgi of TRUExFEELING, this release is a must-have for those who view straight edge as a catalyst for meaningful social change. Don’t miss the opportunity to add this vinyl from Ugly and Proud to your collection (Releases August 24, 2023). 𝖃𝖃𝖃

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